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Thread: Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need advice

  1. #1

    Default Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need advice

    Our daughter is currently nine days old and refuses to swallow, or stay away, when she is breast feeding, and we don't know what to do!

    Our little one was born at 7lb's 9oz's and was latching successfully by the first day. Throughout her entire first week she had no troubles latching and even though occasionally she would doze off when feeding we thought things were going great.

    Little did we know, at our one week appointment we would be told that she was 10% under her original weight and we "needed to feed her more". See that she has been feeding for 45 minutes to an hour straight every other hour this almost seems like an impossibility unless we just let her feed 24/7 and do nothing else.

    Upon closer observation we've found that she has a bad habit of pacifying herself instead of actually feeding for about 90% of the time. She will suck, and, suck, and suck but never actually swallow. Then all of the sudden there will be small bouts of sucking and swallowing that have no real rhythm or reason in regards to her timing within the feedings.

    To add to this frustration, our little one can't stay awake! This is all the time, while feeding, while not feeding, while burping, she just doesn't want to wake up (minus about four three - four hours from 1am till about 4-5am.) The problem with her sleeping so much as that it is very hard to consistently get to to suck, better yet swallow when feeding. We have tried all of the suggestions including...undressing her to the diaper, rubbing her side, palms or feet, massaging her head gently, wiping a wet wash cloth across her feet, hands or head, changing her diaper before feeding, switching positions (though football seems to work the best of all), talking to her, etc. We have also tried switching her when she falls asleep, but typically we then need to spend a half an hour trying to wake her up to feed on the other side for twenty seconds before she falls asleep again. She is still getting wet or dirty diapers 6-10 times a day, but doesn't seem to be gaining back any weight.

    The only thing we haven't yet tried is supplementing. Our pediatrician told us that we didn't need to unless when we went back in she hadn't made it back up to her original weight. My wife is very hesitant to bottle feed in fear that she won't want to go back to breast feeding. We used a pacifier sparingly during the night and during diaper changes starting on about the third day (per a nurses suggestion at our hospital), but this is also something my wife is questioning. She is wondering if perhaps the pacifier use during those times can be attributed to her pacifying while feeding.

    As stated before, it is literally taking an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes to get her seemingly full each feeding because of these problems, she still isn't gaining weight, and she is almost always showing signed of hunger.

    To add more details, she wasn't born jaundice, she wasn't born four days after her due date, she hasn't been diagnosed with anything and was said to be a "healthy baby" other than the weight loss during out last appointment. She rarely wakes herself to feed though, but she starts to show signs of hunger during her sleep every hour or so. It is really hot in our house - we don't have any air conditioning so it is on average about 85 - 88 degrees in our house which might be adding to her sleepiness, though we try to keep about 5 fans circulating the air the best we can.

    Any suggestions that you might have that could help would be greatly appreciated! It is getting somewhat disheartening doing all of this work with little success so far, so we're looking for something else to try!

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,580

    Default Re: Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need ad

    Hi, congratulations on your new baby. I know you must be worried. I hope we can help.

    Please assure your wife that IF supplements are needed, they can be done in a way that will not interfere too much with breastfeeding. Basically that would mean-supplements only given as needed, because baby cannot get enough milk at the breast. Needed supplementation should be with moms own expressed milk if at all possible, donated milk if not, and formula if neither of those options are available. Supplements given in very small amounts at a time, and given in a breastfeeding supportive way. I won’t go on about that more now though, as you may not need to supplement, your doctor appears to think all is ok for now. But just in case, she should know that.

    OK, to get a better picture I have a few questions and then some suggestions:

    Was the doctor weight check on a different scale than previous check? Was there any other weight check done between birth weight and 7 day weight?

    How many poopy diapers per day, what do they look like (color, amount, consistency (liguidy, curdy etc))

    How many times a 24 hour day does baby nurse?

    Have you tried letting baby sleep for a longer period to see if baby will wake naturally, on her own? Or does baby always sleep too long if you try that?

    suggestions-

    Baby should be lightly dressed and no hat. No swaddling. Generally all sucking should be at the breast at this age, so no pacifier-definitely not for sleeping. If baby cries during a diaper change that is not going to hurt baby. Use a clean adult pinky or knuckle for pacifying if really needed.

    Baby held by mom or dad most of the time and offered breast at earliest cue or no cue, before baby cries, if possible. Baby may even cue in sleep.

    Your house IS hot. If this kind of heat is something you are not used to, that may be a problem for mom’s comfort and health.

    Mom needs to stay hydrated. Not over hydrated but normally hydrated. And eating.

    Have you looked into seeing a board certified lactation consultant? (IBCLC) Breastfeeding needs to be assessed if baby is really not getting enough milk, to find out why that is happening and form a plan for fixing the problem.

    Any local LLL or other breastfeeding support?

    Try breast compressions -more info: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-BC

    Also read/view the links I put in my last post in this thread, this mom is having similar issues: http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...e-preterm-baby

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need ad

    Just wanted to pop in and add that my baby was extremely sleepy and lost a lot of weight a few days out of the hospital. We also had a lot of problems waking him to get him to feed (those days sure are long gone). He also ran very hot (no swaddling - that made him outright sweat) and we have AC but live in Florida and one of our rooms doesn't get good airflow so I had to buy a very powerful oscillating fan and use the ceiling fan just to stay at a normal temperature (our house with AC is 81 degrees but we also have a dehumidifier in our AC so it feels more like 77 or so).

    Overheating is a big issue for us, and I am terrified of SIDS so I generally keep him in nothing but a light t-shirt or onesie to soak up any sweat and he seems to do better with this than being naked. With waking our baby to eat, we found diaper changes did the best. I generally gave him to my husband to let him basically annoy him awake but that didn't last long. But I found we could get through a feeding through basically harassing him with a washcloth, diaper changes, undressing him and doing skin-to-skin nursing, and generally annoying him though I hated to. He eventually did start waking more and gaining very quickly. Good luck.

    EDIT - Wanted to add that the fan I bought is much more powerful than any regular fan I've seen and is a high velocity fan that completely blows away (no pun intended) our ceiling fans and old standing fan. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (it was $67 when I bought it). You may also want to take a look at this one which is cheaper at the moment and is probably even stronger: http://www.amazon.com/Lasko-4924-Vel.../dp/B000BO58PC
    Last edited by @llli*xel; September 5th, 2013 at 08:45 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need ad

    Thanks for the suggestions! To provide more information...

    Our daughter usually has about 7 - 10 dirty diapers a day and they are usually a kind of curdy consistency and an orang-ish color.

    She usually nurses 8-15 times a day. Usually at night. Though sometimes it's hard to track when she goes from one feeding to another because she is feeding for such a long period of time (well... sleeping, pacifying, feeding...)

    During the night it is difficult to get her to sleep for more than just a couple of hours, and she usually wakes up crying because she's hungry, or just wants to pacify. During the day it is very difficult to get her to wake up at all, better yet on her own. We tried seeing if she would wake up on her own, but typically after 3 1/2 - 4 hours we would have to wake her up. Usually we have started waking her up on a two hour schedule.

    As for the suggestion about the cues. Our baby progresses very quickly to crying. Between the time she starts showing cues, to the time my wife can actually get into a position to feed (45 seconds to a minute) she has already started crying. We haven't seen a certified lactation consultant yet, but were planning on going down to a free weighing / clinic this evening at the hospital. As for LLL support meetings, almost all of the groups around here meet on this third Tuesday or Wednesday of the month, which is quite some time from now, so we haven't pursued those avenues yet.

    Hope this information helps a bit, and if you have any other suggestions for how to get her to stay awake during feedings, or to swallow better as opposed to just pacifying please let me know!

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by @llli*jddykstra; September 5th, 2013 at 12:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,580

    Default Re: Sleepy pacifying baby not getting enough to eat. Need ad

    Hope this information helps a bit, and if you have any other suggestions for how to get her to stay awake during feedings, or to swallow better as opposed to just pacifying please let me know!
    as I suggested above, try breast compressions. Mom can also encourage baby to "rev back up' (nurse more vigorously when baby slows down) by stroking baby, 'pumping' (squeezing) the hands or feet, gently jiggling chin, -that kind of thing. Also, "pacifying" is not a bad thing. More on this below.

    The frequent output (poops) sounds quite good for a baby who is not gaining. This makes me suspect scale error. You do not mention the volume (approximate size) of the poops. The color and consistency sounds normal.

    Nursing frequency sounds normal.

    I think another weight check is in order, but not on a different scale-the same one as last weight check if possible. Weight checks on different scales are notoriously inaccurate!

    Besides your own observation, how are you defining feeding vs. pacifying? Suck/swallow patterns normally vary throughout a feeding and so called pacifying at the breast or 'comfort nursing' is an entirely healthy, needed, and normal part of breastfeeding. Yes a baby needs to actively suckle as well.

    During the night it is difficult to get her to sleep for more than just a couple of hours, and she usually wakes up crying because she's hungry, or just wants to pacify.
    This is normal newborn behavior. Esp. In these early weeks, Your babies 'prime directive' is to grow. So her job is to eat and sleep-eat very frequently, and sleep in very short bursts, all day AND night. So if baby is waking and wanting to nurse, then the best course of action is to allow that and encourage that to happen-even at night.

    Many people call it 'reverse cycling' when a newborn feeds more often at night than during the day. I call it normal newborn behavior. No matter what you call it, it is not a breastfeeding problem. It is normal. It fixes on its own over time.

    to the time my wife can actually get into a position to feed (45 seconds to a minute) she has already started crying.
    please read my suggestions again and look at the links on laid back and cueing I suggested in the other thread. Of course sometimes baby will cry before mom can nurse. If that happens and baby is crying too hard to latch, try comforting baby another way and trying again. But as much as possible, baby can be on mom, snuggled on moms chest, both mom and baby dressed lightly and with quick and easy access to the breast at the eariest cues or even no cues.

    As for LLL support meetings, almost all of the groups around here meet on this third Tuesday or Wednesday of the month, which is quite some time from now, so we haven't pursued those avenues yet.
    you or your wife can always call any Leader any time, no need to wait for a meeting. You can call me, if you like-pm me if you like.

    here are those links-

    Feeding cues: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

    Some Comfy positioning ideas for nursing and/or just holding baby-adjust as needed, you need not lean so far back.

    Laid back position http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    Laid back video (Shows baby cueing in sleep) http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

    What is normal in the early weeks with a breastfed baby http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

    Diaper log (for tracking poops) http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...diaper_log.pdf

    Waking a sleepy newborn: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf

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