Breastfeeding problems

The weak, sleepy baby

Some babies are too weak to drink effectively and fall asleep during breastfeeds. It's important for these babies to get a large amount of breast milk without using a lot of energy. During a breastfeed it can be helpful to pump from the other breast at the same time to make the milk flow better. Alternatively, feed the baby lying tummy to tummy with plenty of skin contact. It is often helpful to drip some expressed breast milk into the corner of the baby’s mouth with a syringe to encourage her to drink.

Another option is to stimulate the baby to suck actively. You can do this as follows:

  • Start feeding the baby using a football hold. Support her back well. Make sure that the soles of the baby’s feet can touch a surface and give her something to grip with her hands, e.g. your finger.
  • Support your breast throughout the feed (see page 18, Holding your breast).
  • At the beginning, and as soon as the swallowing noises get less frequent, carry out breast compression. This involves holding your breast far back at the base and compressing it gently and painlessly with your forefinger and thumb so that more milk flows.