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Thread: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

  1. #1

    Default *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    My 4-week old goes *comatose* (asleep) almost immediately every time I nurse, and has since he was born, which prompted significant weight loss at the beginning and eventually formula supplementation. (No judgment on this, please--I'd like to work back to EBF, but it's going to take time.)

    I've also pumped and given the (very little) milk back to him in a bottle, but right now I'm trying to concentrate on nursing on demand, and I'd rather try to get the breast milk directly to the baby rather than to the machine if I can.

    Right now he's on a hybrid feeding plan--nursing at every feeding and then some formula afterwards. He falls asleep *constantly* at the breast, and always has even when there was no supplementation involved. I think he'd fall asleep on the bottle, too, if it didn't flow so fast.

    Diaper counts are fine, and weight gain has turned around, too. But I cannot wake him to feed nor keep him awake once I do, no matter what form of food is offered (if he's sleepy/sleeping, not even the easy way out--the bottle--makes any difference at all). Perhaps my supply is ridiculously low?

    I spend almost all of every day trying to coax this baby to eat something--*anything*--and part of every night trying to get him to wake up to feed. (I think he would sleep through the entire night if we would let him.) It feels like a never-ending battle, and all any lactation consultant will tell me is how wonderful breast milk is and how great it is that I'm trying.

    I don't want compliments--I want to make progress feeding my child without being given the same recommendations over and over again, since they already don't work for us. Does anyone have any new ideas? We've tried every waking technique known to humankind, and nothing makes any difference--a second later, he's out again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,562

    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    Have you tried using a Medela SNS or a LactAid while nursing to make sure that he gets milk or formula right away and doesn't fall asleep from the effort?

    Was he early? He will wake up soon mama, I know it's hard to believe right now, but he will.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    Do you cosleep at night with him?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    381

    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    I know you want to focus on trying to BF on demand, but I wonder if all the supplementation and not so much active nursing (because he falls asleep) has left you with a low supply and a slow flow even when you do let down - neither of which is encouraging your baby to stay awake to nurse.

    If I were you I'd try pumping after every time you supplement, or at least several times a day while baby sleeps, to build that supply. This would allow you to replace some of the formula with EBM, but the real reason I'd do it is so the supply is there when he nurses. Hopefully a faster, stronger flow from you will help.

    My dd used to fall asleep a lot at the breast in the early days, making for really long nursing sessions. Looking back it seems like all I really did for the first 6 weeks was feed the baby. I would strip her down, tickle her feet, switch breasts repeatedly, you name it (although I bet you've tried all those things too!). I agree with pp, your lo will wake up soon.
    Last edited by @llli*ooky; June 1st, 2011 at 04:13 PM. Reason: spelling
    Mom to Taiga born 6/2010

    Pocket cloth diapers. Baby led solids. Full-time working mom. I my DH, DD, kitty Dr. Benway, and my working border collie Odin!
    BF for 1 year and she and I still love it !!!!

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    What a frustrating situation! Sleepy babies can be tough. You totally did the right thing to start supplementing.

    Have you tried any or all of the following baby-waking tricks? (Sorry if they're repeats for you!)
    1. Keep him cool. A cool baby is generally a more alert baby. Dress baby lightly or strip him down to a diaper, and keep a fan blowing in the room where you're nursing.
    2. Annoy him (gently). Use a cool damp washrag on the soles of his feet or against the grain of his hair.
    3. Keep the lights dim. New babies sometimes close their eyes in response to bright light.
    4. Speed the milk to him by doing breast compressions.
    5. Switch sides frequently. As soon as nursing slows, remove him from the breast, burp him, change his diaper, and put him on the other side. Repeat the process as many times as possible.

    Are you currently pumping? I know it sucks to do a lot of pump work on top of nursing, but if the baby isn't doing a good job of emptying the breast, you really do need to pump. The key to maintaining or increasing milk supply is to remove milk from the breast at frequent intervals. A couple tips to ease the burden when it comes to pumping:
    1. Leave your pump screwed onto the bottle after you pump and pop the whole assembly in the fridge. You can safely reuse the assembly, and pump new milk on top of old, one time before everything should be washed again.
    2. Instead of doing a bazillions washing-ups a day, leave a large basin of soapy water by the sink and throw used bottles and pump parts in as necessary. That way you can do just a few large washes instead of a lot of small ones.
    3. Use the best possible pump. If you don't have a hospital-grade rental, I strongly suggest getting one! One nice thing about boosting your supply with the pump is that the more milk you have, the faster it typically comes out, which should mean your baby won't have to work as hard to get his meals.

    Hang in there, mama!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    Your situation sounds so much like mine! My DS was sooo sleepy at the breast, causing him to also lose weight and resulting in us having to supplement with formula. It took two months for him to realize that he had to stay awake for food, lol. And now we are doing fine - no more supplementing!

    We were using a little syringe at the breast (under a nipple shield to make it easier) to try and encourage him to keep sucking. It didn't work for us though. He was still lazy. That might be something you want to try though.

    I also found that blowing on his face helped him wake up a bit.

    I agree with mommal that you need to be pumping, pumping, pumping. If you want to stop the formula and get him back on your breast, it's important to keep your supply up. Every time he eats and isn't on your breast, you need to be pumping. After you BF him, you should pump to make sure it's empty.

    Give it time and *lots* of patience, and I'm sure that you'll be able to do it!
    ~ Megan

    Mommy to Alex (born 2/27/11) and Katie (born 3/31/14)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    10

    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    I had the same thing with mine. He would sleep and not wake up...he is four y/o and still doesn't wake up unless good and ready! I don't know how often you feed him, but make sure you don't let him go longer than 2-2 1/2 hours when he is asleep. If his blood sugar starts dropping after he has digested all the milk in his stomach, he will be more sleepy and less likely to wake up to eat. It becomes a crazy cycle of sleeping too long, getting too hungry, eating just enough to stave the pain, and falling asleep again. Also gas on the tummy can interfere as well, make sure he burps after each feeding, even if you have to lay him down and burp him again when he gets fussy. the best thing to do is hang in there, be persistent and don't give up. It's hard work but it is worth it in the end. Also try drinking some coffee occasionally. Caffeine will help him to be more alert...also more fussy, but if he isn't waking up, an occasional cup may give him the kick in the pants he needs!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    2,005

    Default Re: *beyond* sleepy--and beyond frustrated

    how often is your lo nursing?
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.


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