Breastfeeding is an extremely essential need especially during the first few days of a young baby. However, given that this is something new that can be encountered especially for first-time mothers, there are also some challenges that come along with it. One of which is sleepiness in babies while they are breastfeeding.
What hormones affect breastfeeding?
For grown adults, it is quite common to feel sleepy after eating a big meal and taking a rest afterward. In parallel to this, there are also instances wherein a baby may fall asleep going through breast compressions in the process of breastfeeding. Given this, mothers want to know how to keep newborn awake so that breastfeeding would not be as difficult as it already is.
Truth be told, the phenomenon of seeing a sleepy baby in breastfeeding is not coincidental at all. This is actually proven by scientific data which involves hormone release and utilization. When a baby is breastfeeding in his or her mother’s breast, cholecystokinin (CCK) hormones are released causing the baby to fall asleep. The baby falls asleep because this hormone stimulates drowsiness that can make it difficult to keep the baby awake. Given this, occurrences such as the breastfeeding period not being fulfilled or finished can happen, and this can disrupt routines in feeding or interruptions in the usual milk flow of the mother.
Studies say that age of the baby can also affect the frequency of falling asleep because the age directly affects the amount of CCK concentrations absorbed by the body in breastfeeding. In this matter, the baby may need to have better feeding routines so that he or she can adapt to these hormone releases that are aligned with his or her sleep patterns and such.
What other factors contribute to an infant’s drowsiness in breastfeeding?
Another reason that makes baby sleepy is the way their circadian rhythm is wired. In a nutshell, this concept refers to 24-hour cycles that are considered one’s innate clock and are of course not an exception for babies. A possible reason that babies feel sleepy during breastfeeding is that the time of feeding is not aligned with their internal body clock. With this, the baby might feel restless once the feeding starts and in the long-run, babies are not able to get the proper nourishment they should be getting through the mother’s milk.
Now that we understand the potential reasons as to why the baby is sleepy in the process of feeding, as mothers, it is now time to think of various tips and tricks to keep your baby alive especially in feeding.
What can I do to keep my baby awake?
Seeing babies falling asleep during nursing time is one of the common challenges mothers experience in their early stages of motherhood. Now that we have understood that these are mostly affected by hormones, sleep patterns, and other things, tips on how to keep your baby woke can now be discussed so we know how to address these motherhood problems. When the baby falls asleep, one can either apply tips that affect three main factors: the environment of the baby, approaches to keep the baby awake, and lifestyle changes that baby may adapt in to avoid falling asleep. Through these three main categories, you can help your baby sleep better as well without sacrificing the nutritional aspect of nursing. You can always get a confinement lady to assist you.
To keep your baby awake, external changes can be made to one’s environment so that your child can be conditioned to feel more awake. These tips can be:
- Changing the lighting of the room when your baby starts to breastfeed on you.
- Play some active music that can entice the baby into feeling more lively and alert.
- Before proceeding to breastfeed, play some games with the baby so that he or she would not feel as drowsy.
- Be sure to check their diapers to change it if possible because this can awaken their senses even more.
- Wipe the face of your baby using lukewarm water so that he or she would feel more rejuvenated and refreshed.
- Gently tickle them so they would feel more alive and easy to deal with.
- Put them into a bubbly mood so they would feel more playful and eager to engage with others.
Approaches to awaken the baby
With these kinds of tips, you can easily apply them directly while you are about to breastfeed your child. Through these easy tips, you can tickle your child’s various senses so they stay awake during the whole time of the nursing. These easy strategies involve:
- Allowing your child to burp so they release gas and feel more awake.
- Place your child in a skin to skin contact mode with you while you breastfeed since this awakens more hormones as well.
- Massage your breast gently once you breastfeed since this allows the child to get the signal of wanting to suck more.
- Hold your child in a position that would not make them sleep in a short span of time.
- As much as possible, switch breasts so that the child’s mouth would have to adjust and readjust to the position of the breast and nipple, allowing them to feel more alert.
- Using your fingertips, try to massage your child’s forehead and cheeks so that they feel more senses while they are nursing.
- Gently press on their fingers or blow into their hair or forehead so that the additional feeling helps them be curious and awake.
While all of these tips are helpful in a short-term scale, applying some lifestyle changes can also be beneficial for you and your child as these tips encourage more long-term practices helping out with actualizing daily routines and habits for your child’s growth and nourishment. These tricks are the following:
- Taking note of your child’s sleep habits and sleep patterns.
- Creating a fixed body clock for you and your child where you can comfortably breastfeed them.
- Breastfeed them in times that are aligned with their sleep cycle so that they do not have to adjust massively to the changes but just in minor aspects.
- Watch the time when they smile or giggle in their sleep since this is most probably the best time of their sleep and the best feeding time for them because of their sleep rhythm.
- Practice a routine for breastfeeding that will allow your child to practice more often so they get used to this and it would not be a new struggle every day for your baby.
Battling Breastfeeding Challenges
It is understandable that we want our baby sleep patterns to be aligned with ours but of course, the world of motherhood isn’t always perfect. With this, mothers have to face challenges related to the baby’s sleep or theirs even. With this, feeding tricks can be explored so that every mother does not have to deal with breastfeeding sleep problems every now and then.
Hopefully, once more mothers get a hang of it, we can build a community that is all for supporting, helping, and providing assistance to those who might need it more especially for new-time moms who are just about to start their journey in motherhood. Any additional tricks you might want to offer?