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Dreamfeed not working-baby awake all night

(22 Posts)
msn1946 Sun 30-Nov-14 22:51:26

Hi all,
My DD is 3 weeks old. I am trying to set a sleep routine for her for 3-4 days now but am failing miserably. I basically wake her every 3 hours during the day to feed her. I make sure to bathe and feed her between 5 pm and 7 pm and that she stays up between those times. I put her to sleep in her bassinet at 7 pm. I have been trying to feed her at 10 pm ( the tank up or dream feed), but whether it's the breast or bottle she always wakes up and then refuses to go to sleep till 12:30 or 1 am. Even after that her sleep is fitful at best - sometimes waking up every hour to nurse or just crying. We've been rocking her or feeding her almost all night for the past 3 nights.

Has anyone experienced this? She sleeps like a log during the day and I have to wake her for every feeding. I tried creating a day/night environment but nothing seems to be working. Any help would be so very greatly appreciated

Bellyrub1980 Mon 01-Dec-14 02:52:14

I have a 3 week old and personally think it would be impossible to establish any kind of routine with her at the moment. The thought of even attempting it is far too stressful!!

I feed her as often as I can during her waking hours in the day by offering every time is shows a feeding cue (but I would never wake her to feed her) and I hope the more I feed her in the day the less she'll wake to be fed at night. I'd say this technique works 50% of the time. In the last week she has slept for stints lasting anywhere from 3 to 6 hours at night. This is good enough for me.

How come you're trying a routine so early on? Maybe life would be easier if you just let the baby sleep and feed on demand?

msn1946 Mon 01-Dec-14 03:15:35

Thanks for the reply Bellyrub1980. I wake her every 3 hours during the day to feed her - her doctor wants us to do that during the day. We had a few nights when she woke up so often during the night, neither of us got any sleep. So I thought I'd try the dream feed to see if that makes her sleep longer stretches at night. What does your evening feeding look like?

msn1946 Mon 01-Dec-14 03:16:35

Oh, the day time feedings are every 3 hours or whenever she wakes up which is usually every 2.5 to 3 hours anyway

IPityThePontipines Mon 01-Dec-14 03:33:39

Don't worry too much about a routine just yet, it's still very early days. Was she a bit early/ low birth weight, is that why she has to be woken every 3 hours?

With my two, I found that for the first eight weeks or so, they weren't ready to go down for the night until after 10pm, they'd tend to want cuddles/ light snooze in their bouncy chair before then, so 7 ish - 10 pm would be daytime feeds, then from then on would be the night time feeds.

You do have to get to know their little ways, Dd2 (who is now 10months), was generally a 4 hourly baby, but liked a milk feed 2 hours before her bedtime bottle.

My heart goes out to you, because I know how knackering the newborn period is and how you crave some sort of routine, I know I did, but it does pass. xxxxx

msn1946 Mon 01-Dec-14 04:02:23

No she was actually a pretty big baby at birth, 8.5 lbs. But her doctor wants us to do on demand feeding only at night. During the day, to reverse her day night cycles he asked to wake her every 2.5 - 3 hrs to feed/play.
During the day she really is like a clock. Wakes up every 3 hrs, feeds, promptly falls asleep even if we want her to stay up and play a bit. Come night, she doesn't seem to want to sleep.
Hopefully this changes with time and reverses.

IPityThePontipines Mon 01-Dec-14 04:09:54

Hmm. Are you in the UK? It's not usual for doctors to be so involved in baby sleep patterns.

Are you bf-ing or ff-ing? If it's the latter, I wouldn't necessarily be waking her every 2.5 hours, she might prefer to go for longer, even up to 4 hours.

In my experience, sleep begets sleep, a well-rested baby will sleep better then an over tired one, but yes, babies do change all the time. smile

barmybunting Mon 01-Dec-14 04:12:29

I am currently up feeding our 2 week old and just wanted to say I am with you on wishing there was some sort of routine! Everything I have read and seen though, just tells me that they are too little to have one at this stage and they don't really know the difference between night and day at this stage.

DD currently feeds on demand, roughly every 2-3 hours during the day, but constantly from about 6pm-11pm and then every 2-3 hours until about 6am when she feeds for 2 hours again.,

msn1946 Mon 01-Dec-14 05:19:24

DD is breastfed. Tonight I put her to sleep at 8 pm after her bath and feeding. I am not going to wake her up till she wakes up asking to be fed. Fingers crossed. This newborn phase is tougher than I ever thought it was going to be.

pebble82 Mon 01-Dec-14 05:35:56

I'm up with my 5 week old and have been since she started screaming at midnight! She hasn't stopped :'( damn colic!

Can't expect any routine for a while yet but frustrating I know.

"Putting down for the night" is a weird concept. We just work on an endless loop of time. Best advice I had so you don't spend the night hours thinking you won't sleep. You will, just not at normal times.

confusedandemployed Mon 01-Dec-14 06:22:04

My DD was a pretty good sleeper right from the start,and I swear by a bedtime routine - but at this stage I think it's more for you than for baby. I bathed her and put her to sleep upstairs from 7pm every night from day 1 (would sleep beside her while I could) but at that age they simply need to feed whenever they want.
Dream feed didn't work til she was about 4-5 months and eveny champion sleeper didn't sleep an 8-hour stretch til she was 9 weeks.
I too am confused as to why your doctor wants you to wake her to feed. I'm not sure this will make much difference. Babies are genetically programmed to feed at night during the early weeks.
Congratulations on your baby by the way!

msn1946 Mon 01-Dec-14 06:25:51

Confusedandemployed, after you put DD to sleep at 7 pm, how often did she wake up? Doctor says to wake her only during the day to reverse her day night cycles. Did you just demand feed during the day as well?

Hakluyt Mon 01-Dec-14 06:45:02

At this age, just feed her when she wakes. Don't wake her- just go with it. If you try to make a routine happen you will just get tense and frustrated- she can't do it yet. And if it does happen by coincidence one day, you'll feel as if you're doing something wrong if it doesn't happen the next day. At the moment she's just a little instinctive animal- think of her as a kitten or a puppy.

Is there a reason why the doctor is so involved? In my experience, they actually don't know much about healthy babies- why should they? smile

JellyTipisthebest Mon 01-Dec-14 07:25:54

I used to wake and feed my first (now 13) every 3 hrs starting at 7am until 10pm then leave her until she woke after that. At that age I that age I think you are expecting to much. I baby will not sleep longer at night until they are heavy enough and there tummies are big enough to take enough milk you can not rush this. My dd slept through (from 10-6 or 7) at 12 my friend's baby how was bf mine was ff slept through at 8. I think it has little to do with what they are fed more to do with when they are ready.

With my second I bf and expressed from about 6 weeks just before I fed at seven and dh gave that milk to dd2 at 10pm I would then express at 10pm then go to bed which meant I went to be a bit earlier when I got to the stage when I couldn't express enough to make it worth doing she had formula at 10pm and I went to bed earlier which then meant I had more milk at 7am as I had had more rest. You kind of have to go with the flow with babies but some people find feeding by the clock easier to work out where they are and then they don't worry about forgetting to feed the baby.

At the end of the day you are the expert on your baby so do what you feel is best you are right. The dr only see you for 10min or so. You know your baby. Just as you get sorted they grow and it all goes wrong so you have to learnt to trust what you think when to feed more often ect. If its very hot or they are sick or you are sick all changes things. Good luck

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Mon 01-Dec-14 07:36:03

Why do you have a doctor telling you what to do?
3 week old babies don't know about routines or night time. It will settle down. I wouldn't be waking her during the day, just sleep when she sleeps and trust that things will settle down in their own time, as they will.

NomorepepperpigPLEASE Mon 01-Dec-14 07:51:54

Baby is just three weeks old and will still be adjusting to life on the outside. In reality new babies do not differentiate between night and day!

Ignore the "oh my baby slept through from the first night' brigade. It's very uncommon if they do. And I feel you are setting you and baby up for lots of frustration.

I breast fed and for the first month my baby fed every nighty mins. It was hellish. At least you are getting three hour cycles of sleep or could be sleeping then.

Why is your GP giving you sleep advice at three weeks??

Just leave her to establish her own rhythm. Don't try and force it. Sleep when she does and forget about house work. She will naturally find night/day time patterns.

There is nothing wrong with bedtime routines and setting down to sleep at certain time - I did but waking her up at this small age isn't needed.

New borns are hard work.

The baby sleep whisper is a good book. You can down load it.

Justgotosleepnow Mon 01-Dec-14 08:04:23

A routine for a 3 week old? Are you nuts? Is this person who told you this was possible actually got any kids?

Look up the fourth trimester- your baby hardly realises it's outside of you yet, let alone what day & night mean.

If you are still bf I'm surprised your milk supply has regulated, as you aren't feeding on demand. Do you have an experienced bf advise person you can see instead of this doctor?

Have you tried just letting baby sleep & wake for feeds naturally? When did you start this routine training? And why is a doctor telling you this stuff?

If you were to let baby sleep & wake naturally then you can get good chunks of sleep in the day. If you have a spare room let DH sleep there so he's less disturbed.

Yes sleep deprivation is tough, I can't believe no one talks about it, so it comes as an awful shock to new parents. It's mean, because then people think there's something wrong with their baby. There's nothing wrong! They just have no clue what a new baby is supposed to be like.

Redling Mon 01-Dec-14 08:34:04

This seems wrong. A 3 week old baby should be feeding whenever they want, and no, I'm sorry they will wake continually through the night and want you, they'll want food and cuddles and maybe to be awake a not. I feel sorry that you've been given some weird advice but please just go with the flow and see what your baby wants and try and enjoy this precious newborn time without giving yourself the needless upset of trying to establish a sleep routine e when it's impossible at that age. Try and nap in the day, do shifts in the night where your DP can take the baby straight after a feed so you can sleep a bit. But accept that this is normal, it's part of having a baby and the more you try and fight it and get frustrated the worse you'll feel. At 14 weeks now I almost miss those 3am sleepy snuggles! The best advice I can give you if you want to feel you are making a step in the right direction is to take baby to bed at the same time, keep the bedroom dark and quiet and get up at the same time in the morning and go to the living room where it is light and noisy. Even if they are awake in the night just cuddle in the dark. Eventually they will know bedroom is for quiet sleep, I think my DS was 7-8 weeks when his night wakings simply became to feed and then back to sleep. It's really sad that you are putting so much pressure on yourself and your baby. Yes this time is a crazy 24 hour whirl but that's part of the experience, take the pressure off and enjoy it for what it is.

confusedandemployed Mon 01-Dec-14 08:44:58

Yes I did demand feed. And she didn't necessarily ever go to sleep at 7pm. I remember feeding literally non-stop from 7.30 to midnight on several occasions. You simply cannot enforce a routine on such tiny babies. By all means go throughb the motions if it makes you feel better (like I did) but babies tummies are about the size of a walnut at this age - so how long do you think it will take to fill up - and then re-empty?!!

Bellyrub1980 Mon 01-Dec-14 16:11:52

The total lack of routine is frustrating and exhausting. But it's normal. I think you'll feel much less stressed if you just let the baby make the decisions and go with the flow. Accept that there won't be a day or night or the next 6 weeks at least.

Waking the baby to feed every 3 hours and enforcing a sleep routine is a fairly old fashioned thing (my mum did this in the early 70's, along with 'self soothing' and 'crying it out') so maybe your doctor just isn't aware of the latest research and advice?

To answer your question... There is no pattern to my evenings really. Every night feels slightly different. I tend to stay up till about 10/11, or whenever I feel tired and make a decision that that's her 'last feed' (although that's more for me than her) and then I try and settle her to sleep in my arms and I attempt to put her in her crib. Like I said, I try and feed her as much as I can right up to that point.

Occasionally she'll settle in her crib, but often she doesn't and I end up feeding her again (and again!) upstairs. Eventually, she will settle and it's not unusual for her to have a good 3 or 4 hour sleep at that point. However she whines almost constantly in her sleep (I'm still trying to work out the cause of this!!)

She then falls back to sleep around 3 ish and will sometimes wake again 1, 2 or 3 hours later. But there really is no pattern. I did get lucky the other night and she slept a whole 6 hours! I have no idea why!!

So that's my routine... ie there is no routine. My friends baby is 4 months old and he's just started to become predictable and sleeps 7-10 hours a night. She did the same as me, everything on demand and he just eventually fell into his own routine.

Redling Mon 01-Dec-14 16:42:03

Bellyrub the constant noise that newborns make in their sleep is awful but I found and was reassured that it is normal and not a sign they want something! DS would grunt and moan all the time. He stopped about 8-10 weeks I think?! He sleeps silently now. This, and the fact he only wakes for a fast feed and then is flat out again in a minute is why I cope with him still waking 2-3 times between 8-7. His longest stretch is usually about 5 hours. But he is in his cot asleep after his bath with no issues.

Bellyrub1980 Mon 01-Dec-14 17:01:51

That's good to hear Redling. It does sound a bit like she's in pain. In the beginning I assumed she'd woken and would pick her up to feed her only to discover she was sound asleep! So now I just wait for a proper cry with eyes open. It's good to hear they grow out of it!!

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