Whether or not your newborn is at the 6-week point and is becoming aware of the night and day differences and you are trying to create a bedtime routine – or your newborn is not at that stage of development yet, parents wonder how long after feeding must they keep their infants awake.
The short answer to that question is a half an hour. If you put your baby down too soon, then that will guarantee that the baby will be spitting up. That can happen regardless but keeping your baby up for at least a half an hour would minimize the discomfort. Let’s go over some common points and concerns that parents have when it comes to putting their babies down after they have been fed.
Is it ok to feed a baby to sleep without burping them?
Some babies hold a lot of gas and spit up quite often. This can indeed cause a lot of discomfort during sleep and it may as well be a reason why your baby has trouble sleeping through the night.
However, some babies do not have problems with gas and do not spit up as much. In this case, they are totally ok to sleep directly after feeding.
Our baby girl had a hard time not falling sleep after breastfeeding. And since she was struggling with colics in the beginning, we did try to keep burp her after feed, at least during the first 3 months. As the colics went away and she was spitting up less, we then had no problem feeding her to sleep.
So, the real answer is it ultimately depends on your baby. Do you see she struggles with night colics and spits up a lot? Keep reading, because we will cover that in more detail later in this blog post.
The Newborn Is Wide Awake After Feeding
There could be several reasons as to why your newborn would be wide awake after feeding. One reason is that perhaps your newborn is still hungry and wants to eat a little more. This will happen more often when it comes to breastfeeding newborns as formula-fed babies get filled up more quickly. Therefore, they are ready to go back to sleep.
Another reason is that your newborn may be feeling uncomfortable and the discomfort is preventing him or her from going to sleep. The most common hallmark of a baby in discomfort is the crying. If your baby is not crying though but is wide awake, then it could be that he or she has been stimulated.
If it is at nighttime and not during the day for when you want to put your newborn for a nap, remember to keep the volume down as far as your voice goes, and to keep the television off. Keep the lights dim as well. This will send the message to the baby that this is a quiet time and that is the time to go to sleep. Therefore, the stimulation will die down and your newborn will get drowsy.
In fact, it is best to feed your baby when it is night in a room that is dark and keep your voice low. The last thing that any parent of a newborn wants is them to be stimulated. That will make putting them to bed more of a challenge. And there may be other reasons that your newborn will not fall asleep during a feeding.
Why Won’t My Baby Sleep After Feeding?
There may be several reasons as to why your baby will not go to sleep after a feeding, and aside from the reasons that were mentioned above, the baby just may not be tired enough. The trick is to get the baby drowsy enough to take a nap after a feeing. There are several ways to get your baby to become tired.
If it is during the summer or a mild sunny day of any other season, have your baby go outdoors in the sun, with the right protection of course. Be sure to put a sunhat on the baby, and to put lightweight cotton long-sleeve clothing so your baby’s limbs are covered. A newborn is too young to wear sunscreen. A little bit of sun will make the baby tired.
Additionally, if your newborn is not swaddled properly in a blanket, that can be the reason that your infant is wide awake. A baby that is not swaddled will not be feeling secure and therefore, sleeping is a challenge. If you are struggling with the baby going back to sleep at night, then there are other pointers to utilize as that can be even more problematic than the daytime.
Baby Won’t Go Back to Sleep After Night Feeding, Why?
There is nothing more frustrating than the parent looking forward to getting some good-quality sleep as they look at their fluffy pillow on the bed, and yet their newborn is still wide awake at night after they have been fed. The thought that goes through the parents’ mind is ‘great, another night that I will be up and then functioning like a zombie the next day’. And that can be a serious problem when the nights of sleep deprivation starts to accumulate.
Even though that is what is expected during the first few weeks after birth, there is no reason that the parents cannot get some sleep during the day for a few hours here and there as well as in the night. However, there are several reasons that your baby may be wide awake after being fed at night.
Firstly, it is essential for parents to allow their babies to sleep even if that means through a feeding. Many parents wake their babies up so they don’t miss a feeding. The fact of the matter is, a baby will not go hungry and will be up ready to be fed at the right time. Allow the baby to sleep through as they are developing their sleep patterns. If this is disrupted too much, it will cause problems such as the baby being wide awake after a night feeding.
The other issue that could be coming into play is the possibility of the nursery is not the best sleeping environment for the baby. Maybe rearranging the furniture, as well as making sure all of the lights are dimmed will help. Make sure that the temperature is comfortable as well which can easily get into the way of the baby sleeping after being fed at night.
It is also a good idea to get a white noise machine as it delivers soothing sounds that will help get the baby sleepy after being fed. However, after the newborn is fed at night, you don’t want to put the baby down right after the feeding. Let’s look into that further about how long the baby should really stay upright.
How Long Should the Newborn Stay Upright After Feeding?
This is one question that all first-time parents of newborns have. How long should they keep their babies upright after they have been fed? Even though it was already said that the baby should not be put into bed for a half-hour after a feeding, they should be kept upright for 10 to 15 minutes to minimize spitting up happening immediately. Babies will spit up and that is unavoidable, and the reason for that is that their muscles in the esophagus are not developed enough to close properly until they are closer to a year old. That is why then babies spit up a lot less and after a year of age, they stop.
However, if the baby has GERD or spits up often, then you will want to keep your baby upright even longer than 15 minutes. Spitting up is just one reason why you want to wait during that time frame to put your baby down. Your baby could also become uncomfortable with gas if your baby is put down too soon after being fed.
Therefore, after a feeding, burp your baby and after a big burp, allow the baby to stay upright for 10 t0 15 minutes (unless there are digestive issues which means it will have to be longer), and then you can put your baby down. But what happens after your baby is fed and does not burp?
Can My Baby Go to Sleep After Feeding Without Burping?
The answer to that question is, that depends. Sometimes the baby would have learned the art of burping quickly and does not always need to be burped as they can do it on their own. However, for newborns under 8 weeks of age, more often than not, they need to be burped before being put down.
If you put a baby down without burping them too soon, a baby that needs to be burped that is, that can create excess gas and discomfort. This will end up resulting in the baby not sleeping due to being very uncomfortable due to excess gas. And even if your baby does fall asleep, he or she could easily wake up due to discomfort from a gas bubble and will start crying. That is the last thing you want to do when you are wanting the baby to start getting the hang of sleeping through the night.
In order to prevent this, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to burp your baby. And the tactics to utilize to make sure your baby is burped properly are:
- Burp the baby in between feedings after eating 2 to 3 ounces for bottle feeding, or in between switching breasts for breastfeeding.
- Stay sitting upright and hold your baby against your chest while the chin is on your shoulder and pat the baby’s back gently.
- Lay the baby across your lap on his or her tummy and gently pat the baby’s back.
- Hold the baby facing forward sitting on your lap while you gently pat the baby’s back.
Sometimes finding the right burping position and tactic will get the burp out. However, at times it may not happen regardless and if your baby does not seem uncomfortable then chances are it is fine to put your baby to bed, as he or she will burp independently. Now that you have some guidelines on how soon to put your baby to bed after feeding whether it is for a daytime nap or for the night, you can help minimize the discomfort that the baby may get from gas bubbles after feeding. Caring for a newborn is hard work, but remember, you will get through it and this will not be forever.