How Long Should I Let My Newborn Sleep Between Feeds?

Becoming a parent is an overwhelming experience. No matter how many books anticipating parents read, or consult their family members for advice, there is always some or the other doubt in their mind. Feeding the infant is one of these important concerns. There are babies who can easily latch on to the breast and suckle, while some have difficulty doing it.

This might be for various reasons, such as insufficient milk. Alternatively, the baby might just be unable to suckle from the breast, in which case the baby is given formula milk. The feeding schedule of the baby mainly depends on the amount of milk they take at a time. Usually, the doctor suggests that a newborn should be fed after every two hours or so. However, some babies wake up or cry when they are hungry, but some do not. So, how should a mother ensure that the baby is properly fed? Here are some pointers to keep in mind!

1. How Many Times Should You Feed Your Baby?

As breast milk is easy to digest, a baby who is on a breast milk diet needs to be fed more compared to a formula-fed baby. An ideal number would be 8-12 times a day for the first week. You should feed the baby irrespective of whether they are awake or not as newborn babies sleep a lot.

2. How Long To Feed The Baby At Night?

Make sure that the baby feeds properly in one session, as an inadequate feed may result in the baby’s weight loss. Many babies snooze while latching on to the breast and the mother thinks that the baby is suckling. In that case, you should be alert to keep a check on whether the baby is actually suckling milk or not.

3. How To Wake The Baby For A Feed?

Some babies tend to sleep a lot and do not necessarily wake up on the designated time of their feed. A mother should not be negligent in such cases.She can wake her baby when she sees them in REM sleep – like when the baby moves their arms or legs, changes facial expressions or flutters the eyelids. In such an event, stroke the baby’sarms or feet to try and wake them up.

4. You Shouldn’t Wait Until Your Baby Cries

Even though crying is a sure shot indicator that your baby is hungry,you shouldn’t keep them waiting for their next feed until they start crying.Crying is a late sign of hunger; hence,the mother ought to watch out for other signs such as their mouth opening, hand to mouth movements, and so on.

5. Other Indicators That Show Your Baby Needs A Feed

If the baby nuzzles against your breast, you should open their mouth so that they can latch on. If they put their clenched fist in their mouth, it is probably because the baby wants to be fed and isn’t full yet.

6. Do Not Always Stick To A Schedule

While it takes a while to crack this perfect feeding schedule for new moms, it may happen sometimes that your baby is hungry before the expected time because they couldn’t drink enough in the previous nursing session. So, in that case, you have to take the baby’s cue and feed her before your scheduled time.

7. How Long Should You Wait Before Waking Your Baby Up?

In the first week of the birth, it is important to feed the baby after every two hours. If the baby doesn’t wake up even after 4 hours, you should not wait to let them wake up on their own. If this habit persists, consult your pediatrician. When your baby is four to five weeks old, the baby can sleep up to 4-5 hours at night without needing to be fed.

Feeding a baby might seem like a daunting task at first, but slowly and gradually you get acquainted with your baby’s habits and you start enjoying this whole process!

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