Should I Wake My Baby up to Feed During the Night?

Understanding your baby’s nutritional needs during those late-night hours is a challenge faced by all new parents. This guide will unpack the key considerations around whether you should wake your baby to feed them during the night.

Discover if you should wake your baby up to feed during the night. Our guide explores key factors like age, weight, and health to help you understand your baby’s nutritional needs during those late-night hours.

As new parents, we often have several questions when it comes to newborn feeding schedules, with one of the most common queries being whether we should wake our babies to feed them during the night. Various factors like the baby’s age, weight, and health status determine the answer to this question.

The First Few Weeks

During the first few weeks of life, it’s critical for newborns to receive regular nutrition.

  • Weight: Newborns typically need to be fed every 2-3 hours or about 8-12 times per day. This schedule helps them regain the weight they lost immediately after birth.
  • Health: Especially for babies who are born prematurely or have health issues, these regular feedings are crucial. They can help ensure that the baby is receiving adequate nutrition for growth and development.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s advisable to wake your newborn to feed if four hours have passed since the last feeding during the day, and no more than six hours at night.

Beyond the Newborn Stage

As your baby grows, their feeding requirements will change.

  • Age: By the time your baby reaches about two months old, they might start to sleep for longer stretches at night. If your baby is gaining weight and growing as expected, you typically won’t need to wake them for feedings.
  • Weight: Once babies double their birth weight and start eating solid foods (around six months), most can safely sleep through the night without feeding, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Remember: It’s important to consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s weight or feeding schedule.

Waking Techniques

If you need to wake your baby for feedings, use gentle methods.

  1. Unswaddle your baby: Light physical stimulation can help wake your baby.
  2. Change their diaper: A fresh diaper can help wake your baby.
  3. Skin-to-skin contact: This can help stimulate a sleepy baby.

Other Considerations

While the physical health and growth of the baby are critical, it’s also important to consider their emotional well-being.

  • Bonding: Night feedings can be a valuable bonding time for parents and baby.
  • Comfort: For some babies, feeding can offer comfort during the night.

Quote from Dr. Sears: “Babies eat at night for both nutrition and comfort, and both are important.”


While it might be necessary to wake your newborn up for feedings, older babies who are growing well will often not need to be disturbed in their peaceful slumber. Always trust your instincts and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns. Remember, every baby is unique and will have unique needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Newborns typically need to be fed every 2-3 hours.
  • By around two months, babies who are growing well might not need to be woken for feedings.
  • At six months, many babies can sleep through the night without feedings.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for any questions or concerns.

Q1: Should I wake my newborn baby to feed them at night?

A: Yes, newborns typically need to be fed every 2-3 hours or about 8-12 times per day. This schedule helps them regain the weight they lost immediately after birth and receive regular nutrition. If your newborn has gone four hours during the day or six hours at night without feeding, it’s advisable to wake them up.

Q2: Is it necessary to wake my baby for feeds once they are a few months old?

A: By around two months, many babies start sleeping for longer stretches. If your baby is gaining weight and growing as expected, you typically don’t need to wake them for feedings. However, always consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s weight or feeding schedule.

Q3: Do I need to wake my baby for feedings once they start eating solid foods?

A: Once babies double their birth weight and start eating solid foods, which is usually around six months, most of them can safely sleep through the night without feeding.

Q4: What are some gentle methods to wake up my baby for feedings?

A: You can use several methods to gently wake your baby for feedings, including unswaddling your baby, changing their diaper, or skin-to-skin contact.

Q5: Are there any other reasons to wake my baby for nighttime feedings besides nutrition?

A: Yes, night feedings can be a valuable bonding time for parents and their baby. For some babies, feeding can offer comfort during the night.

Q6: Is it ever harmful to wake my baby for nighttime feedings?

A: It’s usually safe to wake your baby for feedings, especially if they’re newborns who need regular nutrition. However, for older babies who are growing well and sleeping through the night, it’s typically not necessary to wake them. Always trust your instincts and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Q7: My baby often falls asleep during feedings. What should I do?

A: Some babies do tend to fall asleep while feeding. If your baby does this, you can try techniques like skin-to-skin contact or changing their diaper to help keep them awake and engaged during feedings.

Q8: How will I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?

A: Signs of a well-fed baby include regular wet and dirty diapers, consistent weight gain, and a baby who seems satisfied and content after feedings. If you have any concerns about whether your baby is getting enough to eat, you should consult with your pediatrician.


Note: Always consult with a healthcare provider for any questions or concerns about your baby’s feeding schedule, weight gain, or overall health.


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