Wake baby to feed or not?

Nicole - posted on 11/22/2010 ( 147 moms have responded )

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We are expecting our second child on April 10th and we were debating on whether I should wake the baby to feed or not? We are going to breast feed so one of my concerns is whether I will dry up if the baby sleeps longer than three hours, should I pump? With our last child the nurses made me get up every three hours to feed and that is what my son got use to.

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Stifler's - posted on 11/22/2010

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I never woke my kid, if he was asleep it was THANK GOD. I agree with Iysha they wake up on their own to eat if they're full term.

Sadie - posted on 12/05/2010

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If babies are small, early or have has treatment for jaundice it's different. If your baby is term and healthy I say make your child's bedtime one that suits you, put them to bed with the routine you are happy with and let them wake you for feeds. There will be times when it's 3 hourly but other times they will gradually start to stretch and you might get a 5 hour break. You won't dry up if you don't feed every 3 hours, the body has an amazing ability to figure out what your baby needs once it settles into a semi routine. Breastfeeding Mum's should feed at least once evrnight for about the frist 6 months.
I enjoyed my second child so much for the fact you could relax and stop stressing over little things. Good luck and remember to prepare your first born for a sibling.

Karla - posted on 11/22/2010

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I woke my son every 3 hours during the day, but let him sleep until he woke himself at night. I think it helped him get his days and nights straight.

Vanessa - posted on 11/22/2010

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You wont dry up in overthreehrs - maybe just get a lil hard and leak more! lol
let sleeping babies lie - if they dont sleep they dont grow!

Tiffany - posted on 12/09/2010

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I breastfed my daughter who is now four. At first she had difficulty latching on and I was instructed to feed her every 2 hours but only because they were worried about her weight. If your child is eating well then all you need to do is feed when the child wakes up. My daughter eventually got to where it was 5 or 6 hours between feeding at night. I promise that if your child is hungry he/she will wake up and let you know. So unless you and your child are having difficulties with feedings you don't need to wake him/her up. You won't dry up if you don't feed every 3 hours. It is a supply and demand operation basically. As long as the milk is in demand you will have the supply. You should make enough milk to supply a little more than what your child usually eats, and until you stop breastfeeding or go more than 8 hours between feedings then you wont have much decrease in supply. But you will never have too little milk unless your child just isn't eating much. I am also a nurse as well as a mom. So if you have any concerns about whether your milk is production is too low then you should contact the lactation consultant or your pediatrician with any concerns. Good luck and God Bless!

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User - posted on 09/26/2011

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I don't think you'll dry up. You might feel like you've got rocks attached to your chest in the morning though :) The only time I would wake a baby up between midnight and 7am is if they are less than 5lbs at birth. Small babies don't cry as much as it expends too much energy etc.

I always woke my babies up as I went to bed and fed them. I found that by giving a midnight feed, they stayed asleep for longer whilst I was asleep which is actually what you want! I carried on doing this until my babies were over a year and the midnight feed / first thing in the morning feeds were the last two I cut out.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/19/2010

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I have breast fed all 4 of my children. I did not wake them to feed them. They know when they are hungry and they will let you know. Only wake the child if the child can not wake up to eat on their own. ( Like a preemie. My niece was a preemie and had to be woken or she would not wake up to eat.) The only time you should have to pump is if you miss a feeding or you have to give the baby formula instead of breast milk. The milk is not gonna dry up that easily.

[deleted account]

I would only wake a sleeping child to eat if they were very small or ill. Most babies will wake when they are hungry enough. Interupting their sleep patterns is a really bad idea unless they have special needs.

Nicole - posted on 12/10/2010

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Hi everyone thanks again. I think i may have worded my dry up question incorectly, my question wasn't will i dry up in 3 hours it was if the baby sleeps through the night 6-7-8 hours etc... will i dry up if i don't pump in between? I do realise breastfeeding is suply and demand, i breastfed my first son as well, i just never whent longer than 4-6 hours on a regular bases without pumping inbetween.

Kathy - posted on 12/09/2010

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I wouldn't wake the baby, our dr said never wake a sleeping baby, except of course when there were concerns because she wasn't gaining weight, but once she started we never woke her.... she wouldn't eat if we did anyway, just latch on and go to sleep, and not eat more than 1-2 mouthfuls

Michele - posted on 12/09/2010

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If you have a full term healthy baby there is no need to wake him up to feed. Besides, enjoy the sleep....

Elisha - posted on 12/09/2010

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They say in the beginning you need to make sure they eat every 2-3 hours. As they grow it's ok to let them sleep longer. Also, side note, the longer you go between feedings (like 4-5 hours) the hormone levels go down and the more likely you are to start ovulating again.

Tine - posted on 12/08/2010

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The best way to breast feed is on dmand, NOT on a schedule.
The best start to breastfeeding is to keep the baby with you, skin to skin, from birth; do NOT let them take him or her away to a nursery! You will find that your baby will then feed when s/he is hungry, and it is very likely to be more frequent than 3 hours!
Most breastfed babies are very well self regulated, and demand feeding (ie feed whenever baby asks) ensures that your body produces exactly what the baby needs. The vast majority of babies wake at night for a feed as they need to, and if you are close they will wake you, feed, then everyone gets back to sleep!

Cathy M - posted on 12/08/2010

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No matter what, remember each baby is completly different. You can ,ake all the plans you want but your baby should be the deciding factor. We all want to do the right thing and your natural instints will tell you what to do. Trust them Mom they work

Jane - posted on 12/07/2010

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I have not read anyone else's posts but here's my opinion. NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY! Your milk will not dry up...it's all about supply and demand. You CAN pump if you want to store some breast milk for bottle feedings but you don't have to do that either.

Kelly - posted on 12/07/2010

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i believe in feeding on demand too. if my bub cant be settled with a cuddle, change in position, nappy change or a suck on his dummy then i know he is hungry. i dont usually let him go over 3 hours though except for this morning we all woke up and it was 4 hours since his last feed- but i got a lovely little sleep so i am not complaining!! :)

Marla - posted on 12/07/2010

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You have to wake up newborn babies to feed them every three hours, so they can put on weight but eventually you stop that, because you feed them at least six bottles a day or breast feed them less because the stay on your breast longer. My daughter breastfed and then she was given a bottle when she was three months. She still seem to be hungry so I started adding a little rice cereal to her milk and as she got older it increased. Rice cereal is better in the beginning it is more gentle on the stomach and easy to digest. The doctors told me not to give cereal or baby's first food until she was six months. My child seemed hungry, and if I listened to them my child would be under weight. My mom introduced me to solids when I was three- four months, I did it to my older two. I just follwed my instinct and besides no-one knows your child better than you. After a child reaches a certain age you don't have to wake them up during the night let them sleep. They will not miss out, babies will get what they need in the morning and before they go to bed at night. You might have a little eating machine but the are making up for the meals they missed. Just dont over feed your baby. You will get to know when he/she is full.

Amber - posted on 12/06/2010

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I have 3 kids n i never woke them up to feed i feel like they will let you know when they are hungry. Mine always did.

Gina - posted on 12/06/2010

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I would wake the baby up every three hours during the day, but I don't think it hurts to go 4-5 hours at night, if your lucky enough that the baby sleeps. I did that and my milk didn't dry up.

Debora - posted on 12/06/2010

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just see what the baby does since my oldest fed every 4hrs yes that was breast fed every baby is different dont let nurses wake it every 2 hrs it will be hard to get baby on your schedule if you need to pump so as not to be uncomfortable then please do .remember lost of liquids for you is the key to healthy production of milk.

Andrea - posted on 12/05/2010

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Well I have 3 kids and the youngest is almost 3 months old Ive breastfed all of them but have had the most success with bf with my last one, what I do is during the day I usually feed her every 3-4 hours, If its been 4 hrs since her last feed and she is sleeping then I will wake her but at night time I let her sleep. I wouldnt worry about your milk drying up it takes more than three hrs for that to happen :)
Ive gone 6-8 hrs without feeding my little girl and it hasnt affected my milk supply at all but you will probably find yourself quite full if she sleeps for longer than 4 or 5 hrs so if you get too sore then that is probably a good time to pump some milk, thats what I did and it was great having some in the freezer for an emergency.
Anyway I hope this helps you good luck xox

Macresia - posted on 12/05/2010

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If you were comfortable with how you fed your first child, then follow that pattern. For one, the baby needs all the sleep it can get. he/she will wake up if real hungry, that's instinct.

Lay Theng @ Cathryn - posted on 12/05/2010

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Both my babies were breastfed, 1st for 6 mths n 2nd for 9 mths n still going. I never wake them up for feeding. They always wake up when they r hungry, can be anywhere from 1hr to 8hrs, depending on age. The bigger they get, the longer they sleep. I believe if baby is healthy, no need to wake the poor fellow up. Let baby hav peaceful long sleep if he/she wants to. Wear disposable nursing pads (they r longer lasting than reusables) for nite time so if baby wants to sleep longer than usual, u dun hav to get up to pump, u can jus let ur milk leak away while u sleep.

Jodi - posted on 12/04/2010

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I was told that you wake the baby to feed every 3 hours until the baby has gained back it's birth weight back. Most babies lose weight right after they are born and once they've gotten back up to the weight they were at birth (especially at night) you can let them sleep. Once my little one gained back her weight back I would power feed during the day and evening - every 3 hours but then at bedtime - depends what that time is for you I would let her and me sleep because I knew she was full - she was sleeping 6 hours at night at 2-3 weeks. I'm that type of person that really needs her night time sleep so this worked really great for us and she is still a really good sleeper (she's now 2). We also have another on the way - due March 16th and I plan on doing the same thing.

Florence - posted on 12/04/2010

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Well as a mom of three grown and one grandbaby---I would wake during the day not at night---this way the my babies slept most of the night---and---I was lucky --my oldest and youngest were not fussy sleepers---but the middle was --was not a big sleeper--neither day nor night

Susan - posted on 12/04/2010

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My dr told me to feed every 3 hours and I was a first time mom with a baby born at 4 lbs 5 oz, who came home at 4 lbs 2.5 oz. I'm thinking oh my gosh I've got this 4 lb baby, I'm going to listen to the dr. The first night home, I tried for like an hour to wake her to feed. She was a solid sleeper. She woke up when she was ready and I was cranky the next day. After that, it was when she was hungry. But no two are alike and I think you have to combine your dr's advice with your own motherly instinct. I don't know anything about breastfeeding so I don't how quickly you dry up or anything.

Michelle - posted on 12/04/2010

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I have 2 boys and I always woke them up for their feeding. I think since they are so small they do need at least every 3 hours to get fed. I breast fed too and my breast would hurt if I didn't. It actually puts them back to sleep as sucking is comforting for them=)

Olesya - posted on 12/04/2010

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As a mom of 4 and the last 2 being twins. I would strongly recommend not waking the baby unless recommended by the doctor. My twins were born at 36 weeks at almost 6Lbs each, and they woke up just fine on their own. The only reason they usually tell you to wake them every 3 hrs if the baby was born at a very low weight or if the baby not gaining weight well. Don’t worry about you milk supply, your body will adjust to babies feeding pattern and you will have milk when your baby needs it. If you are going out and know you are going to have to skip a feeding them pump. When you are in the hospital ask a nurse for a breastfeeding consultant’s phone number, it is free to call and ask them for advice.F.Y.I. Transition from 1 to 2 takes a while to get use to, so good luck.

LINDA - posted on 12/04/2010

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NO dont wake them up you need your sleep too. I nursed both of mine for 1 year, My son slept about 6hrs at night and I had no problems. Just let them eat their fill. I did have a small pump with my daughter because I worked full time. (2nd child) I used it mainly at work. GOOD LUCK it's a great thing to do if it suits you and your family.

[deleted account]

i didnt breast feed but i never woke my baby i felt that if she asleep i should leave her and she'll wake when shes hungry she was a small baby and i was told to wake her but never did, i just kept an eye on her weight

Autumn - posted on 12/04/2010

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My Dr told us to wake our daughter every 2 hours to eat. I also BF. I did this for 2 or 3 months, it was the most exhausting thing ever!!! I learned that she would wake up if she was hungry & it made it easier all around for her & me. We did that for 14 months. Good luck with everything.

Sherelle - posted on 12/04/2010

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NEVER. Live by the old saying 'never wake a sleeping baby'. It won't starve and you won't dry up. Sleep and enjoy it.

[deleted account]

feeding on demand is the way to go if breast feeding, i would never wake baby in the night to feed, they will wake you if hungry.
Obviously if you are told by a healthcare professional otherwise they would be a good reason.
My 4th baby is due in Feb and i have done both breast and bottle but would not wake them to feed for no reason as they get used to waking in the night and it will take for ever for you to get them to sleep though the night.
Hope all goes well x

Tracey - posted on 12/04/2010

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I would be tempered to wake him during the day every three hours as i feel this gives him plenty of food for the day often leading to a longer sleep at night. As for drying up that wont happen but if he sleeps for longer in the evening then you will be extra full and this is a good opportunity to feed off one side only and express the other side to build up a milk supply in the freezer.

[deleted account]

first baby fed on demand. Big mistake 2nnd baby did the every 4 hours took about 8 weeks for her to sleep all night have ended up with a much calmer child 2nd time round.

Nicole - posted on 12/03/2010

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I wouldn't wake your baby unless there was a medical reason for it. My oldest was completely breast fed and I fed him on demand. In the hospital he wanted to feed every half hour or so but once my milk came in on day four the day we left the hospital he only fed every four hours, with his last feed for the day being at 10pm then he would sleep for 6-8 hours then start the four hourly feeds again. This was his routine not what I set for him. Your milk will not dry up even if you don't feed him for a whole day it just keeps building its only after a couple of days and there is no suction that it will start to decrease, although when I stopped feeding my boy it took a couple of weeks before the pressure started to ease. So don't worry. My boy thrived in this manner and was never hungry and put on weight every week.

[deleted account]

I believe the current recommendation is to feed the baby on demand every 2 to 3 hours. At night it is okay for the baby to sleep for one 4 hour stretch beyond that you should wake the baby at least for the first two weeks. During the first two weeks of BF the concern would not be milk drying up it would be a problem of not establishing an adequate supply of milk. It is during that two weeks when your body develops the anatomy to produce milk. Just be sure to be BF your baby a minimum of 8 times a day although 10 to 12 times is optimal.

Roberta - posted on 12/03/2010

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If you want them on a routine. Yes wake them up dont feed right away let them wake up first and then feed them.

Ans - posted on 12/03/2010

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We're expecting # 5 around April 10 :)
I have nursed all four of my kids until about 10 or 11 months. I have never woken them up to feed, and never had a problem 'drying up'.

Jane - posted on 12/03/2010

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At 5 days old my daughter started sleeping 6 hours through the night. The first night I woke up, looked at the time and freaked. I tried to wake her, but to no avail. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital the next day and she said that when my daughter was hungry, she’d let me know, and not to wake her. My daughter was awake a lot during the day, and nursed quite a bit, so as long as she had several wet/poopy diapers, and gaining weight, she was doing fine. Enjoy the sleep if your baby sleeps at night! Now at 5 years old, my daughter is still a good sleeper.

~Jane

Bertie - posted on 12/03/2010

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If the baby is full term and normal weight then I wouldn't wake him or her up. I wouldn't want someone to wake me from a sound sleep to eat. He or she will develop their own sleep pattern and your body will adjust. I breastfed 2 healthy boys; the second one for 18 months and it worked great for us! Good luck and enjoy every minute!

Linda - posted on 12/03/2010

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No i never did, babies wake up when they are hungry, if you wake them i feel they become demand feeders. If babies were prem then could be a different story. My babies both started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old and still do now at 10months and 4years. but its all up to your own parenting.

Beth - posted on 12/03/2010

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The baby will get up to feed when it needs to. don't wake a baby at night...during the day you can feed every three hours, but unless there is a medical reason...don't wake the baby at night!! Congratulations!

Callie - posted on 12/03/2010

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Breast fed babies digest milk easier and will normally wake up more often to feed. However my pediatrician told me that newborns need to be woke up every 3 hours to nurse. If not their blood sugar could drop too low. I just had my fourth baby girl in March and nursed all of them and they usually didn't sleep more than a 3 hour stretch in the very beginning anyway. Good luck!.

Anna - posted on 12/03/2010

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I know 95% of doctors would tell you if you have a healthy baby NEVER wake them to eat....if they're hungry they will wake up!

[deleted account]

If there is a health issue yes wake them up, if not don't wake them up every three hours or so. They will wake when they are hungry and you will not dry up. You might get sore. I nursed all of mine and never woke them up to eat.

Gailann - posted on 12/03/2010

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Unless there's a problem, I agree with the others - don't wake the baby. When my son was born, the doc told me to wake him, even though he was perfectly healthy. It would take me forever to wake him enough for him to get going. It would take me about 40 minutes to feed him, 'cause he just wanted to sleep. Then he would be awake and cranky. I also believe that the force-feeding caused him to have eating problems. He wants to eat even when he's not hungry. I blame the force-feeding when he was a baby.

Kimberly - posted on 12/03/2010

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Right - babies should feed on demand, but both babies and breasts need help getting started, particularly for people who don't plan to co-sleep with their babies (that being said, I did co-sleep and she was still hard to wake up), which is why those first 2 weeks are important.
Again, this is just for the first 2 weeks. After that, on demand and grab your sleep when you can!
It is your body and your baby - you know best.

Debbie - posted on 12/03/2010

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My mom always told me when babies/children are hungry they will wake up to eat don't wake them. If you are going to breast feed you can pump but ultimately you need to do what works for you.

Camille - posted on 12/03/2010

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My doctor told me to let my DD sleep until she woke on her own. She was a big baby ( 9lb 9oz) so she didn't "need" the extra nutrition. My doctor put it like this "if someone woke you up every night to eat steak and eggs, after a while you would wake up on your own expecting steak and eggs...even if you are not hungry. Let her wake up on her own if she is hungry. Otherwise let her sleep" I laughed, but it was true. I stopped waking her, she started sleeping through the night and we were all happier! As long as your LO is gaining weight and happy, let him sleep. You both will feel better in the morning.
As far as pumping...if you want to get up and do it, then go for it. But, the steak and eggs theory still applies. Even if your baby doesn't wake up, your body will make the milk and you will be uncomfortable or wake in a puddle. The extra milk is handy, but so is the extra sleep. When my DD started sleeping thru the night I did too. I just had a lot of milk for her in the AM when she got up.

Mary - posted on 12/03/2010

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I would feed on demand. Even the nurses couldn't wake my newest one up at the hospital - and eventually said not to worry about it, she was just tired. I did have to express some - b'c I was leaking so bad, pumping probably would be a good idea after your milk comes in if she's not eating often. Now (about 10 days old) mine's hunger switch has turned on and it's hard to get her to stop eating!

Kimberly - posted on 12/03/2010

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Absolutely wake the baby every 3 hours, but only for the first 2 weeks. My baby was full term, totally healthy and every medical professional in the field of pediatrics that I've ever spoken to about it recommends doing so. My baby actually never dropped any weight. If nothing else your breasts need to know how often to produce. A baby cannot be sleep trained in the first 2 weeks anyway. There's plenty of time for that. It really sucks for the first two weeks (my baby REFUSED to wake up and would have slept 24 hours and never eaten if I hadn't waked her), but the payoff is worth it. Good luck!

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