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3 hours "feeding" my baby

(47 Posts)
Delbelleber Mon 22-Jun-20 21:30:17

I've just spent 3 hours almost constantly breast feeding my 5 week old and he was fussing like mad getting frustrated by the end of that time so I made him up a 4oz bottle which he guzzled down like he was starving. I know breast is best and all that but wtf are my breasts doing while he's feeding that length of time because they surely aren't filling him up. Don't get me wrong I love breast feeding and I know long feeding sessions are normal at this age but I'm just feeling frustrated and sad that I can't give him the satisfactory feed which he really needed.

OP’s posts: |
ShirleyPhallus Mon 22-Jun-20 21:32:19

He’s only 5 weeks old, he’s partly sucking for comfort and likes being close to you. Your supply also needs to establish and your baby needs to learn how to feed.

He will be getting everything he needs from you, as long as he has decent numbers of wet and dirty nappies.

Try not to give him too much formula as it will affect your supply this early on. Get a load of snacks and a box set and try and relax and enjoy this time

nervousnelly8 Mon 22-Jun-20 21:35:56

Has he been checked for tongue tie? Is he latching correctly? From memory, 4-5 weeks is a pretty big growth spurt so some cluster feeding is normal, but this does sound quite extreme.

Please don't beat yourself up. You're doing amazingly if at 5 weeks you can say you love breastfeeding (I was still firmly in the "this is the most horrendous thing in the world" camp at that stage!). Above all don't feel sad giving him a bottle - many people combination feed perfectly successfully. Be kind to yourself!

SockQueen Mon 22-Jun-20 21:36:10

He's cluster feeding to boost your supply. A bottle is an easy quick fill-up for him so he will guzzle, but that doesn't mean you aren't providing enough! Look up paced bottle feeding if you want to offer formula, it slows them down and means they're less likely to develop a bottle preference. It won't always be like this, keep plodding on!

Dumbie Mon 22-Jun-20 21:38:30

No advice, only solidarity. It's hard at this age, so so hard.
You're doing amazing!! Hopefully he's sleeping and giving you a bit of a rest

Hardheadedwoman39 Mon 22-Jun-20 21:38:49

It might be worth expressing a feed to see how much you're producing? After three hours of feeding on and off you're going to be quite depleted anyway!
Your baby may also be having a growth spurt so possibly your milk supply hasn't caught up with them quite.
I also have a five week old and he feeds all the time atm. He's baby number 4....it's definitely worth persevering but if you end up supplementing with a bottle(s) or switching don't give yourself a hard time!

firstimemamma Mon 22-Jun-20 21:41:46

It's normal & natural op I'm afraid. I remember my ds cluster feeding for 3 hours at a time but it did get better and easier over time. Call the National bf helpline if in doubt as they are very good and very reassuring. Good luck and it sounds like you're doing well thanks

Pollony Mon 22-Jun-20 21:42:31

I mixed fed from about 3 or 4 weeks I loved breast feeding but I also loved having a satisfied baby it also doesnt
HAVE to affect your supply, you make as much milk as you are using and you can also try expressing if you are worried about your supply.
Ultimately do what works for you and your baby.

Kittywampus Mon 22-Jun-20 21:44:12

I think babies do that when they are starting a growth spurt. His constant sucking will have stimulated your milk supply and you will probably wake up with a lot of milk tomorrow. The best thing to do when babies have an evening of constant suckling ime is to go to lay down next to him in bed, with your top off, and read a book or watch a movie while you let him suck as much as he likes.

Lockdownseperation Mon 22-Jun-20 21:45:02

Completely normal. He is on his last big push over the next week or 2 to establish your supply. He is feeding lots not because he is hungry today but because he will need more milk from you in the coming days.

You have done such amazing job to get so far.

Alison18031 Mon 22-Jun-20 21:46:55

Have you checked weight gain? I had similar thoughts with my 1st as feeding time would add up to 12 hours a day, every hour at night and my breasts always felt empty. Surprise surprise weight gain in 1st month was 1.5 kg

InconvenientPeg Mon 22-Jun-20 21:48:34

I had a timehop message the other day, '3hours feeding and still not finished, will it ever end??' I think DD would have been about 6 weeks.

It was cluster feeding because of a growth spurt and I just set up a corner of the lounge so I could browse the net, remotes were in reach, had snacks and drinks ready and basically it did end, but in effect I made the most of it while I could.

Just relax into it, and try to enjoy it. Don't worry unless you end up with a baby with not enough wet nappies or losing weight.

bluebluezoo Mon 22-Jun-20 21:48:51

might be worth expressing a feed to see how much you're producing

Doesn’t work like that. Many women can’t express at all, there’s a very complicated feedback system a baby triggers that a pump simply can’t.

O/p it’s likely he’s coming up to a growth spurt and is sucking to boost supply. It’s normal. You could try a dummy if you want a break but otherwise he will do what needs to be done.

As for the formula, many babies will take a bottle even after a full bf. It’s sweet, it’s easy- bit like you managing a mars bar even after a full sunday dinner smile

Keep an eye generally- is he weeing, pooing, hydrated- fontanelle ok, tear production etc. Behaving how he should for his age? Clinical signs are the best indicator...

domesticslattern Mon 22-Jun-20 21:51:56

He's cluster feeding to get your supply up, and because it is comforting. Please don't feel sad, it's normal.
Get in boxed sets, chocolate, comfy chairs, cushions, friends on the phone. But yes, bf does take what feels like forever. It's not about "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" feeds, honest.

monkeysox Mon 22-Jun-20 21:53:51

Might sound daft but did you swap sides.
If one empties swap to other and then start on that one next time.

stopfundinghate Mon 22-Jun-20 21:55:40

Lockdownseperation

Completely normal. He is on his last big push over the next week or 2 to establish your supply. He is feeding lots not because he is hungry today but because he will need more milk from you in the coming days.

You have done such amazing job to get so far.

This. Hope you manage to get through it. Things really will get easier in time and your body has provided all that your baby needs so far, and your body will continue to provide for your baby for as long as you both like.

lanthanum Mon 22-Jun-20 21:57:01

Has it been hot where you are? They also need to feed more frequently in really hot weather, just the same as you need to drink more.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Mon 22-Jun-20 21:58:09

Sounds normal at this age. Unfortunately! Sucking and swallowing is a reflex action for them so finishing a bottle doesn't mean he was hungry, and your milk supply is not properly established at 5 weeks so he would still be builing it up. I think with both of mine it was about 12 weeks before it started to settle down a bit.

The above is caveated by him having plenty of wet and dirty nappies though and gaining weight well so if this doesnt apply I'd ask a professional for advice or give a bottle. Also there's nothing wrong with deciding it's not for you

MrsPatrickDempsey Mon 22-Jun-20 21:58:26

The lactating breast never empties. It doesn't work like that. They can feel less full but as long as he is correctly positioned and attached the milk will keep flowing - but like turning on a tap. As pp has said think about the non nutritional aspect of BF too. They like to suck.

MrsAvocet Mon 22-Jun-20 22:00:04

All sounds pretty normal for me. 5-6 weeks is classic growth spurt time, and the evenings are often the time for this kind of behaviour.
Breastfed babies often appear to guzzle bottles as the milk flows into their mouths much faster than they are used to so they seem gulp it down like they are starving. That isn't necessarily the case. PPs have already mentioned paced bottle feeding - definitely worth looking into.
I would avoid expressing as a "test" of your supply as its unreliable. Some women's breasts respond to the pump well, others don't. Most get better with practice but some of us are never great expressers. Even when I was tandem feeding a newborn and a toddler, both of whom were thriving, I struggled to express more than a couple of ounces, which obviously was not indicative of my supply at all.
How are your baby's nappies? Output is usually a fairly good indicator of input, assuming baby is otherwise healthy with no medical conditions that might alter things.
I would second the idea of calling one of the breastfeeding helpines where you can talk to someone trained in more detail, but nothing you have said sounds out of the ordinary to me.

Hercwasonaroll Mon 22-Jun-20 22:00:19

Totally normal. 5 weeks is prime cluster feed, wants to be near you, and generally lying there with your boobs out time.

If it's your only, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Put on TV, surround yourself with water and snacks and accept your position as feeder!

It really does get better, the feeding fog lifts slowly from 8ish weeks and suddenly you have a baby who will go 3-4 hours between them.

You've got this!!

Dontiknowit Mon 22-Jun-20 22:01:07

Normal but brutally hard for you.
If it's getting too much, don't feel guilty about going to formula feeding. It saved my mental health and happy mum meant happy baby.

Maltay Mon 22-Jun-20 22:01:11

It gets so much easier at 12 weeks! The first 9 weeks was pure hell I still don't know how I managed it. You're doing so well, you're not doing anything wrong it is just hard!
As long as plenty of wet nappies don't worry, mine only pood about once a week at this age as they can absorb breast milk very efficiently

Fiddlesticks345 Mon 22-Jun-20 22:01:28

When she was a few weeks old my baby would cluster feed for 6 hours straight- no exaggeration! I was convinced she wasn’t getting enough milk but was also worried about ‘nipple confusion’ and supply so I just stuck at it and kept putting her on when she seemed to want it. It was hideous at the time but now at 12 weeks my supply is great and she’s growing like the clappers.

rabbitheadlights Mon 22-Jun-20 22:01:41

When you say 5 weeks how close is that to 6? 6 weeks is prime time for a growth spurt and mine fed solid for days??

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