FAQ 6 How to wake up a sleeping baby?


Until the baby regains birth weight, it is important to nurse the baby every 1.5 to 2 hours or on-demand; whichever is earlier. Sometimes, some babies sleep for longer durations. Such naps could go beyond 2 hours. At the newborn stage, it is important to wake the baby up for nursing. 


Before learning how to wake up a sleeping baby, it is important to know why it is important to do so. Before the baby has retained birth weight, some babies wake up and provide clear early cues of hunger. Viz. Looking here and there, rooting, smacking lips, making sounds, bringing hands/fist to mouth and crying. What's very important to understand here is that crying is a very late response to hunger. Also, some babies skip this response altogether and simply go back to sleep. So, if for some reason, the earliest hunger cues go unnoticed, and the baby goes off to sleep again, it can affect the baby adversely. Hence, it is important to wake the baby to nurse at regular intervals.

There are certain techniques that can be used to wake up a sleeping baby.

  • Unswaddle the baby
  • Undress the baby
  • Change nappy/diaper
  • Gently massage the hands and feet of the baby
  • Put the naked baby on the bare body of the mother to ensure maximum skin to skin contact and warmth