View Full Version : Baby only eating 1/2 ounce frequently throughout night
01-03-2004, 02:21 PM
I'm a new mom and I'm so confused because I keep getting conflicting advice from books, my pediatrician, nurses in the hospital and pediatrician's office, etc.
My new DD is just 9 days old, formula fed, and sleeps all day long and eats fairly regularly - every 2-3 hours, about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 oz a feeding. Then once bedtime comes, she refuses to eat much at a single feeding, often eating 1/2 ounce if that, and then after changing her and putting her in the crib, she's hungry again. The result is I'm up all night and losing my sanity. I'd have no problem with getting up every 2-3 hours like the experts say, to feed her. In fact that seems like a luxury. Sometimes I think the issue is she just wants to be held because once I pick her up she's often fine and then she'll easily fall asleep in my arms, but again the minute she hits the crib, she's crying again.
My pediatrician's nurse advised me to limit each nighttime feeding to 15-30 minutes, and if at the end of that she refuses to take more, change her and put her to sleep and basically ignore her cries for at least 1-1/2 hours or so, so she'll learn that feeding time is feeding time and she shouldn't dawdle. I just can't ignore her cries for that long through - she gets more and more upset. I think last night I might have slept through her crying out of sheer exhaustion and I felt so incredibly guilty when I woke up and realized it had been 5 hours since her last feeding! And of course a lot of folks say that a newborn should be fed on demand, but in my case, that would mean literally getting no sleep, and I fear she would end up overeating.
Anyone with experience with this type of situation?
Any advice would be much appreciated!
01-08-2004, 11:03 PM
I'll take a stab . . . First, it's usually okay to let babies sleep through the night, even if it means missing a feeding - they will generally make it up in the day. Also, babies can't really overeat - once their stomachs are full, they stop.
As far as the night sleeping, have you considered co-sleeping with your daughter? If she senses you near her, that may help her sleep more soundly. After all, up until a few days ago, she was with you continually; she probably just misses your presence (understandably). Being alone in a crib may not be her thing, right now. In a few weeks, when she's a little more adjusted to "life on the outside," you could put her in the crib.
I hope this helps!
01-09-2004, 02:37 PM
My son was pretty similar when he was that age. I was still trying to breastfeed, so I would let him nurse for upwards of an hour (he was losing weight, so I didn't want to stop him), then he'd sleep for a half hour, and then want to nurse again. Urgh. Changing to formula did help, but he still never wanted to sleep alone.
I read in several books and magazines that this is very common. If you look at it from their point of view, when they were in the womb, they were snug and being rocked 24/7. So life outside is a huge change for them, and they still want to be rocked like they were inside. Also, from an evolutionary standpoint.. babies who were left alone didn't survive. The ones who demanded to be held were protected from predators, the elements, etc. So it's probably hardwired into them.
My son would only sleep on our chest for the first 3-4 weeks or so. Then he would sleep on my chest for 45 minutes, then stir until I placed him on his back in between me and my husband in bed. Gradually he started sleeping on his back in between us all the time, and now he sleeps in his crib for at least 4 hours at a time, and sometimes as much as 6 or 7. He's 11 weeks old today.
I definitely wouldn't let her cry it out at this age, and I'd let her eat how she wants to. She'll eventually get it worked out. Her stomach is so small that it needs frequent feedings, and if you let her cry it out, she'll stop trusting humans and become withdrawn. I don't think you're supposed to let her cry it out until she's 6 months old or something.
01-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Newborns will also go through several growth spurts when they cluster feed and it will seem like they are literally eating all of the time. Your baby knows what she needs and she will tell you by crying - the only method of communication she has. Parenting is a huge learning process with a lot of hit and miss. You know you've hit when she stops crying and seems content.
I agree that you should try letting her stay close to you. She may be acting especially "needy" at night time so that she can feed with you instead of having to be in the crib alone.
Mama to Leon 11/2/03
Aww, sweetie, I know you're exhausted, and I remember those days since they weren't that long ago. I don't think there is anything terribly out of the ordinary with you or your baby. It's really tough getting used to getting up so much at night. Just trust (even though it's hard to believe) that this *will* pass. You should follow your gut on whether to feed her all of those times or not. I, personally, felt I needed to feed my son on demand at that age and I managed to do it. Others prefer a schedule. I just didn't have the heart for that when DS was that young, but it works for some. Trust your mommy intuition at this point and try to sleep when the baby sleeps, even during the day. It will help with the nights! Babies do often cluster feed at night, and they often have their days and nights mixed up. I just want to reassure you that you aren't doing something wrong and that your baby won't do this forever. It will gradually get better. Hang in there!
You can try getting some of your body scent onto a receiving blanket and then swaddling your daughter in it. It may make her believe that she is near you (your scent on the blanket) and that you are holding her (the swaddling).
I did that with my DD and it helped her anytime she felt fussy and would not fall asleep.
01-18-2004, 12:45 AM
(((HUGS))) to you!! And congratulations on your new baby!
It's SO tiring and nerve-wracking in those early weeks, but hang in there, it gets so much easier!
Newborns eat smaller amounts and need to be fed more frequently because their little tummies are very tiny. You can't overfeed her, and even if you do, she'll spit it up. You'll hurt her *more* by "overfeeding" her at this age than you will by limiting her feedings.
Is there anyone around who can help you? Your DH, a friend, your parents, anyone? Since you're formula feeding, have someone else come over for a few hours to feed and rock the baby while you get some much-deserved rest.
If your baby is crying, especially at this early age, she's trying to tell you that something is wrong. Like someone else said, it's the only way that she knows how to communicate with you, and that's what she's doing, she's trying to tell you that she needs something. I would strongly suggest that you don't limit her nighttime feedings to 15-30 minutes, but instead, let her eat whenever she's hungry and until she's finished. I know that it's rough right now, but she will quickly learn that her needs are being met, and will be a lot happier and more secure.
Good luck, and hang in there!
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