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2.5 week old won't settle or sleep without feeding / sucking or being held

(53 Posts)
shopswat Mon 13-Jun-11 15:33:10

I am a first time mum and my 2.5 week old son needs to feed, suckle or be held in order to fall asleep. I feel like I spend all day breast feeding, rocking, comforting etc... to help him sleep. He won't settle in his basket or pram even if we go for a walk. I have a baby carrier which at least means I can be hands free when not feeding but the whole sleep / feeding thing is making me so anxious. Sometimes even when I hold him he seems so desperate to suckle that he gets worked up and cries himself in to a state (I am sue he is not hungry or needs changing). I don't want to suckle him all the time and I'm desperate to find a way to help him settle in his moses basket or pram. Has any one else experienced this? Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do? I have thought about trying a pacifier but I am worried it may cause problems with breast feeding. Any thoughts / ideas appreciated!

Tee2072 Mon 13-Jun-11 15:35:38

Try a pacifier. Of course he wants to be held all the time he's only been outside
you for days! Keep him close, use a sling and snuggle away!!!

plantsitter Mon 13-Jun-11 15:37:55

It's really normal. Just keep doing what you're doing and, frankly, if in doubt shove your boob in his mouth. I know it's hard but it's only for a short time and I found it changed quite suddenly with both my DCs.

Good luck - enjoy!

IDrinkFromTheirSkulls Mon 13-Jun-11 15:38:32

From my experience this is completely normal and you should relax and enjoy the cuddles before they're off exploring and don't want to sit on your knee wink it will do him no harm to suckle and it may even be to do with him establishing supply.

bamboobutton Mon 13-Jun-11 15:38:48

agree with Tee. get a dummy and carry him in a sling. it's his natural survival instinct to be close to you at all times.

moby wrap slings are very good.

headfairy Mon 13-Jun-11 15:39:02

Babies are born with a few urges that are impossible to ignore... suckling and grabbing things. It's a bit like breathing, it's impossible not to breathe. For babies the intense urge to suckle is a survival thing. I'm really sorry you're finding it hard, but this is the one thing I think they forget to tell you in your ante natal classes when you're pregnant for the first time. Your baby will want to suckle even when he's not hungry. It calms him, it soothes him and makes him happy.

I wish there was another way, but really there isn't. When he's a bit older (maybe 4 or 5 weeks) you can try a dummy if you like. I have used them for both of mine and it does help. But ultimately this sucking thing will pass, it'll take a few weeks so my advice is to embrace it. Take it as your opportunity to sit on the sofa and do nothing all day but read, watch tv and feed your baby. Believe me, you won't get the chance to sit down for so long soon.

BertieBotts Mon 13-Jun-11 15:46:34

"It calms him, it soothes him and makes him happy."

All this - and it regulates his temperature, helps him feel safe, relieves (mild) pain, helps your milk supply become established, and he'll be getting a small amount of milk at all times too - remember in the womb they were getting a constant supply of food, so he might not tolerate feeling even a tiny bit hungry yet.

You could try a dummy if you want - though it might be you he wants rather than to suck, if that makes sense. I call this "breastfeeding boot camp" wink - it won't be like this forever. You won't be causing a bad habit if you feed him as much as he wants. It will ease off. And you will be able to pee in peace in about 4 years grin

You can get a sling you can feed in, if that would be useful to you? I think a ring sling is easiest for this but there are a few different types.

headfairy Mon 13-Jun-11 15:59:53

Bertie, is that true? I can go to the loo in peace in about oooo <sucks teeth> 3 months? I don't believe a word of it, the little terror can run faster than me and gets to the bathroom first, stands there grinning until my bladder can't take any more pressure grin

Breastfeeding boot camp - so true. I'm sure that's why I never lose any baby weight until they're about 6 months old, all that time sitting on the sofa eating biscuits!

Tee2072 Mon 13-Jun-11 16:07:32

Bertie I am also keeping you to that promise. If I don't get to pee in peace in years, I'm coming to get you! grin

MmeLindor. Mon 13-Jun-11 16:13:32

Not sure about the dummy, as I did not BF my DC, but they were a life-saver for my DD. Really helped settle her.

It is normal that your baby wants to be close to you. Don't worry, you are not going to "spoil" him. I know it is hard work at the moment, but it does get easier.

My DC are 6.5yo and 9yo and I still cannot go to the loo without one or both (or the bloody dog) trailing in after me.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 13-Jun-11 16:17:31

This is very very normal but bizarrely no one tells you about it - I remember thinking my DD would sleep in her cot/pram while I lay down on my bed for a kip too, and had no idea I would be holding her 24/7 for 6 weeks!

You won't be able to imagine any end to it but rest assured that in a few weeks things will have moved on - he will be able to see/hear better, smile at you, and be independent enough to be put down for a bit. They change very quickly, even tho it seems youve been rocking/feeding since doomsday!

If breastfeeding is well established, try a dummy. Life saver! Sling too.

Catilla Mon 13-Jun-11 16:19:37

Agree with all the others, and also just to say (warn you!) that 3 weeks is a classic growth spurt time - where it will seem like he wants to feed around the clock. Just let him feed as much as possible to stimulate your milk supply. Just about the time you start feeling desperate about a problem like this is usually when it's about to improve... hence the Mumsnet saying "this too will pass"!

Beveridge Mon 13-Jun-11 16:28:52

Sounds about right!

Sometimes heating up the moses basket with a hot water bottle first, then taking it out and putting the baby in worked with my DD.

You just have to go with it really, and once you get your head around it you can use it as a golden opportunity to anchor yourself to the sofa with a good book/DVD/MN/cake.

DD was a nightmare for this, DS doesn't seem so bad but I think that it's because I knew what to expect this time. I tried to think of it evolutionary terms, that tiny babies really have to make sure they don't get left behind a tree and forgotten when the nomadic tribe moves on, even if tiny baby is in fact living in a semi in the 21st century and their mother is only going next door to put the washing machine on.

RitaMorgan Mon 13-Jun-11 16:34:57

Even if you can't believe they want to feed again, they can. My ds would easily have 12+ feeds of an hour a time in the first few weeks.

Needing to be held and/or be at breast constantly is totally normal, natural newborn behaviour and won't last forever.

jetgirl Mon 13-Jun-11 16:41:06

Also try one of your tops as a sheet in the crib so your baby can still smell you. Worked for my dd, ds was much fussier though! I would let baby suckle, it will stimulate milk production, and I think a bf baby knows when they've had enough. I don't think there is anything wrong with letting them fall asleep on the boob, tbh. Once they're properly asleep, they tend to go into the crib quite happily. I also used to do feeds lying down on my bed, then let them sleep there while I watched tv did housework grin

DontWorryBaby Mon 13-Jun-11 16:41:39

My DS2 was born on 24th May so is 3wks old tomorrow. We've had a weekend of constant feeding/crying but today has been much better. Kellymom website is good for advice on breastfeeding - apparently there's a 2/3wk growth spurt so I put it down to that.

I've also considered dummies but have held off so far. I felt yesterday that I had lost track of how often the baby was feeding so today made more of an effort to feed on one side, do whatever I could to wind him and wake him (changing nappy usually works to wake him good & proper smile), then feed on the other side and we've definitely had 2.5-3 hrs between feeds today.

Hang in there, it's still early days. You should see things improving over the next couple of weeks.

Octaviapink Mon 13-Jun-11 19:15:03

Agree with all the others - this is perfectly normal but nobody tells you about it in advance!

Tryharder Mon 13-Jun-11 19:28:55

I wouldn't use a dummy for a bf baby at this stage. The constant feeding is essential - he's putting in his order so to speak. I'm afraid you need to go with the flow. Everyone I know in RL who has tried to space out or regulate feeds has ended up giving up bf quickly.

He's still so little. You don't need to be out and about with him. In some cultures, women are not expected to leave the house until their babies are 40 days old and certainly not expected to do any chores or childcare other than bf/look after the baby. For good reason, really. He's your first baby so you have no other pressures from other children. Just stay in bed, watch DVDs/MN and feed, feed, feed. This phase will only last a few weeks and it's a few weeks out of your whole life - you won't regret it.

shopswat Tue 14-Jun-11 09:52:33

Thank you all for you comments / suggestions it is really good to know that this behaviour is normal and that it will pass so I guess I will go with it at the moment. When I was pregnant I read information about getting baby on a feeding and sleeping routine however there was no mention of this type of behaviour. Those of you who have experienced this can you share with me when you started to put a routine in place and how you managed to help your babies to settle on their own (how many weeks old and what you did)? People have said to me that I will be creating a longer term problem if the only way my son will go to sleep is by being fed, cuddled, rocked etc...

Rollmops Tue 14-Jun-11 10:00:36

What is the problem, OP, the baby is ONLY 2.5 weeks old, quite normal wanting to be held etc.

witchwithallthetrimmings Tue 14-Jun-11 10:08:34

I still sleep better with someone beside me and after a long cuddle.

RitaMorgan Tue 14-Jun-11 10:08:39

Anyone who mentions rods or backs is talking nonsense!

I would forget about routines for at least 3 months, they change so much. Just meet his needs quickly and consistently, comfort him, feed on demand and you're laying the foundations for a happy, confident child.

Personally I found my ds fell into more of a routine (that is, predictable feeding and sleeping rather than a routine I read in a book) at 4-5 months. At 5 months he started napping more in his cot, whereas up til then it was mostly in my arms/bed or in the sling/pram.

At 5 months I also stopped feeding him to sleep at bedtime, and instead we rocked him to sleep, then moved onto just shushing and patting him and a bit of pick-up/put-down. He didn't start self-settling til about 7 months and now at 10 months goes into his cot awake, self-settles and sleeps through the night (mostly!).

There's no rush, and in the early weeks I think it's easier to enjoy your baby by just going with the flow, feeding him when he's hungry, letting him sleep whenever and not watching the clock and worrying about what he should be doing. Invest in a good sling/wrap and you can mostly just get on with things.

Momo36 Tue 14-Jun-11 10:18:31

Hahahaaa routine at 2.5 weeks! Don't worry you will soon get the hang of the fact that babies are not robots and there is no way they will behave by the book - especially at this stage. I'm a first time mummy and into it for 7 months. So I know how confusing everything is at the moment. However, all the books I know (even Gina Ford smile say that you should feed, cuddle, feed, cuddle for the first month.

plantsitter Tue 14-Jun-11 18:25:20

In the early weeks I think it is much easier on you to go with what the baby wants than put pressure on yourself to create a routine. The baby will most likely find some kind of rhythm in a few weeks anyway. I fed DD1 to sleep for ages but she falls asleep by herself fine at 2.5. I don't really remember the transition but from what I recall it happened quite naturally without me having to stress about it. And I am definitely a stresser in general.

However I did start a bed time routine quite early on (not 2.5 weeks definitely but probably 6 or 7) - bath, feed etc - when I knew she would sleep in the evening. This was mainly for my own benefit but I do think she started to associate the routine with sleep quite early on.

jetgirl Tue 14-Jun-11 18:41:26

Rollmops - OP is a first time mum, a bit of support would be nice. No-one does tell you just how much a newborn can want to be held (or if they do, you don't remember it anyhow!)

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