3rd Trimester

Just curious about midnight feedings...

So, the books all say that your baby is going to sleep a ton the first couple weeks, but that you can't let them sleep through feeding which need done every 2-3 hours. So, my question to you is, how do you handle midnight feedings if your LO doesn't wake you up? Do you set and alarm to go off every 3 hours so you can wake baby to feed? I plan on breastfeeding so I was told skipping feedings just because baby won't wake may cause supply problems.

Re: Just curious about midnight feedings...

  • The first 2 weeks we set an alarm - I think it was for 4 hours.... However, my baby was at her birthweight when we left the hospital so her weight wasn't a big concern. After she checked out fine at her 2 week well baby visit we just let her sleep as long as she wanted.

    Edited to add: I breastfed for a year and always just fed her when she woke up except those first few weeks. Supply never suffered.

  • I never had to wake my son - he was 8 pounds 1.4 ounces at birth so he wasn't little and wasn't jaundiced or anything so I was told to just feed him on demand, which I did.  I wouldn't have needed to wake him anyway, he woke on his own demanding to be fed and proved to be quite the little alarm clock lol.  I think the only time you need to wake them is if they were small, jaundiced or possibly have other issues, but the pedi can explain that to you in the hospital when they do the checkup.

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  • not all babies will eat every 3 hours. when he is hungry, he will tell you. my sister in law just gave birth to her son last week and sometimes he goes 4 hours, 6 hours,2 hours before he is hungry. if she tries to feed him when he doesn't want it, he gets sick and cranky. I also know a lady who woke her son up every three hours to feed and he became super dependant and wouldn't like being put down or alone. she had a rough time getting him off the boob and has had issues with him going to school (he is 6) because he is super dependent. She said her second son who she relaxed more with seems more calm and less cranky. he feeds when he is hungry and it works for them.

    They both breast fed. I hope my supply isn't effected by this approach. 

    Good Luck! 

  • I never woke LO at night to feed. She woke every 3- 4hrs by herself.
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  • Most pedis will recommend waking to feed until your baby is back to their birth weight.  DS ate on demand every 2 hours so I didn't have to worry about it, but I would set some kind of alarm if necessary.
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  • In the first couple of weeks I had to wake DD to feed her.  She took a while to regain birthweight and it was important to make sure she nursed every 2 hours.  I had a timer that would beep at two hours but I wasn't really sleeping much (obviously) so I was usually able to wake up without the alarm.

    Then, she finally regained birthweight and we were told we could go to 4 hours between feedings...and of course that is when she started waking up on her own every 2 hours.  :)

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  • Yeah, I never wake a sleeping baby. If they sleep through a feeding then I feed when they wake up. That's how we've always done it and we've never been told otherwise. 
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  • DS#1 woke every 3-4 hours on his own, so we didn't need to worry about it. 
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  • My DD was a serious sleeper from the beginning.  In some of the first few nights home, she slept 7 hours straight!  I do partially blame this (among a number of other problems) for my inability to get my milk supply up.

    However, as others have said, it's nice to let LO sleep and they may not be hungry anyway.  Some sources I've read recommend getting up on the schedule and pumping (but of course, your LO could wake up hungry before you're even done, so it could be counterproductive).   

  • For the first 2 or 3 weeks, I set an alarm with my son to nurse every 3 hours or so.  He was tiny and had jaundice, so it was important to nurse a lot.

    Once he got to be a few weeks old and my milk was fully established, I'd wake up when I felt full to nurse him even if he didn't wake up.  I probably didn't drop the 2 or 3 am nursing session until he was close to a year old.
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  • I have NEVER woken my kids to eat at night.  NEVER!  I woke them every 2-3 hours during the day so that they didn't take their longest snooze then, but if they want to sleep 4-6 hours at night ... let them!  It never hurt my supply or their growth.  A few times I did wake up and pump a little b/c I was uncomfy (not too early, but before they woke), but I (repeat) NEVER woke my kids at night. 

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  • I never woke up my son or set an alarm.  But I don't think he ever went longer than 3 hours without waking up, at least in those first few weeks.  I can't remember, but I thought maybe I had read that if they consistently eat every 2-3 hours during the day, then it's ok for them to go for longer stretches at night.  I need to brush up on the subject!

    On a somewhat related note, I had an ItzBeen timer and used it all the time to keep track of how long it had been since he had eaten.  It especially helped me in the middle of the night when he would cry and I would be too groggy to do the math on when he last ate.  That way I knew that if it had only been 30-45 minutes, he was likely crying for a different reason.

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  • I had to wake my baby up every 3 hours to nurse at night during the first week.  My baby was 9 pounds but lost about a pound before coming home from the hospital.  He was also jaundiced (we were able to use a bili blanket at home).  So it really depends on your situation and your baby. 
  • I never did this...I thought I was supposed to, but my doctor said it wasn't necessary, and that if the baby needs to eat, it will wake up.

    He did suggest waking baby up during the DAY if she was constantly sleeping huge chunks of time, but at night, he said let her sleep.
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  • My child was up every 2-3 hours for the first  8 months.  There was NO issue with her sleeping through a feeding.  In the beginning I was worried, "what if my baby sleeps through a feeding, do you actually wake a sleeping baby?"

    My baby would wake every 2-3 hours on the dot day in and day out.  If your baby goes longer without food then yes, you will want to wake them.  If they start to doze off right after they latch on, then undress them down to a diaper and keep waking them.  A baby's stomach is very small, they need the nutrients and calories around the clock.

  • I just got up and fed DS when he woke up.  I didn't set an alarm at all.  Of course he was up a lot, so there weren't any worries.  He was BF so he needed to eat pretty often as it was.
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  • Once babies reach their birth weight, they don't need to be on such a strict schedule.  I've never woken my kids for feedings, I let them tell me and it worked out just fine.
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  • I was told to wake DD if she hadn't eaten in 4-hrs, until she's back to her birth weight.  We've only had to wake her once so far, she normally wants to eat every 1.5 - 3hrs.
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  • We set an alarm. Thankfully we only had to do it for the first two or three weeks. It was a relief when the pedi said we could let her sleep as long as she wanted.
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  • DS was small and we couldn't skip feedings so I had an alarm set.  

    I actually forgot all about this until this post!  Not something I am looking forward to again!! 


  • With DS his pediatrician only said that he needed to feed every 2-3 hours day and night until he got back to his birth weight.  Once he was gaining steadily his Ped told me that I could let him sleep as long as he could through the night but to make sure to feed him every 2-3 hours durin the day.  With DS he ALWAYS woke up every 2-3 hours both during the day and night so I didn't have any issues with needing to set an alarm.  I would definitely check with your pediatricia once your LO is born to see what they say.
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  • Like PPers said, it depends on the baby and the situation.  My DS was a slow gainer and also jaundiced.  He dropped nearly a pound after birth and took 3 weeks to gain it back (most babies gain it by 2 weeks a the latest.)  Our pedi had us coming in every 2-3 days for weight checks and jaudice checks. 

    So, I would definitely have woken him up to feed him every 3 hours.  For the most part, he woke up himself.  But one thing I will say is that you might have to fight to keep them awake if they do have slower gaining issues.  DS woke up for feedings but fell asleep again right away.  I had to tickle his feet and change his diaper between sides usually to make sure he got enough to eat.

    If my DD doesn't get jaundiced and gains her weight back quickly,  I'll let her set the schedule as soon as she hits her birth weight.

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  • I set an alarm for every 3 hours at night at first.  DS lost way too much weight and was fairly jaundiced, so the pedi told me it was important to not let him go more than 3 hours in between feedings.  Once he was back up to birthweight, the pedi said I could just feed on demand. 
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  • As soon as they get back to their birth weight my pedi (and I) ascribe to the "Don't wake a sleeping baby" theory!  I was fortunate with DD and she never even lost weight but instead gained 12oz her first 6 days of life.  I NEVER woke her to fee her!
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  • I only fed DS every 4 hours or so, he was a sound sleeper, But as your body begins to realized you're schedule, you will wake yourself up. I never set an alarm, but that was a personal preference.
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