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Waking a Sleepy Baby


Waking Techniques

  • Try arousing the baby when he's incycle. Even though the baby's eyes are closed, look for rapid movements under the eyelids, arm or leg movements, sucking lip movements, changes in facial expression.
  • Dim the lights as bright lights may make the baby close his eyes.
  • Loosen or remove blankets.
  • Unwrap the baby down to the diaper if teh room is warm - sucking activity decreases in temperature about 80F
  • Talk to the baby. Try to make eye contact.
  • Hold the baby in an upright position.
  • Bend the baby into gentle sit-ups on the mother's lap by raising his head, shoulders, and torso, bending him at the hips. NEVER try to bend the baby at the waist, as this could cause internal damage.

Increase Stimulation

  • Rub or pat the baby's back or suggest the mother walk her fingers up baby's spine.
  • Gently rub the baby's hands and feet.
  • Increase baby's skin-to-skin contact with the mother with a body massage or bath.
  • Manipulate baby's arms and legs in a gentle "pat-a-cake"
  • Wipe the baby's forehead and checks with a cool, damp cloth.
  • Express milk onto the baby's lips

Keeping the Baby Interested

  • Make sure the hand supporting the breast keeps the weight of the breast off the baby's chin. Switch breasts as soon as the baby begins to lose interest in actively nursing.
  • Burp the baby or change his diaper between sides to keep interest high.
  • Try nursing using the football hold rather than the cradle hold.
  • Massage the baby's crown in a circular motion while nursing.


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The people at Breastfeeding101 are not medical professionals. We are moms here to show support. Please consult your physician or LC for any medical questions you might have.