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Dozing off while nursing

Some moms are lucky to have quick nursers, but for babies who like to take their time breastfeeding, keeping your baby from falling asleep while nursing can be a challenge!

Baby falling asleep while nursing

From tickling your baby’s toes to picking a less-cuddly position for your bundle of joy, discover nine ways to keep your baby awake while breastfeeding.

Tickle trick

“With my two sons, I remember several occasions when my husband would strip them down and tickle them while I would gently rub their upper lip/nose with my nipple,” offers Meagan Ross, founder and president of STOLA Nursing Wear.

Eye contact approach

“My twins always seemed to fall asleep as soon as they would start nursing,” shares Melissa Mitchell of Sippy Cup Mom. “To keep them awake, I would make sure I had no distractions so I could make a lot of eye contact with them.”

Surprise scheme

“When I was nursing my daughter (now 4), our tactics for keeping her awake included doing arm lifts with her to slightly startle her awake,” reveals Genna Rosenberg of GennComm, LLC.

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Lucky breastfeeding head rub

“I would rub my baby’s head up and down and all around over and over saying, ‘wake up, baby! Wake up!’ Usually, that worked,” states mommy Cheri Augustine Flake.

Wet washcloth works wonders

“If baby is falling asleep while breastfeeding… sometimes using a cool washcloth to the skin can wake the baby up without causing distress,” divulges Katie Page, certified nurse midwife, CMG Women’s Center.

Tap dance

“Lightly tapping the bottom of the feet [of all three of my bundle of joys] worked magic every time!” exclaims Marie Youngblood-Krebs of Ghostblogger Marie.

Take away tactic

“If your baby falls asleep, take him or her off the breast to interrupt — which will wake them up to begin nursing again,” advises Joy Kosak of Pumping Essentials.

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Strip down strategy

“It was incredibly important that my sons’ had full bellies so they’d sleep a little longer, so I would strip them down to their diapers… to keep them awake and nursing,” says Candice Peters of The Fit Mommies.

Position policy

“To keep baby from dozing off during breastfeeding, breastfeed with baby positioned sitting up,” says Chantal Maddocks of Baby Cafe.

While these are great mom-approved tips to keep baby awake while nursing, Page warns, “It is important to remember, however, that long pauses in a sucking pattern during feeding does not necessarily mean baby has fallen asleep. While the neck and jaw muscles are developing during the early days of breastfeeding, some babies need more breaks to rest these worked-out muscles! If a mom is concerned that a baby is sleeping ‘too much’ or worried about the volume of milk her baby may be getting, she should talk with a lactation consultant, her midwife or her baby’s pediatrician.”

More breastfeeding tips

How birth affects breastfeeding
When should you stop breastfeeding?
Tips for weaning baby

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