Night Feed

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Night Feed

Postby Vmummy » Fri 26 Apr, 2013 11:17 am

Good morning :) Just chasing some advice. My 11 week old is a wonderful sleeper at night once we settle her shep sleeps from 9pm to 7am with 2 to 3 feeds. When I feed her she goes into her bassinet and back to sleep. This doesn't happen in the day however she will only stay asleep if in the sling with lots of rocking and patting as soon as I put her in the bassinet she wakes. Baby was born 4 weeks premature so I have read on these posts that her brain development may be a few weeks behind which makes sense. When she was born she was in the NICU for 5 days and had limited skin to skin or cuddles this combined with my birth trauma meant we couldn't establish breast feeding so she is happily bottle fed. Initially she was jaundiced and a lazy feeder so I set alarms to get up in the night to feed her as she wouldn't wake. At the moment I still wake up every 3 hrs and feed her, she stays sleepy and goes back to sleep. I haven't given her the chance to 'sleep' through. Could this be effecting her day time mood, she is grumpy and cries alot, I have been thinking that maybe she is overtired. Should I wait until she cries out to feed her in the night? Also I live in the Pilbara so help is limited.
Thank you for this resource it has helped my anxiety about what a newborn should be doing and to beieve in my instinct a mother.
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Re: Night Feed

Postby NgalaOnline » Mon 29 Apr, 2013 9:49 pm

Hi Vmummy

Thank you for your post. It sounds as though you are doing a fantastic job caring for your baby.

It is quite common for babies to find day time sleep more difficult than night time sleep. You are correct that it is often best to view your baby as being several weeks younger in terms of brain development if they have been born prematurely. With regards to her night time sleep and feeding, her current regime of feeding 2 or 3 times a night does sound normal for a baby her age. Your management of her feeding in the early weeks when she was sleepy and jaundiced sounds very appropriate. Whether to continue waking her for feeds or not depends on your baby's overall health and growth. If she is an alert and thriving baby that is putting on adequate weight, feeding well during the day and having at least 5 heavily wet nappies in a 24 hour period, then it is quite reasonable to reduce and eventually stop the occasions of waking her for feeds during the night. If your baby is able to sleep for long periods without waking for a feed then it is reasonable to allow her to do so at this age provided she continues to thrive in the above ways and put on weight. If you feel uneasy about allowing her to sleep all night (if she does so) then it would be very reasonable to still wake her for one or two night feeds but at lengthier intervals. It is difficult to say whether letting her sleep for longer at night time will improve her daytime mood, but often sleep will generate extra sleep so it is likely that improved night time sleep may help her daytime energy levels and ability to settle.

Between 3 - 4 months old babies begin to develop sleep associations, or learned ways of falling to sleep. As your baby begins to approach this age it is a good time to begin making a gentle transition to trying to get your baby to settle for at least some of her day sleeps in her bed. Often the early morning sleep is the easiest one to get a baby to settle as the baby is less overtired, so you may like to begin by just focusing on trying to settle in the cot just for this sleep. It is best to watch for early tired signs such as starring, glazed eyes or looking away and avoiding eye contact. These more subtle tired signs often come before the later tired signs of grizzling, eye rubbing, yawning or jerky movements that often mean a baby is already overtired and difficult to settle. The first wake period of the day is often the shortest and many babies are ready to go back to bed after being awake for only an hour. You can provide lots of hands on support to help your baby initially learn to settle in her cot, such as patting, "ssshhing" her, rocking the cot or gently shimmering her body. These hands-on support methods can then be gradually drawn back on and stopped as she gets more used to settling in her cot, so that she gets more and more used to soothing herself to sleep. It is normal for babies to protest at the changes in the initial days, but by supporting her whilst you teach her new ways of settling you are able to lay the foundations for her to be able to settle easily and sleep for long periods as she gets older. If your baby wakes after only a short sleep in her bassinet it is helpful if you can resume the same settling methods for another 20 - 30 minutes when you have the energy to do so. Even if she does not go back to sleep it is good practice at being in her bassinet and trying to resettle.

I hope this information is helpful. Please ring the helpline if you would like some more help and support.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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