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  Newborn Timing of feeds
I am amazed that my newborn sleeps for 4-5 hours between feeds. Is this normal?

It is normal for a newborn to be very sleepy and not very hungry. There are a variety of reasons for this, including plain exhaustion from the labour, and any sedation you may have had during the labour process which could have entered the blood stream of the baby.

While it is normal for a newborn to be sleepy, it is not a good idea for your baby to have a big gap between feeds. Breastfed babies should be fed every 3 hours in the early days. This has several benefits. Frequent feeding helps the mother to establish a good milk supply. The baby gets plenty of nutrition during the day, meaning that the chances of a good night’s sleep are improved. Also the baby should be allowed to feed for approximately 30 minutes on the first breast to ensure that the baby receives the hind milk which is nourishing and satisfying. The breast should be completely empty before the baby is offered the second breast. For some babies 30 minutes on one breast may be enough food for three hours. In this case it may be wise to express from the second breast in order to prevent discomfort and to encourage a plentiful supply of milk at the next feed, which will start on the breast that was not fed on at the previous feed. By storing this expressed milk, you can use it as a buffer if your baby has a growth spurt and you milk struggles to meet the demand, or if you find that your milk is low in the evening because you are tired.

While you may find it difficult to wake your baby up to feed, reassure yourself that this is the best course of action in the long run. In fact there is evidence that feeding four hourly for a newborn is not sufficient to create a good milk supply, and may be a contributing factor to a failed attempt at breast feeding.

While it is best to feed bottle fed babies closer to four hourly, again it is not wise at all to allow the time to go over this. Baby needs to get all six feeds in every day, and this also reduces the chance of baby waking hungry at night. In addition you need to make every attempt to get baby to take the correct amount of formula at every feed. This sleepy newborn may need encouragement to feed enough, and also requires a quiet and soothing atmosphere during feeding so that distraction does not interfere with the feeding process.

See also:

Newborn - Appearance

Newborn - Bloodshot eyes

Newborn - Circumcision

Newborn - Colour of eyes

Newborn - Confusing day and night

Newborn - Early outings with baby

Newborn - Going home from hospital

Newborn - Handling

Newborn - Jaundice

Newborn - Cradle Cap

Newborn - Heat Rash

Newborn - Red Rash On Upper Body

Newborn - Spots

Newborn - Reflexes

Newborn - Sticky eyes

Newborn - Swaddling

Newborn - Vernix

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