Formula fed newborn will not sleep

(79 Posts)
Inapickle123 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:36:36

So anxious.

Baby born yesterday and wouldn't take to BF. Went down FF route because he was so upset and he slept brilliantly in the hospital.

Now at home, he simply will not settle. He's taking enough milk but will not sleep for any longer than 20 minutes, waking up grunting, grizzling, high pitched screams-he seems so unhappy.

He's in a Moses basket and will sleep a little better when held but it's only an extra 10 min or so.

I know its early days but this can't be right-surely, given the amount he's taking (30ml-as advised by MW) he should be out for 3-4 hours. He just won't settle and I don't know what to do.

Checked nappy. Feed. Winded. Checked temperature. Swaddled for bap. We've swaddled (arms in and out), tucked blankets in, hot water bottle in basket before putting him down. He's got a onesie, sleep suit, sheet and cellular blanket on.

Mini cries, squealing, rapid breathing, grunting, occasional cries-we don't run directly to him unless he sounds super distressed but it's really hard because we're naturally anxious that we're doing something wrong and he's clearly uncomfy.

If anyone has any idea as to what is going on, please respond!

purplemurple1 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:38:50

Have you tried raising the head of his basket? (can help with wind)

does he finish the 30mls? if so, then I would add an extra oz (30mls). 30mls is only 1oz of milk.

there is also no way either of mine went more than 1-2 hours between feeds at that age so I would change your expectations of getting 3-4hours between feeds

purplemurple1 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:44:54

Are you sure it's enough food - I'm not in the UK somaybe its different - we were told 90 every 3hrs at 10days old.

also you cant spoil a newborn so if he wants held just hold him. He is in a strange new world so he will want to be held close a lot

ExBrightonBell Sat 18-Jan-14 18:47:46

Firstly the anxiety is normal and completely understandable, please try and be kind to yourselves.

Secondly, I don't think it's usual for a newborn to go 3-4 hours between feeds without being grumpy. Has someone told you that this is what you "should" be doing? Could you try feeding less but more often?

Also, do you have a sling? Sometimes tiny newborns aren't happy when they aren't being held. Not that many hours ago he was inside you, hearing you and feeling you constantly. A sling means you can hold him close but also move around and use your hands. That could help him calm.

I think my ds spent the first 2 weeks at home being held by either me or my partner! Looking back now it was lovely - at 18 months he's far too busy a toddler to stop and give me a snuggle for very long!

lilyaldrin Sat 18-Jan-14 18:49:42

He probably just needs to be held. Most newborns won't be put down, regardless of how you feed them.

Ra88 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:54:03

1oz doesn't seem enough to me ? Also try propping something under his mattress at the top end as he may have reflux like my dd did

dannydyerismydad Sat 18-Jan-14 18:54:25

Congratulations! It's a good job new babies are cute, because they can also be very scary.

Has your little one been checked for tongue tie? This can affect ability to latch when breastfeeding and can also be linked with reflux and digestive issues.

A newborn tummy is tiny - about the size of a grape. It needs constant filling up, because it can't hold much.

Whether to breast or formula feed is totally your choice - as long as baby is fed, that's the main thing, but if you still want to breastfeed it will still be possible. Please get in contact with your midwife or one of the breastfeeding helplines for support.

Go to bed with your baby - lots of skin to skin will calm and sooth him. Until very recently he was part of you, now he just wants to be as close to you as possible.

Inapickle123 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:54:32

He would only take 5-10ml at a time, doze for 10 then wake up. We were told by the health visitor today that he needs to take 30ml before we can attempt to put him down but it's a total struggle. He was pretty little so this is quite a bit for him and its a battle to get him too eat before he nods off (for all of 20min)

He just seems so, so unhappy and I just feel so useless.

If he had been difficult in the hospital, I would be less upset but he was so content. In hindsight, the hospital has swing cot things and he's a fidgeted so he was probably waking but rocking himself back to sleep.

dannydyerismydad Sat 18-Jan-14 19:00:18

If he takes tiny bits at a time, follow his lead. He knows what he wants, and you're responding to his needs. Not all babies are the same and they don't all conform to health visitors patterns.

The first couple of weeks can be overwhelming, but you will work it out and then he'll change all the rules

ExBrightonBell Sat 18-Jan-14 19:02:15

Don't forget that in hospital it's entirely possible that the reason he was quiet was that he was still a bit shocked from birth. I think that is quite usual.

I am puzzled why the HV is giving you specific amounts of formula to give - is your ds jaundiced or very low birth weight? General NHS advice is to feed on demand ie however frequently baby indicates and however much they want to take.

Remember that you don't have to put your baby down! It's not compulsory. If he doesn't like being put in a Moses basket then don't, just hold him/sling him.

Fairylea Sat 18-Jan-14 19:05:12

Please don't listen to the midwives about how much he should be having. Yes use it as a rough guide but generally babies do tell you when they've had enough (they will either go to sleep on the bottle or spit some of it out or turn their head away). Ds and dd were milk guzzlers and both were drinking way more than 30mls even as newborns. I just went with it and they both seemed much more contented.. I also used a dummy from very early when they seemed full up but still restless. (Dd is 11 now and ds 19 months both formula fed).

Also hold your baby lots ... They want to be close to you. Swaddling with a light muslin cloth really helped my two to settle if I needed to put them down and gradually they got used to the basket etc.

The first few weeks are really hard. Do whatever you need to do to survive!!

lanbro Sat 18-Jan-14 19:10:02

Both my babies spent the first few weeks of their lives sleeping on my chest, day and night. Good excuse for lots of cuddles!

happyyonisleepyyoni Sat 18-Jan-14 19:10:29

He is only a day old. Things will change every single day for the next few weeks. It is very normal for newborns to feed almost constantly for the first few days. Keep feeding him on demand and cuddling him if he doesn't settle. Just take one day at a time for now.

Very few babies go 3/4 hours between feeds and almost none in the newborn period.

CuteLittleToes Sat 18-Jan-14 19:15:12

He was content and sleeping in the hospital because he was in shock/tired from birth. I think most babies do that - they sleep a lot for the first 24-48h, and then they show their true face start getting restless and feed little and often. At least mine did.

As said previously, it's a whole new big scary world for him, so he wants to be held and comforted. Try keeping him awake during Feds by rubbing his palms and stroking cheeks when you see he's nodding off. That could encourage him to take more. But I really doubt he can take a whole ounce at a time. Their stomachs are size of a cooked chickpea when they are born, so try feeding little and often and hold him close so that he feels safe and secure.

Congrats on your baby thanks

Oh sweetheart, it is bloody scary and overwhelming but you aren't doing anything wrong - neither is he, you are all learning how to do all this being a parent and being a baby malarkey.

Be kind to yourself, react to the baby as and when he wants something (we all have to guess at what this is in the early days, be it your first or your fifteenth!!)

Health Visitors are brilliant sources of support and guidance, they aren't the final word in his things should be done though. Not all babies are average and fit into a one-size fits all feeding routine.

I breastfed both my DC's so can't help with formula quantity unfortunately, but I agree with trying little and often (making sure the 'little' meets Formula guidance for his age/weight) and if after a day/night he is still grumbly you could try another ounce per feed, as suggested above?

His needs right now are food, rest and comfort. Do what you got to do to meet those needs and he should settle?

It is bloody hard work, IT GETS EASIER, you're doing brilliantly.

Congrats by the way flowers

omuwalamulungi Sat 18-Jan-14 19:21:11

I'm not trying to upset you further but my son is 7 months and has only just stopped wanting milk every 2 hours since starting to be weaned. At one point I thought he must have a tapeworm because he was just so hungry wink

I agree that adjusting your expectations will help, it's only his second day on earth, the only thing he is sure of at the moment is you.

The best advice anyone can give you is to take each day as it comes, you just have to get through it and over time it gets easier, for him as well.

And congratulations flowers

Fairylea Sat 18-Jan-14 19:23:29

Just wanted to add neither of mine ever went 3-4 hours between feeds... I think ds was having 6 oz every two hours by about 4 months!! However they both slept 7-7 by about 12 weeks which is unusual so I guess they were determined to fit all their feeds in during the day!!

You don't have to feel bad about running to your baby at every cry- do it! That's why it feels natural. Just go with what feels best for you.

I'd offer more milk. Ds2 is 10 days old and was drinking 2ozs right from the start, it was taking forever for him to do it tho!

we've gone up a teat size as he was getting bored and falling asleep while feeding.

KongKickeroo Sat 18-Jan-14 19:31:44

Put something good on TV, pick him up and cuddle him. All day, all night if necessary. Walk him around if he's still unsettled. Take turns with your partner so you can each get some rest.

Offer small amounts of milk very regularly - yes even 20 mins after the last one if necessary! Gently rub his back afterwards to help any burps out.

You mention you don't run to him unless he sounds very distressed. Why not? Has someone advised you of this? Please don't worry about spoiling him etc - newborns need cuddles and to be held. It would actually be more worrying if he was content to sleep alone for hours at a time (my DS was like this at first - it turned out he was lethargic from jaundice - after this cleared he became just like your baby ie normal and healthy!)

As dannydyer said if you do want to try BF then it's definitely not too late - my DS wouldn't suck for 3 days after birth, then he got the hang of it and we are still bf 11 months later. It's very normal for a newborn not to take to it straight away. Of course if you prefer FF that's fine too smile

Doppledanger Sat 18-Jan-14 19:51:48

He will prob just want to be held and cuddled most of the time for the first few days, you really can't spoil a new born. Just feed little and often and see how you go.
I would also say just keep an eye on the rapid breathing a grunting and if it carries on perhaps call the ward and ask them about it.

curiousuze Sat 18-Jan-14 21:25:33

Just feed him till he's full, and let him sleep on you. Newborns need fed really frequently. HVs can talk crap at times. My second day home my son fed every ten minutes for 10 hours. Just go with it. There is no way the baby will sleep for 4 hours so don't stress! You're doing amazing xx

curiousuze Sat 18-Jan-14 21:29:11

Oh and pick him up when he cries, even if it's just a squeak - it's what you and he both want smile

BonaDrag Sat 18-Jan-14 21:32:47

I didn't FF but was pretty much chained to my newborn who would feed for 40 mins, sleep 40 mins, feed 40 minutes all the time. A kari me sling was the best purchase. I just strapped her on and she slept and I could move around and you know, pee and drink tea that sort of thing. I know it's hard at first OP but it will get a lot easier with every day

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