It is very often a frustrating situation for the mother if her new born baby is in deep slumber for hours which results in insufficient breast feeding. This is not at all desirable as the baby may not gain the sufficient weight and remain under nourished. New born babies are notorious for their long spells of sleep as if they are enjoying the comfort of being in mother's womb.
Generally a baby must feed 8-10 times a day with frequent spells in the day time and short spells at night. Assuming the baby is satisfied if he sleeps for longer hours does not always prove that the baby is properly nourished. If there are long gaps in nursing, the milk supply of mother will be inadequate, as the mother's milk supply is dependent on the demands of the new born. This problem of breast feeding the sleepy new born is faced in the initial weeks post delivery and this goes off as the baby develops the reflex to demand the nourishment when he is hungry. Then the feeding-on-demand strategy can be applied.
Reasons for the new born being sleepy
1. In case the delivery and the labor is difficult and long and the mother is given special medication to relieve pains.
2. If the baby suffered from jaundice or any other infection or circumcision he may be weak and tend to be sleepy.
3. Too much intake of milk can also make a baby sleepy.
4. Inadequate supply of milk can lower the blood sugar levels of the baby making him weak.
Useful tips to nurse the sleepy new born
It is often very difficult to wake up the new born from deep slumber and breast feed him, but some postures and strategies work to nurse the sleepy baby:
1. By observing the sleep cycle of the baby by his rapid eye movements and facial expressions it is easy to wake him up and start nursing. In light sleep cycle the baby starts showing the above expressions and some body movements.
2. By removing the diapers and undressing the swaddling clothes the baby can be made alert and it becomes easy to wake him up and start breast feeding.
3. Switching off the bright lights and putting the dim lights on helps the baby to open their eyes as they are sensitive to bright lights and tend to shut their eyes and go off to sleep.
4. Position of the body is important to avoid his sleepiness during feeding. Talking to the baby, rubbing the feet, arms, spine gently helps to keep him awake aiding in proper feeding.