July 02, 2015

Q: If my baby's sleeping, do I need to wake her for a nighttime feeding?

A: To a sleep-deprived new mother, waking a peacefully snoozing infant seems almost sacrilegious -- and, in fact, it may be unnecessary. As long as your newborn baby nurses at least eight times in 24 hours, regains her birth weight by 2 weeks, and continues to gain 4 to 7 ounces a week, you don't have to wake her to nurse. (By 4 months, most babies' bellies have developed to hold enough food so they don't require middle-of-the-night feedings anymore.)On the other hand, if you're worried that she's not gaining enough weight, don't let her sleep through feedings, even if you have to set an alarm to wake yourself up. Inadequate calories can weaken a baby and make her sleep instead of cry, which can turn into a vicious circle of more sleepiness and insufficient feedings. --Katy Koontz

Originally published in Parents magazine, August 1999. Updated 2009.

Answered by Parents Team

Comments (1)

December 2, 2018
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>SleepBaby .org<< - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! >>SleepBaby .org<< - sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link :) Best of luck to you and your family!