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Thread: Low birth weight - advice needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Low birth weight - advice needed

    My daughter is 5 weeks old (current weight - 6.3; birth weight - 5.4) and has been granted permission from her pediatrician to move toward demand led feedings (we had been on a strict every 2 hour schedule where she had to be forced to eat even if she wasn't hungry). With the clock telling me when she was hungry - I tuned out her hunger cues and am now left with questions:

    * How do I know when she's hungry vs some other problem?
    * If she's crying and I offer her the breast and she doesn't vigorously suck - does that mean she's not hungry or that she's slow to get started?
    * How do I know when she's finished eating; i.e. falling asleep at the breast - done eating or just taking a break?
    * If she sleeps 4 hours + at a stretch - should I wake her to feed?
    * Can she show signs of hunger - rooting, sucking fists, tongue thrusting - and simply want to suck (not hungry)?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    228

    Default Re: Low birth weight - advice needed

    I can't offer advice on all these issues, but I do have a little first-hand experience. My babies were about 5 lbs each when they were born, too. (Now at 11 months, they weight about 15 lbs. So, they're still small.)

    Quote Originally Posted by canoemom View Post
    * How do I know when she's hungry vs some other problem?
    * Can she show signs of hunger - rooting, sucking fists, tongue thrusting - and simply want to suck (not hungry)?
    About the hunger issue-
    I have a hard time telling when my babies are hungry versus when they just want to nurse. I just nursed them whenever they were fussy. It worked for us.

    As my babies have gotten older, I've been able to use other mothering techniques, but for the first few months, they and I enjoyed nursing as the primary means to soothe hunger and fussiness.

    So my advice, don't worry about if she's hungry or not. If she enjoys and gets comfort from nursing, and after checking for a messy diaper or needing to burp, just nurse, nurse, nurse!!

    One more thought - Trust your mothering instinct. What feels right to you? Do that!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    43

    Default Re: Low birth weight - advice needed

    My ds was also small at birth (under 6 lbs). He grew to over 10 lb by 2 months, and I just nursed him anytime he fussed and it wasn't something else that he seemed to want (dirty diaper, attention, etc). That was usually every 1 - 2 hrs during the day for the first few months, and 2-4 times per night. I let him sleep day or night and did not wake him up to eat (I tried to wake him once but he wouldn't really take much milk anyway). By 5 wks, if he got hungry, he woke up.

    In the early weeks, he also seemed to fall asleep a lot while eating, which cut the nursing session short to 5 - 10 min sometimes. I tried playing with his feet/hands, rubbing his back to wake him up, but that usually only kept him awake a few minutes more. So he would usually wake up 30-45 min later and want to eat again, so I would nurse again. I asked the pediatrician about this, and he said it is very common for newborns to fall asleep while eating and to not worry -- try to keep him awake, but if he falls asleep, try again when he gets up.

    HTH!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Low birth weight - advice needed

    I'll see if I can help some here...
    Quote Originally Posted by canoemom View Post
    My daughter is 5 weeks old (current weight - 6.3; birth weight - 5.4) and has been granted permission from her pediatrician to move toward demand led feedings (we had been on a strict every 2 hour schedule where she had to be forced to eat even if she wasn't hungry). With the clock telling me when she was hungry - I tuned out her hunger cues and am now left with questions:

    * How do I know when she's hungry vs some other problem?
    If you've tried changing the diaper and all other things, and baby still is fussing, it's most likely hunger or wanting comfort
    * If she's crying and I offer her the breast and she doesn't vigorously suck - does that mean she's not hungry or that she's slow to get started?
    It very well could mean she just wants to comfort nurse, which is sometimes frustrating, but excellent for your milk supply. Let your baby comfort nurse as much as possible if that's what she wants, sometimes that's the only thing that my daughter wants at 14 weeks old and I can't imagine not letting her when we're together.
    * How do I know when she's finished eating; i.e. falling asleep at the breast - done eating or just taking a break?
    I rarely will take the breast away, I wait until she's unlatched herself unless her latch slips and starts to hurt. When she falls asleep at the breast you can try breast compressions, tickling her feet, rubbing her back lightly (soft like a feather), a washcloth to the head, and other things to wake the baby to see if she'll eat more
    * If she sleeps 4 hours + at a stretch - should I wake her to feed?
    During the day, I'd say wake her up after about 2 -3 hours, but at night, let a sleeping baby sleep
    * Can she show signs of hunger - rooting, sucking fists, tongue thrusting - and simply want to suck (not hungry)?
    My LO only does most of these when she's actually hungry. She sucks on her hands for comfort and as a hunger cue, so either way I put her to the breast.

    Thanks!
    Congrats on your baby girl and

    ~*Allee*~

    Damon 8/5/99 Heaven 7/24/01 Jasmine 7/20/07

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    4

    Default Re: Low birth weight - advice needed

    Hi,
    My first son was a small and a snacker by nature. I started out at the hospital feeding by the clock and like you felt confused about some of the hunger signs. When in doubt about his cues, I offered the breast first then went through the rest of the possible needs. I worried each time he fussed that he couldn't possibly be hungry again but found that he always wanted to nurse. I did find success in undressing him to feed to make sure he didn't doze off without a full tummy and even if he wasn't really hungry I didn't feel there was much harm in letting him nurse on frequently. Even eating about every hour for an hour around the clock, he was still lucky to hit the 10th percentile throughout his first year. He is now two and only 26 lbs but he is an active, healthy boy and it is getting harder to tell that he is smaller than his peers.
    Good luck
    Emily

  6. #6
    @llli*emama is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Low birth weight - advice needed

    my DH and I saw some of that dunstan baby language info on oprah and found out that babies frequently start their hunger cries with a "neh" sound. It was true for our LO - she would sometimes just yell "neh! neh! neh!" although it's usually not that clear. It's the sound of a cry combined with the sucking reflex (tongue hitting the roof of the mouth). Might be a while before hour ears are attuned to it...

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