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Feeding vs. Sleeping.

(5 Posts)
Flowerface Thu 20-Aug-09 11:17:24

I am a total novice at all this (currently expecting my first), but I have been surprised to hear several friends say of their babies "She sleeps so well, I have to wake her for feeds" (of very small babies).

I thought babies could be relied on to wake themselves for feeds. Is this not the case? Or do you only need to wake them if you have some Gina Ford-style routine to stick to?

Just curious, really...

MrsBadger Thu 20-Aug-09 11:30:03

depends on the baby

if they are healthy and putting on weight there's probably no need to wake them for feeds

but some newborns are sleepy and jaundiced and it's important to wake them to feed them as they're trying to save energy by sleeping all the time rather than gaining energy by eating and absorbing calories


or your friends might be fibbing
or on a mad Gina-type routine where they're not allowed to sleep more than xhrs at a time (esp re daytime naps)

MumofSoJo Thu 20-Aug-09 11:33:41

Hiya, I think babies that need waking for a feed are few and far between. Both of mine slept for 4-5 hour blocks and woke for their feeds. The time each baby sleeps for does vary but in the early days they need little and often and any longer than 4-5 hours I think your midwife would advise you to wake them up for a feed. Their tummies are so small and therefore most will wake as soon as they are hungry. My advice is dont worry or get too excited about anything you hear from friends or family. All well meaning but it can be confusting too. It will all fall into place when your little one arrives. Good luck grin

phdlife Thu 20-Aug-09 11:46:39

verily, MrsBadger speaks wisely and well. Again.

Ellle Thu 20-Aug-09 12:24:13

On the first day DS was born, he spent most of the time sleeping and hardly woke up to eat (this is normal during the first 24 hours from what I had read in books, as the baby is very tired after the effort of labour). But as I was going to take him home the next day and I worried about not knowing if I was feeding him enough I asked the midwife and was told to follow his lead but not to let him go without a feed for longer than 4 hours, because then the blood sugar gets too low and they become sleepy and will not wake up to tell you they need a feed. So, it is true some babies cannot be relied upon telling you when they are hungry.

From the second day DS became hungrier and woke up to feed roughly every 3-4 hours just as the midwife had told us.
However, at night he sometimes slept up to 6h without waking up, and during the early weeks we had to set the alarm clock to make sure he didn't oversleep and spent too much time without a feed. As Mrs.Badger said, it all depends on the baby, and we had a good sleeper from day 1.
Later on, given that his weight was normal and he was thriving and healthy, the health visitor told us not to worry about waking him up in the night for a feed and just to let him wake us up when he was hungry. We did, and eventually at 2 months and a half he was already sleeping 7-8 hours at night.

Something we found useful was to keep a diary of his feeds, that way we could always look up how much he had been eating overall to see if we needed to worry about waking him up for a feed or just let it be.

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