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VERY sleepy newborn... she has not once woken herself for a breastfeed...

(39 Posts)
icravecheese Thu 13-Oct-11 15:58:33

Hi All,

DD (baby no.3 - you'd think i'd be experienced & all that!!) is 6 days old. She is a mega sleepy baby & I have to literally wake up her for every single feed. She has never yet woken herself for a feed.

She is awake more at night than in the day (eg might not settle for 2 to 3 hours at night after a feed, so I just keep on feeding her til she conks out).

My problem is, I'm finding it really hard to stir her for feeds - she lost 9% of birth weight by day 3 (but she is a ELCS baby & was carrying alot of mucus / fluid after birth so potentially birth weight inflated due to the excess fluid, plus she had tongue tie, which was cut on day 2, so didnt feed all that well days 1&2 until tongue tie was cut) & on day 5 was at only 6% birth weight loss, so midwives happy with that. She is being weighed again tomoro on day 7.

I wake her every 3 hours in the day to feed (in fact, usually start trying to stir her after 2.5hrs), and at night its variable - some nights she sleeps soundly so I wake her after 4 hours sleep, some nights she feeds for England (as per above - won't settle again for several hours so I just keep feeding her til she conks out!).

I know its early days, and she will probably change very soon & become mega wakeful / feeding frenzy baby, but in the meantime, does anyone else have experience of a very sleepy baby & how did you go about waking the baby for feeds / keeping them awake during feeds? THe tickling toes, nappy changing mid-feed stripping babygro off doesnt always work & I'm getting desperate for new ideas!!

PrincessScrumpy Thu 13-Oct-11 16:14:42

If it was me I think I'd express some feeds and use a bottle just so I can see how much dd is getting. I also would wait until 3 hours or 3.5 hours to give her a chance to wake for a feed - if you're waking her every 2.5hours then she won't be waking for a feed as she won't be hungry yet, if she hasn't woken after 3.5 hours then I'd say you should wake her, nappy change and feed in a vest. I find stroking dds cheeks keeps them sucking even if they look asleep.

I had twins 6 weeks ago and dd1 was full of mucus, lost 11% in 4 days so we have had lots of mw and hv visits since getting home from SCBU. So stressful but all good now - having said that, they have slept lots today and went for 5 hours (I was busy with dd1 and didn't realise the time) so I woke them for feeds (wish they'd do it at night).

Sorry it's not much help, but perhaps a few bottles would reassure you until she is on track. x

MigGril Thu 13-Oct-11 16:19:03

I haven't experance a sleepy baby who wasn't gaining weight so can't give you any tips of waking up.

But I would say that in a baby that hasn't regainded birth weight that every 3hours isn't enough feeding during the day. You should try at lest every 2hours really.

I do belive that skin to skin contact works well even with sleepy baby's so if you can try keeping her as close as possible all the time. I know this isn't easy when you have older one's but you could try carrying her in a sling. A streachy wrap with you topless and her just in a nappy would work well and feed at the slighest snuffle. Skin to skin is supposed to help sleepy baby's wake up and demand food.

MigGril Thu 13-Oct-11 16:22:36

PrincessScrumpy - a baby this young could quit happly feed every hour or more so saying she wouldn't be hungery untill 3hours isn't helpfull. This is a baby who's not yet gaining well and therefore possibly sleeping to conserve energy more feeding is need not less.

MigGril Thu 13-Oct-11 16:24:00

By they way how are her nappies? Has she lot's of wet and dirty nappies?

tiktok Thu 13-Oct-11 16:33:12

OP - is the midwife in touch and has she seen your baby recently?

All could be well, but 3hrly feed are not very frequent .Princessscrumpy - leaving longer gaps is absolutely the opposite of what would help, sorry....but there is sense in trying to ascertain cues from your baby instead of the timed waking up all the time. If you keep your baby close to you, sleeping on you and not in a crib, you will see when she is just starting to stir. This should be happening day and night.

Use both breasts at least each time. Watch for yellow poos - that's a good sign.

Of course as you say, all may be well and she may just be a slow starter.

No need to mess with expressing and giving in a bottle at this stage.

icravecheese Thu 13-Oct-11 17:35:22

thanks for the responses ladies.... I have to admit I wasnt too worried about the weight loss as of yesterday - by what date / number of days is a baby supposed to have regained back to birth weight? I recall my other 2 kids not being back at birth weight 1wk after birth... DD had lost 6% at day 5 (she'd put on 2oz in 24hrs though, having lost 9% on day 3, so midwives happy that she is heading in the right direction).

Midwives actually said to wake her every 3 hours, & if no joy in stiring her, leave until it gets to 4 hours. I have basically been trying to wake her every 2.5hrs to make sure she gets lots of feeds in. I've seen the lactation consultant at hospital (before being discharged - she cut the tongue tie etc) and she said 3hourly was fine....but now i'm worried its not enough from what everyone has said!!

Her poo's have changed from green to the yellow mustard seed look and she is doing plenty of wet & pooey nappies through the day....

Midwife visiting tomorrow for another weigh-in, so I'll see how her weight-gain (fingers crossed there is a gain!) is tomorrow. Midwife said they look for approx 1oz weight gain per day at this age.

Whyriskit Thu 13-Oct-11 17:43:30

I really really don't mean to freak you out, and I'm sorry if I do!
DS2 was the same, realy sleepy, nothing I could do would keep him awake during feeds and he wasn't waking to feed. It turned out he had a heart defect called a coarctation, which meant that feeding was taking too much effort. Your midwife will know how to check for this. I'm sure it's not that, but I feel I have to mention it - it's potentially serious but can be fixed. DS2 is now 14 months and fighting fit (and wakes for feeds now!!).

icravecheese Thu 13-Oct-11 18:03:36

Oh goodness whyriskit, thats worrying. At what age was the heart defect diagnosed? I am going to discuss the sleepiness with midwife tomorrow. my first born was an incredibly sleepy baby, but was ff from about 3wks which seemed to perk him up. Really don't want to go down the formula route this time tho as successfully bf 2nd born for 9 months. My 1st born just slept & slept for first few wks, & even today at 4yrs old is a dream sleeper. Lets just hope I've created another dream sleeper!

tiktok Thu 13-Oct-11 18:07:32

Your further info makes me think she is fine, icravecheese - it's always good policy to ensure a new baby has frequent feeds and to encourage these, of course. Weight gain sounds normal.

Sleepiness can mean something is wrong, but only very rarely....and she doesn't sound all that zonked out to me smile

But yes, check with the midwife!

whackamole Thu 13-Oct-11 21:02:46

My two (I have twins like Princess) were also very sleepy - only during the day though hmm. I just couldn't wake them for feeding, despite tickling, striping them off etc, so I ended up just feeding them on demand, whether that was at 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours. A baby might happily feed every hour, they might not.

They regained their birth weight in about 2 weeks, HV was happy with them (had daily visits until they reached a certain weight as they were early and small).

If you have read any Gina Ford books, she advocates 4 hourly feeds IIRC. I wouldn't mainly because it didn't work for me and was stressful as hell but just because a baby goes more than 2 hours between feeds doesn't mean there is anything wrong.

crikeybadger Thu 13-Oct-11 21:06:33

I'm pretty sure that even Gina Ford does not advocate 4 hourly feeds at 6 days old though.

Hope the weigh in goes well tomorrow icravecheese.

TimeWasting Thu 13-Oct-11 21:09:12

One thing, are you taking any painkillers? Codeine can affect some babies quite badly.

booboobeedoo Thu 13-Oct-11 21:15:55

Also a bit of jaundice makes babies very sleepy.

JumpingJetFlash Thu 13-Oct-11 21:24:43

Hi my little girl slept all the time at first - I'd say I was still waking her for 3 hourly feeds well after her being a month old - in fact my fil made a joke about whether she ever opened her eyes (whilst I was hormonal - not his wisest plan lol) Your DD is gaining weight if your look at percentage weight loss and the nappies sound like she's definite getting enough from you. Hope tomorrows weigh in goes well - anything to do with weight is always stressful I reckon!

Whyriskit Thu 13-Oct-11 21:34:24

cheese - he was 10 days old when they found the defect. As tiktok and others have said, it's very unlikely that there are any issues, I just get a bit "eek" when I read about very sleepy newborns because I wasn't too fussed with DS2.
Good luck with the weigh-in!

Iggly Thu 13-Oct-11 21:34:40

Gina Ford doesn't advocate 4 hourly feeds in tiny babies. She says feed on demand for the first 6 weeks (which iirc is when her routines start).

Islandgirllk Thu 13-Oct-11 22:09:39

Sorry but I would totally disagree with the post to express. I know this is your third baby so you may be an experienced breast-feeder but in my opinion lots of women have problems because they express too early and it messes up the baby's latch. I don't think a bottle should be introduced until baby is at least 4 -6 weeks old if you really want breastfeeding to work and continue to exclusively breast feed. In your circumstance I would carry on doing what you are doing - feed at least every 3 hours day and night, it's a pain to wake her but you need to get the calories in her and if she is not demanding because she is sleepy she may not be getting enough. In a couple of weeks she'll be awake more but some babies are naturally sleepy in the first few weeks.

Good luck and congrats.

faverolles Thu 13-Oct-11 22:23:24

Ds3 was just like this when he was tiny. Until he was about 8 weeks old he would often sleep 23 hours a day!
In the early days, when I was worried that he wasn't feeding or gaining well, I did lots of skin to skin and it really helped. As soon as he moved or snuffled I latched him on. I used to go back to bed for the day when the other dc were at school, and lie with him whilst mning and eating chocolate
If poos are going mustardy it sounds like things are going well smile

icravecheese Fri 14-Oct-11 08:55:29

Thanks so much ladies....your replies are very reassuring. Well we had VERY quiet night again (can't believe I'm complaining about that!) - she fed from around 9-10.30pm, then slept until I woke her at 1.30am (i know, probably waited too long then). She then went back off at 2.30am and I woke her this morning at 7am & she has just finished feeding now.

Coincidentally, she did bring up some milk this morning during her feed - I hadnt burped her properly I dont think, & even though I'd been stressing that she surely can't be taking much milk on board, it was more eggcupfuls rather than teaspoonful amounts that came back up, so I guess she is getting plenty of milk.

Still very wet nappies & small mustardy poo's overnight. Will let you know how the weigh in goes. Still going to mention the sleepiness to the midwife...

tiktok Fri 14-Oct-11 08:58:27

She sounds fine....honestly!

All babies bring back milk - nothing to do with whether they're burped properly (how do you burp properly??!).

Hope the midwife will be able to reassure you.

icravecheese Fri 14-Oct-11 09:01:43

Thanks tiktok.... I really thought baby no.3 I'd be more chilled! ITs just as stressful whether its your firstborn or 3rd-born!!

Well, when I say I hadnt burped her 'properly', I think i'd totally forgotten to even attempt to burp her blush.

Oblomov Fri 14-Oct-11 09:53:22

Well, obviously I agreewith tiktok, because she always knows these things, but unless mw is concerned, I wouldn't be either.
Ds1 was like this. very sleepy. and seemed to have his night and day quite mixed up, was much more awake at night, which is not what any of us need !!
Mw ruled out jaundice,and just said he was sleepy. she suggested that I very gently, made a few tiny changes : keeping him a little cooler, maybe not smothered in blankets all the time whilst at home, and in the pram, but just to leave him in the cotbed , in the lounge with one very tiny blanket or none at all. And to differentiate between night and day more, more opening curtains, bit more noise, music tv, putting in sling and going out for walk, rather than pram and tons of blankets, more frequent breastfeeding. And I did take her up on these. very gently , not huge issue. And over a period of a week, he did seem more alert, more waking up for feeds, and then he 'flipped' his night and day problem and slept much better at night. Problem solved.

tiktok Fri 14-Oct-11 14:16:50

Oh, burping schmurping.....we are obsessed with burping in the UK! It's daft. Most babies bring up their wind without the shenanigans we think we ought to go through....all the patting and jigging and jogging and wondering if the burp was big enough. It's only a few babies who really need help, IMO. Most bring it up with a change of position they are doing anyway, which pushes out the excess air.

There is no harm in actively 'winding' a baby but the downside is that mothers then beat themselves up for not doing it properly or at all - and it prob makes no difference whatsoever smile

happysmellyfeet Fri 14-Oct-11 14:48:19

Timewasting: does codeine really make babies sleepy? Does it have other effects?

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