Nursing a Sleepy Baby

My clients often ask me how they can keep their baby awake to nurse during the early newborn days. Here is what I tell them: Nurse your baby in just his/her diaper. When a baby is too warm and cozy and also against their nice, warm, nursing, parent, they are going to be sleepy. Nursing them naked will keep them more awake. There is also something called the chicken wing that I learned from a midwife. You pick your baby’s arm up by the elbow and then it drop. That usually wakes them. You can also pat the bottom of their feet. You can blow on their face while they are nursing. You can tickle those little, adorable bodies. As a last resort, you can wet a washcloth in cold water and rub the washcloth along their skin. It’s a good thing that the babies won’t remember their doula, as this is something we sometimes need to do, all to make sure they get a full feed and grow well. You will only need to use these techniques when baby is very young and sleepy. They will eventually be nursing like pros!

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