M.T. asks from Westerville, OH on August 09, 2008
Keeping Baby Awake
Hi there. My 2nd child is 6 weeks old and ALWAYS hungry. He eats 4 ounces every 3 to 4 hours. I know the next thing to do is bump up how much we are feeding. The problem is he never stays awake for the entire bottle. He will eat maybe 2 ounces then 1/2 hour to an hour later he may take the rest. It is almost like he is cluster feeding again. We have tried what I feel like everything to keep him awake. I started adding cereal to the bottle at night and he is still up every 3 hours. Our first son was sleeping through the night at this age and I keep telling myself and my hubby that every baby is different.
So my question is does anybody have any advice. I am in desperate need of sleep!!
So What Happened?™
I can't begin to thank everyone for the great advice. I guess I had had a bad night when I first put out my question. It sounds like I am pretty lucky for him to sleep and wake every 3 hours! Last night I got him ready for bed using a night time lotion and rocked him and he slept from 11-4! Thanks again for the great advice!
M.B. answers from Dayton on August 11, 2008
I'd try to undress him and tickle his feet a little to get him to eat more in the middle of the night. Also, I second the book Healthy Sleep, Happy Child. Good luck!
D.I. answers from South Bend on August 11, 2008
Try to lightly pinch his cheeks and see if that will wake him when he falls asleep while eating. Also, give him some cereal in the morning and in the afternoon as well as at night. If this doesn't work then probably it is all going to be a matter of time before he starts sleeping through the night. My youngest was almost 3 yrs. before he started sleeping through the night. For some kids it just takes longer no matter what you do.
I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7, and 4.
D.G. answers from Columbus on August 10, 2008
At your babies age he is gowing so fast he needs those feedings, Remember all kids are differant.If you really need sleep then get a good friend or family member to watch the baby for you over night or part of a day that you can relax and get some sleep.Tired Mommy's need a break.Grand parents work wonderful for this.It won't last forever and you will be thankful for all the extra time alone with the baby in the end.Just don't let yourself get cranky.Your body is still adjusting to giving birth so get yourself some free time.
M.P. answers from Indianapolis on August 10, 2008
Sounds like you are doing the right things, may just take time. Be sure to sleep in daytime when the kids are napping. One more month can make a big difference. Hang in there.
S.S. answers from Cleveland on August 10, 2008
I would say that for 6 weeks this behavior sounds normal. Perhaps instead of offering him the rest of his bottle so soon after he took only part of it wait til he is really hungry again. I think even puting him off an hour might encourage him to eat more at one time. Cluster feeding in the evening can be effective in helping him sleep a bit longer through the night. Just try to avoid this during the day. Good luck!
I also agree with others that cereal is not the best idea at this point, it might be harder for him to digest and actually could backfire on you.
A.K. answers from Indianapolis on August 09, 2008
Roberta C makes a very good point about skin-to-skin contact. Babies need this time of bonding. So, since you are feeding a bottle, strip your baby down to a diaper and position him as if he were going to nurse and either remove your shirt or lift it so that his skin is against yours. If you have a free hand, tickle his feet or hands, rub/scratch (gently) his back, play with his ears or rub his head. These things can help stimulate him enough to continue to eat. And, keep in mind, if he is still sucking while he is asleep, he's probably still getting some of the contents of the bottle.
I would strongly recommend not giving him cereal in his bottle. He is too young for that. Babies' tummies are not prepared to process food until around the 6 month mark. Babies should not be fed to induce sleep. You said he is waking about every 2-3 hours for a feeding? This is totally normal. Babies at his age should be doing just that.
And, you're doing a great job by reminding yourself that all babies are different. Keep it up! Each baby has his/her own habits, behaviors and schedules. My daughter slept several hours at a time by 6 weeks. So did my son. But, they both started waking more frequently, especially when they were experiencing a growth spurt.
Getting a bedtime routine is helpful too. Warm bath, massage, a story/song and feeding in the dark is a great way to help Baby begin to understand bedtime is near. And, when he wakes in the middle of the night to eat, don't talk and feed him in the dark again so that he will begin to understand that it's OK that he eats, but then it's back to bed. If he sleeps in your room, you can try placing him in bed next to you and feeding him his bottle and putting him back in his bed once he falls asleep.
I hope you find something that works for you and your family. I know exactly how you feel when it comes to lack of sleep. My kids are 2 years and 6 months. I sleep whenever I can, lol.
A.L. answers from Columbus on August 10, 2008
You might try dressing him a bit cooler than usual when you feed him, and feed him sitting up on your lap, rather than cuddling him close to you. This may reduce the sleepiness. You don't mention how much your little guy weighs. I don't expect longer stretches of sleep at night until baby weighs at least ten pounds. The usual time to introduce solids is four to six months, by the way. Your little guy is probably not ready to digest the cereal yet. Good luck with the sleep deprivation issue. Don't forget to ask for help so you can sleep when you need to . Hope this helps.
D.T. answers from Muncie on August 09, 2008
When breast feeding I would feed my daughter on one side then I changed her which woke her up then I fed her on the other side. My girl fed ever 2 hours for months, I napped every chance I got, then again she's my only one. You can try undressing your baby so he stays cool, is he's warm and snuggly he's going to sleep. You can also "bug" your baby, tickle his feet, lightly pinch him, just enough to stimulate him not hurt him. He might just be an every 3 hour feeder. If he's a bottle fed baby maybe you and your hubby can trade off nights, one night he has baby duty the next night you have it. Raising children is a full time job too so he can't complain (if he does make him have the kids all day one weekend, he'll learn quick.).
I hope this helps.
M.C. answers from Indianapolis on August 10, 2008
I don'twant to sound disrespectful, but if your first was sleeping through the night at six weeks, you were very, very lucky. I only have one child, but I know each child is very different. I nursed my son, and he never slept for more than an hour at a time for the first month. My only advice is sleep when the baby sleeps (much easier said than done), and if he is still not sleeping through the night at four months, let him cry to sleep. It sounds really mean, but it works and I wish I had done it much sooner. My son was 10 months old when we finally let him cry to sleep. He slept for 10 hours the first night, and 12 thereafter. To that point he had not slept more that 4 hours in a row!!!
Good luck and don't be shy about asking for help from friends and family.
B.R. answers from Indianapolis on August 11, 2008
Every baby indeed is different. My 9 month old is a pig!!!! Always has been. He was eating about 4 ounces every 3 hours when he was 6 weeks old too. He would try to fall asleep in the middle of a bottle, but I would just annoy him enough that he would eventually finish it. Then if he was hungry 30 minutes later I would make him wait a while so that when I did give him his bottle he would really eat it. It really worked for us. But it didn't help with the night feedings. He was up 1-2 times a night for the first 4 months of his life. He didn't start sleeping through the night until he was about 8 months old. Try to make his last bottle of the night a big one! And make sure he eats it all!! Good luck!! I truly understand. I'm sleeping for the first time in so long! Don't forget how amazing a little cat nap can be!!