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Thread: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Question Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Hi,

    I'm a first time poster to the forum. I'm a new mom, with a DD on 2/4. I'm worried that my little DD isn't getting enough milk. We had her weighed Friday and Monday and she hadn't gained any weight. We go in again on Friday and see if things have improved. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I can do better. I need help!!!

    1. Does anyone else constantly need to WAKE your baby to nurse?? I see a lot of posts about their babies being demanding. My little peanut is just the opposite. I try to feed every 2 - 2 1/2 hours during the day, but if I didn't wake her, I'm sure I could easily go a lot longer. Is this a sign of not getting enough milk??

    2. Also, I think I may have OALD. I can't get my baby to nurse for more than 10-15 minutes...she makes a lot of sucking sounds. And she never makes it to the other breast. I'm going to try pumping (I dunno, maybe an oz?) before feeding to see if this helps. Any other suggestions?

    3. Also, how would I know when my baby drains a breast and I should switch sides?

    Any help is REALLY appreciated. I'm scared I'm not doing this right

    Mallory

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Quote Originally Posted by mallory
    Hi,

    I'm a first time poster to the forum. I'm a new mom, with a DD on 2/4. I'm worried that my little DD isn't getting enough milk. We had her weighed Friday and Monday and she hadn't gained any weight. We go in again on Friday and see if things have improved. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I can do better. I need help!!!

    1. Does anyone else constantly need to WAKE your baby to nurse?? I see a lot of posts about their babies being demanding. My little peanut is just the opposite. I try to feed every 2 - 2 1/2 hours during the day, but if I didn't wake her, I'm sure I could easily go a lot longer. Is this a sign of not getting enough milk??

    2. Also, I think I may have OALD. I can't get my baby to nurse for more than 10-15 minutes...she makes a lot of sucking sounds. And she never makes it to the other breast. I'm going to try pumping (I dunno, maybe an oz?) before feeding to see if this helps. Any other suggestions?

    3. Also, how would I know when my baby drains a breast and I should switch sides?

    Any help is REALLY appreciated. I'm scared I'm not doing this right

    Mallory

    Hi Mallory! Congrats on your little one and on giving bf such a go!
    My ds was a sleepy boy too! Though it is frusterating during feedings, it is a blessing in many other ways. What worked for us was to fully undress him prior to each feeding and then do a little switch hitting (5 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other, and switching back and forth until ds was satisfied). Once he started to stay awake more during feedings we went to 10-15 minutes on one side and then he could stay on the other side until he broke the latch and was satisfied. If he started to drift off during feedings, tickling his feet, stroking his back, or pulling gently on his chin always seemed to get him going again.

    Besides the sucking sounds what makes you think you have an OALD? The sucking sounds may be an indication of a bad latch. Make sure you have the baby plastered against your belly and that your dd's mouth is wide open, covering as much of the areola as possible. Her lips should be spread wide open, not pursed and tight. Her tongue should be between her lower lip and your nipple (though sometimes it's hard to see!!!).

    How many wet/ dirty diapers does your baby have? This is a better indication of your baby getting enough milk than weight gain (some babies are slow gainers). She should have between 6-8 wet diapers a day. If you are concerned about the baby getting enough, keep nursing as much as possible. If you feel she isn't nursing long enough, try getting her to nurse more frequently. We nursed every 45 minutes at one point!

    I know you are concerned, but to me it sounds like your baby is fine. She's not loosing weight, right? She will develop at the speed her genetics tell her to, not what some chart for ff babies says. You are doing the very best thing for your daughter and she is so lucky to have you for mommy! Good luck and keep us posted!
    Kristie L.
    LLL Leader
    (the poster formerly known as fezzik812)
    Wife to Brett, Mommy to Seamus (5.1.05), and Emelie (1.18.08)
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."- Ghandi

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Sounds like you are doing everything right! I can understand how nervous and confused you are - I was so worried over DB's weight and latch and I didn't know what I was doing either.

    We had a sleepy, slow-gainer at the start, and had latch issues. I would see a Lactation Consultant and get DD's latch evaluated. I could not have continued breast-feeding without ours - she was a LIFE SAVER. That will answer your questions about OALD and the sucking sounds, and the earlier you train DB into a good latch, the better for everyone.

    In terms of waking, we got a recommendation from the pediatrician about how often to wake. For us, it was at least every 4hrs at night, and 3hrs during the day (until DB was about 1mo). We would spend up to 20min trying to get him alert enough to eat. Very frustrating when all you want to do is sleep! It can be a sign of not getting enough milk, but not necessarily. Pees and poops and weight gain are a much better measure.

    For switching sides, at the beginning DB would nurse for about 45min on one side before popping off on his own. Then I'd offer the other side. Sometimes he'd sleep, sometimes he'd eat through and pop off and I'd switch breasts again. Etc! When your DD "pops off" is when your breast is considered drained. That's means she's gotten through to the hindmilk (fatty milk). When DD wants to nurse again, start on the last breast she ate from.

    Good luck ~ DD will be fine and in another 2 months you'll be so much more confident and you'll look back at this first month and realize how crazy it was!

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Don't worry too much. I used to freak out when my daughter gained only half of what was expected week after week. Being an unexperienced first timer, I thought of "topping up" with formula, but fortunately didn't. I fed her every two hours for the first half year, whether she showed signs of hunger or not. She was over a year old when she eventually caught up with her percentile line.

    A midwife also told me that babies can be "water-logged" at birth, so that their birth weight is no proper indication for what percentile line they should be on.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    If your baby isn't gaining weight then yes, you should probably wake her every 2-3 hours throughout the night. You may also want to encourage her to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day as well. That said, "watch the baby, not the clock" -- it's perfectly fine if baby only nurses for 10-15 mins then doesn't want the other breast. Just be aware though that some babies take in so little breastmilk that they're weak and "happy to starve". Can you tell us what baby's weights were since birth? Also, were the weights checked on the exact same scale, at the same time of day, with the same amount of clothing? If not then they cannot be considered to be accurate.

    How was your birth experience? Did you have drugs during labor? If so, then that could be affecting baby.

    At this point it's difficult to tell whether baby is emptying the breast. I wouldn't worry so much about that at this point. How many wet diapers per day is your baby having? She should be having 6-8 wet diapers in a 24 hour period. Have her poops turned from black to brown to yellowish? If so, that's a good sign.

    You may want to try to weigh her before nursing, nurse her then weigh her again. That can tell you how much she's taking in. Keep in mind that at this early age, her tummy is extremely small -- no larger than her fist.

    Finally, don't underestimate yourself. I'll bet you didn't doubt your body's ability to carry your baby through pregnancy. Don't doubt it's ability to continue to do what it's supposed to now either -- to continue sustain your baby!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Mallory, welcome to these forums, and congratulations on your new daughter! There is a steep, steep learning curve with your first baby, especially when you are breastfeeding -- so be reassured that your questions and concerns are common and normal. We'll do our best to make sure you have accurate information and to encourage you as you and your DD learn the ropes together.

    You wrote:

    I'm worried that my little DD isn't getting enough milk. We had her weighed Friday and Monday and she hadn't gained any weight. We go in again on Friday and see if things have improved. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I can do better. I need help!!!

    Okay -- she does need to be gaining weight, so this is a valid concern. But don't rush to assume that her lack of weight gain is caused by insufficient milk from you.

    Several factors can complicate those weight checks. If the baby is weighed on two different scales, you'll get two different numbers every time. If she was weighed right before peeing on Friday and weighed again soon after peeing on Monday, then that could throw off the scale readouts in a way that masks "real" weight gain. Weight checks are meant to be a kind of "quick and sloppy" screening of a baby's progress. So pay attention to them, but don't let them rule your life, if you know what I mean.

    When your daughter is this young, the best indicator of adequate milk input is adequate diaper output. Keep track of how many nicely wet and/or poopy diapers she is making each 24 hours. That information will be very useful data if her weight continues to stall out.

    1. Does anyone else constantly need to WAKE your baby to nurse?? I see a lot of posts about their babies being demanding. My little peanut is just the opposite. I try to feed every 2 - 2 1/2 hours during the day, but if I didn't wake her, I'm sure I could easily go a lot longer. Is this a sign of not getting enough milk??
    New babies are often too sleepy for their own good. She needs to be nursing frequently for her own nutrition and also to establish an adequate milk supply from you. This is why they tell you to wake your baby every 2 to 3 hours. I know what you're thinking -- I couldn't believe it either, when I brought my sleepy boy home from the hospital. Once she gets past the sleepy stage, she will probably be one of those "demanding" babies you are hearing about, so do know you won't be watching the clock and waking her to nurse for much longer.

    In the meantime, though -- yes, it is important that she nurse at least 8-12 times in every 24-hour period. And with a very young baby where there is concern about adequate weight gain, even 8 feedings may be too few -- so we really want to see at least 10-12 feedings. Start writing down the time of day when she begins a feeding. No matter how long she nurses during that feeding, two to three hours after the START of the feeding you need to get her back on the breast to start the next feeding.

    Now again, don't rush to assume that her sleepiness is due to a lack of milk. Newborns are often very sleepy, especially if they were exposed to medications during the birth, but sometimes even if they weren't. If you can get her feeding well at least 10 times in every 24 hours, and if she is making good diapers, then your milk supply will take care of itself.

    Also, once she has regained her birth weight, you probably won't need to keep waking her to nurse. She will "wake up" and let you know in no uncertain terms when she is hungry. So try to remember that this brutal and counterintuitive period of waking a peacefully sleeping little baby is just temporary.

    2. Also, I think I may have OALD. I can't get my baby to nurse for more than 10-15 minutes...she makes a lot of sucking sounds. And she never makes it to the other breast. I'm going to try pumping (I dunno, maybe an oz?) before feeding to see if this helps. Any other suggestions?
    Overactive letdown usually causes a baby to choke or gag when the milk starts to flow, and the baby may come off the breast and have to wait until the flow slows a bit. It is not related to shorter nursing sessions.

    The "sucking sounds" you mention make me suspect a bad latch -- not OALD. Latch problems are very, very common -- and they need to be fixed. A poor latch CAN prevent a baby from getting enough milk, because even though the breast is making the milk, the baby isn't effectively transferring that milk into their tummy.

    With a good latch, no air is getting in through the baby's mouth. The only sounds should be regular swallowing and the baby's breathing through her nose. If you're hearing slurping-type sucking noises, then you need to work on improving latch and positioning technique. I encourage you to meet face-to-face with a LLL Leader or an IBCLC lactation consultant, because nothing replaces hands-on in-person evaluation and guidance when it comes to breastfeeding.

    I would also encourage you to avoid pumping for now. Unnecessary pumping this early can set up an oversupply problem, giving the baby too much foremilk/not enough hindmilk, and setting you up for engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis etc. When there are real problems moving milk while the baby learns to nurse, then a pump can be an essential tool in establishing your milk supply and providing the baby with EBM supplements --but it doesn't sound to me like this is your situation right now. So hold off on the pumping.

    3. Also, how would I know when my baby drains a breast and I should switch sides?
    The baby has drained the first breast when she comes off the breast by herself and appears contented and satisfied. At that point, it's a good idea to switch breasts and see if she'll take a little more from that second side. With a sleepy newborn, you will probably need to change her diaper between breasts or use other techniques to rouse her. If she has nursed well on the first breast and has that blissed-out milk-drunk look, then don't worry if she won't take the second breast. Just try every feeding, and keep track of what she does.

    If the problem is that she is falling asleep while nursing, such that on the first breast, she nurses for a little while and then dozes off and stops doing a regular suck-swallow-breathe, then there are things you can do to wake her up a little while she is still on that breast. Have her stripped down to her diaper before you begin nursing -- skin-to-skin contact is very stimulating and wonderful for newborns. Flick the soles of her bare feet, pretty hard! Muss up her hair by rubbing it the wrong way. Stroke her cheek and back. Compress the breast gently and steadily for half a minute or so, to help the milk come out, which may trigger her to start actively nursing again.

    Any help is REALLY appreciated. I'm scared I'm not doing this right

    Mallory
    It's completely normal to wonder if you are doing this right. Breastfeeding is a learned skill. By wondering and learning -- you're doing it right! This is all a part of learning the ropes together with your baby.

    I hope we're not overwhelming you with information. Hang in there and let us know how her weight checks go and how her diaper output and nursing pattern are going. Good luck!

    --Rebecca

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Thumbs up Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    THANK YOU everyone for the wonderful advice. DD ate great yesterday so I'm optimistic that maybe we're turning to corner. But every day is different, so we'll see what today brings!

    You all bring up a good point -- I should focus more on diapers than time. And thankfully, DD is definitely having pleanty of wet and poopy diapers. She's definitely picked things up in the last day. Except that it'sstill very, very difficult to wake her up in the middle of the night. I'm hoping we'll be able to let her sleep more once her weight gain is good!

    I have a follow up question to the OALD issue. DD seems to have a hard time taking the milk at first -- often choking and gulping very, very fast. She would get frustrated or maybe full of gas(?) and stop eating very quickly. I was told by a physician to try to pump "a bit" before feeding to see if this helps her. It makes feeding longer, but has seemed to help her out. I just wonder if I'm pumping too much and at what point will I be able to not pump anymore.

    Our big wiegh in is tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Desperate new mom needs help -- Constantly needing to wake baby?

    Glad to hear things are going better. I'm glad that her diapers are good, too.

    The thing about pumping and OALD is that the more you pump, the more milk you will make -- and oversupply can make the letdown that much more forceful. I know an ounce doesn't seem like much, but compared against a new tiny baby's appetite, it's quite a bit of "extra" milk.

    What I would do, instead of pumping, is to start nursing as usual, but when the letdown happens and she can't keep up with it, take her off the breast and catch the milk in a burp cloth until it slows down a little. You might even try to hand express to get that first letdown, and put her to breast only after the "flood" has ebbed a little. Hopefully she will then settle in and eat happily until she is satisfied, instead of struggling to keep up with the milk flow.

    I'm interested to know what the rest of our posters think about this question -- how have you handled OALD with a newborn?

    Mallory -- what about the sucking noises you mentioned? Is that continuing?

    And yes -- once she is gaining steadily and back up to her birthweight, you should be able to let her (and yourself!) sleep at night. So you've got that to look forward to after all this hard work!

    --Rebecca

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