Cue-led nursing making baby overtired?? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 05-01-2013, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! My LO is 9 weeks old Friday. I've noticed a kind of alarming trend in her eating and sleeping habits, and wanted to ask y'all about it. She's super sensitive to becoming overtired. If she naps enough during the day, she's a joy; if she doesn't, she's a totally different baby, and not a nice one!! 

 

She likes to snack throughout the day, eating twice in a 90 minute period, then waiting 2-3 hours to do the same thing over again. But when she does this, she can't nap enough. She wakes up hungry after less than an hour, will only eat a little, then repeats the process 30 minutes later. Over and over. All day. And by evening, she's overtired and screams. It breaks my heart to see my easygoing girl so upset.

 

This problem caused me to try scheduled feedings for a couple of weeks. I know everyone says not to, but I was just so desperate after night after night of an unhappy baby. I never felt like I was denying her food; if she was clearly hungry, I just fed her anyway. She ate well most of the time, and got blissful 2.5 hour naps every day. Evenings were MUCH easier. She started sleeping longer at night.

 

ANNNND I got engorgement, plugged ducts, and I think her weight gain's down. So we're trying to do cue-led nursing again. But we're back to the same old thing - snack, cat nap, and screaming tired in the evening. Help!!! I've heard so many women say selfish women use schedules to get more time to themselves - I feel like I'm being selfish in taking her OFF the schedule because of my own pain, and my worry that she won't gain enough. It's all very disheartening.


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#2 of 21 Old 05-01-2013, 04:39 PM
 
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I would have the weight checked. Then I would call a LLL leader to see if you can workout what is going on.

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#3 of 21 Old 05-01-2013, 04:51 PM
 
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I'm confused about what's going on. Maybe if you give us the schedule, I would have a better understanding.
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#4 of 21 Old 05-01-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nazsmum, we're headed to the ped Friday. Thank you!

pek64, the schedule looked like this (times were a little flexible, but usually within 15 mins):

7 AM wake up and eat

8:30 - 10 nap

10:15 or so eat (and sometimes again at 10:45, if she wanted)

11:30 - 2 nap

2:15 eat (her longest gap, just because she slept like a rock for that lunchtime nap)

3:30 - 5 nap

5:10 eat

6:15 eat and off to bed

10:30 wake up to eat

4 or 5 am eat

 

So, LOTS of sleep!

 

If we're doing it on demand, I can't really give a schedule. Sometimes she goes 30 minutes between feedings, sometimes 2.5 hours (if she's napping). Usually I'd feed her when she wakes up from a nap, then about 30 minutes later when she starts getting restless/sucking on her hands (although she seems to do that an awful lot, hungry or not), possibly one more time before putting her down for the next nap. If she's totally content, obviously I'm not trying to feed. But if she's restless, I'll try - and sometimes she's hungry, sometimes not.

 

I think half the issue is that I can't always tell. A lot of the "hungry cues" that I've read or been told seem to be things she just does a lot anyway. Not surprising, since she was sucking her hand in utero when I was only 9 weeks pregnant! When I guess wrong, she pops on and off the nipple, thrashes around, and if she's even a little tired she'll start yelling. Oy.


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#5 of 21 Old 05-02-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I had trouble posting last night.

I'd like to know what you are doing while she's sleeping in the scheduled day. That may provide a clue as to what's going on.
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#6 of 21 Old 05-02-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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Hmm... ditto Nazsmum's suggestions to get a weight check and talk to a lactation consultation.  Seems like if you were engorged with plugged ducts after switching to a schedule, she may not have been eating as much.  I'm definitely no expert, but a few thoughts, for whatever its worth...

 

How many minutes does she nurse at feedings?  Not eating much at feedings could mean she's getting foremilk (think water to satisfy thirst), but not much hindmilk (the good fatty stuff that makes her sleepy and gain weight).  Is she having lots of wet diapers?  And how are the poo diapers?  Normal mustard colored and seedy or green at all?

 

Popping on and off the nipple makes me think of a few things... How's your let-down?  Could the milk be coming too fast initially (i.e. overactive letdown) and making her pop off?  Is she popping off because she needs to pee?  Mine would do that... I'd potty them or change a diaper and then nurse some more.  Or could your milk not be letting down or not letting down quickly enough so she pops off and acts frustrated?  For me, when my baby cries or fusses, I get really really tense.  When I'm tense, my milk will NOT let down.  So nursing on demand means lots of the time the baby cries/fusses to let me know he's hungry and then I'm trying to nurse when I'm tense.  I have to REALLY REALLY focus on relaxing in those times so the milk will come.  Are you less tense when doing a scheduled feeding than when doing an on demand feeding that is cued with fussing?

  

My kids ate very frequently on demand when they were that little... I'm thinking every hour or two, day or night.  So your schedule doesn't look like feeding often enough to me, but then I probably fed way more than most people!  When they had a growth spurt, they nursed even more, constantly for a few days... and then afterwards they would have several days where they didn't nurse quite as often but slept more.  Maybe your little one's just been through a normal growth spurt??  My first child would also get really fussy in the evening and want to nurse more... I think this is pretty common, like they want to get their bellies good and full so they can sleep longer at night.

 

Okay, just throwing out whatever popped into my head! 

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#7 of 21 Old 05-02-2013, 05:35 PM
 
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I can understand your difficulties with a crying, fussy baby in the evenings...believe me, I've had 2 of them! However, at 9 weeks, I would be more concerned with proper weight gain and establishment and maintenance of milk supply than the amount of sleep she is getting.  It is possible that there are other reasons why she is fussy in the evening that aren't necessarily related to the amount of sleep she got during the day.  A PP mentioned foremilk/hindmilk issues, as well as fast letdown which could be causing her to be more gassy, and therefore more fussy in the evenings.  Chances are, if you're scheduling her feedings instead of feeding on demand, she's quite hungry when she's fed, and therefore probably drinks more in a feeding than when she feeds/catnaps.  Since it seems that weight is a concern, what I would suggest is trying to get her to drain more of your breast during a feeding to ensure she gets hindmilk as well.  Try keeping her on the first breast you offer longer, encourage another letdown by massaging your breast while she sucks if the milk is slowing down instead of switching sides, and you may even want to try block feeding (feeding from the same breast 2 feedings in a row) if your milk supply is really plentiful and you think she may be getting too much foremilk, or if she's wanting to eat again within an hour.  I'm with the PP, at 9 weeks I think that frequent feeding is necessary, and I tend to err more on the side of caution and offer feedings more instead of less.  I'd also suggest seeking out a LLL group for support.

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#8 of 21 Old 05-03-2013, 10:11 AM
 
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TallToriV- How did the Dr go? Weight?

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#9 of 21 Old 05-03-2013, 03:14 PM
 
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Baby wearing may help. Baby can nurse and sleep when she needs to and you will have the freedom to move about and do what you need to. If you google images, look for breastfeeding or nursing in a carrier or sling. It is a great way to address baby's needs while still having freedom and doing what you need to do. She can latch when she is hungry and sleep when tired. All while being close to her favorite person.
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#10 of 21 Old 05-04-2013, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for the delay - yesterday was CRAZY. Ok, so found a big clue as to what's up - little one has grown 2.25" in the past month! That's over double the average growth for this age. She's gaining weight just fine; she just doesn't look pudgy because she's gotten so much longer. And that's why she needs so much sleep, as well; growth happens when you sleep, especially deep sleep, so if her body's set to grow this much she's going to need a bunch. She is MUCH fussier in the evenings after spending much time napping in a carrier, on my lap, etc. during the day and I'm thinking it's because she just catnaps then. She never gets that deep, restorative sleep where this insane growth is happening. That may have been the issue, rather than the feedings.

 

Babywearing...ahh, babywearing. I was so looking forward to it. She does NOT enjoy it. We've tried multiple carriers, careful acclimation...nada. It's great for many babies, but this little one just doesn't like it for more than a brief walk or outing. So much for my careful planning before she got here! (I've been surprised at how many people on MDC suggest I force the issue; if they see crying it out as being so bad, why would they suggest that I do that with a carrier?) When she's tired, she needs me to hold her for a bit, then put her down and let her get on with it. *scratching my head* It's not what I expected, but I respect her.

 

Also, she's started sleeping longer at night; anywhere from 7 - 9 hours at a stretch. So she's got to eat more frequently during the day to make up for it. The good news is, it seems she's taking in more than I thought during her 2-3 minute feedings. If she wakes up hungry, it's not that she didn't eat enough, it really is that she's burned through it and needs more again. I do block feedings to make sure she's getting enough hindmilk. My supply is pretty intense, so she never actually drains me. My letdown is definitely strong, yup, and when she was smaller she'd come off choking, but the popping on and off I was talking about is very different. I've tried burping her much more often, and that seems to help. Also, yesterday and today she's started popping off to play with the nipple and smile at me (I have super cute photos!), which helps me understand that she's fine, just really not hungry anymore. 

 

So, looking back over the past few days, she's actually gotten back into a very steady schedule all on her own. I just didn't see it initially. She sleeps hard for a couple of hours, wakes up, eats, hangs out, then 30 - 60 minutes later eats again, then back to sleep for a shorter nap, then repeat. She alternates long and short naps, which was throwing me off. The evening fussing...search me. I think it's because she was taking shorter naps every other nap or so, or because we went out in the evening, or whatever, but maybe she just does that now and then. Lots of moms have said their babies do. It's just SUCH a huge difference compared to the good evenings. I do notice that putting her back down for an extra nap before bath time helps a lot - she just can't stay up the full time to do her first feed, then bath, then snuggle and story, then feed again before bed.

 

Whew. Thank you all so much for your suggestions and sharing your own experiences. We are doing MUCH better in light of it all. I hate to say it, but I think a lot of it was my own confusion. She's really doing just fine.

 

 

 

All done, whether I like it or not!


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#11 of 21 Old 05-05-2013, 02:47 AM
 
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You're right about growth meaning more sleep and food is needed! Sorry about your carrier problems. A simple sling might be her preference. One more thing. Babies tend to pickup the mood of the person holding them. I wonder if, perhaps, you are feeling unsure, or irriated, or overwhelmed about something. That might result in a fussier baby, too. Then there's the possibility that something you eat is not agreeing with her. Keep open to discovering what's going on, and I'm sure you'll find it. Good luck.
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#12 of 21 Old 05-05-2013, 03:30 AM
 
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Great! Maybe still try to get out to a LLL meeting. You can hear other moms stories of b/fing.

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#13 of 21 Old 05-05-2013, 05:53 PM
 
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That's awesome... and what a cute, happy baby!  I'm sure you are relieved with the great growth report.  Keep up the good work!

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#14 of 21 Old 05-05-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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Trust your baby.  We are born with every instinct needed to survive, so your baby knows when he/she is hungry, they know when they are tired and they know when they are upset and need or want something.  My advice is to follow they're cues.  Your instincts will learn and grow as you follow them creating a beautiful bond between you and you're little one :)

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#15 of 21 Old 05-06-2013, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

 Babies tend to pickup the mood of the person holding them. I wonder if, perhaps, you are feeling unsure, or irriated, or overwhelmed about something. That might result in a fussier baby, too. 

 

Absolutely, I'm overwhelmed. My DH is gone, I have no friends or family here because we just moved here when I was pregnant, annnnd...

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by arielmama View Post

My advice is to follow they're cues.  

 

I do not seem very good at this. I just keep trying, and sooner or later I get it, but I don't always know why, or what I did that worked. I know I'm learning as I go, but in the meantime it really does add to stress. All the things I had studied, and planned for, just don't seem to work for her. So I'm taking it one day at a time. The one thing I know for certain sure is that she has GOT to get her sleep. Today we had to go to the vet in the morning and she missed most of her 1st nap. Even though she had a decent one later, the 3rd one was thrown off, and bedtime was awful. 

 

So! I'm glad the sleep's doing a bit better, and feeding seems to be doing its job, and I'm trying to get out to some local mom groups and build a support system. Hopefully I'll be a bit easier in my mind soon.


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#16 of 21 Old 05-06-2013, 09:23 PM
 
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Both my girls, but especially DD2, have had (DD2 still does) evenings where they are very unsettled for no reason I have been Able to discern. It is heartbreaking to see them so upset. With DD2 we have found that a warm shower will sometimes help. I sit in the bath with her on my lap and use a handheld shower head to run warm water over her. She seems to find it very soothing. Sometimes she will feed as well but often she will just lie there and you can feel her little body relaxing against you.

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#17 of 21 Old 05-07-2013, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a handheld shower! Thanks, Kate, I'll try that next time she's having a fussy evening. I read somewhere today a sentence that said, "Focus on caring for your child, not on curing the fussiness." I'm trying to keep that in mind. I can't help wanting to FIX it ^_^

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#18 of 21 Old 05-12-2013, 08:55 PM
 
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Yeah, they don't stay that young forever, and kids that age get fussy so randomly, and sleep on and off at random. Feed her when she's hungry and don't sweat it too much.

 

My son didn't like the carrier at that age, either. He kind of got into it later. Don't force it if she doesn't like it... why would you?

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#19 of 21 Old 05-14-2013, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the encouragement!


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#20 of 21 Old 10-08-2013, 09:44 AM
 
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I feel the SAME way about needing to FIX things all the time. I have come to understand that no matter how much we babywear, cue feed, soothe when needed, etc. babies sometimes just cry. It's completely normal and part of their communication and learning the world, I believe. Don't beat yourself up, you may never be able to totally discern what the "issue" is, and that's ok. The most important part is that you try and do your best. That's it. Sometimes all you have to do is remember that if your baby is fussy and/or crying, sometimes you can't do anything to soothe them. You can try, which is good, and necessary, but it may not work. They are their own little person! :)

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#21 of 21 Old 10-12-2013, 12:52 PM
 
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Trust your baby!  Which you are doing. Some babies don't conform to book standard AP parenting, baby wearing, constantly being held plans. Yes, many babies DO, but yours simply may not. I've worked with babies who really do need to be put down and work out (not cry out, but work out) their stress and then just sleep.

 

You know your baby better than anyone. If she hates the sling, don't use it. My eldest one HATED any baby carrier, unless I was moving at a fast race walking pace. In those days they only made "regular" size slings, and I need a petite sling, or my babies roll into a ball at the bottom and scream. So, I just either held her or passed her off to someone else. Couldn't find a carrier to work. My other kids, I used OTSBHs or Tot Tenders (I don't think either of these are made any more) but not all babies conform to ONE way of parenting.

 

You got good advice, "Don't try to cure the fussiness, just tend to your baby." I learned that the hard way with my 2nd one and pretty much perfected it with my 3rd. I realized I didn't have to cure the fussies, I just had to hold and love the baby. I wish I had known that with my first.

 

Keep on keepin' on, Mama. :Hug 


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