The following is an excerpt borrowed from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Le Leche League International.
Sleeping or Screaming?
If you are able to have rooming-in or at least nurse your baby on demand, you won't be bothered with problems that can be caused by hospital feeding schedules. Still, there may be times when baby is not waking up to be fed as often as he should. A newborn needs to nurse at least 8-12 times in twenty-four hours.
If your baby has been sleeping for more than two or three hours, try gently to awaken him. Rough handling is very disturbing to a newborn, but you can jiggle him a bit, rub his head, talk to him, stroke his cheek with your nipple; try rubbing his feet or blowing on them.
One suggestion is to sit baby on your lap with his chin in your hand and bend him forward at the hips. Usually he awakens in just a few seconds. If not, try walking your fingers up and down his spine. Or gently bring him from a horizontal to a vertical position, one hand supporting his head, the other holding his bottom.
You can also try undressing him or changing his diaper. If nothing works to awaken him, you may have to give it another half hour or so and then try again. If the nurse comes to take him back to the nursery, be sure to let her know the baby did not wake up to nurse, and should be brought back for a feeding as soon as he wakes up. Make it clear that you do not want your baby to be given a bottle in the nursery.
If for some reason your baby is crying very hard before you get a chance to start feeding him, a little patience may be needed to calm him down before he's ready to nurse. Try rocking him or putting him over your shoulder and patting his back. Sing a soothing melody - baby will be calmed by hearing your familiar voice. Then try offering him your breast and see if he calms down and starts to suck. If he's not ready yet, try a few more minutes of calm mothering to help him relax.
With either the sleeping or screaming baby, squeeze a few drops of your milk onto his lips to give him a taste of what he's missing. We do not advise putting anything else, such as honey, on the nipple to entice the baby to take it. Anything other than your milk can cause a reaction in a sensitive baby. Also, these products may have impurities in them which could cause problems for baby - a certain type of botulism spores, for example, has been found in honey and can be very dangerous. Honey should not be given to babies under one year old.
Don't forget that this Thursday evening (14th) at 6:30, Educated Mommy hosts Sioux Falls' La Leche League, and all breastfeeding (or soon-to-be breastfeeding) moms are welcome!