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Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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408496 tn?1269606950

Breastfeeding question!

I am a new mom and my son is only 8 days old - he seems to eating pretty well - but my question is that sometimes he sleeps through his feeding times - in the hospital they wanted me to wake him up, but should I do that now that we are home or wait until he wakes up on his own?   He doesn't wake up that often - he is a sleeper, but when he eats, he will eat for 30 or more minutes at a time.  He has plenty of wet and dirty diapers.  When I wake him up to eat, it usually isn't to productive - he usually falls asleep.  Should I wake him  up or let him sleep?  I know to wake him up if he goes too long without eating, but normally what should I do?  Thanks so much - I am a new mom and am trying my best here!
16 Responses
189192 tn?1261345228
For now, I wouldn't let him go longer than 3 hrs without feeding.  
561451 tn?1257479950
when they are new born they should eat every 3 to 4 hours.  So i'd wake him up atleast for the first month.  It's also normal for him to eat for 30 minutes, he is getting more milk to come in that way!
Avatar universal
I know that the hospital told you to wake him up, but trust me, if he is hungry he will let you know. I have never believed in waking my sleeping baby to feed. It is, however, different if he falls asleep while nursing- just tickle his cheek until he finishes. As long as he is soiling his diapers and eating every 2-3 hours you shouldn't be worried.

93532 tn?1349374050
No, you have to wake them up during the first 4 weeks. They will not always wake and let you know, in fact they do not have that function as of yet. Babies can and do suffer from hypoglycemic episodes that can prevent them from rousing to eat in the beginning.

Wake to feed every 2-3 hours, no more than 3 hours. Keep him awake by tickling feet.

Avatar universal
Wake him up every 2-3 hours during the day.  You can go a little longer during the night, 3-4 if I remember correctly.  
Avatar universal
I copied this from the Mayo Clinic's website

Stick with breast milk or formula
In most cases, breast milk is the ideal food for babies. Breast-feeding provides physical and emotional benefits for both mothers and newborns, and most experts recommend exclusive breast-feeding for at least the first six months of life.Whether you feed your newborn breast milk or formula, avoid giving water, juice or other fluids. Introducing these liquids too soon can cause diarrhea.

Other key points to keep in mind:

Feed your baby on demand. Most newborns breast-feed eight to 12 times a day — about every two to three hours. Within two to three months, your baby may be satisfied with six to eight feedings a day. Eventually your baby will fall into a fairly predictable feeding schedule, taking in more milk in less time at each feeding. If you feed your baby formula, you'll need to feed a little less often because formula digests more slowly than breast milk does.
Discuss vitamin D. If you're exclusively or partially feeding your infant breast milk, talk with your doctor about vitamin D supplements for your baby. Breast milk may not provide enough vitamin D, which is essential to help your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus — necessary for strong bones. Too little vitamin D may cause rickets, a softening and weakening of bones.
Follow your baby's feeding cues. Look for early signs of hunger, such as stirring and stretching, sucking motions and lip movements. Fussing and crying are later cues. The sooner you begin each feeding, the less likely you'll need to soothe a frantic baby. Of course, not every cry means hunger. Sometimes your baby may simply need a clean diaper, a change of scenery or some cuddle time.
Know when your baby is full. When babies stop sucking, close their mouths or turn away from the nipple, they may be full — or simply taking a break. Try burping your baby or waiting a minute before offering your breast or the bottle again. If your baby is ready to end the feeding, he or she will resist more vigorously. In general, breast feedings should last at least 10 minutes — and usually no more than 20 minutes — per breast.
Expect variations in your baby's eating patterns. Your baby won't necessarily eat the same amount every day. During growth spurts — often at 10 to 14 days after birth, as well as at three weeks, six weeks, three months and six months — your baby may take more at each feeding or want to feed more often. After a few days, the pattern should become more predictable. When your baby begins to drop middle-of-the-night feedings, he or she may want a morning "catch-up" feeding.
Trust your instincts — and your baby's. Parents often worry that their newborn isn't eating enough. But babies usually know just how much they need. Don't focus on how much, how often and how regularly your baby eats. Instead, look for contentment between feedings, alertness, good skin tone and steady weight gain — about 4 to 7 ounces a week for the first month.
Know the signs of underfeeding. If your newborn isn't gaining weight, wets fewer than six to eight diapers a day or doesn't have regular bowel movements, seems sleepy all the time, and shows little interest in feeding, he or she may not be getting enough to eat. If you notice any of these signs or have concerns, call your baby's doctor.
Get regular well-baby checkups. Your baby's doctor will likely want to weigh your newborn and discuss feeding 48 to 72 hours after you and your baby leave the hospital. Be sure to keep this and other follow-up appointments so that you and your doctor can track your baby's progress.
Consider each feeding a time to bond with your baby. For babies, feeding is as much a social activity as a nutritional one. Your baby's growth and development are based, in part, on the powerful bond that forms during feedings. Hold your baby close during each feeding. Look him or her in the eye. Speak with a gentle voice. If you're using a bottle, resist the temptation to prop it in your baby's mouth while you do other things. This could lead to choking or tooth decay — and a missed opportunity to build your baby's sense of security, trust and comfort.
691990 tn?1290118847
Wow I'm surprised with how many women are saying to wake your baby up!  Maybe they are right, I've just never heard that belief before unless they are sleeping for really long periods etc.  Anything I always heard from LaLache League leaders or lactation consultants was to just go with the flow if all seems normal.  I mean you want to make sure your baby is eating enough, but when you're bf you never know how many "ounces" etc they are getting.  You just feed them when they are hungry or you are feeling full.  Assuming your milk supply is doing well and he is having a normal number of wet and dirty diapers I would most definitely do what is normal for you and your baby. Also a woman's breastmilk changes depending on the needs of her baby.  A good friend of mine had one son that she nursed constantly, but then her little girl only nursed once every 6 hours or so or less.  Her milk supply stayed constant, but one thing she noticed was her milk was very thick rather then watery when she did pump on occasion. Her daughter was growing healthy as ever, just getting high nutrients in a low number of feedings.  I'm realizing all of this is assuming you are nursing which you never indicated so if you are bottle feeding it all may go out the window!!!  Regardless good luck to you!  You sound like you are doing a great job! And if you want the "real deal" ask your doctor or a lactation consultant who has the latest info! Congrats!
93532 tn?1349374050
My third son suffered from hypoglycemia immediately following delivery. During his first 18 hours of life, he would barely nurse, come to find out nearly 20 hours after his birth he had a belly full of amniotic fluid preventing him from nursing. By day 3 he had dangerously high bilirubin levels as a result of being unable to rouse enough to eat on a regular schedule, even with me waking him to feed. It was a vicious cycle.

Never underestimate this. When they say feed on demand they mean not to schedule feedings so many hour apart and forsaking signs of hunger before those set periods of time. Older parenting advice used to tell parents to feed every 4 hours, not a moment sooner. The reason they have begun telling parents to feed on demand was to prevent this type of thing from happening.

Even the AAP recommends waking to feed and not allowing breastfed infants to go more than 3 hours between feeds during the first few weeks of life.

One key point you seemed to have missed was lack of ability to stay awake for feedings being a sign of not eating often enough. That is a huge thing.

"...seems sleepy all the time, and shows little interest in feeding, he or she may not be getting enough to eat."



172023 tn?1334675884
We are talking about an 8 day old infant here.  Hypoglycemia can be a significant problem if too much time goes by between feeds.

If the baby becomes hypoglycemic, they can also become lethargic and sleepier.  If you don't rouse them to eat often in the first couple of weeks of life, a hypoglycemic episode could become very dangerous.  

Lethargy and infrequent feeding can also be a sign of sepsis in the immediate newborn period.   If he becomes more and more lethargic and uninterested in feeding, your pediatrician should be alerted right away.  
It sounds like he's eating well at times, as you describe it here.  But I'd wake him if prolonged periods go by without eating.  
Avatar universal
I agree with the other posters who have advised you to wake your little one to sleep.  
161938 tn?1212172749
I think only if they are jaundiced ir have other conditions that cause lethargy otherwise I would not wake up JMO
171768 tn?1324233699
i think the concern at 8 days is that a new mother would not recognize jaundice, hypoglycemia or other problems. i would wake the baby for a few weeks.
although, honestly, the best person to question this question of is your baby's pediatrician.
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