Its been really hot here. My baby is 4 weeks old. And since the heat has been really bad over the last few days, his appetite seems to have gone down. The day before yesterday it was quite cool, and he ate every 2 hours or sometimes 3 - on the breast. Then yesterday it was ridiculously hot, like nothing hes experienced yet in his short little life. He was a pretty grizly, but did pretty well. But he seemed to eat less and he refused to take anymore. He still ate every 3-4 hours but only ate for 5-10 minutes on both sides together or would only take one side. Then for the first time during the night he went 6 hours between feeds, and then threw up his 3am feed and then went right back to sleep. Today he continued to sleep all the time and eat very little and less often. He has so far picked up a little tonight. We have tried to give him some water but he wont take much.
That said although he is noticably sleeping much more than is usual for him, when he is awake he is still very alert and seemingly happy - still smiling and looking around paying attention to things. He isnt showing any real signs of dehydration - his skin isnt dry, his fontanel isnt sunken etc. He is sleeping much more and his wet nappies have dropped way off which are the main signs.
So my questions are:
Why is he feeding less, is it normal and is it dangerous in the heat when he should be drinking more to stay hydrated?
Sometimes in the middle or at the beginning of a feed he is really difficult. He starts kicking and grizling and pulling off the breast. I feel like every feed is a fight - he acts like hes hungry but then fights me. Is it possible Im giving in too easily and he really wants more to drink but Im misunderstanding what he wants ie i think hes finished because he fight me when really theres something else wrong like he just uncomfortable and cranky but still hungry?
How will I know if theres a problem with him from the heat? Hes a fairly well behaved baby so its hard to tell when somethings wrong. Is his sleeping more and eating less a sign somethings wrong, or is normal behaviour in the heat? (I know Im sleepier and less hungry in the heat). And even if its normal, is it dangerous and if so what do I do to ensure hes getting enough fluids?
Has anyone else had experience with little babies in the heat? I guess Im really just looking to know whats normal and what to look out for if somethings wrong? And any general tips would be fantastic.
I don't know about babies, but they say that everyone eats less in the heat, and it makes sense that he would too. Sleeping more is also normal. However, the first sign of dehydration is lethargy, and often dehydrated people don't want to drink, so I don't know -- I would say it's a judgment call. Is he tired or lethargic? When he's awake, does he play?
As to him fighting with you about eating, I know that my son, even if he's very hungry, if he's tired also or overstimulated, he'll fuss and whine and pull away from the breast until I almost force him onto it -- and then he latches on and drinks eagerly. If you don't think he's eating enough, fight with him to make him try. You can also try offering him water in a dropper or spoon to see if he's thirsty.
The bottom line, I think, is judgment. If this is your first child (which it sounds like) and you aren't used to infants, it might be worth dropping by your doctor's office to have him take a look-see.
If he gets seriously dehydrated, you'll know, because his eyes will look sunken and his fontanelles will sink.
One of the wonderful things about breastmilk is that it will change to meet your baby's needs. In extreme heat it may be more watery to meet his thirst. It is not necessary (and could actually do harm) to offer anything other than breastmilk as long as you are letting him nurse as often as he wants to. In addition to the signs you are checking for, check his diaper output. How many wet diapers does he have in a 24 hr. period?
He is most likely unlatching for reasons other than hunger. I have a forceful letdown and when my babies were very young they could not handle it. What I did to make it easier for them is unlatched them after letdown and pumped a little off so that the flow would be a little slower when they latched back on. You can also just unlatch him and let the excess drip onto a cloth. It could also be due to reflux or silent reflux and by doing what I said above it could help with that also.
Babies sleep a lot but wake him every 2 hours or so to nurse.
When my baby was 2 weeks old, our air conditioner died in 90 degree weather. I took off everything but the diaper and blew a fan on her in her bassinet and had all the windows open. Heat always makes people tired and not have much of an appetite.
How old is your baby and how many ounces is he/she drinking? Exactly how hot is it? If you think it's dangerous, can you find a shelter or a friend to stay with?
Thanks everyone for your replies. I took him to the maternal and child health nurse this morning and she said its normal for babies to sleep more and eat less in the heat, and he looked fine and had gained alot of weight so must be getting enough. He has perked up now its cooled down a little - now we're having thunderstorms lol. Stupid screwy weather.
How old is your baby and how many ounces is he/she drinking? Exactly how hot is it?
Hes 4 weeks old, and hes on breast milk so I really dont know how much hes getting. The day I was refering to was 105 degrees.
check his diaper output. How many wet diapers does he have in a 24 hr. period?
Yes I was trying to do that, hard to tell as hes in disposables, but they did drop back quite a bit - they were nowhere near as full as usual.
Is he tired or lethargic? When he's awake, does he play?
I believe he was just tired. When he was awake, he still played and kicked and gurgled and smiled etc.
He is most likely unlatching for reasons other than hunger.
Yes no doubt, I wish I knew what the reason was and how to fix it. Sometimes the flow is quite fast, but it seems to depend on the day as to whether he has trouble with it or not I dont really think thats the problem - not all the time anyway. He doesnt always fight me sometimes he feeds perfectly. I always take him off, give him a break, change his nappy, try to burp him etc. But sometimes he continues to look for it but when I repeatedly put him on he takes two sips and pulls off crying.
even if he's very hungry, if he's tired also or overstimulated, he'll fuss and whine and pull away from the breast
I think this sounds like my son. I think its when hes overtired or over stimulated he still looks for it but just gets cranky with it. Grr. Hes a very awake baby, maybe I need to force him to sleep more.
Sounds like he is doing fine, other than the pulling off. All three of my children did the same thing. The things they pulled off for are: They weren't really hungry at the time and they just wanted to comfort suck, but when they got milk they got mad; two of them had silent reflux, which is like reflux but it does not come all the way up. They swallowed it back down and it caused them pain. They went on Zantac and it made a huge difference. And last, like I said before, the milk flow was too fast so I pumped a little after letdown or let it flow into a cloth until it slowed down, then latched them back on.