Tips for getting sleepy baby to eat? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 03-16-2011, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think my daughter is close to being discharged if she would just wake up up and eat! She is uninterested in both bottle and breast. (I'm fine with her being bottle-fed for now since it seems like the quickest way to get her home). The doctor's orders are that she is offered the bottle for 15 minutes every three hours, and after that she is tube fed. Today she was only taking 5ml of the bottle, though in the past she's gone up to 20ml. This is very discouraging since we're getting to a point where that's the only thing that's keeping her there! Any ideas on how to encourage her to eat?

 

She's 2 weeks old now, born at 36w1d with meconium aspiration.


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#2 of 9 Old 03-16-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Things that we did when DD was in the NICU--undressing her to wake her up (start w/hat, socks, sleeves), tickling her toes, making silly noises, talking to her (obviously).  Messing with her nose, blowing on her face a little. There was something that we did with her chin, or cheeks, or neck, to encourage her to swallow--I can't remember what now (she's 2) and DH doesn't remember either.  Has she seen the speech therapist to ensure that everything is working properly?  Not that it isn't, just that this person (whatever they're called) can be helpful with feeding issues.

 

ITA with bottle being quicker to get her home.  That's what we did with DD.  She had to keep down 60 mL, gosh that was hard.  I pumped the whole time, and she latched for the first time when she was 3.5 weeks old.  Exclusively BFed thereafter, and BFed until we weaned at 18 mos. So don't get discouraged about that.

 

As I'm thinking about it, I think what we would do when feeding DD was run a finger along the underside of her jaw, from near the ear in the direction of her chin.  Not sure if this is just an old wives' tale, but it seemed to trigger a swallow now and then.

 

Keep your head up mama.  I know its a dark time, especially when others are home with their babies.  This subforum isn't very active, but you ca pm any of us, any time, even if its just to vent.  Lots of hugs to you and your little one.  hug2.gif


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#3 of 9 Old 03-17-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Our son was also too sleepy to eat much.  If you're bottle feeding, try twisting the bottle so it spins in her mouth while you're feeding her.  We had some luck with that.  We'd also do a diaper change mid-feed, to try to wake him up again.  Do they know what's causing her to be so sleepy?  For our son it was jaundice, and once that resolved it got much easier to feed him.

 

Also, just to echo the encouragment, we had to do bottle supplements of pumped breast milk for the first 3 weeks, after which we were able to exclusively breastfeed.  We then breastfed quite happily until 16 months.


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#4 of 9 Old 03-17-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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Oh yeah, turning the bottle around in her mouth.  I'd also sort of rub the nipple along the roof of her mouth, although I'm not sure if I was told to do that or if I just did it.  You know how desperate you get...

 

Also propping them up a bit more--recline = sleep for DD.  To this day we have no idea why she was so sleepy.  I suspect she was sort of shutting down from being overstimulated by all of the NICU lights/sounds/activities.  It was a teaching hospital, so there were docs in and out all day, and a higher level nicu, so someone was always being bagged, the alarms were always going off, etc.

 

I hope you get to go home with your baby really soon.  hug.gif hug.gif hug.gif hug.gif


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#5 of 9 Old 03-18-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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I'm in the same situation as you are lizzylou.  My  twin boys, born at 32 weeks, are almost 6 lbs after 2.5 weeks in the NICU and they are doing wonderful except for the eating thing.  It is very frustrating.  I'm going to try what everyone suggests here.  Let me know if something works for you and I'll do the same!  Good luck mama.


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#6 of 9 Old 03-18-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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When my guys were in the NICU, we would even take a cool washcloth and wipe their heads. Won't work if they are having temp issues, but it did help wake them up! Taking off socks and tapping bottoms of their feet. Wiggling nipples in mouths. Not having them wrapped up and cuddled helped too. Diaper changes as suggested. No 'comforting' rocking or rubbing or it will just make them sleepier.

 

And agreed, jaundice made my second son sooo sleepy it was hard to get him to eat and that was our last barrier to leaving NICU as well.


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#7 of 9 Old 03-25-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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OP, any updates?


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#8 of 9 Old 03-25-2011, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're still not having great luck with eating. Everyone is a bit baffled as to why she won't eat... she has at times taken as much as 45ml. But other times she won't take much at all. 

 

Her sleepiness appears to be normal newborn sleepiness... they've run a bunch of tests on her and haven't found anything wrong.

 

I was a bit encouraged today because she took 10ml very fast as soon as we started. I had never seen her drink so fast before. After that though she slowed down and lost interest. I feel like part of her issue is suck/swallow/breathe coordination and the other part is catching her at times when she's not hungry/too sleepy.

 

We're talking about coming home soon with an NG tube and giving her more time. I feel like if we were at home and doing our own thing on our own timeframe we might have better luck.

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#9 of 9 Old 03-25-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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That would be awesome. I hope they let you go home soon.


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