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7 week old - should he be sleeping longer at night?

(35 Posts)
citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 05:25:35

As it says I the subject header really - my nearly seven week old son is EBF and feeds around every three hours (if I'm lucky) including at night though he may do one 4 hr gap between feeds. As I have posted here before, he feeds fOr a short time most feeds (usually 10 mins or less) and will not usually take both sides. Due a weigh in soon but I think is still gaining on his centile.

Is it normal for him to be still feeding so frequently at night? Lots of people I speak to seem to have babies who went 6 hrs between feeds at night at this age. I am always worried he isn't getting enough milk... Is this why he can't go for longer stretches?

gingerbubs Wed 19-Oct-11 05:30:57

Sounds totally normal to me, in fact not bad for 7 weeks - plenty of babies feed more frequently!

TitaniaP Wed 19-Oct-11 06:05:49

My 18 wk old has nights where he doesn't go for more than 4 hours without a feed and I don't think he's gone for more than 6 hours since he was born. He does like to feed little and often though - so may not be a good comparison.

All babies sleep patterns are different I've learnt and now I only talk to friends who have rubbish sleepers and not those whose baby went 7-7 at 12 weeks!

I might be corrected by someone more knowledgable than me, but to me as long as LO is gaining weight, having enough wet and dirty nappies (I think it's 6-8 a day) and is alert then it's all Ok.

Just recite the MN mantra "this too shall pass".

tiktok Wed 19-Oct-11 08:47:38

sad sad citymonkey - it's so sad you are worrying about your baby's normal behaviour and development....a four hour gap at 7 weeks is perfectly ok. I know of very few babies who went longer than this at this age.

The difficulty is that no answer to this is reassuring for you. You worry that four hours is too short, and he should be going longer. You also worry that four hours is too long and he needs to feed more often.

Your baby sounds 100 per cent fine. I hope as time goes on you will gain confidence in yourself smile

coastgirl Wed 19-Oct-11 08:59:32

Sounds fine to me - DS was doing the same a couple of weeks ago. Last week, at 8wo, he started going for five hours after his last feed of the day, which was a pleasant surprise, but every four hours is fine by me.

EauRouge Wed 19-Oct-11 09:06:17

Yes, it's totally normal smile

Normal for adults too! -> "On a normal night, most people wake up for one or two minutes every 2 hours or so. You aren't usually aware of these 'mini wakes', but may remember them if you feel anxious or there is something else going on - noises outside, a partner snoring etc." from The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Bunbaker Wed 19-Oct-11 09:07:28

Sounds normal to me. Don't forget a baby's stomach isn't very big so it doesn't take much to fill it. Therefore it is unrealistic to expect such a small baby to sleep longer than 4 hours anyway.

DD was a small baby and needed feeding every 3 hours because her stomach was so small.

Those parents who boast about their babies sleeping through at such a young age are, in reality, pretty few and far between and only serve to make the rest of us feel inadequate.

citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 12:42:55

Thanks all. TikTok - I keep asking all these questions because I feel like I don't know what's normal!

Going three hours between feeds means usually sleep of two / two and a half hours - it takes time to settle him in his basket after a feed even though he usually falls asleep on boob after 10 mins max. He might settle in our bed better but I am too nervous about co-sleeping plus I want him to be able to sleep in his own bed.

tiktok Wed 19-Oct-11 12:49:47

Ask away, citymonkey smile

Not knowing what's normal is normal, too smile But learning to live with that uncertainty, while having a basic confidence that you will know when something is a genuine concern, is OK. And it worries me that you find this confidence so elusive, and that lack of confidence and all the worry are dominating your thoughts, and gets in the way of just chillin' and enjoying your baby.

Meeting other real life mothers as well as getting support on mumsnet, will help a lot with this, I think.

Do you have a partner or a mother/sister you can find some positive reinforcement from?

citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 12:57:40

My parents and family live up North and husband and I live in London so we are on our own. Husband is great and does try and tell me I am worrying too much all the time, but I think even he is finding it hard as sometimes our little one will only take 5 mins at a feed (usually more than this though) at this age babies of friend babies seemed to be feeding for much longer and less frequently at night (and one allegedly sleeping 6/7 hrs from 6 weeks!), so that is all we have to go by.

TitaniaP Wed 19-Oct-11 13:14:57

Citymonkey - I know how you feel. I too live a long way from family and often lost confidence in the early days.

Do you have any breastfeeding groups near you? I'd really recommend going along to one - they're really supportive.

citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 13:26:15

Yes there are some close-ish by, going to go along for sure when back in London (going home for a visit end of this week). Think that could really help me...

TitaniaP Wed 19-Oct-11 14:58:36

My local group is the reason I'm still breastfeeding. Hopefully you'll meet people who have been in a similar position to you which will put your mind at rest.

Every baby is different, what is normal for one isn't for another. It's so hard though, especially when you're not getting much sleep either.

It does get easier.

tiktok Wed 19-Oct-11 15:11:15

sad sad

Hope you do get to some friendly groups, citymonkey.

Your friend's baby sleeping 6-7 hours was unusual, but perfectly fine. Just as your baby feeding sometimes for 5 mins only is unusual but perfectly fine. You can actually tell a huge amount just by looking at/watching a baby of this age - the healthy, thriving babies look healthy and thriving. Some may be small, some may be big, but they have rounded cheeks, bright eyes, and engage with the people they love by holding a gaze for a few seconds and giving social smiles every so often. On paper, they are seen to be gaining weight appropriately.

Length of time on the breast and frequency of feeding/sleeping are irrelevant, in a healthy, thriving baby.

I expect your DH sees your healthy, thriving baby and this evidence of his own eyes helps his confidence, and that's what you can do, too smile

Wiseoldself Wed 19-Oct-11 15:16:41

All babies are so different, my first two slept from 9-7 from about 10 weeks - although no one ever believed me...but DS2 is now 11 weeks, EBF and feeds every three hours day and night, that is what is right for him so that's what I go with.

It sounds like you are doing really well, be confident that you are providing for your baby the way he needs it, try and ignore what others are doing - easier said than done I know wink

Secondtimelucky Wed 19-Oct-11 17:17:14

CityMonkey - this is a bit off topic, but who knows, maybe you will find it helpful. From the name, you're obviously in the City. I've seen a couple of your threads in this area and I'm guessing you're a lawyer, right? Probably magic circle or thereabouts? If I've got that totally wrong, ignore me (although these comments will also apply to other professional services). I am a lawyer too.

Your training tells you that whenever you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, you analyse the hell out of it until you find 'an answer' or 'a strategy'. You collate all the facts and then you make an informed decision. You are always calibrating your facts against other similar situations to see if you need to change tactic.

You are also taught to behave in a 'hurdle' fashion. Your education, your training, your deals. Each is a target, which you work towards, put in the hours, and 'hurdle'. Then you rest for a bit (longer if the economy is slow, less a few years ago wink) and prepare yourself for your next hurdle.

It sounds to me as if, naturally enough, you are applying those mentalities to parenting. Please stop. It will drive you demented. If I am speaking totally out of line, feel free to ignore me. But you sound a lot like me, and like a lot of my colleagues, in our first months of parenthood. I didn't enjoy DD1 as much as I should have for that reason. It takes time to learn to chill out, go with the flow and just be still. I'd recommend the book 'What mothers do, especially when it looks like nothing' by Naomi Stadlen for a different perspective on the whole business.

Oh, and on the sleeping, remember other mothers lie. Shocker I know, but they do. Your son sounds normal, bloody good in fact. My DD2 is four months old. She sometimes does a longer stretch at night (four to five hours, but sadly not when I'm in bed), but mostly it's 2 hours day and night.

tiktok Wed 19-Oct-11 17:44:41

Wow, second - great analysis smile Of course citymonkey might be a florist or a sculptor or a chef or something entirely different, but it would be amazing if she was a lawyer!

Naomi Stadlen's book is fab, I agree.

I speak to many women in my role as a breastfeeding counsellor, and it is not at all uncommon for achieving women, whose lives up until now have been quite similar to your description, and they can find it very hard to find the necessary confidence at first.

It can be a huge shock to be confronted by a situation which does not respond to the usual 'treatment' - and this is not a 'situation', but a human being.

This is not a modern - or at least not a 21st century - 'problem'. I collect babycare books and there is a 1980 book called Babyshock by John Cobb which makes some of the same points.

rockboobs Wed 19-Oct-11 17:55:14

Well, I'm sure you've got the gist by now, its normal!

But have you thought about if you could you co-sleep? - You might not even notice him waking to feed if you're both settled in bed.

Secondtimelucky Wed 19-Oct-11 18:01:47

Tiktok- it will serve me right for reading too much into a user name if she is a florist. City monkey is a slightly disparaging term that those who work in the City of London in financial services or one of the associated professional services (accountants, lawyers and the like) often use about themselves , so using that as a base I just think she sounds like one of mine!

TitaniaP Wed 19-Oct-11 18:27:06

Wow - I can totally relate to that. I'm not a lawyer or in the city but do have a professional job and was fairly well respected (I hope at least) in my job and was used to being the one that fixed things. I had loads of problems with my son gaining weight (still am) and frequently have wobbles about whether i'm feeding him enough etc. You cant solve a human being in the same way you can a problem at work!!

Hope you're reassured by the comments below and sorry to slightly hi-jack the thread!!

tiktok Wed 19-Oct-11 18:42:56

We're on a roll, here smile

Sometimes, people in demanding professional jobs have difficult clients/colleagues/bosses. They are the ones who want everything done immediately and who interrupt other jobs with the assumption that their needs are priority. They are only really happy when you indulge them with the idea that they are indeed numero uno.

Remind you of....a new baby? smile

citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 18:47:44


I am a lawyer at a magic circle firm.

Secondtimelucky Wed 19-Oct-11 18:59:18

Ha ha. I was right! Don't worry, I wouldn't have guessed without the nickname. But once I knew you worked in the City it all sounded just so familiar. You could have been me after DD1. Not the same problems, but the same intense analysis and anxious tone. Learn from my mistakes, please, they have to be useful to someone grin.

Maybe your husband/partner (if you have one) moves in similar circles? Another thing I found very hard with DD1 is that it was the first time our lives really diverged. Instead of coming home, him talking about X and me telling him all about Y deal or whatever, he came home telling me about X and I told him about nappies, vomit and story time at the library. That knocks your confidence too. Sure, it changed DH's life being a dad, but not the way it rocked my world being a mum.

I'm now on DD2 and getting pretty good at going with the flow. It's all a phase you know!

Secondtimelucky Wed 19-Oct-11 19:05:53

tiktok - yes, but we hate those clients/bosses and try to avoid working for them. Very hard to reconcile that behaviour in someone you love to bits. The clients you like are reasonable, and polite, and appreciate your efforts wink.

Tatania - I've often thought professional women need a special support group when they become mothers. Our background is totally incompatible!

citymonkey Wed 19-Oct-11 19:05:55

My husband works for a hedge fund. You are bang on about how I am trying to apply work skills to a tiny baby. Sounds ridiculous when I write it, but it's all I know.

It's funny today I feel like I have turned a bit of a corner. I hope I can try and relax a bit more...

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