We've been trying to get our infant on a schedule, but he tends to fall asleep before he's done eating, which makes it challenging, because he doesn't finish, and wakes up hungry too early. It also makes it more difficult to burp him and once or twice he has choked a bit on the milk.

He's exclusively bottle-fed. I don't know of any other way to properly support a newborn for feeding other than holding him, which I'm sure makes him warm and very comfortable – who wouldn't fall asleep?

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to help him stay awake during feedings so he can finish safely and completely?

  • My 4 week old has started doing this and then wakes up like half an hour after for some more bottle. Its getting really annoying as I cant really do anything during the day now. I have tried to do everything but I think my little madam is just 2 lazy!!
    – user1977
    Dec 15, 2011 at 14:25

7 Answers 7


We used to undo the legs on the babygrow to keep their feet out - this meant we could tickle their feet if they started to fall asleep before they had had enough milk.

Just a gentle tickle was usually enough to wake them up enough to feed (albeit sleepily)


For ours I find it works pretty well to start to simply start to pull the bottle out of her mouth, or wiggle it around. I start gentle and increase to fairly aggressive wiggling as needed and so far we have not suffered any bottle nipple related injuries. The advantage to this is you don't really have to change positions from feeding. However you have to be paying attention and catch them before they fall asleep completely.


If a gentle turn of the bottle doesn't get our now eight month old to restart sucking, we move on to rubbing his belly. If that doesn't work, I generally change his diaper. Simply undressing him and tickling him doesn't seem to work at all for us, but I know that has worked for a number of friends.


Before our daughter was born we took a first-parents class. This is apparently a common enough occurrence that they actually discussed it. I'll try my best to describe what they showed us to do.

If you've ever seen the movie Inception the sensation of falling wakes people up. This apparently holds true even for babies. We were told to firmly support the baby's whole body especially the head and neck. Placing our hands under the baby's head with our arms along the full length of the baby's body we would 'swing' the baby's upper body down and then raise the baby back up. Not too fast but not slow either. Trying to simulate that feeling of falling.

I strongly recommend discussing this issue with a breast feeding specialist even if you're not breast feeding. There should be one at your pediatric clinic or they should know how to find one.


Our lactation consultant suggested that we undress the baby down to the diaper for feedings. Also if she starts to get sleepy during a feeding, tummy time will wake/annoy the baby. Tickling/stimulating the foot also helps.


We used to blow on my eldest's feet. This seemed to do the trick.


We're still new at this, but so far burping seems to help too.
Any kind of stimulation seems to help some.

We also try: twisting the bottle, rubbing their chin or cheeks (sometimes triggers a feeding reflex).

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