What the deal with wakeing a newborn baby up every 2 hours

Letitia - posted on 07/14/2010 ( 97 moms have responded )

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ok so i dont get y people wanna wake a new born baby up every 2 hours to feed My Daughter didn't feed for 24 hour after she was born whats the deal .

she was 6lbs 6oz and had jaundas !



she is now 7 1/2 months old i just wanted to no what the big fuss is about

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Angie - posted on 07/14/2010

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Actually Mylene waking a baby to eat could have absolutely nothing to do with babywise, I wouldn't touch Babywise with a 10 foot pole but I did have to wake my oldest to eat for the first week.

Not all babies have to be woken to eat but some do. The most common reasons.
1. Baby has jaundice, high billirubin levels make it almost impossible for a baby to sense they are hungry, it just makes them sleepy. These babies need to be fed at least every 2-3 hours to flush out the bili levels.
2. A baby who is losing weight quickly. Again these babies who are losing lots of weight will not recognize their own hunger cues and will sleep through feedings. They need to be fed every 2-3 hours.
3. A mother is having a difficult time getting her milk to come in. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get your milk to come in if you don't nurse for 24 hours within days of delivery which is possibly the reason why so many women think they have milk supply problems.
4. Both small and large babies have a tendency to have low blood sugar problems. These babies need regular feedings to keep their blood sugar up. When a babies blood sugar dips low then they are sleepy and again can't signal themselves to wake up to eat.
A healthy newborn with no issues will naturally want to eat every 2-3 hours (some more frequent some slightly less) but to maintain a healthy milk supply and bring your milk in a baby should be nursing between 10 and 12 times a day.

With my oldest she was jaundice, lost 10+ % of her body weight and I had problems getting my milk in. I was waking her to nurse every 1 1/2-2 hours. Once she regained to her birthweight I never woke her again to eat. My youngest I never had issues so I never woke her to nurse.

Chances are if your pediatrician has not mentioned anything to you then you don't need to wake your baby but keep in mind early and frequent nursing is the best way to build a strong milk supply.

Victoria - posted on 07/19/2010

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i had premature twins who required nursing every 3 hours, one had Jaundice severly and one had it to a lesser degree, If i had not woken my babies to feed them every three hours they would have died or had severe problems its not about "feeding" its about making sure they vitamin and nutrients and Sugar level are correct so quite frankly just cause you think they will wake up when they are hungry doesnt always work!

Brandy - posted on 07/14/2010

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My first child was 3 weeks premature and had jaundice pretty bad. The jaundice makes babies really, really sleepy and they will not wake when hungry so I was told to wake her to feed her every 2 to 3 hours since the more they eat, the faster they get rid of the bilirubin in their tummies that causes the jaundice. If your baby has high bilirubin or is small or premature, I could see them making you do this. My second baby was on time and woke on his own every 2-4 hours to nurse.

Sarah - posted on 07/19/2010

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if you wake up the baby to feed while it is jaunas it will help to make it better but either than that i wouldnt wake up a sleeping baby i let mine sleep she slept a solid 12 hr at night she is 4 now and still sleeps good

Allison - posted on 07/19/2010

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I heard of this too and i only did it with my first child in the very beginning and i mean only the first few weeks, after my mother said if your leaking he needs to eat. Well bull crap thanks to certain physical issues and he was impatient as all heck the breast feeding did not go well and neither did that kind of scheduel i was tired all the time! i will not do it with my second if i'm leaking and hes sleeping i'm pumping and going back to bed

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Laura - posted on 07/20/2010

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No I had to wake my little one up every 2 hours to feed her. It was very stupid and its kind of pissed me off too bcuz i was trying to sleep too.

Melanie - posted on 07/19/2010

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Im from australia and was told when I had my daughter that weight loss in the first few days is normal bubs are allowed to lose 10%. My daughter lost 16% so was put in the special care nursery. Even once in the nursery she was only fed every 4hrs (she was tube fed through her nose) She also had jaundus. I was told (once we left SC) to not let her go more then 5hrs for a few weeks until she was above her original birth weight.

Sarah - posted on 07/19/2010

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I had epidurals with both of my girls and was never told to wake them for feedings although they woke up very well on their own for feedings.

Cherri - posted on 07/19/2010

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the reason they have u do this especially if u had an epidural is because the baby is slightly drugged and actually does not know when they need to eat

Christine - posted on 07/19/2010

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my baby lost too much weight her first night so i was told to wake her every 4 hours, bu ti was told the first day to only feed her every 6 hours and that lead to alot of problems feeding, i think if your baby is not feeding often enough you need to wake them the first few days at least in till you milk comes in, you dont have to it for long, when i had a midwife visit she had a go at me for letting her sleep for a 6 hour streach at night and five hour streach in the aftanoon, and this was at 5 days old, why would i care, but i felt happy to do this coz i was feeding her every 2 hours when she was awake and feeding lots, the first few days are very importent and i think a baby should feed any time they'll go on, and wake them at night if they dont feed extra during the day, or you'll end up with a sick, dehydrated baby like me, but its all about learning, i know what i did wrong, i know what to do next time so i cant be told to do the wrong thing, i wont be listening

Heather - posted on 07/19/2010

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We never had to wake my son up...he ate at his own will...sometimes it was every 2 hours...sometimes he wouldn't feed for 5-6 hours.

Liz - posted on 07/19/2010

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my baby was jaundice too they told me to wake her up to feed her if she went 5 hours sleeping because the jaundice makes babies very very sleepy so they won't wake up to eat even tho they need to. but obviously it wasn't a big deal since you have a healthy 7 month old now!

LaToya - posted on 07/19/2010

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You're right, sick babies need to eat more often to make sure they have enough vitamins and things of that nature but if your baby is healthy, let them sleep. Every baby is different. My daughter was scheduled from day one and never fussed about it. If your baby is born completely healthy and you're just worried about their vitamin levels, most doctors can prescribe vitamin drops for your baby so they stay healthy without becoming overweight (not saying all children who eat a lot become overweight). Its basically what you feel is right for your baby. You're the mother so what you say goes, end of story.

Holly - posted on 07/19/2010

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My daughter was a healthy baby and had a good birth weight (7lbs 150z) she was also a good eater from the time she was born she didn't lose any weight. Her doctor told us that for every ounce of formula she drank thats how many hrs she could wait to eat. She was drinking 4-5 oz b/4 we left the hospital so she was sleeping about 4-5hrs b/4 she would wake up and want to eat. As long as the baby is healthy and eatting i don't see any reason to wake them up. They need their sleep as well as you.

Danielle - posted on 07/19/2010

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I think if you wake a baby to feed then he/she wont be able to recognise when they are hungry after a while and just eat for the sake of eating as they get older. By all means if the baby is early, jaundice etc but only until baby is healthy.
Let the sleeping baby lie after that, thats just my opinion though, both my boy's i have fed on demand (theirs not mine)

Jayne - posted on 07/19/2010

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baby will wake when its hungry, i never woke either of mine an they were always healthy. some midwifes suggest it but i dont agree!!

Alisha - posted on 07/18/2010

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When my daughter was that little, I did not wake her up to eat...I let her tell me what she needed and it all worked great!!!

Alison - posted on 07/18/2010

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it would mainly be the jaundice issue. Because it gets into fatty areas of the body the concern is that the brain is made up of fat, therefore it in some cases can cause brain damage.
The best way to get rid of the excess 'bilirubin ' is to feed alot, because it gets excreted also its recommended that you get bubs into filtered sunlight for at least 30mins per day to breakdown the bilirubin that is causing the yellow glow.

I have had 3 kids with Jaundice now and no one ever told me about all the excess feeds till I asked one day and did some research. It's lovely how they just boss you about without giving reason.

That would be the best reason I can give you. I am pregnant now with number 4 and making sure I keep active and get sun myself and keeping my vitamin D up. Plus expressing before delivery to get the 'real' milk in just in case. :-)

Its good to hear your bub is happy and healthy now

Nicole - posted on 07/18/2010

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when my son was born, he had slight jaundice, and they wanted me to feed him every two hours cause it helps get rid of the jaundice quicker... But he did not sleep for any length of time because I was trying to breastfeed and he wasn't getting enough.... He was awake every 5-10 minutes to eat, screaming!!!

Kristen - posted on 07/18/2010

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I never had to wake my daughter up. She woke me up every 2 to 3 hours to eat for about a week and began sleeping about 5 hours until she was sleeping about 7 hours by 3 months. Our doctor said her weight was fine and unless she started losing to let her sleep.

Kayla - posted on 07/18/2010

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I had gestational diabetis and my daughter had a hard time maintaining her blood sugar when she was first born, so I needed to try to keep her blood sugar up. Without a medical reason like that though, I really don't know why the nurses in the hospital push you to do some of the things you do. I was so relieved to get out of the hospital. Me and my baby were more comfortable LOL.

Stacey - posted on 07/18/2010

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i never did this with my kids they where both fed on demand pretty much my little girl was in scbu for 3 days and they wanted her fed every 2-3 hours n somestimes wouldnt take the milk

Jennifer - posted on 07/17/2010

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While in the hospital with my second I actually had a nurse give me grief for not waking my little guy up every 3-4 hours to feed him. At that point he slept for 6-7 hours while in the hospital and there was no way I was going to wake him up. My thought was that if he was hungry, he would let me know.

Emily - posted on 07/17/2010

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as long as your little one is gaining weight and going to the bathroom regularly... there is nothing to worry about. its an old wives tale that if you dont feed a baby every two hours that they will... well, not sure what they think will happen. something along the lines of, they wont know they need to eat. but its totally not true. babies will wake up when they need food and are hungry; the same way it is hard for us to sleep when we are hungry!

Christie - posted on 07/17/2010

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leslie is right. And my daughter was born with jaundice.(most babies are). They want you to try to make sure they do eat though.Mine eats about every 4 hours.But i didnt wake her up, she would get up on her own.They want you to make sure the baby is eating enough as well since babies lose weight after birth, but once they get alittle older it doesnt matter.

Ami - posted on 07/17/2010

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At the hospital, we fed the baby about every 2-3 hours, and the nurses encouraged us to do the same at home. Our daughter didn't have any special needs, low birth-weight, or illnesses (other than jaundice). Feeding frequently while a baby has jaundice helps the jaundice pass faster, and so while she had jaundice, we made sure to feet her often. However, after that passed, I was not waking a sleeping baby! I figured that when she's hungry, she'll wake up. That worked for us!

Stephanie - posted on 07/17/2010

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ummm yeh right! moms need there sleep too! the only time i would recommend you waking your baby is during the day if they are having there bilongest naps, it helps to wake change and feed them to get there days/nights around the right way! but i would never wake a baby during the night, and even then i would do it every 4 hours not every 2!

Sarah - posted on 07/17/2010

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Christi, i was told by my midwife on both births that not feeding your baby every 3 hours can cause jaundas!!!!!

Winnie Takyiwah - posted on 07/16/2010

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My pediatrician told me not to let my baby sleep more than 5 hours at night and 3 in the day. I should wake her up, change her diaper and feed her. I actually had to wake her up in the day cos that was the time she wanted to sleep. She usually was up to feed between 2 to 3 hours after every feed. And babies with jaundice need to feed more often to flush it out of their system. Mine had jaundice too but it went way down two day after her birth cos I feed her pften.

Heidi - posted on 07/16/2010

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They get you to feed your baby every 2 hours because she has jaundice. Feeding often helps to get a baby to become less jaundice. At least that's what I was told with my daughter.

LaToya - posted on 07/16/2010

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I don't understand it, either. My doctor told me every 4 hours but even then, if Aaliyah was asleep, I would let her be. She was 8Lb 6oz at birth and was perfectly healthy and she still is to this day, 14m later. If the baby is asleep when it's time to eat, I say let him/her sleep and just feed them when they wake up.

Colette - posted on 07/16/2010

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Babies have a harder time regulating their blood sugars, thats why the eat so often. My kids always woke up to eat so I never had that problem.

Amanda - posted on 07/16/2010

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its to get them on schedule....but really if there sleeping (at night, i wouldnt wake!) lol i had 2 children and woke them up during the day to feed but not at night and thats how i got them to sleep at night! :)

Sharleen - posted on 07/16/2010

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the main reason you would wake a baby for a feed is not its size or jaundice or anythinbg like that a baby should eat (drink) every 5 to 6 hours due to dehydration think about it if baby slept for 12 hours or more wouldnt you feel a little dehydrated going that long with out anything and dehydration in small baby is very dangerous for them

Melanie - posted on 07/16/2010

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Newborns lose around 8 or 10 of their body weight, they need those extra feedings for atleast a few weeks, not only for that but also to keep them hydrated (every baby is different). The other thing is that they may not always wake up, and will sleep right past their feeding time. In our case, our daughter would start waking up after about 3 hours on her own (newborns sleep in short frequent bouts anyway) until eventually she would sleep for longer stretches or we woudn't wake up her as frequently (after about 1 month). She had jaundice and we had a bit of a hard time getting her to eat, so it was very important for us to keep it up. My husband and I spent many nights waking up (or she would wake up on her own) every few hours, all of which now seems like a blur. It's what needed to be done at the time and no one said that it was supposed to be easy, but we got through it and now she's an excellent sleeper! Personally, I would rather wake my baby up at night every 3 or 4 hours than to wake up to a baby crying (crying being a late sign of hunger in newborns) Babies that are breast fed may wake sooner and more frequently that formula fed babies, as formula is harder to digest and keeps them fuller longer. I guess it's all a matter of personal choice, if your baby sleeps and you feel as though he or she will be ok, it's totally up to you.

Amethyst - posted on 07/16/2010

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I never woke my son up to feed. He would wake up when he was hungry. some people choose to wake them up, others don't

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I was told to just let him sleep after my sons jaundice cleared up, because the bilirubin comes out in there stool.So now, no more jaundice and he doesn't sleep:(

Francesca - posted on 07/16/2010

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Until weight gain is established, (which can take a matter of days) is dangerous to skip feedings. Their blood sugar drops within 4 hours, and the long delays between feeds eats up their "brown fat' much more rapidly.



My daughter refused to nurse the second day. All she wanted to do was sleep, after about 2 skipped feedings I mentioned it to the nurse. They ended up having to tube feed her. How scary is that!



My doctor let me know at her 10 day check up it was okay to stop waking her now that she was gaining weight and thriving.

Katt - posted on 07/16/2010

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My daughter was born 9 days early and at 8.5lbs. She was loosing weight a lot faster than normal and dropped down to 7.3lbs in 3 days, so they told me to start formula feed and wake her up every 3 hours to feed. In 2 days she re-gained the weight but I had to keep up the 3 hour feeds for about 2 weeks because she would sleep 7-9 hours. She's now 18 months and 26lbs and very healthy! Doctors tell you things for a reason not just because.

Jennifer - posted on 07/16/2010

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There are many different reasons to wake a newborn up to feed. My son was born on his due date but was later hopitalized as a faliure to thrive. He just couldnt get himself to do what he had to do.. He to didn't eat for the first 24 hours after birth and once he started eating wouldnt get anymore then an ounce down.. It was later determined that he was tounge tied.. Which caused him a lot of difficulty when it came time to feed.. So best advice is when a dr says walk the child do it.. There is a good enough reason..

Shayna - posted on 07/16/2010

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As long as the baby is a healthy weight and gaining there is no need to wake them up. If the baby has jaundice it's a good thing for them to nurse or feed, it will flush it from their system a lot faster the more they pee and poop. With my daughter she lost more then 10% of her weight after she was born because I was nursing. In order for us to be discharged I had to supplement and feed every 2-3 hours to get her weight back up.

Other then that you shouldn't wake a newborn or baby up because that is the time they grow.

Christi - posted on 07/16/2010

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sarah, waking a child to make sure he eats per doctor recommendation does not give a child jaundis. my son was born premature, underweight and with jaundice. he had to woken up every three hours to eat. he had low blood sugar as well. he still lost weight the first week, but by following what my doctor said we avoided having to put in a feeding tube to help him gain more weight.

Michelle - posted on 07/16/2010

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They say to wake them because they are so little there bodies cannot go that long without nourishment. A newborns stomach is the size of marble, and grows to the size of a small egg in about 10 days. It doesn't take long for that to empty. Remember, when they were in utero, they had a constant stream of nutrients from you, and once they were born, they have to rely on you to feed them. Jaundiced babies will be exceptionally fatigued from their bodies working so hard to get the billi out. They will need MORE nourishment in order to help it, but will be too tired to actually eat.
My second child had jaundice really bad. He would go 5 and 6 hr stretches without eating, and wouldn't stay awake to eat because he was so tired. I was so drained trying to tend to my other child (a 23 mo), and adjust to a newborn, that I didn't think too much of it. But at his 1 week check up, his billi was so high from the jaundice that he ended up being put in the hospital for 3 days under the lights. After the first day, he started waking every 4hrs, then every 3, and by the end of the visit, he was on the 2 1/2hr schedule to eat.
Try to think about when you are sick. You're so tired you don't have the energy to eat, and all you want to do is sleep, but they tell you to eat to keep your strength. The same goes for the babies.
I hope that helps!

Megan - posted on 07/16/2010

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I woke my daughter up for the first two weeks because i was breastfeeding but then when i told my pediatrician that i was having to wake her up he told me to let her sleep if she wanted to that she would wake up when she was hungry!

Sarah - posted on 07/16/2010

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I didn't wake my newborn up, he let ME know when he was hungry, believe me lol.

Ember - posted on 07/16/2010

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Its Because your baby had jaundice, they need to feed regular to help fight it off! i had to do the same with my daughter, make sure she had 45ml every 3hrs if your baby is fine they usually let you feed on demand but where jaundice is concerned you have to feed them regular!!

Elimar - posted on 07/16/2010

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Letitia, you know what, you are one of the luck ones. both my sons woke up every 2 to 3 hours, just to ask for food. Now, if your child had jaundas, then yeah, I would understand why they were telling you to wake your child every two hours, now that is if it was because you were breastfeeding her. Now when it comes to the formula intake, okay, and you had an epidural, yeah, I would go ahead and wake her up. Though if it was not the case, then yeah, that is pretty stupid.

Cheryl - posted on 07/16/2010

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it was probably because of the jaundice, nursing can help to cure it. beside that its a load of crock, i didnt have to do that with my girl when i was at the hospital.

Sarah - posted on 07/16/2010

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Well thats probably why she had jaundas...i dont believe in waking new borns for a bottle, many wake when they are hungrey i was happy she woke every4 hrs for a bottle...but i dont think i would ever of left her longer then 6 hrs!

Nohblee - posted on 07/16/2010

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I was told to feed my son who was jaundiced two hourly if he would take it until his jaundice cleared, i was a first time mother so i did what i was told. BIG MISTAKE. It was two weeks straight before he was clear and was waking sometimes hourly for night feeds! I was crazy tired and it caused him to be a snacker. They tell you to feed him like that because it helps to flush the jaundice out of their system.

Chelsea - posted on 07/16/2010

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my midwife always told me that if the baby is hungry he will wake up as long as there is plenty of wet nappies everything is fine. my son would wake every three or so hours as a newborn but by the time he was six weeks he slept through the night. i guess it depends on the size of the baby & the babies needs as every baby is individual and different.

Jade - posted on 07/16/2010

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I had the same thing with my daughter they wanted me to wake her every 4 hours for a feed she did have jaundice but I found if I had to wake her for a feed she didn't want it anyway

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