Should I wake my 4 week old for night feeds?

(36 Posts)
AmeliaEarhart Sun 05-Dec-10 23:21:21

I set my alarm to wake him every 4 hours, but I get the impression he'd happily sleep for much longer if I let him. I still have the midwife's advice that he should go no longer than 3 hours between feeds ringing in my ears, so I'm torn...

He's exclusively breastfed BTW, and is fed on demand during the day.

mears Sun 05-Dec-10 23:25:52

No need to set an alarm to wake him unless you have supply issues. If he feeds well and pees and poos, then leave him alone. He will wake of his own accord.

reallytired England Sun 05-Dec-10 23:27:38

Has he gained his birth weight? Is he gaining weight nicely?

If so then let him sleep. Never wake a sleeping baby.

congratulations

mrsfollowill Sun 05-Dec-10 23:31:16

So long as he's not prem/has other issues etc leave him be and enjoy the sleep yourself. As Mears says he will let you know when he needs feeding! He is probably getting what he needs in the daytime.

TheNextMrsClaus Sun 05-Dec-10 23:33:53

No. He will wake when he is hungry. You are lucky to have a good sleeper!

MrsTedHughes Sun 05-Dec-10 23:37:54

No are you mad!!

Let him sleep! He knows when he is hungry and will alert you be screaming.

My DS1 took a few days to get the hang of breastfeeding and lost a bit of weight. The mw told me to set my alarm to feed him every three hours but only until he regained his birth weight.

AmeliaEarhart Sun 05-Dec-10 23:45:16

Thanks! I do feel as if I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth by waking him.

We had some feeding issues to begin with - he slept almost solidly for the first 48 hours of his life and wasn't interested in eating, and I was lectured in the hospital about excessively sleepy babies and low blood sugar - so I'm probably a bit paranoid.

He's gaining weight, produces the required amount of wet and dirty nappies and rarely goes for more than an hour between feeds during the day, so I guess he's full by bedtime.

I'll let us both sleep tonight then

PinkElephantsOnParade Sun 05-Dec-10 23:46:50

As long as he is not very small/ prem then definitely do not wake him.

He will let you know when he is hungry! grin

My DD was a great sleeper and never woke in the night to feed from birth. She was a very healthy weight and put on weight well from the start.

My midwife told me to wake her every 3 hours to feed her as "she might be too weak to cry".

She, incidentally, had no DCs.

I told her there was NO WAY I was going to do that and that DD had no trouble at all letting me know when she was hungry.

She survived smile

Think about it, how would you feel if someone kept waking you up at night and forced you to eat steak?????

snugglepops Sun 05-Dec-10 23:54:03

I remember discussing in depth with a mw who said at a stretch a very young baby should not go more than 5 hours without a feed. How long is your baby naturally going without a feed at night?

PinkElephantsOnParade Sun 05-Dec-10 23:58:47

snuggle - did she say why this necessary?

My DD went for 8 hours at a stretch from birth and never lapsed into a coma.

My DS by contrst woke up screaming for a feed every hour all night so I fed him.

chickbean Mon 06-Dec-10 00:05:55

DD is 10 months now. At birth she would sleep 12 hours at night and I didn't wake her for feeds as she was gaining weight. Sadly the 12 hour sleeps only lasted a few weeks.

At 4 weeks I'd think it's fine to let them sleep.

A very new baby (less than 2 weeks maybe), or one that is very small/prem/lost a lot of weight might not demand to be fed and can sleep lots to conserve energy rather than because they're full/content. That's why they recommend you don't let them go too long at first.

My ds was very jaundiced and would have slept 12 hour stretches from birth, so I had to wake him. Couldn't start demanding feeding til he was about 10 days old and had regained his birthweight.

tinselistooaddictive Mon 06-Dec-10 08:37:09

I have been where you are waking a baby because I was told a baby MUST feed every 4 hours. Ignore it! Dd1 slept for about 8 hours at night from about 5 weeks. She is fine and never suffered. She wax a big baby and fed enough in the day to get her through.
I can remember sobbing because I felt I had failed her after reading that ALL newborns MUST be fed at least 12 times a day. I never fed her more than 5. After that DH banned ne from looking stuff up on the Internet! Dd2 was pretty similar and DH was apparently the same. Some babiesjust are!

EenyMeenyMaya Mon 06-Dec-10 09:06:56

Had this with DS1 - when I asked MW I was told to enjoy the sleep and not to tell anyone. When I asked why I couldn't tell anyone she said that I wouldn't make any Mummy friends cos they'd be too jealous wink.

EenyMeenyMaya Mon 06-Dec-10 09:08:25

Opps, meant to say I did enjoy the sleep and DS1 is now a fins strapping 2 year old. Did him no harm whatsoever!

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 06-Dec-10 09:29:51

Eeny - you were very lucky to have a very sensible MW - was she a mum herself?

Zimm Mon 06-Dec-10 09:44:30

My DD was the same - slept about 6 hours at 4 weeks, 8ish from 5 weeks, now doing 10-11 at 16 weeks. she is fine.

SilverSky Mon 06-Dec-10 09:53:50

During the day I will wake if longer than 3hrs but at night he wakes us as and when.

HV said not to let sleep too long in day as then they may decide day is night and vice versa!!

mears Mon 06-Dec-10 13:18:09

As a midwife I say not to leave a newborn initially more than 4 hours during the day. If they don't feed during the day they will make up for it at night. If a baby is not gaining weight then they should be fed 2-3 hourly during the day and woken for night feeds. You can have babies that are 'happy starvers' and won't wake for night feeds. It is not the nrom for a newborn to sleep all night but if the baby is gaining weight and peeing and pooing then that is the baby's own pattern. The problem is that you don't know what kind of baby you have initially. Also, the more you feed, the more milk you make unless you are an adundant milk producer. Again you might not know how well you produce milk until you run into difficulties.

SilverSky Mon 06-Dec-10 16:27:59

mears how long is a newborn a newborn??

mears Mon 06-Dec-10 17:24:25

Good question.
I am probably thinking of a baby up till 2-3 weeks old as newborn. Technically a neonate is a baby up to 28 days. Breastfeeding itself can take 3-4 weeks to establish. All babies are individuals though and some babies do need reminded to feed more frequently than others. Often babies left to their own devices will wake at regular intervals.

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 06-Dec-10 17:38:17

mears - my DD never woke at night but still put on weight hand over fist, fed a lot during the day though.

She seemed to have an enormous belly though as she was taking about 4-5 oz each feed from newborn (did experiment by weighing her before and after feed as she was EBF).

MW told me there was NO WAY she could take more than 1-2 oz at a time at that age, but it seems she did.

She still told me at 4 weeks that I HAD to wake her every 3 hrs at night, despite the fact that she was a little chubs and at no point went below her birthweight.

I am sure she thought I was locking DD in a cupboard at night and ignoring her though! grin

I ignored her as it seemed daft, and DD was fine.

poppydog10 Mon 06-Dec-10 17:43:28

it depends how much you are feeding during the day. In order to keep your supply, you need to be feeding roughly 8-12 times in 24 hours.

LoopyLoopsOfSparklyFairyLights Mon 06-Dec-10 17:45:34

My DD was born at 32 weeks. She came home when she was 35 weeks, and the midwife said not to leave her more than 5 hours. At term, I should think that 5-6 would be fine (but I'm no doctor).

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