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How often should/would you wake a sleepy newborn?

(8 Posts)
Hopefully Tue 16-Jun-09 11:28:09

A friend is having a CS soon, at 38+ a few days. Her last baby (also CS) was very sleepy, and hardly fed for days, ended up mostly on formula very soon after and was completely on formula by a few weeks old. Apart from complete lack of support from MWs etc, my friend thinks that the problem was that she was not encouraged to wake the baby for a feed, but to enjoy the rest!

She desperately wants to BF this time, and asked me how often she should wake a newborn if this baby is as sleepy as the last one.

I haven't really got a clue, but would assume something like 2 hourly during the day, 3 hourly at night? or more? I had the opposite problem - it felt like DS didn't unlatch for about 2 weeks, so not exactly in a position to advise her...

tiktok Tue 16-Jun-09 11:35:33

Hopefully, your friend is almost certainly right in linking her poor support and advice to the fact the baby ended up on formula

Babies need to be held close to mum, skin to skin as often as possible, in the early days. They do not need to be made to wake for feeds - being close like this prevents them sleeping for hours. They usually feed very often when cared for like this.

Hopefully Wed 17-Jun-09 07:42:31

Thanks Tiktok.

I know she's having the baby in the same place as me, and when I gave birth I was told off for having the baby beside me in bed (although a woman on the same ward was encouraged to hmm)

Presumably if she does skin to skin during the day, at least, when her DH is there, and keeps the baby in with her as long as possible after each night feed (with me, MWs came round every now and again and deposited babies back into bassinets), that will help?

Of course, the hosp might be better now - it's had a bit of an overhaul since I gave birth last year and has some bedside cot things

CherryChoc Wed 17-Jun-09 09:15:10

I had a sleepy (ish) baby, I was in labour for 3 days and could feel him kicking all the way through so must have been exhausted! When I was in hospital I was told to let him sleep when he was literally first born (he had about 8 hours!!) but then when I asked for help feeding him they told me to wake him during the day if he hadn't fed for 2-3 hours and at night if he hadn't fed in 3-4 hours. But we went home within 12 hours and he slept in our bed from the first night.

If you can get hold of a copy of "Three In A Bed" there's a bit about co-sleeping from birth after a c-section. It's actually better because you don't have to get a midwife to help you pick the baby up to feed them. Incidentally there's also an interesting bit which says if you co-sleep, the baby feeds in their sleep and so takes in more milk and generally doesn't lose weight in the first few days, as seems to be expected. DS never dropped from his birth weight and I know it's only an anecdote but when I look back, for the first few days we had 24/7 contact (not all skin-to-skin as it was October and I was worried about him getting cold) so I think that had a lot to do with it.

missblythe Wed 17-Jun-09 09:21:28

Both mine were jaundiced, which makes for a very sleepy baby, and I was advised to wake them every 3 hours, day and night. It was just until they started waking and looking for food themsleves, though, which only took about a week.

Three hours is about the length of time it takes to digest breast milk, so it makes sense that they need another feed about then, even if they are too asleep to realise it.

tiktok Wed 17-Jun-09 09:34:43

Hopefully, your friend does not have to obey the midwives if she wants to do something different

missblythe - it's true that sleepy, jaundiced babies may need more encouragement to feed...not true that it takes three hours to digest breastmilk, because volumes, fat content and digestive processes are individual Babies may want to feed before their stomachs are empty, anyway !

missblythe Wed 17-Jun-09 09:42:06

I stand corrected! smile

doulalc Fri 19-Jun-09 02:41:13

If she can keep baby close by, that will certainly help. Often suggested not to go longer than 2 hours during the day or 3 at night. More often is perfectly fine and will have the benefit of moving the meconium and helping to likely prevent jaundice. She won't offer the breast too much, but she can offer it too little.
Is she not able to keep baby with her the entire time while in hospital? This can be very helpful for her to start picking up on baby's cues.

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