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Thread: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    42

    Angry Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    I am a first time Mom & my beautiful little girl & I are trying to figure this breastfeeding thing out, but things are not going well for us. To be honest, I'm at my wit's end. As if this isn't all hard enough (coming home with a baby/adjusting/etc.) I have to deal with a sleeping baby who will not wake up for feedings. My little girl is just one week old tomorrow, so we are only talking about a few days here...

    When we left the hospital, the Dr. (Pediatrician) who visited her from the informed us that she had "lost too much weight" and to come the next day for a weight check. Went to the Dr. on her 4th day of life & she had gone from 8.9 (birth weight) to 7.13. Dr. strongly suggested supplementing with formula. Gave me some with a siringe. Tried it twice, but didn't want to AT ALL. I think Dr. scared me because she had lost just under 10% (but isn't that normal?) After some research, I think she is OK. Anyway, my milk came in that very night. She has lots of poop diapers a day (maybe 5 or 6) and diaper is always thouroughly soaked when I change her each time.

    So, I am scared that she isn't getting enough milk (and who wouldn't be a little if a Dr. told you she lost too much weight) AND I am exhausted because she SLEEPS ALL OF THE TIME and I CANNOT WAKE HER TO FEED FOR LONGER THAN 2 MINUTES AT A TIME!!!! I am coming close to losing it! This is how our feedings go:

    I wake her up to feed. If I let her sleep and wake up on her own, she sleeps for four or more hours.

    Totally asleep, I take her into the nursery. I try different things like changing her diapers, pulling off her clothes, putting clothes back on, massaging her limbs, tugging on toes, underarm, tickling feet, wet towel on back, blowing on her.

    When she finally roots or shows signs of waking, she latches on. Sometimes after a few sucks, she is back to sleep. Usually she will nurse 2 minutes inconsistantly and fall back asleep, refusing to be woken. Usually she lets go of my nipple or it gradually slides out. I try and latch her back on, but her lips remain TIGHTLY pursed/closed. I then do all the things listed above to wake her, but it just doesn't work. I burp her and burp her but nothing happens. After 5, sometimes 10 minutes, I may be able to (if I'm lucky) get her to suck for 4 minutes max, but usually its just another one or two or less. And then we go through it all over again - the pulling off & on of clothes, diaper checks, etc. It sometimes takes 50 minutes to get 10 minutes of feeding time in.

    Sometimes while I am doing the eternal burping, she will quickly wake and root her head. I immediately attempt to put her back on the breast, but she rears her head back and pushes away (still rooting) and then begins to SCREAM uncontrollably and I can't get her on while she's like that. So I have to calm her down and she either falls back asleep or does it all over again. Also, if she chokes/coughs, she pushes herself off the breast and again refuses to go back on. Rather, she choses to sleep.

    The few times I have been able to nurse her while fully awake, she seems to do it just fine. It doesn't hurt me, she sucks well and goes for 15 - 20 minutes on one breast.

    Last night I got so desperate I figured out my manual pump, put it together, pumped some out & put it in a bottle (against my wishes to withold bottle feeding for now). Guess what happened? Yup - she wouldn't take the bottle either because she was sound asleep. Twice I have fed her with my milk through a siringe, but how can she learn to eat when I do that while she is sleeping??

    Someone please help me. If this continues, I don't know HOW I am going to do this. She does have some awake periods during the day (usually post feeding - Aaaarg!). My latest idea is that maybe I shouldn't allow those and just put her strait back to sleep after feedings... Somebody out there MUST have gone through this too!!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    Hi there
    It's always worrisome when these little newborns aren't eating like we think they should

    When we left the hospital, the Dr. (Pediatrician) who visited her from the informed us that she had "lost too much weight" and to come the next day for a weight check. Went to the Dr. on her 4th day of life & she had gone from 8.9 (birth weight) to 7.13. Dr. strongly suggested supplementing with formula. Gave me some with a siringe. Tried it twice, but didn't want to AT ALL. I think Dr. scared me because she had lost just under 10% (but isn't that normal?)
    Yes, by my calculations she lost about 9%. 10% or over is worrisome. Have you been back to the doctor for a weight check since that visit?

    Anyway, my milk came in that very night. She has lots of poop diapers a day (maybe 5 or 6) and diaper is always thouroughly soaked when I change her each time.
    This is an excellent sign that she's getting enough. She should be having AT LEAST 5-6 wet (disposable, 6-8 cloth) diapers and 2-3 bowel movements per day. She should also be going to the breast at least 8-12 times per 24 hour period. http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/enough.html

    I can tell you're concerned that she's too sleepy and isn't getting enough to eat. However based on her output, it seems like she's getting enough. I'd like to know a current weight on her though.

    It also sounds like you're struggling quite a bit to wake her up and get her to the breast (though, again, based on her output, you're doing a good job of getting milk into her!). Does she ever wake up and act hungry--does she root, or chew on her fists or cry to be fed?

    Much as you probably don't want to hear it, I'd suggest that you just keep working at getting her to eat. Newborns are sleepy little creatures. You might find it helpful to strip yourself down to the waist and strip baby down to her diaper when you feed. That skin-to-skin contact really stimulates them. You can also do this in the bathtub.

    Some other articles that may help you:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/schedule.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/frequency.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/back.html (this one has some good suggestions for persuading a baby to take the breast--I know you're not trying to relactate!).

    Hang in there. You may find that she'll come out of this sleepy state soon and want to nurse all the time!
    Hugs
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    2,467

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    I'm so sorry you're having these issues. I know it's frustrating. Have you tried a cold rag on the bottom of the feet? That usually pisses them off pretty good. How long are her "awake" times during the day? If she is having the right amount of wet and dirty diapers, she's getting what she needs. The hardest thing I had to learn was TRUST YOUR BODY. Your baby will tell your body how much milk she needs. Stay away from the formula. It will totally mess your supply up in the beginning. I did supplement because my in-laws accused me of starving the baby before our first Dr.'s appt. It totally screwed me up and thankfully my Dr. told me not to do that again. She's very pro-BF. Mine never sleeps so I'm the complete opposite of you. I will send you a hug and hopefully someone with more experience on this matter will help you out. Stick with it, it takes a while but you will get the hang of this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    42

    Smile Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    Jen - yes she has shown signs of hunger. I let her sleep last night without waking her for a feeding. After 4 hours she gave one short cry and made sucking sounds & was rooting. Doesn't do it often though.

    Will find out current weight tomorrow when we go back to Dr. for a weight check. Hopefully will have gained!!

    Will keep struggling to wake her!

    Thanks,

    Jen

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    Okay! Keep me posted
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    Hi Jen-

    I just wanted to say that I went through the EXACT same thing with Ruby. She went from 8lb8oz birthweight to 7lbs6oz hospital discharge weight, because of her always "falling asleep at the wheel", as I called it. We did a little supplementing during the first week or so, and frequent weight checks once she was home. Eventually, she did grow out of the sleepy phase, and once she started gaining...Kaboom! What a little porker!! So hang in there...I know how upsetting it is when you feel you're not nourishing your little one enough, but you can do it! In the meantime, just do your best to be patient and keep your baby awake by any means possible...it sounds like you're on the right track anyway, with all those poopy and wet diapers! Try not to worry, and keep us posted on the weight gain!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    4

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    I am having exactly the same problem with my 4 weeks old baby.Keep pumping and giving with bottle which makes me feel gulity and I am about to loose self confidence.Also pumping 5-6 times (I am producing arounf 4 oz each time) makes me feel tired off.
    I would love to feed her from breast at alland need some help?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    82

    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    My babe was born 5 weeks early and was jaundice so he was the sleepiest baby I had ever seen for almost 6 weeks!!! Even the LC at the hospital had a hard time getting him awake enough to show interest in feeding.

    First I would suggest to resist the urge to bottle feed! I know it's difficult and I had some trouble with this one but I sincerely belive that it had a very negative impact on our early nursing relationship. DS was sooo sleepy and the fast flow of the bottle satisfied much quicker than working at the breast so he began to prefer it...It took ALOT of work and patientce but we finally got the hang of it, and now it's wonderful!

    Some of the suggestions we had (that seemed to work) were:
    *undress baby and gently stimulate by massaging and talking to wake baby
    *put baby in bath with you and offer the breast while in the water.
    *feed immediately after diaper changes when baby is more alert
    *ALWAYS offer the breast before giving bottles (if you must give a bottle)
    ****Relax and be patient****

    Breast feeding was way more difficult than I could have imagined...both you and baby are learning a new skill and it takes time and practice. Try to relax and go easy on yourself and the baby.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    I just want to provide support. My lo is 7 weeks and still falls asleep while nursing most of the time. I have let her sleep through meals from the very beginning, even in the hospital, but we didn't have a problem with weight gain, so I wasn't worried about that. It does take forever to feed her, though because she sleeps through most of it- I just give her all the time she needs. I've found what helps most for me is to put my finger at the corner of her mouth and press on my nipple like I'm going to unlatch her. This always makes her give a few good sucks. I may have to do this over and over for 10-15 minutes but at least I know she is eating. She is doing better at continuing to suck while she's asleep now that she's older so it is getting easier. Good luck and I hope you find out her weight is up tomorrow!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Thumbs up Re: Sleepy baby won't wakeup for feedings - HELP!

    I am so relieved that others know what I am talking about & have been through it...

    Everyone & everything I read says to relax before the feedings...
    It has been especially hard to RELAX because I feel like a complete lunatic right now - the stress of the MAJOR life change, the hormones SURGING throughout my body make it difficult to relax. During the first 24 hours at home, my knees wobbled everytime I picked her up out of fear I would harm her somehow!

    Jen - Baby weighed in at just under 8.2. Again, birthweight was 8.9 then went down to 7.13 on Friday and now back up. Dr. was pleased, said I was doing things right.

    Jen

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