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Thread: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight gain

  1. #1

    Default Can't feed baby awake! Low weight gain

    Hi everyone. This is my first post to the forum, I've found other posts very useful, but not quite been able to find something relating to what's happening with my baby. (I'm not sure what all the acronyms are yet!)

    She was born 7lb 5oz 2 weeks overdue (induced - looong labour), and for the first few months seemed to do really well, weight-wise. Then at her 2 month check, she'd dropped from 50 centile to 25 centile, I was sent away to feed her longer each time, which I thought I did, but at 3 months she had dropped to the 9th centile. I'm now really stressed about the feeding, as to keep up her weight I've been feeding her every 3 hours through the night. Anyway, in the last few weeks, I noticed that she doesn't want to feed when awake. The following happens: she gets distracted, or she gets upset and turns away, or she tries to poo (that's been happening since birth), or she falls asleep. So I'm feeding her when she's drowsy about to sleep or waking up from a nap.

    She gets another weigh in tomorrow, but even if that has worked, it's not sustainable! I've found the local groups too busy to get help with my specific problem. Not sure the latch has ever been great - recently got tips on how to improve it but can't train her if she never feeds when awake! I also have an overactive let-down which I have to pull her off the breast when it kicks in. Feeding 'uphill' doesn't work and it's not practical to express before every feed.

    Help! Any ideas would be appreciated. I don't want to switch to formula - besides, she's not that good taking a bottle either!

    Current weight at 12 weeks was 11lbs.

    Do I just ride it out until she weans? I would like more than two and a half hours sleep in a row at some point before then!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Welcome, mama! And congrats on the baby and on nursing to 12 weeks. Could you post your baby's entire weight history for us? Sometimes there's something revealing in there that the percentiles alone don't show- not least because what percentile a baby is in depends a lot on what chart you use. Many docs still use the charts developed using data from exclusively formula-fed, white babies in the Midwest in the 50's, which tend not to be good for measuring breastfed babies. This cha for breastfed baby girls: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/chart3.html would imply that there's nothing all that low about your baby's current weight.

    Regarding your baby's latch- forget how it looks and tell us how it feels. A good latch feels good, and it doesn't matter if it looks wonky.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Regarding the sleep...she is still a baby. Her sleep patterns will change a lot in the next 3 years
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Thank you and I'm really liking this forum!

    Thank you for posting that link - That chart looks about what we use over here. I guess the concern is that she kept dropping from one percentile to the other.

    Weight history:
    born at 7lbs 5oz,
    9 days - 7lb 11oz
    3 weeks - 8lb 9oz
    5 weeks - 9 lb 4 oz
    8 weeks - 10 lb 1oz
    12 weeks - 11lb 1 oz

    Well, with the latch, sometimes it feels fine and sometimes it's a bit sore. Since my boobs have gone a bit soft a few weeks ago (I gather that I adjust my milk supply to my baby around now) they've been sore a bit more often. Do babies have a hard time adjusting to that?

    One thing that I was doing wrong was feeding her on a rough schedule (every 3 hours) because since about 5 weeks she started sucking her thumb, and she never cries when she's hungry any more, she'll suck for comfort, hunger or when she's tired. I stopped the rough schedule a few weeks ago and am trying to feed her more often but often she's not interested and it works out about the same as when I was doing a schedule.

    The other thing I was doing wrong was that I was letting her suck on one breast for a long time (to get out the hindmilk) which meant that she either got distracted or fell asleep or started straining before I could offer the other breast. I've tried harder to make sure she gets to both breasts in a session now.

    But it's a guessing game - today I tried covering both her AND me with a blanket so she couldn't see anything (but could still see me) and she fed while awake, but I couldn't move her to the other breast.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Yes I gather, I just hope I get more than a 2 and a half hour stretch before 3 years are out!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Bed on the weights you've posted (thank you!) I don't see a big problem. Your baby is wigggling around on the charts, but she seems to be doing it in a way that is pretty normal. She was born on the smaller side of average, jumped up a few percentiles in the early weeks, and then jumped down a few percentiles around 8 weeks. My kids followed a similar growth trajectory, albeit at the very top end of the chart. At around 4-6 months they both dropped from around the 100th percentile for weight to around the 70-80th. Percent-wise, that's a much bigger drop than your LO experienced.

    Think you are definitely right to drop the schedule, and to try to encourage your LO to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day. It may be that the schedule has caused her to lose touch with her own hunger signs, so that you must be much more proactive in attempting to get her to nurse. Cramming in as many daytime feedings as possible may help with the nights: babies who get lots of calories during the day may be a bit more likely to give you a nice 5 hour stretch at night (and with an infant, 5 hours counts as "sleeping through the night").

    Keep trying different positions and different light regimes. If you nurse side-lying at night, going into a dark quiet room and using that position during the day may help. You'll get your little lady straightened out!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    I'm running into a similar situation w/ my son. He's also dropped in %'s and since about 4 months has been incredibly distracted while nursing. He went from eating every 1-1.5 hours for 30-45 minutes, to eating every 3 for about 10-20 minutes. Like you, I've also started covering him during feedings, which has seemed to help w/ his being distracted. He wasn't crazy about it at first, but seems to be getting used to it. I've also started feeding him more often (at least every 2) w/out waiting for him to ask. He's become more agreeable, even if it's just for 5 minutes He's very active and always playing with something, so I think he in a way was forgetting to tell me "Hey! I'm hungry!" At first he didn't seem interested, like you said your daughter wasn't either, but with some persistance he seems to have come around to the idea. So maybe w/ time your daughter will too?
    I saw that you're feeding your daughter when she's drowsy. I have found doing a dreamfeed w/ my son before I go to bed, to be very helpful (not sure if that's exactly what you're doing or not). Because he's so sleepy, he'll eat for a longer stretch of time, and doesn't get fussy waiting for another let down.
    Just keep trying, doing what you're doing. I've found that time and persistance are key w/ my son. At first he may be resistant to a change I make in his feeding "routine", but he seems to give in eventually (or at least meet me halfway).
    Mommy to Bradley, 8/2011, the love of my life

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Aw, thanks. I think persistence is probably the answer. She's actually sleeping longer at night now but of course I'm worried that she's not getting enough milk now that she's dropped a feed in the night. Weight check next week, hopefully all will be OK. Hope you get your little boy eating to your satisfaction too!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Can't feed baby awake! Low weight g

    Let us know how it goes next week!

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