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Waking a Sleepy Baby

Babies are often sleepy during the first week or so. They may not awaken often enough to feed. Remember, newborns need to eat eight to twelve times in every 24 hours or once the feeding has begun, they may fall asleep again. Here are a few suggestions for waking your baby. Some work better on certain babies than others. When one stops working try another.

  • Undress the baby to his diaper to cool him off slightly
  • Rub and massage the baby in various spots:
    • Top of head
    • Bottom of the feet
    • Up and down the spine
    • Across the belly
    • Up and down the arm
  • Change position of the baby from cradle hold to football hold and back again
  • Change the baby's diaper
  • Talk to the baby
  • Try adjusting room lights up for stimulation or down so the baby can comfortably open his eyes
  • Apply a cool washcloth to the baby's head, stomach or back. Do not let the baby become chilled. Premature infants chill more easily than term infants.

Lactation Education Resources, Bethesda, MD



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