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Coping with tiredness/ night feeds

(13 Posts)
pinktulipia Fri 27-Feb-15 10:17:15

DD is 3 1/2 weeks and I am really struggling with sleep deprivation / night feeds. I am a very heavy sleeper and struggle to rouse promptly to respond to feeding cues and to stay awake during feeds. I am scared of falling asleep during night feeds. So far I have been lucky enough to have help from DH, mother and MIL who have sat up with me during the night and nudged me if I start to drop off, but soon I will have to manage on my own. We are having separate problems with the breastfeeding latch which means that lying-down feeding is painful and not an option at the moment for catching up on sleep. DH looks after baby from approx 9pm to midnight to let me get some sleep although he needs to bring her to me for breastfeeding during this time. I also get some sleep when DD sleeps about 2 hours in the early morning 6-8am but despite this I still struggle to stay awake for feeds between about 9pm and 6am. DD is unsettled and colicky in general so there are not many opportunities for daytime naps and the unsettled times in the night last for several hours. Basically I am willing to do the night feeds but am really struggling so any tips on how to adust my body clock, stay awake and stay safe would be very welcome please. Xxx

OP’s posts: |
misskipper Fri 27-Feb-15 10:56:40

I was/am exactly the same! DD is 5 months so night feeds are rare now. However in the early days I couldn't stay awake!! I found the only way I could do it was to push myself to get out of bed and take DD downstairs into another room. Sit in a chair so am less comfy. Not ideal but helped with staying awake smile

Good luck xx

FATEdestiny Fri 27-Feb-15 11:36:33

I don't know whether to take from your post that you are trying to stay awake solidly from midnight to 6am? This isn't the way it should be!

I think looking at the bigger picture here would be more helpful than your specific body clock question.

If you get your baby feeding well and sleeping well over 24 hours a day, then night feeds can reasonably reduce to maybe 3 or four per night at most.

I suspect you have a baby that is neither feeding well nor is she sleeping well enough in the daytime. Solving daytime problems often results in easier night times and daytime problems are easier to deal with because you are awake.

For the first 6 weeks (so now for your baby) your daytimes should consist of: If baby is not feeding he should be asleep or trying to get to sleep.

Get a bouncy chair with a removable arch and remove the arch. Feed baby fully - at least two 'sides' if breastfeeding. Then wind him for 10 minutes then into bouncy chair (which holds baby in a good position for colic/reflux). You sit on the sofa and bounce and bounce and bounce that chair until baby is asleep.

90 minutes after first starting to feed, stop bouncing and wait for baby to wake up. The repeat the whole process starting with a feed, wind, bounce, sleep - every 90 minutes.

Once you have established regular sleep and feeding through the daytime, it should then hopefully improve your night times significantly.

I would also recommend introducing a dummy within the next few weeks.

pinktulipia Fri 06-Mar-15 05:18:44

Over the last week I have tried to get DD more settled in the day and night. However we still have days and nights where she doesn't settle at all or for the small amount of time she does sleep it is while being held. Yesterday we had a good day and DD settled after each feed. the bouncy chair seems to work well for this so thank you for the tip!

In the nights the feeds start at about 2-3 hour intervals. Last night it was roughly 10pm, 1:30am, and 4:30am. The trouble is each "feed" takes at least 2 hours which is why it is hard to stay awake.

We start a feed on one side, DD starts off well but after about 10 mins either falls asleep or squirms with wind and loses her latch so I have to take her off and try to reattach. At this point she is no longer interested but if I put her down she wakes immediately hungry. So I try to burp her and then re-offer the same side. After another 10 mins of feeding the same thing happens. So I burp her again and she falls asleep on my shoulder. But if I put her down she wakes up hungry. So then I offer the other side, she feeds, I burp again and she falls asleep. This time she is full so after another 15 mins of me holding her while she falls asleep I can finally put her down. As I said this whole process can take 2 hours so by the time we have finished it is almost time to start again, hence the lack of sleep!

OP’s posts: |
8monthson Fri 06-Mar-15 08:26:30

I know we are all told about baby led feeding but I agree with fate destiny if you have an unsettled baby (my DS was similar to how you describe) you have to 'manipulate' their routine/behaviour a bit if you are going to stay sane....I didn't do this very well with DS and was zombified for months and this impacted on me enjoying my baby and caused lots of orobs with DH, another story! I get that you want to continue BF but it sounds to me as if the way in which your baby is feeding at the breast is the problem...she needs to take in more milk before she gets tired. I think unless you get thus sorted things won't improve. Could you express and bottle feed a few feeds in the evening and during the night or combination feed? Changing DD when she falls asleep of breast may wake her up enough to feed again. And talk to a BF expert (latch? ? supply) if haven't a already. Really feel for you, my DS is 4 weeks now too!

Fairylea Fri 06-Mar-15 08:37:37

Probably totally the wrong thing to say but I'm going to say it anyway... This is why I chose to formula feed. I have thyroid problems and a pituitary tumour and if I don't get a proper block of sleep I become very ill. Formula feeding meant dh could take ds from 8pm to midnight during the early weeks and I could sleep uninterrupted. I'd then take over but with bottle feeding they don't tend to take as long with each feed and you can give them a dummy afterwards and they tend to settle quicker. Others will come along and tell you I'm talking nonsense but I've had two children ten years apart and I've done the same for both and it may just be luck but both have slept through 7-7 from about 12 / 14 weeks ish. I'd feed on demand and not let them sleep longer than 2.5 hours during the day before waking for a feed and gradually they began sleeping longer at night. It was the only way I could function.

mrsmugoo Fri 06-Mar-15 13:55:42

I don't want to be the harbinger of doom but you're only 3 weeks in and potentially you could be doing night feeds for several more months.

You need to develop coping strategies for sleep deprivation. When I was doing night feeds I slept literally every opportunity I could when baby was asleep - so that meant going to bed when he did, usually about 8pm and napping in the day whenever I could. Plenty of time for sitting up with your husband and having "an evening" later - this is the time for survival mode!

LondonJen Fri 06-Mar-15 17:19:44

Just to say I had the problem of feeds taking ages and it was so hard. Try to keep baby awake by poking the sole of her feet. I was shown this by the midwife. Dd was diagnosed with a tongue tie & wasn't feeding efficiently, worth seeing someone to check. MW or local bf support counsellor.

Genevieve1976 Fri 06-Mar-15 20:24:54

As like fairylea says I'm probably going to get shot down but I tried desperately to breastfeed but 9 days in I got ill and my boy had severe jaundice so ended up back in hospital twice. I will never forget what the fantastic nurse said, she talked about how he needed more food and I wasn't giving him this, he dropped loads of weight and I was getting v v stressed. She said this time is about enjoying each other, enjoying your new baby and not getting like this about not being able to.feed. after lots of soul searching and a few days mixed feeding/expressing my milk still wasn't giving him enough so went to formula. After a few days beating myself up I then relaxed and enjoyed seeing my boy put on weight, sleep more and be less stressed as he wasn't hungry any more.

It shouldn't be a battle but nice new born time, some of my friends have breast fed with plain sailing, some are bottle feeding, we are all different but we and our babies are all HAPPY xxxxxxxxxxxx

woodwaj Fri 06-Mar-15 22:20:55

My baby slept mid bottle and lost interest. My midwife said to change his nappy mid feed whether he needed it or not to wake him up. It did work, you could give that a go!

shenzi Fri 06-Mar-15 22:25:04

If she comes off try offering the other side instead of trying to get her back on the first side - hopefully she will be satisfied quicker. You can always reoffer the 1st side again after the 2nd.

Can you safely co-sleep? Or just let her sleep on your chest so you aren't spending loads of time trying to get her into her cot?

homeaway Fri 06-Mar-15 22:32:47

When she wakes up just after a feed put her back on the ssme side so that she gets the hind milk. When she finishes then move her over to other side. It is important that she gets the hind milk as that will make her sleep longer as it is more filling.

shenzi Sat 07-Mar-15 06:44:35

You really don't have to worry about making a baby get the hind milk - it's a bit of an old fashioned idea. It's fine to follow the baby's lead and offer the other side once they've lost interest/come off the first. Putting a baby back on the same side repeatedly can just frustrate them, whereas offering both sides or switching sides can get more milk into them and satisfy them quicker.

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