4 day old - BF constantly at night (and I mean constantly) - how to cope?

(31 Posts)
fathergoose Mon 25-Feb-13 17:09:06

DS is 4 days old. He feeds fairly regularly throughout the day but at night he feeds constantly between about 10pm and 6am: he'll feed from both sides, appear sated, so I'l put him down, and then he'll wake again within 5-10mins and demand more. This will go on all night until about 6am when he'll finally go for a longer nap: he has at the most 2 short naps during the night (no more than 30mins each).

Nappies are being filled and my milk came in yesterday (which I hoped would make a difference last night but didn't). Latch is fine I think: he's glugging away nicely. I BF #1 for 12m so I thought I was fairly knowledgeable about BF but this has caught me out...

Do I just give in and resign myself to long nights infront of the telly (have already watched the entire series of Downton...)? Is this a sign that something's wrong? How long will it go on for??

Help!

noBSplease Mon 25-Feb-13 17:55:40

IMHO sounds like nothing wrong at all, he's just hungry and growing... you'll probably find he's put on stacks of weight next time he's weighed. DD did similar thing when tiny then at about a week or two old she settled into a pattern of feeding constantly from 9pm until about midnight. But then she'd only wake once in the night or would often sleep until 6am! (So BF babies can sleep....)

So I reckon yes, resign yourself to it, get tea/juice/biscuits on standby and try to enjoy having a fab excuse to watch far too much telly... Chances are this phase will pass very soon and maybe you'll even get some sleep smile

noblegiraffe Mon 25-Feb-13 18:06:54

How long are you waiting before you put him down to sleep? Babies naturally wake roughly 10 minutes after first falling asleep. If they have been put in their cot in this period they usually wake up again. If he is still in your arms at this point instead of waking then demanding food, he may go back to sleep.
If you cuddle him for 20 minutes after he falls asleep, then put him down, he might be in a deep enough sleep to sleep for a longer period.

Mopswerver Mon 25-Feb-13 18:19:20

I really feel for you. The early stages of BF can be SO exhausting. My DD fed non stop at first and i was frantic.

It is all about building up your supply. The more they feed, the more you will produce so it WILL sort itself out but that's not much comfort to you right now! Stick in there, many women give up because they are fed the line (from well intentioned friends and family) that they are not producing enough milk, the baby must be hungry so they should top up with a formula feed. If you wish to continue BF, try to resist this (though it IS tempting) because as soon as you do it, your supply will slow down. Grit your teeth (literally if suffering from sore nips!) and keep going...though it is also my opinion that a great deal of guff is talked on this subject so if you do decide to stop, don't beat yourself up about it. Your baby will be fine either way. All the best.

WantAnOrange Mon 25-Feb-13 18:41:50

"This is normal and this shall pass". Repeat. grin

Seriously though, this bit doesnt last long, but it is necarssery for successful BF so try to relax and go with it. And eat cake, lots of cake.

notnagging Mon 25-Feb-13 18:45:11

He's 4 days old op. it is hard but will pass. The first 2 weeks are exhausting but should settle after that. He doesn't have a clue what he should & shouldn't be doing at this stagesmile

Wholeheartedly agree with the PPs above. I'm sure this stage won't last for much longer, but it must be so exhausting! I don't have any personal experience of these early days as DS spent the first two weeks in SCBU, but if you need a break, can you hand your DS to your DP/DH at the end of a feed and let him cuddle DS so you can catch some sleep? If you have a sling (particularly a stretchy one like a moby) that might also be a good way to settle DS on DP/DH while you get some rest. But obviously there is a reason DS is feeding so frequently, so if you can cope, try to let him continue smile

And congratulations! thanks

DD did this. Lasted 2 nights after my milk came in - it passes. She's 8 wo and snuggled in feeding just now. smile

fathergoose Mon 25-Feb-13 20:54:37

Thank you! I'm very much reassured now (particularly since my milk's just come in so hopefully there are only a few more looong nights ahead).

FF is not an option so I'm not tempted by that (although I can understand how people could be at this point), but it's nice to know that I might get over an hour's sleep a night in the near future. I remembered nights of getting up every few hours, but this was something new (or something I'd blocked out...).

siluria Mon 25-Feb-13 21:01:42

Depends how you feel about this but another option - perhaps if it does continue - is to get one of those co-sleeping cribs so that your baby is still in a crib (for peace of mind) but you can roll over, pop a boob in, and go back to sleep while he feeds.

Hugs to you though! I took my DD to the GP at 3 days old as she cried all night and I couldn't understand why as I'd fed her loads. Turned out feeding her loads wasn't enough - feeding her loads and loads and loads and loads was the answer! As everyone else said, it will pass smile

Failing the co-sleeping crib, box sets are the way to go smile

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 25-Feb-13 21:04:13

Co-sleep lying down sidefeed iPad propped up on a pillow streaming iplayer & MN.

notnagging Tue 26-Feb-13 05:26:29

Co sleeping saved my sanity op. the midwife showed me how to feed lying down & it has been great. I also second a sling. They just want to be close to you & know that you're there. Babies cannot be too clingy at this age. Good luck op.smile

somanymiles Tue 26-Feb-13 05:33:35

What helped me was leaving baby with DH and going to bed early. Then he would bring baby to bed, I would feed him all night, then he would take him again in the morning for another couple of hours so I could sleep. This way I could get about 5 hours of sleep in over the whole night. I did co sleep though (with a co-sleeping crib attached to the side of the bed) and fed lying down so I could drift off to sleep every now and then between feeds, even if it was only for 10 minutes.

Wishfulmakeupping Tue 26-Feb-13 05:46:23

My firstborn dd is 4 weeks now so I'm no expert at all but she was feeding round the clock until a few days ago- constantly. I spoke to the national helpline and they said that normal cluster feeding had turned into snacking so I needed to space out feedings in order to get bigger meals into her she's been doing really well since then- so If it lasts a while might be worth checking with them that it's not turned into snacking. Good luck op

Purplecatti Tue 26-Feb-13 09:31:06

Oh god I had this. I second oh taking the baby in the evening and the morning. It got much better after a week or so a few days after milk came in. Dd still cluster fed like mad between 4 and 10 though until 7ish weeks.
You can always express in the morning now you have milk and your oh can give it at night so you get a few hours sleep.
although dd only did this for a few weeks until she decided bottles were a nono

nannyl Tue 26-Feb-13 14:16:52

I remember DD doing this too....

feeding all night, until about 6am....

repeat to self that they are just doing what nature programs them to do to ensure a plentiful supply of milk in future....

With DD it lasted a week.... Im pg with number 2 now and dreading being awake all night and all day (with a busy 21month old too).

Its NORMAL, it WILL PASS, but at the time its very hard, and i agree, you can see why people resort to a bottle of formula just for some much needed sleep smile

fathergoose Tue 26-Feb-13 17:56:41

So many stories - thank you all for the reassurances.

I've toyed with the idea of co-sleeping and will look into it if the situation continues (to be honest, the idea scares me a little so I'd want to research it more before going for it). And the idea of giving him to DH in the evening is a good one: I don't mind being awake all night as long as I get the sleep at some point...

The doctor weighed him today and he's almost 10% down on birthweight (5 days pp) and potentially jaundiced (he looks slightly yellow, but his tests at the hospital pre-discharge were ok). So he's being weighed again tomorrow and they've repeated the bloods for jaundice. Bit stressful really, but am retreating to the sofa with the remote and lots of nice snacks to feed for the next 24hrs.. He's peeing and pooing fine so I'm not overly worried, but I'd hoped to get the green light on all fronts today.

nannyl Tue 26-Feb-13 20:33:59

I would be wary about having him weighed as frequently as daily.....

just having a small wee (or poo) can make a significant difference in that, as can the exact set of scales used.

My baby dropped a fair bit too (not quite 10%) and from birth - 4 months went from almost as high as 75th to almost as low as the 9th.... I trusted my mummy instinct that all was fine and it is / was, and told my HV i wouldnt be feeding my human cow milk given i had so much milk (at that point i was dripping over a pint a day collected im shells)

I hope all is well tomorrow, but try not to stress too much, especially if your mummy instinct says all his fine, and he's weeing / pooing etc

noBSplease Tue 26-Feb-13 22:07:06

Wow your docs are rather more keen on tests than mine were - DS2 was pretty yellow for a long time, maybe 2 weeks or more, after his arrival and he was absolutely fine, 'breastfeeding jaundice' MW and HV's said. So wouldn't worry about that at all, as others say trust mummy instincts. As for the weight charts, don't get me started... You could ask if chart they're using is for BF or FF baby - they are changing very slowly but charts (round my area anyway) are usually based on FF babies who gain weight completely differently to BF. Good luck and may you get some sleep soon!

tiktok Tue 26-Feb-13 23:17:57

Charts not yet relevant for any baby, ff or bf.....and all charts in the UK are based on bf data and have been for several years (where are you, noBS????).

Babies of this young age are not plotted on a chart. Bf and ff babies gain weight pretty similarly - almost identically - until about 5-6 mths.

It's unusual to weigh a new baby daily but in this case, it could be justified, though they do need to bear in mind the potential confounding effects of wee/poo....you'd be looking for weight loss to have ceased at this stage.

His feeding pattern sounds absolutely well within normal for a young baby. He does not need to be put down between feeds - co-sleeping does help with this a lot 'cos there is no 'down' to put him smile

noBSplease Wed 27-Feb-13 20:50:28

Hi tiktok, that's v interesting about charts... Am in Norfolk. Asked HV about charts about 5 months ago and was told the chart in my red book is based on FF, she said they are changing gradually to BF...

Sorry for minor hijack OP and others!

tiktok Wed 27-Feb-13 23:23:48

Norfolk cannot be that far behind everywhere else, noBS, surely?

www.rcpch.ac.uk/child-health/research-projects/uk-who-growth-charts/uk-who-growth-chart-faqs/uk-who-growth-chart-faq shows that the 'new' charts should have been used for all babies born after May 2009 - almost 4 years ago. I know some areas were still using up old materials throughout 2009 and possibly into 2010, but anywhere using the old stuff in 2012 or 2013 is (in my opinion) giving poor care. In any case, the old charts were not based on FF babies at all - the data came from babies whose feeding was not differentiated, though of course many of them would have been ff babies.

Also, a 4 day old baby would not be charted - and bf/ff babies' weight gain is more or less the same until several months have gone by.

noBSplease Thu 28-Feb-13 00:01:14

I do apologise, of course too young for chart. Shouldn't post when sleepy.

And yes tiktok, it appears that Norfolk (or our sleepy corner of it anyway) must be that far behind cos I'm not making it up! Tis practically the dark ages here...

NAR4 Thu 28-Feb-13 17:58:36

My DS is 5 days old today and has also fed all night, every night, since birth. This is great for your milk supply. To get some sleep yourself, try putting your DC in bed with you and feed them lying down. I do this and normally only wake when DS wants to go on the other side for a bit, so I turn over and repeat.

5madthings Thu 28-Feb-13 18:07:08

Sounds normal, I would try co-sleeping. Hope the jaundice clears up, have you got a window that catches the sun? If so sit by that so he gets some sunlight... Bit hard with winter babies!

I am in Norfolk and have a four yr old and a two yr old, both their red books had the updated weight charts in them. They are different to the charts I have for ds1, ds2 and ds3 so are 13, 10, and 8. Its interesting to compare them actually smile

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