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My baby won’t wake up to eat! What should I do?

my baby doesn't wake up to eat during the night

Key Points:

  1. Some newborns may sleep through the night without needing to eat.
  2. Babies who are growing well and meeting feeding requirements may not need to be woken up for feeds.
  3. If a baby is not gaining weight, they may need to be woken up for feeds and parents should follow the instructions of their pediatrician.
  4. During the first two weeks of life, it’s important to ensure that babies are feeding every 2-3 hours to establish milk supply and provide necessary nutrients.

If your baby doesn’t eat during the night because they don’t wake up, you are one of the few lucky moms who can rest the entire night.

When is it okay to allow my baby to sleep all night?

Some children eat enough food during the day and don’t require eating overnight. As long as your baby is happy and healthy in all aspects, this won’t be a problem. They may sleep five or more hours without waking up for food if they are taking at least 8 daily feedings of milk every 2 or 3 hours, they’re wetting about 6 diapers a day, and gaining weight. If that’s the case, you have nothing to worry about!

Likewise, if your baby doesn’t wake up to eat during the day, but they are growing at a healthy rate and your doctor tells you that there is no need to wake them from their nap, then let your baby sleep and take that extra time to recharge your energy.


When should I wake my baby?

If you notice your baby is not gaining weight, you have to look into why they are not waking up to eat. If during the first two weeks of life your baby doesn’t eat after five hours of being asleep, you might need to wake them up and feed them so that they can gradually gain the weight necessary for their healthy development.

Ask your pediatrician for their opinion. If they indicate that you should wake your baby up, then follow their instructions; they know your baby’s developmental needs. To wake up your baby, you can try holding them upright, dimming the lights (this can seem counterintuitive, but if the lights are too bright, your little one may be comfier), massaging your little one’s hands, feet, arms, shoulders and back; slowly unswaddling them or singing and talking to them. 

What if my newborn baby doesn’t eat?

During the first two weeks of life, babies can sleep and skip their mealtime. Just try to ensure that during those first two weeks, no more than 4 hours go by between feedings. Ideally, you should feed your newborn every 2 or 3 hours, helping to establish your milk supply and ensuring that your little one receives the necessary nutrients and calories.

Remember to relax, it’s not necessary to set a specific mealtime. Let your baby eat when they want to, but keep track of their diaper changes. The first month, you should be changing around 10 diapers a day, 6 wet diapers, and 3 or 4 that contain poop. After the first month, your baby will wet 4-6 diapers, normally pooping a bit less.

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