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Should I Wake My Baby to Feed?

Is Waking Baby To Feed A Good Idea?

The issue of whether waking your baby to feed is a good idea is one that has caused arguments and issues for decades. As the science of raising a baby in a structured and scientific way has improved over the latter half of last century, you are being faced with numerous ideas flooding in through Websites and books. New ideas are always arriving including the current technique of dream feeding that can provide you with a few more hours of precious sleep when your baby is a newborn.

The early weeks and months

Premature babies Vs full-term

Let’s start with a little research. Premature babies are a separate case to those carried full-term because they usually have special dietary requirements met by you on a regular basis. For those babies who have been carried full-term, you will have to monitor their weight to make sure they are reaching the best possible outcome in terms of healthy growth and weight gain.

Waking your baby to feed in the early days

Your baby is facing a difficult choice when they first return home after being born. Firstly, they are exhausted and need to sleep as much as possible in the early days. However, they also need to feed on a regular basis to make sure they do not lose too much weight in the first few weeks after birth. Almost all babies will see a little weight loss after birth as they become used to feeding correctly and come to terms with the switch to breast or bottle feeding.

In the first four weeks, you probably should be waking your baby to feed on time because they need to reach their weight gain goals. Although weight loss is normal, you should be monitoring the weight of your baby alongside your healthcare provider to make sure the losses seen are not as major as they could be.

Weight loss is usually a short term problem

One thing you should remember when you are looking to make your decision about waking your baby to feed is the fact the weight loss seen is usually a one to a two-week issue. By the time the first to the second week of life has been completed, you should be seeing your baby gain weight again and replenish the weight loss in the first few days. The majority of experts now recommend waking your baby to feed for the first four weeks of life to make sure they receive all the nutrients needed for healthy growth.

Feedings are needed on a regular basis

A common problem facing the majority of new parents is a lack of sleep that can cause major problems for everybody within a household. Your newborn baby will require between eight and twelve feeds per day for the first month just to be happy and healthy. This can mean you are being forced to wake up every two to four hours through the night and even struggle to get a nap during the day.

At this point, you may be asking why you should be waking your baby to feed when they are doing such a good job on their own. A baby who waits to feed until they have reached the latter stages of hunger will often struggle to be calmed and return to sleep in a short space of time during the night. Taking a proactive approach to feeding by waking your baby to feed will usually allow you to enjoy a happier infant who is easy to lull back to sleep during the nighttime hours.

Spotting when your baby is hungry

When you are looking to make a decision about waking your baby to feed you should begin to understand what the various cues are over your baby’s hunger. The initial signs of hunger include:

  • Smacking on lips
  • Opening the mouth
  • Sucking on hands, fingers, and toes

Although these are common cues for the first signs of hunger, you should not rely on these cues as the only signs you will see that your baby is starting to feel the first pangs of hunger. As your baby begins to grow and gain more control of their hands and feet they will usually begin to suck on their fingers and toes.

The later signs of hunger include:

  • Your baby will often begin to become more active in their movements when hunger becomes a significant need
  • They will also begin to move around trying to find the right position for feeding
  • Hitting the area around them

The final signs of hunger:

  • A large amoount of head movement
  • crying
  • Your baby will be difficult to soothe

Creating a schedule for sleeping and feeding

Once you understand the hunger cues your baby will show you on a regular basis, you will usually try to begin feeding when your baby is in the first or second stage of hunger. However, you should try to establish a sleep routine designed to prepare your baby for the downtime they will face over the course of the next few hours.

Many experts believe a newborn baby can be soothed with white noise replicating the sounds they will hear in the womb. If you a sharing a room with your baby you will want to have their bed prepared and ready for the moments after they have fed and are preparing to return to sleep. Waking your baby to feed should follow a familiar pattern for baby with the bottle prepared or mother ready to begin breastfeeding when the baby has been woken. Gently nursing your baby in a quiet room should be followed by burping your infant and returning them to their bed.

Dream feeding

This is one of the latest techniques being touted as the best option for allowing the new parent the option of getting a few hours of unbroken sleep. The technique basically allows you to feed your baby without fully waking them from their sleep to allow you to sleep for more hours during the night. Firstly, an alarm should be set for just before your baby usually prepared to feed a couple of hours after they were placed in their bed. Secondly, you should gently lift your baby out of their bed and place the nipple of your breast or bottle on their lower lip. Your baby should remain asleep but begins to feed, be burped, and returned to their bed without seriously disturbing their sleep.

How long should I wake my baby for

Keeping within the confines of a sleep and feeding routine is an important part of bringing your baby up in a successful way. Waking your baby to feed should be a priority during the first four weeks of life because this is one of the key periods of development for your baby. If you are still waking your baby to feed after four weeks, this is your personal choice but many experts now believe the majority of babies should be allowed to sleep as long as possible at night from this point onward.

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