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Thread: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Question Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    Hi ladies.

    I have a little man who will be 2 weeks old tomorrow and he has yet to reach his birth weight again. He was 6lbs 11oz at birth, proceeded to do huge black sticky poops (I think there were 8 in the first 24 hours) and went down to 6lbs 1oz. Hospital made me 'top him up with formula' after I'd bfed him to see if it would help him put on weight faster, but after I protested and said I would rather he have my ebm they agreed and let me do it that way.

    Now, my LO has been mostly asleep since he was born. Only in the past three days has he had 'waking' periods of 5 or 6 minutes before he goes back to sleep again. He has cried three times since birth and if he wants feeding he only whimpers or goes 'eh, eh'. I'm atuned to these cues and will feed him when he asks, but generally I have to wake him up to do so as he lets it go for hours other wise. The longest he has left it between feeds is a good 5 hours, which isn't helping him gain that weight back and is making my midwives uneasy about it. They want me to feed him every three hours, and I want to feed on demand.. but if I do it on demand, he'll never put on weight!

    How do we get over the sleeping baby thing?? It's frustrating because I've got to literally strip him down to his nappy, pop him on his belly and rub his back to get him to wake up enough to feed! He's on the breast for about 15 minutes and then refuses to latch any further after pulling himself off. I've got a very good let down reflex (I can feel it and I squirt across the room if he pulls off!) so he's certainly getting the milk needed and he does fall asleep at the breast, but only after about 10 minutes. I don't offer the other breast as there is no point! I can't nurse a baby who is flat out asleep and doesn't even open their mouth when my milk is pouring onto their lips!

    Any advice is great.

    I should mention I'm currently taking Risperidone (for Bi-polar) and have been told that this can make my baby sleepy, but was also told that he would grow out of it after the first week.....

    Jarred - 12/June/2007 - BF for 3 months - stopped due to medical reasons
    Lilly - 4/May/2010 BF for 8 months - On strike between 1/1/2011 - 29/3/2011 - That's 12 Weeks and 3 days!! It is FINALLY over!
    Together we battle with Cows milk, nuts and soya allergies, but we're making it!
    We , , and too, but we had problems..
    EP'ED for 3 months!
    Thomas born Feb 14th 2015 by emcs due to him presenting sideways with a hand first! Trying EBF again!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    101

    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    5 to 6 minutes? Wow, that sounds extremely sleepy. I think it'd be good to talk with your doc and/or pediatrician and/or Infantrisk about the meds your on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    How close to birth weight is baby? How is output-poops?

    It is hard when a baby is very sleepy, I had that experience with my oldest and trying to get him awake to nurse was very hard. But it had to be done. Once he started nursing often enough on his own and gain was on track, we let him find his own sleep/wake pattern and it got way easier. But it was really important he nursed often enough to get that weight gain going and to make sure my milk production was ok. I had lots of meds in labor and post due to C-section, and those probably played a role in my sons sleepiness.

    One of the misunderstandings about cue feeding is that it always means wait until baby cues. It can mean that, and this may be fine assuming baby is nursing with normal frequency and gaining well. But it can also mean that mom can offer to nurse whenever she feels a 'cue' - an urge to nurse, either physical or mental. That is also cue feeding.

    More to the point with your situation, it is pretty common for a baby to not cue quite often enough in the very early weeks and to really need to nurse more often than baby is cuing. This can be for many reasons but meds that might make baby sleepy would certainly be a reason to nurse more than baby cues if there is any question of whether baby is nursing often enough.

    If a baby is not getting enough to eat, that is another reason baby may not have the energy to cue enough and be very sleepy.

    If you simply cannot get baby to nurse more often or for longer and get weight gain and output on track, I would suggest seeing a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) as well. She can help you figure out if part of the problem may be baby is unable to transfer milk effectively enough.

    more: sleepy baby and nursing frequency http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf

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

    early weeks tips: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    Thank you for the information. It has been a good read but has left me with a question.

    Should I be offering the second breast after he's done with the first? I can attempt to wake him again to do this as it would help with his weight gain. What do you think?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    16

    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    I had a very sleepy baby his first few days after birth. He started out sleeping for quite a while. I had him at home after a long labor. When the midwife went to see me a day after he was born, she was concerned because he had not been waking up to feed. Then the next day another midwife tried to offer him a bottle, and he would not suck on it. I had a pump and was able to get milk (colostrum) out of my breasts. So we told him to the pediatrician who checked him out. Right there in the office he went to feed on both breasts. So I asked what to do when he wouldn't take his every 2-3 hour feedings. (8 times a day, I had a little checklist I got from the lactation consultant that stopped by after with visited the doctor.) and the doctor said to pump and give it to him with a dropper. The dropper was a bit messy, but then at least I knew he was getting his feedings even when he got to tired to latch on. I set my alarm for a few days to make sure he got his feedings at least every 3 hours, and I tried for several minutes to latch him on to the breasts at every feeding. I remember feeling really frustrated about it and wanting him to latch on so much, even though it was uncomfortable on my over filled breasts. After a week or so he was fine and woke up himself to eat so I did not worry about setting the alarm for his feeds any more.

    Yes yes, offer both breasts. Go a head and offer the second breast after he is done with the first. A baby that age really can't nurse too much.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    Hmm.. I guess I'll have to wake him up for the second breast. I change his bottom after a feed and this sometimes wakes him up enough to feed again.

    Thanks again, ladies.

    Ps! He was 6lbs 11 at birth. Dropped to 6lbs 1 after 2 days and maaaaany poopy nappies. 2weeks on and he's now 6lbs 9oz. He's gaining but it's slow going. I had an emergency c-section and a general anaesthetic.
    Last edited by @llli*bbmomma; February 28th, 2015 at 10:44 AM. Reason: forgot to add something

    Jarred - 12/June/2007 - BF for 3 months - stopped due to medical reasons
    Lilly - 4/May/2010 BF for 8 months - On strike between 1/1/2011 - 29/3/2011 - That's 12 Weeks and 3 days!! It is FINALLY over!
    Together we battle with Cows milk, nuts and soya allergies, but we're making it!
    We , , and too, but we had problems..
    EP'ED for 3 months!
    Thomas born Feb 14th 2015 by emcs due to him presenting sideways with a hand first! Trying EBF again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    The good news baby is gaining. And this IS very good news. Traumatic birth can cause a slowdown in milk production at first and babies ability to nurse well at first too. So baby getting a bit of a slower start in gain is not all that surprising.

    The post birth weight loss of 10 ounces (that we know of) or about 10 % of birth weight is on the edge of the normal range but again, is enough of a loss that a second look at how breastfeeding is going might be warranted.

    If you look at the date the lowest check was taken, how many days did it take baby to gain to where baby is now...12? 8 ounces of gain in 12 days is not stellar but it's not terribly alarming either. The rule about baby being back to birth weight is shorthand for "We know baby will lose some weight at first but we really want baby gaining well by this point." What if baby's lowest known weight at 2 days was 6 lbs 3 ounces, and baby gained back to birth weight by 14 days? That would still be 8 ounces in 12 days, so would not be any different actual gain than what you are seeing. On the other hand, unless you were weighing baby every day, it is possible that baby lost MORE than you think at first and started re-gaining at a point later than day two. IN that case, the gain rate would be better than it looks even with baby 2 ounces shy of birth weight at 2 weeks.

    Also, scales matter and human error happens. Whenever there is a question of gain, try to have all weight checks done on a the SAME digital infant scale by someone who knows how to do a proper weight check and is not in too much of a hurry to do it right. This will help you avoid false alarms.

    How many times a day is baby pooping now and what do they loo like? It is of course great baby pooped a ton at first but it does not give us any idea of how much milk baby is getting now.

    As far as having baby take other side. Yes, if you can. Nursing frequently also, as you can. Basically you want baby on the breasts as much and as frequently and as long as possible in whatever way works best day to day. If it helps baby to have a little snooze between sides rather than hopping from one to the other, there is nothing wrong with that. Whatever is going to work for getting baby on the breast as much as possible and actively nursing for at least part of each session is the goal.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    Hi. Thomas has a poopy nappy pretty much every time I change him, which is about every 3-4 hours. Sometimes they are huge and other times they are just a "Wet fart" sort of stain but they are always yellow in colour and seedy like mustard. I'm going to start using his cloth nappies as soon as I can get the solution to soak the dirty ones in. Possibly tomorrow. Then I can better tell how much he is wetting as it's hard to tell with pampers!

    He's been a load more alert today with much longer waking periods. I even had a smile from him which made my day! It's promising but I don't want to get too excited and then set myself up for a fall if he is back to sleepy baby tomorrow again.

    I've been feeding him on both sides at each feed with a bum change between and its been working so I'm going to continue with this. He is weighed again on Tuesday and I'm hoping he is going to surprise us all by how much he has gained. I do agree with the scales thing though as different midwives with different scales have been weighing him..

    Will update again soon.

    Jarred - 12/June/2007 - BF for 3 months - stopped due to medical reasons
    Lilly - 4/May/2010 BF for 8 months - On strike between 1/1/2011 - 29/3/2011 - That's 12 Weeks and 3 days!! It is FINALLY over!
    Together we battle with Cows milk, nuts and soya allergies, but we're making it!
    We , , and too, but we had problems..
    EP'ED for 3 months!
    Thomas born Feb 14th 2015 by emcs due to him presenting sideways with a hand first! Trying EBF again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    poops every diaper change with a few 'huge ones" in there as well as the squirts only ones sounds normal. When Baby is pooping that much, no need to even worry about pee dipes. So poops are telling a different story than gain.

    FYI In my experience with cloth diapering, (I used all cotton prefolds so don't know the protocol for anything else) there is no need to soak poopy dipes of exclusively breastfed baby in any solution prior to washing. If there is a good size poop, a little scrape into toilet and rinsing them with plain water is all I ever needed to do. The other key was frequent washing, every two days.

  10. #10
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    1,388

    Default Re: Sleepy baby - slow weight gain

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    One of the misunderstandings about cue feeding is that it always means wait until baby cues. It can mean that, and this may be fine assuming baby is nursing with normal frequency and gaining well. But it can also mean that mom can offer to nurse whenever she feels a 'cue' - an urge to nurse, either physical or mental. That is also cue feeding.

    More to the point with your situation, it is pretty common for a baby to not cue quite often enough in the very early weeks and to really need to nurse more often than baby is cuing. This can be for many reasons but meds that might make baby sleepy would certainly be a reason to nurse more than baby cues if there is any question of whether baby is nursing often enough.

    If a baby is not getting enough to eat, that is another reason baby may not have the energy to cue enough and be very sleepy.
    more: sleepy baby and nursing frequency http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf

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

    early weeks tips: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/
    Wow--that info on mother's cue is revolutionary--never heard of it! OP I also have a sleepy 9-day-old who will nurse every few hours for short periods. I feel the urge myself to bf her but didn't dare wake her--on one hand she is gaining but I miss her a lot and want her to nurse more often, so now I won't hesitate. In fact I just picked her up out of a light sleep and offered, she fed on both sides Go mama, you can do this, go offer your little guy more often!
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

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