THE POSTNATAL WARD

"Reluctant Feeders"

It can be normal for babies to have little interest in feeding in the first 24-48 hours of life, with an average feed frequency of four times in the first 24 hours but seven times in the second 24 hours. BAPM Guidance makes it clear that these infants should be assessed throughly to make sure that they are not disinterested because they are actually unwell, and monitored regularly, but in the absence of risk factors or potential symptoms of hypoglycaemia there is no need to check a blood sugar. These babies should be kept warm, offered a feed at any feeding cues and expressed colostrum given.

The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative also notes that on day 1 of life, 3-4 feeds in 24 hours can be a normal pattern, whereas after this it would be worrying if a baby was feeding less than 8 times in 24 hours. However more frequent feeds are associated with lower jaundice levels and less weight loss.

Newborn Baby with Mom