What to do if baby doesn't demand to be fed

(17 Posts)
Mirshid Mon 10-Feb-14 06:46:40

I am a first time mum to a beautiful 4 week old baby girl. She was born very quickly and was very mucousy causing her to be slow to feed and to get jaundice (now cleared). I have been waking her as advised by hospital staff and HV every three hrs day and night until last mon when she regained her birth weight. HV said I could stop waking her at night as long as she was feeding regularly in the day. She has just gone for 5 hrs and 3 and 1/2 hrs last night between feeds. My problem is that she doesn't demand during the day I am still having to wake her as am advised not to let her go more than 3 hrs and she would quite happily though she is always happt to feed when I do wake her. I am terrified to let her go more than this in case she loses weight or becomes dehydrated. My mum says I shouldn't wake a sleeping baby but it is making me so anxious and the clock watching is stopping me enjoying feeding and making me panic about going out... Please can anyone advise sad

Littlefish Mon 10-Feb-14 06:51:19

Follow the medical advice, not your mum's. When did you last see your midwife/health visitor? The fact that she is always happy to feed when you wake her suggests that she is ready to feed.

TheGreatHunt Mon 10-Feb-14 06:52:30

How often does she feed in the day? Are you breastfeeding?

I would speak to a BF counsellor (try the nct helpline 03003300771 who might be able to find someone local or ask your HV). If your baby is going for very long stretches day and night, is very sleepy, not gaining weight etc then something might be wrong eg tongue tie but hard to tell via MN without more details.

Cookiepants Mon 10-Feb-14 06:56:37

My DS was born very sleepy and for the first weeks I was doing the same as you. I gradually started increasing the length of time between me offering feeds. I would leave him asleep past 3 hours but not let him go past 5 iyswim ( if he cried to be fed I fed him). I also had him weighed regularly (weekly) and watched closely for signs of dehydration. He now feeds 3 -4 hourly through the day and sleeps 8 hours at night.

Wishihadabs Mon 10-Feb-14 07:01:15

Congratulations. I do believe some babies are like this. Can I ask how much she weighed at birth ? What does she weigh now ?

If above 4kg I would say she could feed 4hrly through the day ( that's 7am-11pm or 6am-10pm NOT 7-7, she still needs the dream feed ) then go through the night. If she's still under 4kg she still needs the night feed.

Cheerymum Mon 10-Feb-14 07:05:31

The baby should be having 7-8 feeds per day at this stage. There is no harm in waking a sleeping baby, it was the received wisdom in your mum's day, but if she's too sleepy to demand often enough, she needs to be woken (speaking as mum to twins who were a bit early, quite jaundiced and very sleepy early on). Speak to your HV again or ring one of the BF helplines - NCT or La Leche League. HV advice sounds sensible so far - it gives you a bit more night sleep and will help them get into a routine of sleeping more at night, but still ensures they feed plenty. Just smile at your mum and say the advice is different these days. Enjoy your baby. One advantage of the 3 hour thing and a slightly sleepy baby in the early weeks is that post feed you can sneak out alone for an hour or so if someone is with them - feels rebellious even if it's just to the supermarket to buy yourself a foodie treat. Well done you, enjoy your lovely baby. Anxiety and paranoia are normal at this stage, so don't stress more about feeling anxious!! Set regular alarms on your phone and stop looking at the clock, demand feeding will kick in soon enough.

Mirshid Mon 10-Feb-14 07:20:00

Thank you! She was 6lb 7 and 1/2 oz at birth and dropped to 5lb 11 but on mon was 6lb 9oz... She is having plenty of wet and dirty nappies and seems fine in herself but obviously that is with me waking her regularly. When she does feed she is feeding for a good 30 mins and I haven't got any pain/ cracked nipples etc so assume latch is ok, they checked for tongue tie several times whilst we were in hospital so don't think it's that.
We are going to go to the local breast feeding cafe this morning and see what they say.

Mirshid Mon 10-Feb-14 07:22:36

Thank you! She was 6lb 7 and 1/2 oz at birth and dropped to 5lb 11 but on mon was 6lb 9oz... She is having plenty of wet and dirty nappies and seems fine in herself but obviously that is with me waking her regularly. When she does feed she is feeding for a good 30 mins and I haven't got any pain/ cracked nipples etc so assume latch is ok, they checked for tongue tie several times whilst we were in hospital so don't think it's that.
We are going to go to the local breast feeding cafe this morning and see what they say.

Wishihadabs Mon 10-Feb-14 07:31:46

Agree she needs to be woken she is still too small to go longer than 4-5 hours. I think your mum is just plain wrong.

MaryWestmacott Mon 10-Feb-14 07:37:49

While I wouldn't recommended following the whole thing, you could look at the Gina ford book for spacing of feeds, I believe it memory serves it's a pattern of between 2-3 hourly in the day at this stage from her. Might be easier than you clock watching.

(And if I'd done the "never wake a sleeping baby" thing, dc1 would have starved and/or slept all day, then be awake all night. Nod and smile at your mum.)

Kittymalinky Mon 10-Feb-14 07:49:03

I think the advice you have got from your HV is accurate shock once they've regained birth weight let them sleep as long as they want at night but keep feeding them every 2-3 hours during the day.

Don't worry if she's not waking and asking for feeds, it probably means that she's not got to the point of being very hungry (which is fine).

Sounds like you're doing a grand job x

KippyVonKipperson Mon 10-Feb-14 09:31:06

I think what you are doing sounds right, hope you get some reassurance at the BF group too. My baby was just like yours, I had to wake him up during the day to feed for the first few weeks. Don't worry at all about waking a sleeping baby during the day, the HV is correct.

Mirshid Mon 10-Feb-14 13:57:22

Thank you all for your reassurance! Got more reassurance at baby cafe, it appears I'm not the only one with a sleepy head! HV was there today so got her weighed and she has gained 8 oz in a week so think we are on track. HV says to carry on waking her in day but maybe try leaving a bit longer as a trial on one occasion to see if she wakes but says she will get there eventually. The upside is that I do get some sleep I suppose!

Mirshid Sun 16-Feb-14 10:13:28

Just bumping this does anyone else have a sleepy baby, if so when did 'demanding' kick in, beginning to think there is something wrong despite assurances from HV and breast feeding helpline

StormyBrid Sun 16-Feb-14 10:18:25

This probably won't reassure, but mine's eleven months and has never demanded milk, or food (since we started weaning). She's small but grows steadily, I fed her by the clock because she never asked for milk. My guess is some babies just aren't fussed about hunger? If yours stays like this, be prepared for weaning to be soul destroying.

Artandco Sun 16-Feb-14 10:29:13

Mine never really did.
As a guide I fed every 2 hrs in the day and 3 at night until 2 weeks.
2-6 weeks I fed 2 hrs in day, 4 hrs at night.
6-10 weeks 2 in day, didn't wake at night but on average woke once ( so 4/5 hrs)
Around 10-12 weeks they still fed 2 hrs in day, but slept through the night (ie from 11pm when we took to bed, until 8am ish)

Around 4/5 months started more like 3 hr feeds but sometimes still 2.

So basically here more feeds in the day equalled more sleep at night

Cakesnbeer Sun 16-Feb-14 10:44:37

Mirshid it is great that your baby put on 8oz, you were absolutely right to wake her as she had a bit of catching up to do. I had to correct a couple of the above comments though, 4 hardly feeds are not usual for a bf baby and def not when it has taken 4 weeks to regain birth weight and 7-8 breast feeds is also much lower than the usual number for a bf baby.

Some babies don't demand so much and sometimes their gain suffers because of this and they gain more if fed more frequently. Your baby might yet get more demanding or your offerings may be timely enough to beat her to it. Once her gain is established you could see what she chooses but lots of us offer frequently in the day. Great that it's all going well for you both now.

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