My baby falls asleep while nursing. What can I do?

13 Aug 2016


Newborns often fall asleep at the breast, especially after feeling satisfied from a good feeding. (You'll know if your baby isn't nursing if you don't hear swallowing sounds, like little clicks, or see the jawbones moving.)

If you think your baby is asleep and hasn't finished nursing, here are some tips to try:
        •  undress your baby and rub the back
        •  tickle the feet
        •  burp your baby
        •  try changing your baby's diaper or switching to the other breast

Babies who latch on incorrectly may fall asleep at the breast. If this happens, break the suction and reposition your baby onto your breast to include both your nipple and areola. You can break the suction by slipping your finger in the side of your baby's mouth (between the gums) and then turning your finger a quarter turn to break the suction. (If you just pull your baby off your breast, it will likely startle your little one and hurt your breasts as well.)

After you've broken the suction, try to burp your baby and switch your little one to the other breast. A lactation consultant can show you the right latch method and help you with any questions or concerns you might have.

Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD. Breastfeeding FAQs: Sleep - Yours and Your Baby's.Kids Health Online. 2015; [cited 2015 Feb]; [3 screen]. Available at URL:

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