Breastfeeding a Sleepy Baby

Advice on Keeping a sleepy baby awake for breastfeeding.

Original Post:

My 1 week old falls instantly asleep when we start to nurse. Any tips or
thoughts on keeping him awake.

There are lots of things you can try - undressing him so that he's not all
warm and bundled, flicking his feet, tickling him, rubbing his back
vigorously...eventually he'll get the hang of nursing and sleeping at the same

One of the books i read said to walk your fingers up the baby's spine. i found
this method to
be very effective and gentle at the same time. You can also try and massage his
jaw joint, by
his ear--that worked for me as well.

I was told by a breast-feeding consultant to tickle/tap their face and
strip them down to the diaper so that they don't doze off so easily.

  Also applying pressure to the bottom of their feet - sort of baby shiatsu.

At an infant care class I just went to, the instructor recommended
undressing them if this was an issue or using a different kind of hold that
put them in a more upright position.

In addition to ideas already mentioned, dabbing a cool washcloth on the forehead
can help.

I had the same issue with my daughter, and the lactation consultant at the
hospital gave me great advice. She said to squeeze the breast to squeeze
out some milk, and this would wake the baby up to start sucking again. It
definitely worked, although I had to do it many times each feeding.

I also remember reading in the Sears book that if your baby is a
nipper/napper (I love that term) you should switch breasts frequently - five
minutes on one side, then five on the other, then switch again, etc until
you're done. I tried this but with less success than the above method.

I have always found that blowing on my baby's face helps to keep him alert.

Rubbing the baby's hair against the grain.
Tickling the bottom of the feet.
Blowing on their face.
and...the only thing that really really worked for me -- dragging a
cool, wet washcloth across her face and feet
It sounds cruel, but it was better than the alternative -- starvation.
The good news is that within a couple of weeks, she was able to sleep
and eat at the same time; dreamfeeding, I think they call it.

With our daughter, the "wet willy" in her ear always worked like a

A wet face cloth on our son's back was what worked best for. We also used
all the other tips I saw already - strong massage on feet and scalp
(stimulates nerve endings and wakes them up a bit).

I also fed my son with him sitting up, I would tuck him into my waist/ hip
alongside me. He would be sitting on a pillow/ pillows in order to reach my
nipple and I would support his back with my arm. Lying him down in my arms
while he nursed would knock him out every time. Make sure to support the
baby's back as they aren't really meant to be sitting yet at this point but
if it means they get food into their bellies then you need to do it...