You’ve all heard it said… you should never wake a sleeping baby… but why? And is that even true? Let’s dive in!
We’ve all heard it said a million times.
Never wake a sleeping baby.
Then you see baby snoozing away and think, I’m pretty sure this is a really long nap. Will baby sleep tonight if they have this long of a nap? Should I wake him up to feed him?
And then you hear that voice in your head… never wake a sleeping baby. Well, let’s put this whole discussion to rest once and for all, mama.
Why should you never wake a sleeping baby?
Actually, you really should wake a sleeping baby in many cases. Here are quite a few reasons why it’s good to wake baby up, even if they’re in a deep sleep.
- They’ve gone longer than 2.5 to 3 hours during the day without a feed (which means they’re sleeping their “long stretch” during the day rather than at night which is a big fat no no)
- You want to avoid perpetuating their day night confusion
- They’ve only fed a short time and they’re trying to “snack on the job” which, of course, will result in them waking up in an hour and wanting to feed again and, then, falling asleep on the job again, and on and on for months
- You don’t want them to be up all night because they were asleep all day
There are many other reasons (although the ones above are enough) here in my ultimate newborn sleep schedule that goes week by week as to why it’s important not to let a baby just sleep 5 hours during the day in one long nap.
Are there reasons why you shouldn’t wake a sleeping baby?
In fact, there are also a few reasons why you should not wake a sleeping baby. Of course every single situation is different, but here are a few rules of thumb.
As a certified sleep consultant (and mom of 5) having helped thousands of mothers and babies, these are the main reasons why you should likely not wake baby.
- Don’t wake them up to change their diaper. If they are sleeping and not bothered by a wet or dirty diaper, do not wake them up out of a sleep to change them. Simply wait until the next feed and do so. If you start this habit you’ll be up all night and interrupting every nap to get them in a clean diaper. They will, in fact, often go to the bathroom during naps or sleep while they’re relaxed.
- Don’t wake them up just to be held by someone. Okay fine, if you have family flying in from another country, sure they’ll want cuddles. But just because someone stops by to see baby doesn’t mean you need to wake her up from a hard earned nap.
- Don’t wake them up just so you can play with them. If baby is 45 minutes into a good morning nap, don’t wake him up just to play with him. Overtired babies are super fussy and sleep begets sleep. Get your cuddles in as soon as it’s time for the next feed.
So there we have it.
Yes, yes you SHOULD wake a sleeping baby if they’re attempting to snooze the whole day away then trying to have you jiggling them or driving them around in the car at 2 a.m. because they just won’t settle.
Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!