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Cluster feeding / tired baby - crying at the breast

(22 Posts)
clarechick Fri 19-Nov-10 09:02:44

I wonder if you can give me some advise - my 4 week old DD wants to breast feed all evening from 7 until 12-1am and as the night goes on she gets more and more upset to the point I don't think she is getting enough milk - either that or she is tired - we try to settle her, put her down to sleep and she wakes up in five minutes again, cries and the cycle continues. Her sleep pattern for the last few nights has been sleep 12-1am to 5-6am, feed, then sleep 6am ish to 10am and then one big sleep in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. She will then stay awake from 4pm ish right up until 12-1am - is this normal. Just not sure if this is a sleep or feeding problem - should I be waking her during the day to feed more? Help - the cluster feeding seems normal enough but the staying awake for such an extended period and her being so upset at night is making me think I should be introducing formula at night or I'm doing something else wrong- my DH seems to think so but not sure if this will make any difference??

denise77 Fri 19-Nov-10 09:28:50

oh you poor thing i posted something similar just before your post, my dd does the samething at night very exhausting..sorry cant give you any advice, just thought i'd let you know you arent alone

clarechick Fri 19-Nov-10 10:20:11

Thanks Denise77 - Its nice to know I'm not on my own!!

notnowbernard Fri 19-Nov-10 10:21:48

Hi

Cluster feeding at this age is VERY normal. It can be exhausting, I know... DD1 and DD2 were big cluster feeders

Can I ask is your dd gaining weight well, and producing lots of wet and dirty nappies?

clarechick Fri 19-Nov-10 12:14:59

She is gain weighting really well - she was 6.8 at birth and now is 7.9. She has lots of wet and dirty nappies so I know she is getting enough - but its this fussing and crying at the breast at night that I'm not sure about - is she hungry and my breasts are empty ( does this happen if she has been feeding constantly for an hour or so?)
or is she tired...?

MamaChris Fri 19-Nov-10 12:28:38

dt2 does this. I find it really tough (not so much the extended feeding, but the crying at the breast). I don't really know why it happens. but if I put him in the sling for half an hour and dance about it does seem to give both of us time to calm down, then I feed again, and he often drops to sleep or else is at least calmer for a while. maybe worth experimenting to see if there is anything you can do to give both of you a short break?

clarechick Fri 19-Nov-10 12:34:00

Mamachris, I agree the crying at the breast is worse than the extended feeding as if it was just the extended feeding I could bring her into bed and we could fall asleep while feeding, but as she gets so upset this is very difficult! - will try your suggestion of the sling!

MoonUnitAlpha Fri 19-Nov-10 12:42:56

Or get your DH to stick her in the pram and walk round the block a few times. I always found the cold air put ds to sleep, and he seemed to chill out if I wasn't right there taunting him with the promise of milk!

CamperFan Fri 19-Nov-10 13:47:46

Could you try and not let her have that long sleep in the afternoon and "start" the cluster feeding earlier? DS2 feeds like this from about 3 onwards, which although difficult to juggle with DS1, means he goes to sleep at 7 and I go to bed at 8.30. Then he wakes about 11 and then 4 (ish, that's a good night). He's nearly 4 weeks.

Also, some people might disagree, but a dummy might help - I have noticed that DS2 gets to the point of tiredness where he wants to suck, but doesn't seem to actually want the milk, and gets upset and I think a dummy has helped this. I think you are at the stage now where using a dummy would not interfere with feeding - it hasn't effected us.

notnowbernard Fri 19-Nov-10 22:58:42

I will also suggest a dummy

(Wanted to check her weight gain etc was ok first)

I gave them to dd1 and dd2 as they were very sucky, and feeding loads in the evening seemed to make them very windy and subsequently uncomfortable. DS doesn't seem to be as sucky, and isn't as fussed about the dummy. Some babies like them, some don't

For me they've been sanity-savers grin

Bumperlicious Sun 21-Nov-10 01:54:03

My dd2 does exactly the same. She might have a micro nap in between but mostly just feeding. I think it is pretty normal but it is exhausting! My dd usually sleeps for 7 hours once she eventually goes down, so cluster feeding is the price I pay.

She often fusses though & that is frustrating & painful, but again pretty normal.

blackcurrants Sun 21-Nov-10 02:49:24

Mine cluster-fed a lot until about 7 weeks. Not as exhaustingly as yours - you have my sympathies! - but he does. I think you have to just feed and feed and feed - and remember it won't last much longer! Think about how much weight your LO is putting on - to do that they need to feed lots to build your supply, specially in the early weeks.

It was round about where you are that I introduced a dummy - absolutely a lifesaver for us. Also, do you have other ways to get your baby to sleep? Mine slept in a moby wrap or sometimes in his pushchair, and often I realised he was sucking like made because he wanted to fall asleep, not because he wanted food. Swaddling him helped, as did swaying/rocking with him in a dark room, and white noise.

You're doing brilliantly, this is normal and will pass!

blackcurrants Sun 21-Nov-10 02:54:33

*sucking like MAD, not like made.

mollycuddles Sun 21-Nov-10 08:30:40

Both my dds did this for weeks but suddenly stopped around 8 weeks. It is exhausting but it's easier if you just go with it and it seemed to mean we got a good 5 hour sleep afterwards so was worth it. I just got prepared with drink, snacks, tv remote and DVD box set or something good sky plussed and accepted my fate. The frustration of wanting to get up and do stuff was almost worse than the cluster feeding otherwise. Also your breasts are never empty. The crying/ fussiness is just a new baby overwhelmed with being in the world thing. There is evidence that we have our babies too early for their development but they wouldn't get through our pelvises if they were any bigger. Google "fourth trimester" to find out more. It really helped me understand newborn behaviour. Congratulations on your new baby. I have a big gap from my first two (9 and 12) to my wee one (now 6 months) and it is so much fun now. Dd2 adores the big ones, gets so much attention from them and has bonded us all together. Enjoy.

mollycuddles Sun 21-Nov-10 08:37:35

Ignore the last bit in my post. I've mixed up two posters (again). Eek I'm thick.

clarechick Thu 25-Nov-10 09:33:53

Thank you all for the help and advise, I have tried introducing a dummy - sometimes she spits it out and other times quite happy to suck but you need to hold it in her mouth as she does not understand that it will fall out if she does not suck continually.

Notnowbernard - its very interesting you mentioned wind and suckling as I think thats a factor for us - lots of farts and crying which to me sounds like she is in discomfort of some kind.

Last night she fed and fed, cried and was hard to settle again. She then eventually fell asleep and then woke up and vomited about an hour later - a bit scary at the time!! I think she had over fed and had trapped wind which we couldn't dislodge. She has never been sick before this - any thoughts?

On a positive note HV weighed her yesterday and she is up to 8lb2oz from birth weight of 6lb8oz in 5 weeks - so happy I've managed to achieve this by breastfeeding alone!!!

loopylo Thu 25-Nov-10 13:57:45

No advice but just to say my 6 week old DD is very similar. Its nice to know I'm not alone. I think it will all pass in time.

QueenOfProcrastination Thu 25-Nov-10 16:35:43

My DD was the same (apart from the afternoon nap) but at 8 weeks the crying seemed to stop, and she started to settle to sleep earlier. She's now 13 weeks and cluster feeds from 4pm, and is usually asleep in her cot by 8pm, waking for feeds at midnight - 1am and 5-6am.

Things that seemed to help (other than her getting older)were:
*using a grobag rather than blankets as she'd wriggle them off in her sleep then wake up and take ages to settle;
*using Gripe Water to help DD with trapped wind
*surrendering to the likelihood that she'd cluster feed and get increasingly tetchy until 1am, and plan for it (so we stayed calmer) - i.e. go up to bed at 9 / 10pm with cups of tea, cold drinks, snacks and dvd boxset. Get snuggled in bed (lots of skin-to-skin)watching dvd and cuddling or feeding DD.
*To stop me from getting stressed (and therefore stressing DD) DH would cuddle DD (often skin-to-skin) between feeds in the evening.

It will get better. HTH.

juliemorgan1983 Fri 26-Nov-10 20:10:43

Hey,

I've only read your first post so may well of missed something, apologies if I have.

I was having the same problem for about a week with my baby crying at the boob.

I tried so many things and got so much different advice. I think I was confusing hunger and feed signals. Which I still do now sometimes.

The best solution I found was to put her in a sling / soft structured carrier in a upright belly to belly position (check http://www.slingguide.co.uk/ its very helpful) and go for a walk / climb stairs. Sometimes a dummy whilst doing this would help, as would pressing her head against my chest, sometimes making sure her eyes were covered would help. I'd change her nappy too before going into the sling if I thought it may be bothering her. She might make a fuss going in the sling if she is tired.

That way If the problem was wind she brings it up (being belly to belly with you and you moving will help bring up wind) if she is tired she, after some crying which could be for a while, falls to sleep snuggled up to you.

So you pretty much have covered the problems of wind, nappy and sleep in one go smile

May be thats some help....

AngelDog Sat 27-Nov-10 22:25:39

I wonder whether part of the problem is trying to put her down to sleep? I think that sometimes part of cluster feeding is them needing to be close to you and held, not just needing lots of milk.

I'd guess the increased agitation is likely to do at least partly with overtiredness, as tiny babies need a nap of at least 20-30 mins after being awake for an hour and half or so. But when they're little, some of them simply can't manage this in the evenings, hence the distress.

I agree with the sling suggestion, although sadly I didn't have one when my DS did the too-tired-to-feed, too-hungry-to-sleep crying at the breast. You could try lying down with her during the cluster feeding and see if that helps. It might be a touch more restful too.

Congratulations on your baby and hope it improves soon.

Iwasthefourthwiseman Sat 27-Nov-10 22:43:46

No advice but sympathies, my dd2 does exactly the same but from about 6 weeks she started sleeping for 7 hours so while it is exhausting there is some reward.

Iwasthefourthwiseman Sat 27-Nov-10 22:46:23

Also I agree with queenofprocrastination that it helps to just resign yourself and just decamp to bed with crap tv & a flask. I'm currently doing the same watching sex and the city!

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