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Newborn eating / sleeping routine?

(25 Posts)
Annie456 Tue 04-Oct-11 09:09:06

I know 3 weeks is too early for any kind of routine but because all the books seem to suggest DS should be sleeping for around -15 hours per day I'm a bit worried that he gets half that (at the most) and I just wondered what anyone elses newborns do?

DS1 sleeps for about an hour at a time during the night and wakes up for a 15 min feed and in the day he doesn't sleep at all but still feeds every one to two hours...I'm shattered from getting up every hour and not being able to nap in the day so wondered if it was normal and how long it will last?!!!

Edsmummy Tue 04-Oct-11 14:54:38

Gosh, you poor thing. You must be knackered.

The thing is, all babies are different, some sleep all day and all night - some hardly at all!

Has your Health Visitor given you any advice? How much milk does he take? Often if they have a full tummy they will sleep for a while - but that's not always the case!

It's at about 3 weeks that we all start thinking about a routine, novelty wears off a bit and we think 'Bloody Hell, I've got to look after this little bundle for the rest of its life - I better start getting it off to sleep otherwise I will go mental!'

But the truth is, they often find their own routine - give it another week or two and see how things pan out. Is there anyone who can help you during the day? Someone to watch the baby while you go off for a little nap?

I hope things settle down for you xx

broomformychin Tue 04-Oct-11 15:07:51

My dd is like that too! She barely gets any sleep! I suddenly realised at about 5 weeks that she needed my help to get to sleep and wouldn't drop off on her own. She's 11 weeks now and once she's been awake for about 2 hours I try and get her to sleep because otherwise she gets really grumpy. More often than not that means putting her in her sling as she always falls asleep there. I know how exhausted you must be starting to feel, it does get a bit better. My dd started off only sleeping for an hour-hour and a half at night but she does now sleep for 4-5 hours at night.

Annie456 Tue 04-Oct-11 18:17:01

No family near by but my mum is coming to stay for a few days which will help!

I know what you mean about 'helping'them go to sleep...he can often fall asleep on me but wakes up as soon as I put him down!! I'm thinking of moving him into a cot already to see if it improves his sleep-I think he might be waking himself up hitting the sides of the Moses just seems a bit early (3 weeks) to move him to a cot...

Ah well, I'm sure he'll change his pattern week by week at this stage!

Iggly Tue 04-Oct-11 18:22:04

Don't put him down! Keep him on you while you watch tv or pop in a sling and do what you need to. That'll be why he wakes so much - some babies need more human comfort than others, being only in this world such a short time. A big wide cot isn't as comfy as mummy smile

Also I found swaddling helped - so would swaddle DS and I could put him down for day naps (keeping him in the room with me generally with background noise on or the window open) and he'd be okay for a bit.

Night time - keep them near you, you're fighting a losing battle at this age because they need frequent feeding (small tummies, growth spurts plus building up your milk supply if you BF).

BikeRunSki Tue 04-Oct-11 18:29:21

Remember too, at 3 weeks babies' stomachs are about the size of a walnut, so they will need filling up quite often (she says, from the position of having a 3yo and having forgotten what it is like, and 37 wks pg so havn't remembered again yet).

MrsVidic Tue 04-Oct-11 18:31:15

Second the advice of keeping him on you. Newborns sleep very differently and need to be asleep for 5 mins if you are to put them down asleep as before that they are in a light sleep

crappyhappybabby Tue 04-Oct-11 18:38:06

Can you get him to feed for longer? My 5wo feeds for at least 40 mins and when she seems satisfied from one breast, I switch her to the other to make sure she is really full. I now give her a last feed at 7pm ish, swaddle her and put her down and she sleeps till around 4.30 am, which I can just about cope with!

Sleepglorioussleep Tue 04-Oct-11 18:45:33

Also, don't panic too much that this is his sleep pattern for life. Dd2 was awake for two hour stretches when newborn and would only sleep on me until very deeply asleep. 13 weeks now and sleeps 8-9 hour stetch at night, and will go down in basket when just asleep. And it could change as soon again before I take it foe granted! If having 3 children has taught me anything it's the transience of baby sleep patterns!

Sleepglorioussleep Tue 04-Oct-11 18:47:40

Crappyhappy-you know your baby is unusual don't you? In a good way!

Octaviapink Tue 04-Oct-11 19:38:34

Yes, crappyhappybaby's baby is MOST unusual! DS (now 10 months) used to be awake every forty minutes around the clock and is still waking at least four times in the night for feeds - we're up for the day at about 4.45am. grin

Iggly Tue 04-Oct-11 19:51:46

crappy, you can just about cope grin I would have been happy with that at 5 months let alone 5 weeks grin

crappyhappybabby Tue 04-Oct-11 20:15:47

It could be that my Dd is quite big - 10lb at birth!(ouch). And I have not had her weighed recently but she sure is packing it on and I think this prob helps her to sleep. smileThe reason I mentioned it here to the OP is because she said that her ds feeds for only 15 mins and I wondered if she could get him to feed for longer. All 3 of mine took at least 30 mins for each feed and while I have had my fair share of sleepless nights, they have usually been regular nappers.

Iggly Tue 04-Oct-11 20:38:07

Nope - DS was 9lb 4oz and took a loooooooong time to sleep for long stretches regularly!

Annie456 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:19:06

Today seems to have been better-a couple of car journeys and walks in the pram has meant he has slept a bit during the could just be a coincidence but it's been much easier to put him down when he's not over tired...we'll see how the night goes!

Regarding feeding, he will feed for 30 mins during the day but at night he falls asleep after about 15 (i try to keep it dark to avoid him waking up completely) I guess I might have to take the risk and put some lights on so he stays awake enough to have a decent feed...
Thanks so much for the help and reassurance! X

Kiwiinkits Wed 05-Oct-11 04:41:01

Routine is not a bad word at this age - provided you interpret the word 'routine' as a regular pattern instead of a strict set of rules. Babies of this age should be napping every 2 or so hours. Baby will sleep soooo much better at night if you get a good napping rythym going during the day. The best advice I ever got with a newborn was to follow a pattern given by the acronym E.A.S.Y. (It's from the Baby Whisperer, a great book if you're looking for good 'instructions').

E = Eating. Every 2-3 hours at this stage.
A = Activity On a playmat or fiddling with a toy for anything from 20 minutes to an hour
S = Sleep. Naps. You know it's nap time when baby starts grizzling, rubbing his eyes, turning away, disengaging. Naps can be from 30 mins to 1.5 hours during the day. Swaddling in stretchy fabric is great for newborns.
Y = Time for you. Do your jobs when baby sleeps.

Follow the same pattern every day, all day and you'll notice an improvement in baby's temperament. Don't try to do too much during the day, as young babies can get overwhelmed very easily. You know your baby best, of course.

Good luck x

PS my personal view is that letting them sleep on you, carrying them around everywhere leads to bad sleep associations later on. At least, it has with all the babies I know whose parents have done that. But everyone's different, so do what's best for you.

Octaviapink Wed 05-Oct-11 19:02:40

My experience is totally different from Kiwiinkits - all the babies I know who had what they need when they needed it and were worn in slings etc have grown into happy little people who can cheerfully put themselves to sleep. Also, pay no attention to what the Baby Whisperer says about not feeding to sleep/ just before a nap. If they go to sleep without eating they can be awake again in 20 minutes!

candr Wed 05-Oct-11 19:19:51

Hi, was pleased to see your thread as my DS is 3 weeks too and we are trying to get a mild routine going. We have been writing down his sleep and feed times and duration and are trying to fit that to a routine. He does cluster feed sometimes and we have had some nights where he sleeps 3 hours then feeds and others where he is up till 4 am. I am now trying to distract him between feeds and sleep to stretch out the time to 2-3 hours between feeds so he feeds for 40min plus and then sleeps better. It doesn't work all the time and he has colic which mkes him cry and have a sore tummy so sometimes falls asleep on us and is moved to moses basket. I have found some feeds end him to sleep and others give him energy (great in the middle of the night!) but his awake perods are more alert so am using play mat etc. Try to get yours and his routine to fit together at some points so you can have a kip too. Good luck

BertieBotts Wed 05-Oct-11 19:25:43

I think it's definitely about what suits you. The baby doesn't actually care that much, unless you get one of the opinionated ones. grin The key thing to remember is that actually what you do now has very little bearing on what happens later on, so it's totally fine to think for the moment and do whatever works now, whether that's constantly holding them and feeding them and rocking them to sleep and cuddling and gazing wondering how you made a tiny little person, or whether that's trying to get some sort of routine worked out so that you know what to expect and when you are likely to get a break or have to feed or whatever, or something in between the two. And if you start to feel that your approach isn't working, it's fine to give up or to change it, as long as you don't expect your baby to suddenly adapt to change with no transition period!

The thing I heard about sleep for newborns was that generally if they stay awake for longer than an hour, they are likely to be overstimulated (even in what seems like a boring or calm situation to us, it can still be massively stimulating compared to in the womb) and so if they are coming up to an hour of being awake, it's a good idea to try and recreate an environment where they do feel calm, so feeding, perhaps with movement, playing a song that you listened to a lot while pregnant, going to a quiet, low-light place, or putting them on your chest, either lying back in a chair/bed or in a sling, so that they can snuggle in to your familiar smell and hear your familiar heartbeat. (Skin to skin is good too as it releases endorphins which naturally make them feel calm.) Some babies will fall asleep naturally after a short time of being awake when they are tiny but others find it more difficult. As they get older, they will increase the amount of time they can happily be awake and take things in, but I did find it helpful when DS was tiny to think in terms of awake periods rather than sleep periods.

(Also, baby whisperer is a loon for this cheerfully-made point alone: "Do your jobs when baby sleeps!" confused shock grin)

Octaviapink Wed 05-Oct-11 19:28:06

Sorry candr but three hours between feeds is FAR too long for a three week old newborn! Your baby is eminently sensible and has a stomach the size of a marble - he knows when he is hungry. Sorry, but you don't! He has needs, not wants at this point - feed him when he asks for it or his colic might actually get worse!

BertieBotts Wed 05-Oct-11 19:36:46

That was a bit of a lecture, Octavia. Candr's only following advice she's been given or read in certain books I'm sure. Just felt that could have been worded in a gentler way (though it is correct!)

candr Wed 05-Oct-11 19:46:33

I see where you are coming from but my baby was born small and have been told by hospitle, HV etc to feed every 3 hours and to wake him up at that time if he is asleep. he seems to wake himself up every 3 hours during night but feeds more during the day. he barely lost any weight in week 1 so were all pleased with that. as i said earlier he does cluster feed sometimes and if he is really hungry and not distractable then i feed him.(am doing so now so sorry for lack of caps) it is amazing they eat so much and for so long with such tiny tummies!

coraltoes Thu 06-Oct-11 16:40:59

In my opinion, Feeding to sleep is fine in newborns but I agree with the books when they say it can lead to bad sleep associations, and would drop ths habit at the 3 month mark. I never liked DD sleeping on me as it wasn't ever as comfy or her back as a bed, and meant I was stuck under her. There is nothing wrong with a basket or cot. The baby whisperer was really useful in the early days, for helping to spot the tired signals and avoid the dreaded overtired freak outs we sometimes had.

When we hit the 3 month mark my DD had figured out her own pattern / routine and we just worked with that going forward. It is handy to jot down when she eats and sleeps so you can see over time if a pattern is emerging that you can work with. turns out my DD was doing Gina ford without me even trying, so we now follow that routine loosely (still napping in the pm thanks mrs Ford).

Candr, I am with you. I fed my DD every 3 hours and that is totally fine according to the midwives, paed, and hv I spoke to for a normal sized baby. Obviously premies a different!

Octaviapink Thu 06-Oct-11 19:36:00

Yes, Bertie, you're probably right - I could have been less blunt! It's on my mind at the moment because I'm trying to get some research started into the link between the current obesity epidemic and the craze for routine-feeding that started in the 50s and 60s. The premise being that babies who aren't demand-fed end up having to 'switch off' their brain's hunger signals and as a result a) come to associate food with things other than hunger (eg comfort) and b) don't know when they're full because that part of their brain isn't working properly. Obesity is far less of an issue in countries where routine-feeding never became fashionable.

coraltoes Fri 07-Oct-11 09:08:43

Octavia, sounds interesting. Which countries are you comparing? I'd have expected diet differences, growth of commercialized food, lack of family meals due to growth of employment in women/mothers to be a bigger contributor to obesity. Would be interested to hear more though.

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