By Eric on July 26, 2012 11

Do You Ever Wake a Sleeping Baby?

Answer this question:

Do you ever wake a sleeping baby?

My mother-in-law would answer that question with an emphatic NO! Never! It makes sense, right? Why would you wake a sleeping baby? They are so darn cute, and to disturb that is unconscionable.

do you ever wake a sleeping baby

Until you have to do it, that is. I totally agree with my mother-in-law, as much as humanly possible, never ever never wake a sleeping baby.

But, there are certain times when we have found ourselves with no other options but to wake our sleeping baby.

It nearly breaks our hearts, which means Kelsey can’t physically do it, so that leaves me to tenderly lift our baby out of her crib, trying to keep her alseep in the process.

It’s kind of like playing operation. A steady hand is an essential requirement.

When We Wake Our Sleeping Baby

  • Fire. We would not hesitate to wake Rooney in case of emergency and evacuate the premises. Same thing with a zombie apocalypse. We would be out! At least we have a minivan to live in.
  • Weight gain. The Rooster lost some weight when she was born, and we were instructed by our doctor to wake Rooney every four hours to eat, even in the middle of the night. Just until she was back up to birth weight. Those first few weeks were tough.
  • Life group. Most Tuesday nights we are at someone else’s house for life group. We take our pack ‘n’ play and set it up in the darkest room we can find, and Rooney sleeps for a few hours while we fellowship with friends. We have to wake her up to head home, because so far nobody has offered to keep her overnight. ;) We believe life group is important enough to us to throw her off once a week.
  • Schedule. There have been just a handful of days when Rooney has slept in past 7 a.m., when we need to drop her off at day care to head to work. This is the least fun. But isn’t a schedule important for a baby?

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t question what we are doing as parents. It affects Kelsey more than me, but we try to tell ourselves that we are making the best decision with the information that we have at that moment. Our parents weren’t able to Google anything. How in the world did we ever survive?

No use in beating ourselves up about these types of things, but sometimes it just seems so wrong to wake a sleeping baby. Kids are resilient, so I think Rooney will be OK…right?

In what instances would you wake a sleeping baby?



Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. She will totally be okay! There are days that I wish we hadn’t been (and aren’t being) so strict with our kids’ sleep schedule because I think maybe they would be more flexible. But, I could be totally wrong. We try not to wake the kids. If we do, it’s because there is no way around it.

  2. The Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book (which I know you and/or Kelsey read) says NEVER wake a baby with the caveat that life happens. I rest in that caveat EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING because Henry likes to sleep right up until we wake him to get dressed for daycare. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think we’re hurting him. When he’s really tired he falls right back asleep in the car. I feel ya though on constantly questioning if we are doing right by our wee people.

  3. y’all are awesome! what a lucky little girl to get such fun parents!! i have 3 (4,3,and 1) and i wake them up all the time. :-) they’re great and well adjusted. many days one is still sleeping and another has preschool, or one is napping and another has art class, etc. we try to stick to a schedule as much as possible, but really … life happens…especially when you have small children. i make the exception when one is sick and then i let them sleep whenever.
    and really, our parents generation had a lot more help. (at least in the South they did) i have to remind myself that when i try to compare (or take advice). “well … if I had a nanny at home with the sleeping child then of course i would not have to wake him/her to take a sibling to the doctor.” :-)
    you are doing a great job!

  4. I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t have kids but I almost wonder if this isn’t actually a good thing. Doesn’t it kind of prepare for the real world in a way? It’s not often that you just get to sleep whenever you want for how long you want. While I realize schedules are so important and will surely live by one when I have a baby, my gut tells me it’s fine to wake them.

    I love Vanessa’s point–never wake a sleeping baby with the caveat that life happens, every. single. morning.

    You guys are crazy good parents so please don’t ever doubt yourselves. I love that you feel so strongly about life group that you’ll wake Rooney for it. I imagine that life group feeds your soul and that is so so important! Go you guys!

  5. Rooney’s Nana July 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I’m Eric’s mother-in-law and I did say “never wake a sleeping baby except for fire”.
    However I never had a baby that sleeps as much as Rooney :)
    My first baby never took longer than 20 min naps (ever)…….so I would never wake her!
    But I do think babies are flexible and it’s okay to wake them so you can do what you want/need to do.
    She’ll be fine :)

  6. We have had such crazy sleep issues with Liam that we have rarely ever woken him up for any reason. Even if it means being late to something. Sorry, but my baby needs rest and I need my sanity. Hah.

  7. Found you from Where My Heart Resides, and as the mother of a 12 week old I have to say, I’ve woken her several times to eat. If she goes past 3.5 hours, she’s getting woken up because I don’t want her to start confusing her days and nights- mama needs sleep too. However, she’s relatively mellow, and takes good naps. If it was a struggle to get her to nap it would be awfully hard to wake her!

    And obviously, if there was a fire or zombie apocalypse, we’d bring her along to safety:)

    • Your baby sounds like Rooney! I’ve kind of forgotten now, but I did wake her up every 2-3 hours to eat when she was 1-2 months old, to keep her on schedule. It made our nights way more enjoyable!

  8. As a Nana wanna-be … Nope, never ever wake a sleeping baby. I do think that if there is a Zombie raid … it is a must.
    You two are doing an amazing job with that sweet bundle of joy. Keep it up :)

  9. We avoid waking a sleeping baby as much as possible. Our 21 month old occasionally likes to sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning – which I LOVE on the weekends! – but makes getting her to daycare in time for me to be at work on time difficult. We deal with this two ways:
    1. the nanny (Jen) who comes to the house at 8 (M-W-F), and if my daughter is asleep, we just let her stay that way.
    2. on day care days (Tues-Thurs) if she is not awake by 7:30, then my husband and I look at our respective work schedules for the day and determine who can either be late or miss something at work or we wake her up.

    I can totally see how adding another child to the mix will mean more “waking a sleeping baby.” So we’ll deal with that if/when we get there.

    We also generally try to avoid planning things during nap time or bed time. I’m not a schedule person, so the actual time sleep happens is fluid but we have a framework (in bed between 7 and 9, and a nap starts sometime between 11 and 1). So we have some flexibility. Which helps avoid the issue of needing to wake her up in the first place.

  10. We wake Anna up when she has a slumber party at her friend Eden’s house (or, in other words, we drop her off there to get babysat while we go on a date). She’s also transitioning to one nap right now, but I think she’s still a few months off, so her morning nap can be quite long some days (3 hours). I will wake her up at the 2 hour mark so that she’ll still take an afternoon nap, otherwise she’s awake for 6+ hours in the afternoon which is NO BUENO for anyone.

    I hate waking her up. :(

Leave a Reply


Text formatting is available via select .

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>