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Ways to Wake Up a Sleeping Baby to Eat

by Christina Schnell, studioD

Newborns are adorable bundles of joy who spend the first few weeks of their lives eating and sleeping -- and sometimes the two conflict. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org, breastfed babies usually need to eat every one and a half to three hours, while formula-fed babies usually eat every three to four hours. Particularly during the newborn period, your baby may fall into such a deep sleep that you need to wake him for feeding.

Gentle Strokes

Gently stroking your infant's skin is a loving and effective way to wake her for feeding, according to the Trestlewood Pediatrics website. Softly tickling her feet and hands can provide the gentle stimulation needed to rouse her awake without feeling startled or upset. Keep your strokes and tickling as soft and light as possible, instead of using the firmer prodding motions you'd use when tickling a preschooler who's already wide awake.


Gently repositioning your infant can be enough to gently awaken him, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. If your baby is sleeping in a bassinet or baby basket, gently lift him into your arms and rub his back until he wakes up. If your little one is already sleeping in your arms, gently reposition him on the other side of your body. Experiencing the gentle motion of you carefully repositioning his tiny body can help wake him.

Necessary Tasks

Wake your sleeping infant by gently performing tasks you'd have to do anyway, such as changing her diaper or outfit, recommends the Trestlewood Pediatrics site. This can help wake her gently while getting her clean and comfortable for her feeding. Gently carry your little one to the changing table and proceed to undress her and change her diaper while talking softly or humming. Use slow, gentle motions so she has time to wake up before you apply a cool baby wipe to her bottom.

Waking Verbally

Cooing and talking to your baby can gently wake him from his slumber, according to the Ask Dr. Sears site. While he's still sleeping in his crib or bassinet, softly call his name and speak to him in the loving tone you use normally when he's awake. Add a few gentle strokes to his hands and feet if he doesn't wake up from your voice alone. If your baby sleeps with white noise in the background, try turning off the music or switching the selection to something completely different, although still quiet, like soft music.

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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