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10 days old... Feeding or needing comfort to get to sleep?

(25 Posts)
vmcd28 Mon 29-Nov-10 11:15:13

Now, I know he's very young, but I don't want to make a rod for my own back if I can help it.
Bfeeding is going fairly well during the day, with ds2 feeding every 3hrs or so, sometimes longer between feeds if he's asleep.
The problem is at night. Suddenly the 30-40 minute feeds are lasting 90 mins, and then he's wanting fed again an hour or so later. This hasn't happened every night, a few nights have been great with him needing two 30min feeds only.
But during the harder nights, he seems to want to suck on me to comfort himself to sleep, but doesn't seem to actually be drinking any milk - he's not sucking hard enough, imo.

Anyone have any advice? Is there anything I can do to shorten the night feeds, and anything I can do to start encouraging more of a routine? Eg is it a good idea for us to get ds2 up at the same time each day even if he's asleep? Should I try to wake him during the day for a feed (we've tried this already but he just won't stay awake sometimes)? Should I try to make the daytime feeds longer or will that make the night feeds worse...? Ugh, so many questions...

Thanks, folks xx

SlightlyTubbyHali Mon 29-Nov-10 11:32:38

There isn't much difference at this age IMO.

Feeding and comfort are both needs to one so tiny. Plus lots of sucking has its own benefits - ensuring your milk supply, and (I think) helping his head bones get back in shape after being squashed during birth.

He's programmed to keep you close at night to improve your milk supply and to ensure his own survival.

I don't think you can wake a newborn up - they simply won't be woken. And for daytime feeds, are you cutting them short at the moment? Just let him keep going until he's finished and I would always offer the other breast just in case.
What I would do with nights is, if he is starting to just nibble, unlatch him and just cuddle him for a bit. If you have him swaddled nice and tight he'll be warm and won't get a shock when you put him down in bed. I think with these things you just have to ride them out, especially where there is a "purpose" to what he is doing. It won't last forever, and he is so little and changing so fast that what he is doing now will seem like a distant memory in a couple of weeks.

With starting to put a routine in place, don't forget that each baby is different so a "one size fits all approach" will not always work, but I started out by putting a bedtime routine in place and treating night feeds differently (no eye contact, done in the dark etc). And then after that my girls and I had a period of negotiation until we reached a pattern we could both live with!

Ineedsomesleep Mon 29-Nov-10 11:42:45

vmcd, you are right in that he is still very young and I don't think you will make a rod for your own back. Research shows that if the child has its needs met at a young age it will grow to be a happier and more contented person.

With the daytime feeds I would try to feed him at least every 3 hours whether he is awake or not, say 7, 10, 1, 4, 7. Some babies will respond to this but others won't.

Sarahlou8 Mon 29-Nov-10 11:48:33

hi, my little girl is now 5 weeks old so I'm not so far ahead,.

Although I am in no hurry to introduce a routine at this age, I have two older children so in the morning I have to wake her to be fed at the same time to enable us to get to school, and she naturally has her evening bath at the same time as the other two when the bathroom is warmed by their showers.

we do not seem to have a pattern of feeding during the day, I just go with it and it seems every three or so hours - but nighttimes are definitely getting into a regular pattern, she 'cluster' feeds from 7.30pm (bathtime) until around 10pm which is when I put her down for the night. She then sleeps till 4am, and is woken by me at 7.30am after I've showered & dressed. I know this is a late-ish bedtime for some but it suits us as a family.

as for the feeding, yes mine does this as well, comfort sucking is more like a tickle and as you say, very little swallowing. My midwife told me to actively discourage this if it goes on too long (but not to stop altogether as it's extremely comforting)
I tend to let her stay on until the active feeding is over and she's been comfort sucking for a few minutes, then I take her off and put her on my shoulder to wind her and she normally nods off there and then. Sometimes she whimpers, but she never really protests when she's full.

In the early days, night feeds were taking around an hour but at 5 weeks, she's now taking about half an hour from waking to being back in her moses basket, so it does get easier!

And at 10 days, it's never to early to help them differentiate between night and day. Keep the noise up and lights on in the day - hoover, wash up, etc. At night, keep the lights low and keep interaction to a minimum, just a quiet snuggly cuddle etc

My problem here is at 4am I get just the most amazing smiles and it's sooooo hard not to talk, laugh and tell her how clever she is! smile

spidookly Mon 29-Nov-10 11:58:08

I've used a soother for both of mine for the middle of the night endless feeds.

Part of what I've seen happen is that they are feeding for comfort, but still getting milk and then getting a pain in their tummy because they have had too much, then they feed more for comfort, get more milk, cycle continues.

I've found giving a soother to suck on can break this cycle, as they get the comfort of sucking before they've found their fingers/thumb, and without the milk they don't want.

I do tend to suffer a little from oversupply though, so perhaps this wouldn't apply to you.

I wouldn't worry about "rod for your back" though - you made that rod when you got pregnant! From here on in it's all about figuring out what works best for you and your delightful little rod. Whatever way it works out, it's not going to be particularly convenient for you

vmcd28 Mon 29-Nov-10 12:07:34

Thanks for all the info and advice.

slightlytubby , no I'm not cutting back the length of day feeds, he just seems to be more satisfied more quickly by them than the night feeds. He naturally stops at 30-40 mins, whether he just falls asleep or stops feeding. If he falls asleep he usually stays asleep when I put him in his basket. But at night he feeds/sucks for longer then often seems grizzly, or wants to come back to me, even when he's fed forever AND was sound asleep in my arms...

edam Mon 29-Nov-10 12:26:19

Long night feeds are tough on the mother, I remember them well.

But please don't worry about 'making a rod for your own back', that's completely irrelevant for a 10 day old baby. He's still too little to have sorted out day and night yet - IIRC it's about six weeks when their bodies start to settle into a rhythm.

IME all you can do at this age is go with the flow. Dummy might be worth a try but then you get woken up when they lose the dummy... sorry, infancy is not an easy time!

Ineedsomesleep Mon 29-Nov-10 12:28:42

Some Mums say that taking the baby out during daylight and dressing them after the first feed helps them distinguish day from night sooner. It could be worth a try.

edam Mon 29-Nov-10 12:41:37

Good idea, ineedsomesleep. Worth a try, anyway. Babies need fresh air and daylight.

Unrulysun Mon 29-Nov-10 12:55:12

On the whole though the absolute first rule, especially with a newborn is not to wake a sleeping baby. I really would try to appreciate sleep when it comes. And at ten days they're really just getting used to the world and it can be a scary place - comfort is as important as feeding.

Ineedsomesleep Mon 29-Nov-10 13:01:16

Unruly, thats fine with the first DC but the subsequent ones usually get woken anyway.

Waking DC2 for feeds every 3 hours during the day worked for us but I appreciate that not every baby is the same, including DC1 grin

vmcd28 Mon 29-Nov-10 19:38:12

Unruly, why shouldn't you ever waken a baby ??

Ds1 was easy cos he'd feed while he slept but this wee mite goes from being wide awake and feeding to comatose, with not much in between.

Today's been hard too. He's feeding longer (around 70 mins each feed), and closer together (every 2.5 hrs), so one feed ends then the next begins before I know it. I hope to god this means he'll be less hungry during the night. Having a 5yo too makes this pattern of feeding impossible, and it's all getting on top of me, tbh. My hormones arent helping the way I feel...

Another question - how do you know for sure that he wants fed? Ths afternoon he woke up wailing, giving all the feeding signals - rooting around, frantically trying to put his hand in his mouth, licking his lips etc - but I picked him up, walked around a bit, and he dozed off for an hour. So, I'm confused as to how I know when he's definitely needing fed

theidsalright Mon 29-Nov-10 19:56:25

Comforting your new baby is a GOOD not a BAD thing. It's a wonderful thing that you can do it!

Three hours between feeds does sound like a looong time, todays pattern sounds more like a newborn to me (sorry!). DS did feeds like this for months.

At this stage I think you should keep offering BF for every peep, especially if you want to think about filling him up during the day so that he will potentially give you a little more rest at night.

Are you feeding him lying down at night? This saved my sanity (and I am no stranger to hormones and new babies driving you demented)as it shows here

MoonUnitAlpha Mon 29-Nov-10 20:11:06

At 10 days if he needs comforting then comfort him - those night feeds will get shorter and shorter before you know it.

And the BEST thing about breastfeeding a newborn in my opinion is it doesn't matter if they're hungry, tired, overstimulated, lonely, or anything else - the breast fixes almost anything. If in doubt, feed him.

I have always tried to feed ds as much as possible in the day, so he doesn't make up for it at night. As a newborn I never let him go more than 3 hours between feeds in the day, more often than not it was 1-2 hourly. For the first month all I did was feed him.

I found a bit more of a routine/bedtime didn't start to emerge til 6-8 weeks. There are no rods to be made.

vmcd28 Mon 29-Nov-10 21:35:08

theidsalright, thanks for your reply. Not sure if I was clear, but I meant 3hrs from the start of one feed to the start of the next, not 3hrs between feeds. Also, yes I feed him lying down. The only concern I have with this is I find myself dozing off, which makes me very nervous with my wee guy lying beside me.

Moon, do you find that feeding a lot during the day helps with the nighttimes?

Thanks, all, for confirming that he won't become dependent on me/bfeeding if I indulge him at this age.

Does anyone have any tips as to how to "indulge" the 10do without making 5yo feel left out? I'm doing all I can but I'm so tired atm that I have no idea what's going on!! Dh is great, making dinner, doing all nappy changes, bringing me cups of tea etc, so it's not as if I'm doing more than I should be

Fibilou Mon 29-Nov-10 21:59:49

cosleep, cosleep, cosleep !

MoonUnitAlpha Mon 29-Nov-10 22:15:30

Definitely lie down and feed, don't worry about dozing off. Just make sure your bed is safe and he can't get under the duvet or pillows - you won't squash him. Dozing through night feeds saved my sanity.

Difficult to say if lots of day feeds helped with fewer nightfeeds, but my ds has just recently started going 3 hours between feeds in the day (instead of 2) and is now waking twice in the night instead of once. I'm going to try to feed more frequently in the day to see if he sleeps longer at night again.

vmcd28 Tue 30-Nov-10 08:41:50

Thanks again
Last night began horrendously. Went to bed at 10, ds ready to feed. He clung on for four hours in total. He didn't actively feed for much of that time. He fell sound asleep a few times but when he was laid down into his basket he'd wake up three mins later, screaming the place down. After four hours, he fell asleep and slept for 3.5hrs.
I don't know what was wrong but boy was it exhausting.

mummyshreddingnora Tue 30-Nov-10 08:53:19

Just skim read so apologies if this has already been said - but at 10 days they have their first big growth spurt - so will want to feed more often and for longer for a good few days - the more you allow this to happen the sooner the spurt will be over as your supply will increase quicker HTH

Igglybuff Tue 30-Nov-10 09:07:32

It could be a growth spurt - there are so so many in the first few weeks, with DS they all merged into one big blur. I remember the non stop night feeds, giving him to DH after two hour marathons so I could get some sleep. It did get better after a few weeks but still feeds every two hours for a looooooong time. He settled into a routine around 8 weeks (although all went up the spout around the 3-5 month sleep regression).

tiktok Tue 30-Nov-10 09:33:03

Whether it's a growth spurt or not, it is totally normal for a newborn to settle calmly and well snuggled up to mummy, and to wake up screaming when he is not there.

Challenge to parents is to enable the snuggling to happen and to have rest ourselves.

That is, however, easier than trying to change the normal needs and behaviour or a baby.

Hope you find a way to rest, vcmd.

MoonUnitAlpha Tue 30-Nov-10 13:03:03

vmcd, by the sound of it the only thing "wrong" (from the baby's point of view) is that every time he fell asleep you put him in a basket!

In my book, anything that gets you more sleep is the right thing to do. If you'd left him sleeping next to you, maybe you'd have got 7.5 hours sleep instead of 3.5?

This stage doesn't last for ever - since about 8 weeks my ds has been going to bed quite happily on his own. Though from 5am I always bring him back into bed with me to ensure an extra couple of hours sleep grin

vmcd28 Tue 30-Nov-10 16:54:17

Thanks everyone, very much.

I'm too nervous to have him sleep beside me. I'm a heavy sleeper, and terrified something happened cos I didn't wake up...

MoonUnitAlpha Tue 30-Nov-10 17:59:34

I sleep a lot lighter when ds is next to me - I'm really aware of where he is in the bed and wake at the first grumble. I didn't intend to co-sleep initially but after a few instances of falling asleep during a nightfeed, and once waking up in the morning to find ds in bed next to me and having no recollection of getting him out of his cot shock I thought it was safer just to set the bed up for safe co-sleeping.

However, I did find that very strong need to be close to me lessened as he got bigger, and by about 8 weeks I could put him to bed in his cot, and now after his first nightfeed he goes back in his cot.

Fibilou Tue 30-Nov-10 23:06:03

i used to be a heavy sleeper. now i wake at dd's tiniest noise.

Evolution designed us to cosleep, you would sleep totally differently with baby in the bed.

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