Is it normal to have trouble waking up my baby to nurse?

Q: Sometimes I have trouble waking my 1-month-old baby to nurse in the middle of the night. Is this normal?

A: Don't worry -- your experience is actually quite common, but here are some reassuring facts: A 1-month-old should eat every two and a half to four hours. If a baby this age misses a feeding, he'll likely make it up at the next one. You can also gauge your child's food intake by making a diaper count; if your baby is wetting six or more diapers each day, he's probably getting adequate nutrition. Frequency of bowel movements is more varied: Anywhere from one bowel movement with each feeding to as few as one every 48 hours is normal.If your baby's pattern falls within these general ranges, and he's alert, responsive, and feeding vigorously when awake (and is steadily gaining weight), he's most likely doing fine. But if you notice a low diaper count, or several missed feedings in a row, or if your child seems very lethargic, call your doctor.Keep in mind that a young baby's feeding and sleeping schedule will change from day to day as he begins to figure out day and night. You may find that this week your son isn't interested in nursing, but next week he's waking up every two hours on the dot, and this is normal. Young babies should be fed "on demand," when they indicate they're hungry, so hold off on any sleep training and try not to have any firm expectations about feeding schedules until he is about 4 months.Over the coming weeks, as you get to know one another even better, you and your baby will eventually find a schedule that feels comfortable and familiar. Finally, keep in mind that as your baby becomes more alert during the day, this problem often subsides on its own.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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