Breastfeed baby not feeding for long enough

(11 Posts)
Bean7 Sat 09-Nov-13 11:36:41

Hi,

My 3.5 month old son has never breastfeed for long. He weighed 25th at birth then went to 50th at 1 month, at 10 weeks he had dropped to 25th and now at 15 weeks he is below the 25th line sad

I know what part of the problem is, he just won't nurse for long. I am sure the latch on is not great either. I used to hold my boob pinched in his mouth to help him but a 10 weeks a HV said let him find it himself and that worked a treat but he still won't feed for a long time. He does between 4-7 mins. I used to think my let down was quick so he was getting it all in the first few mins because he used to gag a bit and take in air. Other signs were a clicking noise as he was trying to stem the flow. Clicking could also be the latch on not quite right but it could never be determined by Doc or HV. So this fast let down may not be true as he is not gaining weight sufficiently. If he is not latched on properly, how do you teach an old dog new tricks?? The clicking noise has stopped now as he is older and able to deal with the fast flow at the beginning and also my BM has adjusted accordingly and I don't have the rock hard painful boobs anymore. I try to encourage him to stay on longer but he just smiles and coos at me looking happy and satisfied. I feed every 3 hours because that's when he gets hungry. Another sign he's not getting enough. It's like he's getting full on the fast fore milk and then when the hind milk comes through he has to work too hard so he gives up. I offer other boob and that works for another few mins only. I listen and can quite clearly hear the flow going in at first and then the noise stops but he's still going for it but then he too slows and gives up. Maybe I'm not producing enough milk.

I am quite a stressy person and have things going on in my life at the mo but I don't feel stressed all the time. I have taken Fenugreek to boost milk supply and expressing but he just takes what he wants to. I know there is milk left in my boobs 60% of the time but the other 40% they seem empty and maybe that's why he stops early then. So confusing. HV doesn't seem that concerned but has advised stopping the dummy? He's had the dummy since 4-5 weeks so I don't think that's it. I also hope not as it's the only thing that settles him some nights. He's on and off with the dummy at night but never has it in the day. He's a baby that can't settle himself so we are sleep training using pick up / put down and controlled crying. Things are improving. We also introduced the dream feed 3 weeks ago as he was waking twice a night for feeds. Now it's just the 1 with the dream feed. He's taking a bottle of formula at the dream feed and can get about 120ml on him only.

It's hard not to worry but I gave up BF after a month with my first DS because he just wouldn't latch on and preferred the bottle. Do I have another lazy boy in my hands. The lack of appropriate weight gain is not good and the short feeding times ties in with this. I am very close to giving up as my first DS thrived on formula and bottles. This causes stress in its self and can slow the production of BM. Vicious circle. I have a baby who is alert and happy but if it carries on like this he'll be down to the 9th percentile before I know it and that is a concern for the HV.

Any advice is most welcome. Thank you xxx

tiktok Sat 09-Nov-13 13:38:31

Bean, sorry you are stressed about this. I am not sure what the problem is. His weight gain is well within normal limits - there is nothing wrong at all with it. His time on the breast is well within normal limits. Your health visitor confirms he is fine.

What would happen if you stopped being so stressed about it and accepted his pattern for what it probably is - normal and healthy for him?

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 13:50:22

Tik toc is definitely the one to listen to - but could he be tongue tied.

When I was feeding my second at a group a lactation consultant noticed the clicking and referred me. I was very lucky - our feeding pattern hot much easier. She checked my older one and yes! She was tt too which explained a lot.

- I fed roughly every two hours until she was about one.
-She dropped 95-5 centile, but was growing over time so hv not worried as following own curve.
-I had very forceful letdown and quick feeding.

I discussed this with the lc and it looks like my older one was getting enough milk due to let down and fast flow, but not able to stimulate for more due to tt, so was hungry again in a few hours.

I really did have milk for Britain (I donated to the milk bank) as once the let down started they'd run like taps for a bit.

So we didn't fit classic tt criteria and wondered if you were similar. My nipples however DID have a slight lipstick shape to them. It wasn't until I fed no two, post tt that I saw the difference in shape.

Up until I had the second I just assumed my first was normal.

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 13:52:35

Oh -and I really really really wouldn't see feeding every three hours or quick feeds as problems in themselves, nor changes on the percentile chart. As long as he's increasing not losing overall!!

My first did all this and is fine and lovely. Weaned at six months, bf to 18.

hettienne Sat 09-Nov-13 13:58:06

His weight certainly sounds fine - bobbing around the 25th centile, moving up and down one line, what's the problem?

Time on the breast also sounds fine if he is gaining weight and going quite long stretches between feeds. My DS never managed 3 hourly feeds until he was on solids, maybe if you are concerned you could offer feeds more frequently?

Night feeds is also normal in a tiny baby. I would start doing that second night feed again if you are concerned about weight.

Are you really doing controlled crying on a 3 month old? I'm sorry but that sounds pretty extreme to me shock Babies that age don't usually self-settle.

It sounds a bit like you want him to feed infrequently and sleep through the night AND to breastfeed successfully and gain lots of weight. I think those goals are incompatible in a breastfed 3 month old tbh.

whenwilltherebegoodnews Sat 09-Nov-13 14:10:28

I have to agree that this all sounds perfectly normal. Both my DC fed at least 3 hourly until weaned and were both super quick, efficient feeders.

I would hesitate re controlled crying or PUPD at this stage, he is still very young. Perhaps tty gentle shhh/pat to encourage sleep, routine etc.

It is hard when you're tired, stressed etc but it sounds like your HV isn't overly concerned.

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 14:24:02

Oh gosh I just read you're trying to sleep train very young. I believe even Gina Ford doesn't recommend it until 6 months (and I wouldn't until gently at a year).

I think you've possibly got some idea of what must be "right" from somewhere that your baby doesnt fit, and this has worried you - whereas it all sounds quite normal for a bf baby.

tiktok Sat 09-Nov-13 14:41:43

Whoops - I missed that you are sleep training, too, sorry.

Please discuss this with your HV.

This is a very, very young baby to be trained in any way sad sad

BlackberrySeason Sat 09-Nov-13 15:04:37

If you want some evidence based research on what is normal sleep for a bf baby look at the Isis sleep website which is co-funded by Durham Uni iirc.

Basically, it is complete normal for a baby this age not to sleep through and to prefer to fall asleep at the breast. My understanding is that sleep training this young is thought to possibly raise cortisol levels in the baby so isn't recommended eg HV no longer recommend.

Sunflower1985 Sat 09-Nov-13 22:15:38

For the stress (I get quite anxious at feeds) I've been trying breathing exercises and visualisation techniques. Kellymom has some good ideas. It does seem to help the milk continue after the initial easy let down. That and breast compressions. And infinite patience :-)

Bean7 Sun 10-Nov-13 20:15:48

Thanks for all your great advice. I'm happy that most of you say its sounds normal and that it's ok if he follows his own percentile as long as he is gaining weight be it slowly. Gosh a lot of anti sleep trainers out there. Yes my first DS slept brilliantly from almost day one, waking once a night from two weeks. He did 7-7 from 3 months. My other friend started sleep training early and recommended it but I think I will stop now from all your advice. I've got the PUPD from The Baby Whisperer and she starts at 4 months. I'm feeling more positive about things now and will try to look on the bright side. These hormones that come with the BF don't really help!

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