Debugging a baby

Ok, baby won't sleep, keeps waking up every 15 minutes when we put him to bed.  He screams so we do the usual checks:

  • Is he comfortable? 
    • Diapers ok
    • The cot wasn't too cold or warm
  • Must be hungry then

So we feed him some more, and because he's so tired, he sucks a bit and then falls asleep again (probably fainted from exhaustion).  We poke him to wake him up, he feeds some more.  Finally after about half an hour of feeding, we figure he has enough.  So we put him back into the cot and he sleeps.

Then he wakes up in 15mins and starts screaming again.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Couple of things we noticed:

  • His diapers are heavy, so we had to change it very frequently
  • He is very tired, cause he doesn't have enough rest
  • This continues into the day and night
  • Honestly, we know he can't possibly be hungry.  We just don't know what's wrong to calm him down, aside from feeding him some more

Lina and I were at a lost as to what we're doing wrong.

A baby at this age (10 days old) is very simple.  There have simple needs - warmth, food, diapers, and only one output signal (scream).

They are not old enough to be over-tired and scream because they are tired.  At this age, when they are over-tired they basically faints.

They can be distracted somewhat from screaming, but they can't focus on something for long enough to make a difference - they will return to the screaming state.

I have to credit Lina with finding out what was wrong with our baby.

She found out that a normal feed is about 15 minutes.  Of course, with shorter feeds, they tend to wake up more often.

What was happening was that we were over feeding our baby.  He happily eats and eats some more, and he doesn't know to stop.  He faints from tiredness, and when we lie him down, inevitably he has reflux, and a lot of reflux, because he's so full.  So he wakes up screaming after lying down.  He isn't comfortable.

We feed him some more, poor little guy.  He continues to have reflux and wakes up screaming for the entire night.

Anyway, last night, we timed his feeds to 15 minutes max.  And he's given us 3 hour blocks of sleep.  It was much better than the day before.

There is a similar level of joy when you finally worked out what was wrong with your baby.  I'd say the experience is on par as fixing a particularly hard to find software bug.