15 answers

My 2 Month Old Is a Lazy Eater and Always Falls Asleep When Nursing....

My baby always falls asleep when nursing. This is only a problem when he wants to eat an hour later and so on. I have tickled his feet, tapped his cheek, and nothing will keep him awake when he wants to sleep. I also think that his night time sleeping patterns might be better if he went to bed on a full stomach. I know that I am partly his 'pacifier' and he often just wants comforting and to be close to me. This is also a problem when my husband gives him a bottle and he just won't drift off to sleep like he does with me. He is so used to nursing and being comforted by me and then sleeping that my husband and eventually daycare will be so frustrated by his crying from not getting what he is used to. What can I do to get him used to eating more when he nurses w/o falling asleep during his meal and then allowing others to feed him and comfort him enough to let him drift off to sleep? Yes, this is 2 questions but I'd appreciate feedback for either or both if you can offer some help!

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I didn't breast feed but they say tickles his feet etc just keep playing with him and hopefully that will work

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My son was the same way. He always fell asleep while nursing. One of the things my nursing consultant suggested was to take off all their cloths (of course being that it's August, that isn't going to help much). Tickle his feet or use a cool face cloth . I did this because I wanted my son to learn how to fall asleep on his own, and not by using me. Talk to him in a loud voice or take him off the breast and don't start again until he's awake again. He will eventually learn that "dinner time" is dinner time not nap time. If it's the sucking that helps him fall asleep, like most babies, give him a pacifier. I know this can be difficult, but if you start giving him good sleep habits now it will be easier in the long run.

When I was nursed our kids I was told to undress them a little bit. It suppose to wake them up so they would feed well. I have tried that with all three and it seemed to work.

I was also told about the undressing thing. My lactation consultant said strip him all the way down to his diaper. I did this several times and it seemed to work.

Your other problem with your husband feeding him with a bottle...are you in the room when he is trying? If so, you really need to remove yourself from the situation, he can smell you. I know it might sound funny but he can. Which makes him frustrated because he isn't getting "the good stuff".

Good luck and believe me it gets a lot easier. My son is 8 months today and you will miss the times when they are sleeping all the time so you can nap too!

Hi R., I nursed my 2nd daughter and she would also fall asleep and I would be a "pacifier". Try to keep awake even when bottle feeding. I am stay at home and I would give her comfort and nurse to sleep-Big mistake on my part. She got to, if I didnt nurse to sleep, she wasnt falling asleep. She didnt know how to put herself to sleep. When the baby goes to daycare, if you already have one picked out, call them and ask their advice. I'm sure you are not the only one with that question. They will help you get the baby on schedule. Also, when trying to wake him up, use a slightle cool damp rag and mabey touch his neck and cheek. My daughter loved warm rags but would wake right up for a chilly one!. Take care and hope this helps ypu.

I love the moms on this site! They are so well informed and honest and caring!

I'd like to add my 2 cents. As long as your baby continues to suck while he is at the breast he is still getting milk. If you try and keep him on until he falls off on his own he will get the milk his tiny hard working body needs. Then perhaps he will go a little longer between nursings.

Nursing is comforting as well as nourishing. Comfort is very imortant to all humans. Babies like and NEED to be with their mothers. MOTHERS NEED FATHERS. If your baby lets your husband or anyone else give him a bottle get on your knees and thank your baby. If not then just know that he is like every other baby out there. He wants his mama because mama's have what is best.

The word pacifier is very interesting - "What is a pacifier but a plastic substitute for the breast?" Stephanie Ondrack Mothering Magazine July/August 2006. Skin to skin is what they crave. It's what they expect and their expectation are not based on something they overheard or saw on TV. Their expectations are in their very DNA. Babies and Adults alike everyone craves human contact. You could try to give your baby the breast every time he atcs like he needs it. If your nipples are tired try your pinky first (or another finger) and the plastic substitute last.

sleeping and eating are NOT related. your baby won't sleep better on a full stomach. your baby will sleep better if he is allowed to sleep as much as he wants. first - try to nurse him when he starts actually screaming for it. this way he'll really work to fill himself up and won't doze off. why is it a problem for your baby to doze off with you and a problem when he doesn't doze off your husband - i'm slightly confused. does your baby not sleep at all until you breastfeed him??

My daughter (7 weeks old) also does this. What I've done is not feed her until she is completely awake. This may sound a little cruel, but I let her cry for about 5 minutes, so that I know she is really awake. I don't breast feed, but its about the same. She is now drinking a good 3.5 oz before burping, and then finishing off her bottle while drifting to sleep. Another trick I do is tap the bottom of the bottle with my fingernail. For some reason, this stimulates her sucking.

Hope it helps.

I had this problem with my son. He was quite small when he was born and it took all of the energy in his little body to feed. He would fall asleep instantly while breastfeeding. I would pat his feet and cheek, but like you, this didn't always work. You can try changing his diaper if he falls asleep. That may be just enough to wake him a bit to eat. Worked most of the time with me. You could also try to divert his attention to something interesting ie: a toy that makes noise or anything else he has shown interest in. Also, to address the "being used as a pacifier" issue, (i had it too-he wouldn't take a pacifier until about 1 1/2 months) will he take a pacifier? If so, when you manage to keep him awake enough to eat and you know he is full, try to give a pacifier instead of breastfeeding. Good luck!

You don't want to call your child lazy; the last thing children are lazy. Has a negative connotation. Of course, I mean this in a positive manner; I hope you know that this is not meaning it in a mean way at all.

My son fell alseep when I nursed him, and eventually he grew out of it once I put him on a sleeping pattern, and stuck with it, etc. To be honest, I actually liked that he fell asleep that way because I also got rest, LOL!

Good luck!

My second daughter used to be a lazy nurser and sometimes it was so frustrating. My husband would have to get up for work around 3am and so there was always this tension in me that the baby couldn't wake up. Lord, can I tell you what a blessing it was when I decided this girl would sleep with us?!
Nursing while sleeping was a lifesaver and just sleeping with the baby is comforting for them and for you.
Sometimes when a baby wakes up in the night, it's not because they are hungry, it is because they want to be comforted and held close. If your son is sleeping next to you and he wakes up crying, you can lovingly comfort him and see if that helps. You'll be more calm and relaxed and he is already in bed, so he is already relaxed. He won't pick up on your tired tension from being dragged out of bed, he's not being dragged out of bed, and it's just a more positive experience! Then, if he is actually hungry, it's very convenient to nurse and sleep.
You have to remember that this baby was literally part of your body for 10 months! So 2 months old is still young. You both need to be close to each other for your own individual reasons. Any doctor that tells you you are being selfish by sleeping with your child is, IMHO, a terrible person to take advice from.
You will reap the emotional benefits of being close to your baby, you will have the obvious advantage of sleeping better and those two things right there give you an advantage for caring for your child the best you can. What person benefits from someone being emotionally distraught and overtired?
God designed families to be close! That is how we grow and stay strong. You don't carry something in your womb for 10 months and then when it's out, just let it fend for itself.
I feel very strongly about this, can you tell? (: I just can't believe that doctor told you it was not the best thing for your son. Heavens.
I slept with both of my children agaisnt the advice of everyone I knew but it worked out so much better for all involved parties (me & children) and they both went right into a 'big-girl' bed with no problems. It's a good thing when children want to be close to their parents and my kids are welcome in my bed at any time. When kids know that they are loved and wanted by their parents, it builds self esteem and confidence.

Honestly, I don't think you can do much more to see that your baby is eating more and sleeping less during a feeding. If he is hungry, he will eat and if he is tired, he will sleep. It may be very frustrating to try and force him to stay awake and eat because if he is really tired, then he will get upset and grumpy and will cry more than he eats and if he isn't hungry but he is feeling lazy, he will drink but either not swallow or eat alot and then spit up. That can end up frustrating you both, if you set yourself up for something that just isn't going to happen. Pretty much, just follow his cues for now.
As for other people feeding him, they are just going to have to learn their own way of dealing with each other. Your husband is a key role in his son's life and dad's have a different way of doing things. They bond a different way.
Your son may never just drift off to sleep while having a bottle from someone and not being with mom. That changes the dynamic of things. Your son knows he is not on the breast and that mom doesn't have him so maybe he isn't quite sure what to do. Your husband can feed him the bottle, burp him, change him, clean him up and then swaddle him or hold him close and comfort him by holding him close and rocking him. Your baby will learn to fall asleep with dad (and other people) but it will probably take a lot of trial and error.

As for daycare, I can't really say because my kids have never been but I know my sister had her son in daycare and he was such a high maintenance baby when his mom was around, she was terrified of putting him in daycare because she thought he'd be miserable and cry the whole time and the people would be mean to him or neglect him somehow.
Well, it turned out just fine. He was still high needs at home but at daycare, he was apparently delightful! And that is, also, because the dynamic changes. Babies are very intelligent and perceptive from birth. They know when they are not at home and not with their parents and they learn to adapt to the different people and places and know what the rountine is at every place. Babies are amazing. Which I am sure you know (:

Well, I don't know how much I helped or answered your questions but I hope I gave you some encouragment! You are not alone and this is a wonderful, special time for you and your family. You will never get this time back with your babe so you do what feels right for your family! Sometimes, being a mom is about being 'selfish' and sometimes what is best for you is best for your baby and your family. If your doctor doesn't understand that, then you should possibly look into finding one who will support you. Afterall, your doctor may very well be a major person in your life and in your relationship with your baby. He works for you so you want to find someone who will encourage and support you! Not the other way around.
Good luck. I really hope you find some peace!

R., with my daughter I would undress her a little bit as well as tickle her ear.The combination of the two worked.
Hope this helps!

My son fell asleep all the time! It was so frustrating!

Keep in mind that your baby is still so very small, and is using all of their energy to grow so of course they're tired! be patient and in time you'll see improvement.

Some of the strategies I used to keep my son awake and nursing - all of the tickling, tapping, etc., and he got to the point that he'd snooze right through it. I found that blowing gently in his face triggers the swallow reflex and was most effective at waking him up.

I also would nurse him for five minutes, then sit him up, burp him, and switch sides. I would repeat this as many times as necessary - I had a very poor milk supply so I needed to encourage him to nurse as much as possible. This worked best for me. Sometimes our nursing sessions were very long, but it was for the best as I managed to nurse my son without any supplementation.

Just keep at it! At first I couldn't keep him awake so I would make noise and talk to him and tickle him to keep him awake, and then as he got older he would get distracted by things around him so I had to find a quiet place just to get him to focus. It definitely changes.

Good for you for nursing!

I didn't breast feed but they say tickles his feet etc just keep playing with him and hopefully that will work

Hi R.,
Your baby sounds very typical for a 2 month old. He is still quite young and babies at this age usually nurse very often. It is not uncommon for a baby this age to eat every 2 hours but it seems like every hour! By the time you start to nurse the baby, burp him and change a diaper an hour has already gone by and it's only an hour before it's time to feed him again! I tell my moms to first make sure the baby is hungry. Don't scoop them out of the crib as soon as they make a peep. The idea is to make sure he is awake before you start nursing so he won't fall asleep so quickly. I suggest that you start on one breast and when he begins to fall asleep stroke his back, rub his head etc. If he still remains sleepy, CHANGE HIS DIAPER! If he is truly asleep, he won't wake up but MOST OF THE TIME BABIES WAKE UP AND YOU CAN PUT THEM ON THE OTHER BREAST. Often moms change the diaper first or after the baby has been fed which usually results in a now full but cranky baby. Breastfeeding takes a lot of effort and babies simply get tired! You didn't mention your baby's size and weight but as he gets bigger he will be able to take larger amounts less frequently.

As far as your husband feeding the baby, make sure you leave the room and let him to deal with the baby in his "own" way. Babies can see, smell, and hear their mothers and you will probably be a distraction while in the room. Go in another room, shut the door and sleep! Also dads sometimes feel a bit inadequate at first when feeding their babies because they can't breastfeed or comfort their baby the same way as their wives. Dads will learn to soothe their children in their "own" special way often quite differently than moms! It is a beautiful thing to see a dad care for his baby confidently and a welcome break for moms! Babies can be comforted in MANY different ways. Just give dad and baby some time to learn.

I commend you for your dedication and perseverence to breastfeed! Keep up the good work and try not to worry.


Dear R.,
I am a postpartum doula and have raised 4 breast fed children. I also am a lactation counseler. Your baby is getting into some bad habits. She needs to take a full feeding. If she falls asleep, take her clothes off, rub her head with a wet wash cloth, change her diaper. You need to take the lead and make sure that she is eating enough. Is she gaining at least 8oz per week?
I teach the moms that I work with to get into a 21/2 to 3 hour routine with their babies(the baby eats every 3 hours) During the evening 5pm to 9pm it might change to every 2 hours. Never feed your baby more often then every 2 hours.
The routine is called the EASY routine and it goes as follows Eat,Awake,Sleep,You. The baby eats then is awake for 1 to 2 hours, then sleeps, then you have some free time. Help you baby to get to sleep after he or she has been awake do not nurse her to sleep, G. CPD (certified postpartum doula)

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