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Newborn (was prem) - too sleepy at feeds, then won't sleep!? Any advice?

(8 Posts)
minipie Sun 02-Dec-12 15:52:39

DD was born at 34 weeks and is now almost 40 weeks. She has always been sleepy like lots of prem babies and I've had to do lots of stripping, moving, winding her to get her to breastfeed.

Last week, she had just started to get better and stay awake and feeding for longer, getting into a good rhythm when feeding, etc.

However in the past few days it's really gone backwards. She is only doing a short feed and then can't be persuaded to have more no matter what I try. Especially at night. She also seems to fight me sometimes before latching on (pushing away, hands everywhere, gets cross) and she isn't latching as well as she was - lots of stopping and starting and coming off, and not enough boob in her mouth to suck well.

And - I think because of the short feeds - she now won't sleep between feeds. She will drop off if being held but not in her Moses basket. She seems like she's still hungry, but won't feed if offered, or not more than a couple of sucks before dropping off. It's like she is too tired too keep going - but she's then awake and grumpy if put down.

Any ideas what has happened? Anything I can do? Or is it just a phase...

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 02-Dec-12 16:01:22

Haven't got any experience of prem babies so could be talking out of my arse but has she been checked for tongue tie mini?

As for not wanting to go into the moses basket, both of mine did this. Could it just be that she wants the closeness of you? Have you tried things like warming the moses basket first and swaddling?

minipie Sun 02-Dec-12 16:50:51

Thanks Julie. Hospital said no signs of tongue tie (she can tick her tongue out miles). We did try swaddling but she seemed to hate it! I know wanting to be held is normal - if very tiring! - I guess it's the combination of that with the not feeding that's worrying me... I just can't figure out if she is hungry ( I'd imagine so given the rubbish feeds) or just wants to be held...

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 02-Dec-12 20:00:34

It is hard to tell sometimes. Will she settle if DH holds her? Sometimes the smell of your milk stops them from settling.

Are you getting enough wet and dirty nappies? Is she bright and alert at times? If so, could it just be that she has become more efficient at feeding and is now feeding for a shorter time?

Hopefully someone with experience and or training will be along soon smile

TeaandHobnobs Sun 02-Dec-12 22:04:02

DS was born at 31+5 and was having similar issues around the same sort of time, I think - lots of thrashing and getting his arms in the way when I was trying to get him to latch. It did pass though.

I assume she is gaining weight fine? If so, I would just try and continue and see if she gets over it in a few days.

DS had to sleep on us at night for a while in those early weeks - it was the only way he would settle. I think this is one of the hard things about having a prem, the newborn stage goes on for longer and it is so tiring. But it will end eventually!

And I agree with Jilted, see if your DH can settle her, as they do seem to go barmy at the slightest whiff of milk sometimes!

minipie Sun 02-Dec-12 22:18:14

Thanks both. Yes she's gaining weight fine and plenty of wet and dirty nappies. She's also getting more alert which is lovely - though mostly n the evenings, so I wonder if that tires her out for the night?

She does seem to settle a bit better n DH than me, sadly he goes back to work tomorrow so I'll be on night duty...

Interesting that your DS was similar Hobnobs - and reassuring that it passed!

tiktok Sun 02-Dec-12 23:17:29

minipie - this sounds like normal newborn behaviour. Trying to persuade her to feed when she does not want to will only make her distress and crossness worse - but learning to trust that she knows what she wants and will take what she needs is going to take time for you, because you have had several weeks of concern that she needed you to be very proactive in offering feeds.

She has had a difficult start - she needs to be close to you, and the Moses basket will not be a substitute for you smile She will be grumpy if put down - yay! She is normal and sensitive to her surroundings and able to communicate her feelings about them.

Her weight gain and everything else indicates she is doing well. Responding to her needs at this stage does not mean she will always be like this - it does mean she will grow in trust and confidence smile

minipie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:48:30

I wish I could trust her to know how much to take tiktok - it would make life so much easier! - but she is still only doing extremely short feeds and then stopping (as in, 1 minute and then stops). So if I stopped when she stops she'd eat barely anything. The only reason she has gained weight is because I've been doing lots of persuading, undressing, etc. I'm sure in time she'll eat more without persuasion but we're not there yet unfortunately.

Actually having looked at her I think her grumpiness is mostly wind/poo related - she spends a lot of time wriggling and straining and being a bit unhappy, and then it eases when she gets a fart out. For some reason she doesn't seem to do the same if being held.

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