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How often are you feeding your newborn?

(14 Posts)
BonaDea Fri 29-Mar-13 17:13:43

My DS is 9 days old. He was born 2 weeks early and we had some feeding issues to start with which meant he dropped quite a bit of his birth weight, had some dehydration and is a bit jaundiced (no treatment needed). In order to catch back up on his weight and flush out the jaundice, I've been advised to feed a lot. He is no longer dehydrated and is gaining weight again tho is not back to birth weight.

Initially we were bf'ing plus cup feeding EBM. We have now dropped the cup feeds because he is feeding so much better. We are currently aiming for 2.5 hourly feeds in the day and 3 hourly at night.

I have to confess I am really struggling with this amount. Obviously I understand how important it is to get him back on track, but I wanted to understand what might happen when the jaundice is gone.

Right now I feel like I am feeding him outside of his natural rhythm - I think if I wasn't waking him he'd feed more but less often. As it is I usually have to spend 10-15 mins rousing him for a feed then often do a nappy change halfway through to wake him up/ get him interested. That means that the feed often takes 60-90 mins and so by the time I've finished, changed him and put him down I have an hour before I start again. It's killing me!

The few times he has been left longer between feeds he latches straight away and then feeds well and usually faster. I then might have 2 hours between feeds but he'd only be getting 8 feeds a day which sounds far lower than the 10 recommended.

Anyway, what I'm really asking is - am I just being a lightweight? Is having zero time just normal at this early stage and do I need to man up? Or am I trying to squeeze too many feeds in and could I be cutting back without doing any harm?!

Advice please!

FattyMcChubster Fri 29-Mar-13 17:28:05

Can't help much I'm afraid but wanted to say, they get faster quite quickly so don't panic. All you seem to do at this stage is feed so put your feet up, relax and try to enjoy it. Before long dc will be speed feeding and it's no longer relaxing!
Congrats on baby thanks

TwitchyTail Fri 29-Mar-13 17:28:53

I could have written your post a few weeks ago - early baby, jaundiced, not demanding food, needing to offer regularly and top up with EBM. It was knackering, so I completely sympathise. I would say it is normal to feel like all you do is feed/express - especially as if, like mine, he wasn't that interested in feeding so it takes ages.

The good news is that at about 2-3 weeks (when jaundice started to go down), he perked up and started asking for food and actually seeming interested in it - he gained weight quickly, jaundice reduced further, and it was so so much easier. We are now feeding about 8 times in 24 hours, sometimes more with cluster feeding. But not needing to express and top up all the time, and being able to relax and rely on him to cue for feeding, has made a world of difference. I'm still knackered but it's a million times better. Hang in there, it will improve! In the meantime, just consider your job to be feeding and feeding only, and let everything else (eg housework) wait.

BonaDea Fri 29-Mar-13 17:36:47

Thanks both.

Twitchy - that is so reassuring! I feel like having to keep to the time table is half the battle. If he was crying for food I wouldn't hesitate. It's just that at 2am it is so so so hard to wake myself enough to wake a baby to cajole him into eating when he clearly isn't interested!

Will hang in and keep fingers crossed!

Loislane78 Fri 29-Mar-13 18:15:32

Totally normal for a newborn smile and that feeding duration/frequency would also be normal without jaundice. What helped me was some good advice on here - being that right now your job is feeding the baby - no cleaning, cooking etc. just changing your expectations and mindset makes a huge difference in your sense of achievement. Won't always be like that promise smile

As the other posters have said they start demanding and feeding more efficiently quite quickly. I'm not saying don't give bottles but remember you'd be making up bottles, sterilising etc. so don't think that is an easy solution saving you a lot of time. Bottles can also bring other issues like wind.

My DD had quite bad jaundice that took about 6 wks to completely go. Once she was awake enough to demand feed, I didn't stick to the 2.5 hr rule - although her natural rhythm was about every 3 hrs anyway it just only took 15 mins as not having to rouse her.

Other tips:
- Learning to feed lying down (even if not co-sleeping its v restful)
- Read about co-sleeping and consider that
- go to a BF or new parents group to get out for an hour; everyone loves a newborn!
- don't worry about doing anything other than feeding. That's why there is 2 weeks paternity leave! Accept all offers of help

GL smile

geekette Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:48

very normal. surround yourself with food and water and remote control, tablet or eReader.

the rest of life will very slowly reintegrate itself with yours. very slowly. just enjoy your tiddly one and congratulations wink

Welovegrapes Fri 29-Mar-13 20:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BonaDea Fri 29-Mar-13 21:27:59

Thanks all - will keep on trucking and hope that as the jaundice goes I can start to rely more on his natural rhythm!

DH had been fantastic so far and mum is arriving next week so plan to keep ignoring everything else!!

Melanka Fri 29-Mar-13 21:39:21

You really can do this!! I felt the same, exhausted and thought it would never end. It does, it will, soon, I promise. Just be there for your lo. You are doing great, just keep up for a little while. It's so worth it!

JammieE Sat 30-Mar-13 20:13:12

Hey, BonaDea. Congrats on your little one!

Just wanted to reiterate what everyone else has said. It's all normal and does get better.

My DD was born with a tongue tie and had problems latching so she didn't get very much food at all for the first 4 days and this left her tired and too lethargic to feed. As a first time mum I also missed her feeding ques, expecting her to cry when hungry and not looking for routing signs etc. This meant she didn't get enough milk and dropped from 80th at birth to 9th at 2 weeks old. Was told to feed every 2 to 3 hours. I had to do a nappy change and strip her off to wake her up before each feed. She would still fall asleep constantly and I had to poke her, blow on her and jig her about constantly throughout the feed to get her to take milk. This meant each feed lasted 1 to 1.5hrs. Then I had to express the remaining milk and bottle feed as a top up. This cycle could easily take 2hrs so I often just about managed to squeeze in a swig of water, handful of digestive biscuits for a snack (no time for lunch) and a quick wee, then back to the next feeding session. It was horrendous and I completely drained by the time Hubby came home but she soon started to put on weight so the top ups became less frequent and so did the expressing. As she fed more she became more alert and didn't fall asleep as soon as I put her on the boob. By 6 weeks old she was back up to her birth weight and now that she is 11 weeks old she is firmly on the 25th percentile. She still feeds every 2.5 to 3 hours but her feeds only last for 20 to 40 mins on average, depending on how lazy she is feeling. She sleeps through the night and the only problem I have now is fighting the urge to constantly wake her for a feed when she probably no longer needs it.

Just carry on as you are and know that you are doing a great job and not giving up shows what a great mum you are. Just make sure you are looking after yourself too. I barely ate and when I did it was something junky like biscuits and my milk took about three weeks to come through properly. Before that it was all watery and didn't help my DS to put weight on at all.

Good luck!

itsaruddygame Mon 01-Apr-13 21:57:48

Hey Bona I am a fellow April mum! I have had a bit of a shaky start with the breast feeding too with an early baby who was jaundiced and under lights for a while. We are managing a bit better now but I am truly knackered as he is cluster feeding! He was on the bottle in hospital as not strong enough to feed just from me but I have managed to go from a top up at every feed to no formula at all for the last couple of days. I do find he has one feed either in the evening or the first nighttime feed where he is so hungry I don't have enough for him despite letting him nurse for up to an hour and a half. We have got round it by me expressing in the morning for 10 mins and offering him a top up with that if I can't satiate him.

I have also had a few problems with latching as his mouth is teeny but am just about managing after help from my wonderful midwife. Anyway I don't have any useful advice just wanted to say hi and that I feel your pain : ) I am hoping it will get a bit easier soon!

BonaDea Mon 01-Apr-13 23:00:44

Hi ruddy - congrats to you too! This is so hard, isn't it? I think I could just about manage the lack of sleep OR the constant feeds but both together?!

Having said that as I type DS has latched on as I lie on my side in bed which isn't sore and allows me to be lying down so perhaps a small victory tonight! wink

itsaruddygame Mon 01-Apr-13 23:21:20

Well done on the side lie feed - I haven't mastered that yet myself. Tried it last night and couldn't get a good latch but will keep trying! I have found it all much harder than I expected - I had naively thought it would all just happen naturally. I am managing to write this on my kindle whilst feeding which a couple of days ago would have been impossible for me so small victories : ) will think of you during that 3am marathon feeding session - it's good to know I am not alone. Fingers crossed for a good night!

whooshmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 23:53:59

Huge congratulations on your LOs. Just wanted to echo what Lois said about the bf'ing lying down - it literally changed my life. If you're struggling to get the position, pull LO tummy to tummy with you, propped up with a pillow behind so they don't roll back just as you got them latched. This position is also great once they're a little bigger as you can essentially do the same thing sitting up...they basically feed upright, their legs straddling yours and you just slouch back a bit in the sofa. It's really great if you get cracks as it puts pressure in a slightly different place from a cradle position. Someone said to me the first few weeks are essentially: feet up, boobs out, boxset on! And keep your own fluids up...I was drinking about 6 litres of water a day in the first few weeks and taking rehydration salts after a particularly hectic few cluster feeding sessions. Good luck and best wishes, it does get easier x

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