Baby Falls Asleep While Breastfeeding: Is It A Big Deal?
Nursing is always the best way to get your baby to sleep. For many moms, nothing makes them happier than finally getting their infant to snooze because they assume that it is a sign that they are full and satisfied. But, this is not always the case. If your baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, it is not always an indication that he has had enough milk. And so you need to be very keen to ensure that the child is nursing enough and not sleeping through the feeding sessions.
Why Babies Sleep When Breastfeeding
It is common for newborns to feel sleepy all the time. Their stomachs are quite small and so a few minutes of nursing are enough for most to get enough milk and this is why they fall asleep when nursing. However, this will also vary from one child to the other and also your milk supply.
If you have a high milk supply, it might only take your newborn five minutes to get enough milk while for some moms the child might still not feed enough even after latching on the breast for twenty minutes.
If the baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, this might be a sign of a shallow latch. A shallow latch results to a slow flow of milk and when this happens the infant loses interest and decides to sleep. Babies tend to get frustrated if they do not get the milk supply they want and sleeping when nursing is a good indication of this.
Also, some babies will doze off after a few minutes of sucking because they get tired easily. The soothing nature of breastfeeding also makes them feel sleepy, and this is regardless of whether they have enough milk or not.
How To Tell Whether The Infant Is Getting Enough Milk Or Not
The primary concern when it comes to a baby falling asleep when breastfeeding should be whether he is getting enough milk. If your child is gaining weight at the right speed and appears to be full after nursing, there is nothing to worry about if he sleeps in the middle of the breastfeeding sessions. But how can you tell that the child is getting enough milk?
- When the baby starts nursing he keeps his eyes wide open, appears focused and has a very alert expression.
- The baby has a fast sucking for a short period in the beginning, and you can tell that he is swallowing after one or a couple of sucks.
- After the feeding session, your breast appears emptier than it was at the beginning and also feels softer.
- The hands are relaxed and open if he sleeps at the breast. A tense face and hands in a fist can be a sign that the infant is still hungry.
How To Keep The Baby Awake When Nursing
Sometimes it is not always easy to determine whether the baby is getting enough milk or not even when you know how to read the signs. The best you can do as a mom is to find ways of keeping the infant awake for as long as possible when breastfeeding to increase the likelihood of him getting enough milk.
Here are some helpful nursing tips that can help with this.
- Talk or sing to your infant as he is nursing to make it hard for him to fall asleep. However, you should be careful not to distract him from the nursing and instead concentrate on your voice.
- Try skin to skin contact during feeding time. Experts and most mothers seem to agree that infants find it hard to fall asleep when their skin is in contact with mom’s body.
- Breastfeed the baby from an upright position since it is hard for a child to sleep this way. But, make sure that he is still comfortable enough.
- You should start by changing his diaper or do it in the middle of the nursing. Wiping his bottom with a cold cloth will stimulate and keep him alert when breastfeeding.
- Tickle his toes to keep him alert. However, it is important to determine whether it is fun or irritating to him because not all babies will like this.
- If you prefer to nurse him from both breasts, you should stop for a few minutes during the changeover and play with your little one a bit.
- Use a cool washcloth to brush his cheeks if you notice that his sucking is slowing down and he is falling asleep.
- Stroking the baby’s spine and face as he feeds can also help to keep him awake for long enough.
Infants tend to have different nursing habits. While some will be very alert when feeding, others are sleepy nursers. There is nothing wrong with how your child prefers to nurse because the important thing is to get enough milk into his stomach.
Provided your little one is gaining enough weight and appears to be getting enough milk there is nothing to worry about if he sleeps when breastfeeding. However, if you think that he is not getting enough milk, you should use the tips above to keep him awake for longer. And if you still can’t keep him awake during feeding time there is no harm in seeking professional help.