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Help! Newborn won't stay awake long enough to feed

(19 Posts)
MrsChemist Sun 28-Aug-11 20:08:42

DS2 was born yesterday morning, and he's only fed three times since then.

He keeps latching on, getting a good mouthful of nipple, and then dozing off almost instantly. I've tried everything to wake him up, but it's not getting him to wake up that's the problem, it's keeping him awake long enough to actually start sucking.

Does anyone know what I can do? I'm worried he's starving sad

Georgimama Sun 28-Aug-11 20:28:10

Congratulations on the birth of your son.

Contact your community midwife now - if she hasn't been in touch yet to arrange to see you (I presume you are not in hospital) ring the ward where you gave birth or the emergency community midwife number. Both numbers should be on your notes. DD is 4 weeks old and was very sleepy in the early days, she lost a slightly alarming 15 ounces in the first three days but is now fine. Strip him off to feed, tickle his toes if he starts to nod off. Wake him for a feed if he hasn't woken himself in the last four hours.

MrsChemist Sun 28-Aug-11 20:43:18

I saw the community midwife today, and she helped him latch on for a feed, but then didn't give me much more help, and I've phoned them this evening. They said give him a bath, change him etc. to keep him awake, but he's awake until he's on the nipple, then it's like a switch is flicked, and he's asleep.

The community midwives said ring back at ten if he's not fed, and they'll send someone over tomorrow.

Will I need to cup feed until then though?

Albrecht Sun 28-Aug-11 20:43:48

Congratulations on your new baby.

That isn't very many feeds, no wonder you are concerned - I was told atleast every 4 hours. I agree with phoning your midwife or labour ward asap. Don't worry about being a pain, this is one of those times.

I think newborns won't be starving as the survive on little amounts of colostrum but some of them can shut down a bit to conserve energy.

I found blowing on ds face and hair, tickling under ears and behind the neck would keep him awake to feed. Also I know people suggesting stripping them down so they are a chilly but depends if you find that a bit cruel.

Have you had meconium poos? Wees? If you are using disposable nappies you can pop a cotton wool ball in to see if it gets wet.

Have you thought about syringe feeding? Hand express some colostrum and suck it up with a small needle-less syringe and then you can squirt it into him. He won't have to use precious energy sucking that way.

MrsChemist Sun 28-Aug-11 20:51:09

Thank you smile I do have a few medicine syringes, so I could sterilise one and syringe feed him.

Gastonladybird Sun 28-Aug-11 20:52:26

Agree re talking to MW but dd was super sleepy too. Blowing or a wipe with damp flannel helped.

MrsChemist Sun 28-Aug-11 20:58:18

Tried the damp flannel and the blowing. sad
If I put him down, he soon rouses and gets a bit fussy. So I think he does want to feed, but he just seems satisfied to latch on and not suck.

tiktok Sun 28-Aug-11 21:03:00

This is urgent - speak to a midwife tonight, OP. You can call the maternity ward if needs be.

There may be no need for panic stations but they will ask you questions and ascertain the whole situation - things like your baby's weight, other issues eg jaundice, nappies. You may be advised to hand express. The main worry would be dehydration at this stage.

Hope all is well.

tiktok Sun 28-Aug-11 21:04:33

Please don't squirt milk into your baby's mouth - this is not a safe way to do it.

Speak to someone in real life .

ginmakesitallok Sun 28-Aug-11 21:06:16

DD1 was similar when she was a newborn - I found lifting one of her arms gently made her wake enough to continue feeding (I also whispered to her that tigers were coming - but don't think that was material) Blowing gently on her face helped -as did tickling her feet. Good luck

Iggly Sun 28-Aug-11 21:12:39

Can you keep him with you at all times? lie down with him for a long stretch and strip him and you? Then let him feed, sleep, feed etc?

devonshiredumpling Sun 28-Aug-11 21:20:36

i agree with the syringe feeding thing but trickle it in rather than squirt keep up the expressing as your supply might dwindle as your baby feeds more he will gain strenght to feed more . did you have a lot of pain relief or drugs during labour as this might be hindering him feeding

bebejones Sun 28-Aug-11 21:20:45

I syringe fed my DD in hospital for 5 days on the advice of my MWs because she just wouldn't feed/was sleepy. When I came home they gave me a load of sterile syringes to feed her if she started not BFing properly again. Was hard work, but at least I knew she was getting something.

Contact your MW asap, they may be able to help, or send someone out, get someone to help you/show you how to do it. I found that it was often easier to get DD to feed when she had had a taste of milk alrerady. Really hope you get some help.

MrsChemist Sun 28-Aug-11 21:23:26

Oh, I wasn't going to squirt it. The community midwife just said drip it in, one drop at a time.

emsyj Sun 28-Aug-11 21:24:51

No advice, but this happened to me too with my DD. She just wouldn't stay awake to feed. I ended up staying in hospital for nearly a week for bf support and the midwives offered her a cup feed every 2 hours round the clock. I expressed once my milk came in, and prior to that a kind lovely midwife expressed my colostrum for me (was on diamorphine and a bit out of it, so grateful for the help!) and DD was fed it with a syringe. She also had a little donor milk from the milk bank.

Hope you get the support you need. My DD did finally wake up enough to feed very well exactly one week after birth, and we didn't look back after that. Best of luck with it all, ask for support if you need it and keep asking until you get it.

moojie Sun 28-Aug-11 21:43:51

If you haven't had much success I would ring the midwives again and ask to be seen. By all means strip baby off to have skin to skin but you must keep him warm too. Babies use up quite a bit of energy to keep warm and if his feeding isn't great he needs to keep that energy to keep feeding. Babies can be very sleepy in the first few days but this can also be caused by a low blood sugar. If baby is at all 'jittery' then you need to see someone soonish.

Littlefish Sun 28-Aug-11 21:50:23

OP, please listen to Tiktok and do what she says.

MrsChemist Mon 29-Aug-11 02:41:50

I rang the midwives again and had a long chat with one of them. She told me to just keep trying every so often, so we had a snooze and tried again and he's feeding now and has been for about 30 minutes now.
I'll get a midwife to come round tomorrow, but hopefully we are getting the hang of it. He certainly seemed more alert after a rest.

Thanks again everyone smile

Georgimama Mon 29-Aug-11 07:08:11

Hi mrschemist, hope you've had a good night and that MW is coming your way sooner rather than later today. Keep trying skin to skin - brilliant excuse to lie down and do nothing but rest.

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