Should I Wake my Baby Up?


A mom wrote in asking about her 6-month-old baby’s sleep schedule with the perennial question: should I wake my baby up, or just feed him when he wakes. Mama, you’re asking the right person. I might not have all the right answers, but I have spent countless days and nights pondering the same question. So I definitely have a lot to say!
Should I wake my baby up?
By 6 months, if you are following a schedule, the way I did, your baby’s day might look something like this: 7 am feed, nap, 11am feed, nap, 3pm feed, nap, 7pm feed, nap. Now, the question for babies this age becomes: what happens between 7pm and 7am the next morning? You say your baby is not “catnapping,” but rather sleeping from around 8pm to 2am, at which point you are doing a nighttime feed. You baby then goes back to sleep and you feed him again come morning.
OK, so this is definitely one way to go, and a lot of moms do this. On the plus side, you are giving your baby consistent feedings and also making sure your breast milk production stays robust during the course of the night. However, this schedule can be exhausting since it cuts your night into two chunks: you might be able to sleep from say 10-2, and then from 3-7, but that’s tiring. I found that I much preferred waking my baby up for a “top off” feed at 10pm or 11pm and then going to bed with my fingers crossed that he would sleep through to the next day. Once my babies had the maturity to sleep through the night following this schedule, I myself could sleep from 11 or 12-7am, and suddenly, my bleary eyes cleared and my crabbiness subsided — ha ha.

When can you let your baby sleep through the night without feeding?

So my answer to this question is — and you have to visit your doctor to make sure your baby is growing on schedule — as soon as they can! The way to get babies to sleep through the night, in my book, is to feed them consistently during the day so that they are awake for much of the day and consuming the calories they need during the day. I have tons of videos about this, so check them out!
That dreaded moment when you put down a sleeping baby and your hand is trapped under him and you would rather saw your arm off than risk waking him.
Thanks so much for watching and best of luck getting your ZZZ’s.