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support / advice needed -breast feeding a big baby (98 th centile)

(27 Posts)
tiredfeet Sat 04-Dec-10 00:08:51

Ds was a big baby at birth (98 th centile) since then I have managed to exclusively breastfeed despite having a caesarean but I am struggling a bit now. It feels like he feeds so much that I just don't have any time to myself. From 7pm till 1 am or later most nights he feeds pretty much constantly. On top of that I am getting negative attirudes from medical professionals (health visitors, gp, nurses). They either express suprise I am managing or tell me I will probabaly have to wean early/ movr to mixed feeding... Is this the case? I planned to bf exclusively till six months before weaning but starting to doubt this plan now. And should I introduce a bottle at night?

Should have said, ds now 7 weeks. He's stayed on 98th since birth

Timeforanap Sat 04-Dec-10 00:17:33

tiredfeet sounds like you are doing an amazing job! I have had 2normal sized dc and 2 v large ds and have ebf until starting solids. Started solids 4-6months, but no formula. Sometimes I was bf so much I felt lightheaded, but that tends to be a phase. Try to get as much rest as you can, eat lots of healthy snacks and drink lots. Evening "cluster feeds" are normal. Medical professionals do seem to offer a surprisingly contrasting amount of advice! I imagine they are trying to support and encourage you that you are doing well when they seem to be expressing surprise you are ebf. You really are doing v well!

Timeforanap Sat 04-Dec-10 00:19:15

BTW, I did NOT have quads, as that reads, they were spaced!

mears Sat 04-Dec-10 00:22:49

Well done you tiredfeet. Babies often feed constantly at this stage no matter what size they were at birth. You made this baby and you are perfectly able to feed your baby exclusively till 6 months.

I would smile at health professionals and challenge them on their views. Show them how it can be done.

Do not introduce a bottle at night - there is absolutely no need for it.

Take him into bed and sleep and feed at same time. As long as you are not a heavy drinker, smoker or drug taker, he will be fine.

thesecondcoming Sat 04-Dec-10 00:25:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

My ds was 25th percentile at birth but soon moved to 91st, then to 98th. I have managed to ebf to 6 months despite hv advice to wean earlier (also due to still feeding 3 or 4 times a night). My hv told me she was sure I would wean at 4 months, but it just didn't feel right for DS, so I hung in there. DS would not take formula. Moving to baby rice made no difference to sleep so hoping that this will change once more solids are introduced. Sounds like you are doing just fine to me, your ds is maintaining his weight so what is the reason to switch to solids early (there are some hvs who push for big babies to do this on the basis that they are hungrier but you are obviously able to supply all your ds needs) Go with your gut feeling.

tiredfeet Sat 04-Dec-10 00:58:47

Thank you for the advice, its good to know orhers who have managed. Was starting to wonder if I was silly for even trying! It is just hard but I will persevere

BongoWinslow Sat 04-Dec-10 01:11:13

My baby is also 98th percentile for height and is referred to 'the milk monster' in our house because he eats so much.

I've kept my sanity by expressing as much as I can during the day so that after feeding him for as long as I can manage in the evening, DH can give him the EBM by bottle at night to give me a break. Has helped him sleep through the night (well, 12-6) too as he goes to bed utterly full.

No matter how long I feed him for (have done 4 hour stints many times), he'll take at least 100ml, sometimes as much as 200ml but he is then full and I get a break.

To get that much milk, I try to express throughout the day and store it up.

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Sat 04-Dec-10 01:11:46

Hey tiredfeet dd was 98th but in her 8weeks has dropped below the 91st so you are doing v well! (I suspect it's due to her being bungee up for 5weeks but that's a different story!)

Evening cluster feeding is normal and it sounds like you have a guzzling boy! Try to express one feed in the morning for dh to give in the evening so you get even one hour without your limpet! Also try to get as many feeds in during the day, though with ds1 that made no difference.

It is possible, I'm amazed by the advice HV give, and how quick they are to recommend ff top ups etc (from birth in my hv case). The good news is even if he is taking big feeds he will be more and more efficient so they should take less time

Hang in there and make sure you eat/drink enough!

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Sat 04-Dec-10 01:12:50

Lol,'bungee up, not bungee sorry for typos!

blackcurrants Sat 04-Dec-10 01:19:13

hey Tiredfeet! My DS was 95% and still is - (18 wks) he fed NON STOP until around 10 weeks, when it started to space out properly - and since 13 weeks it's been every 3-4 hours during the day, which is pretty good.

Every 2 hours at night, mind - but that's another story!

Do what you want to do, absolutely, but make your choice informed (and not by clueless HVs etc) - it will get easier, but if it's too hard - well, formula isn't poison!

PureAsTheDrivenShow Sat 04-Dec-10 01:29:47

The idea that a big baby cannot survive on milk alone for as long as a smaller baby, is just a myth. They say the same about babies on the opposite end of the scale, that they obviously need solids earlier. It's all just rubbish.

Your body knows how to make milk for the baby you have. It responds to the number and volume of feeds. Women exclusively feed multiples too because human bodies can do that.

I had a baby who was born on the 50th and was off the charts by 12 weeks. She was nearly 7 months when ready for solids and weighed around 25lbs iirc. Not only could she survive on bm, she thrived on it.

AngelDog Sat 04-Dec-10 08:36:14

It is tough, isn't it? PureAsTheDrivenShow is right - it's not to do with the size of your baby, just to do with the fact that he's little. It's totally normal behaviour no matter what size your LO.

My DS was born on 50th centile (2 weeks early) and was 75th centile by 6 weeks and 99th centile by 3 months, where he's stayed (11 m.o. now). He didn't really cluster feed much and when he was little he went roughly 3 hours between feeds (on demand). I never gave him bottles and fed on demand till 6 months when we started BLW. He was perfectly happy with that, and every HCP commented on how healthy, thriving and chubby he was!

Kellymom has some info on cluster feeding (more links at the bottom of the page) and topping up with bottles isn't recommended as it will reduce your milk supply. Obviously if you want to introduce a bottle for some other reason, that's a different issue.

Sounds like you're doing a great job of meeting your DS's needs. Keep feeding on demand and ignore anyone who tells you that you won't be able to EBF till 6 months. IME most HVs and GPs are remarkably ignorant about breastfeeding.

CarGirl Sat 04-Dec-10 08:40:50

I just wanted to encourage you. I was the same had a 10lb 6oz dd and she stayed on the 98th centile until she was about 3. I exclusivley bf until I returned to work when she was 4.5 months old - I couldn't express enough to keep up after that!

When we switched to ff she went straight onto full 9oz feeds shock.

I weaned her at 6 months, oh and she slept 7-7 with one wake up from a very early age and then without waking up from 4 months when I realised the 3am snack was a 20 second comfort suck so stopped it (only woke for 2 nights and thereafter sucked a thumb confused)

So ignore the critics I had all of the same comments.

tiredfeet Sat 04-Dec-10 15:46:19

Thank you so muxh for all the encouragement. I should say I'm not horrified at the idea of formula, its just I would prefer to breastfeed if possible as its free, and doesn't require me to be organised!
Ds is gloriously chubby, which is why I was so demoralised by the gloomy warnings - was wondering what was round the corne, especially as I expected them to be pro-breastfeeding. Its so good to hear from people who have managed. The point about people managing to produce enough milk for twins is a helpful one

blackcurrants Sat 04-Dec-10 16:10:37

tiredfeet my DS is a Chubmonster, too. It's gorgeous, isn't it? Just you wait till he's old enough to find it hilarious when you blow raspberries on his tum or thighs.
Bliss!

And there's a small sense of satisfaction coming from the 'I made that! Look! I DID THAT!' aspect of having breastfed this far.
Oh, and I should add, we've got some serious sleep interruption going on now (18 weeks, just before the big 19 week developmental spurt) and boy howdy am I glad I breastfeed. I mean, I'd introduce rare steak and brandy chasers if I thought I'd get 4 hours of solid sleep, but actually, it's nothing to do with food... and it's so much easier to whip a boob out of a pajama top when you're knackered than to make up a bottle! So there is SOME payoff for all your hard work there, too.

QueenOfFlamingEverything Sat 04-Dec-10 16:24:46

tiredfeet you are doing great smile

I too had a big baby, 91st centile for a 42 weeker. I get the incredulous look from mums at the school gate too - 'you're never feeding him yourself?' they say in tones of awe grin

I don't think amount of feeding is realy related to size anyway. My DD was 6lb 14oz and fed all the time for at least 3 months. I thought it'd finish me off... DS otoh was 9lb 15oz and, once we got his tongue tie snipped, was vey efficient and feeds for 5-10 minutes at a time, every 3 hours or so.

Obviously this is not scientific data but the point is, you could have a much smaller baby who would feed as much, and then you would still get the same ignorant people telling you didn't have enough milk [roll eyes]

ChildofIsis Sat 04-Dec-10 16:40:08

My baby was 75th centile and took over an hour to do each feed. I would feed for up to 11 hours in 24 with cluster feeds thro the evening, it was exhausting at first, but being a sahm with just the one baby to look after it didn't matter how long it took. I couldn't express, very slow let down, even at the age of 4yrs my daughter won't accept large quantities of fluid in her mouth. I rapidly came to the conclusion that baby and boobs were working in sympathy with each other so I just got on with it.

TuttoRhino Sat 04-Dec-10 16:46:31

Mine was between 91-98th centile for weight and actually managed to sleep relatively well between 6 - 15 weeks with big long stretches at night. Was EBF till 24 weeks when I started BLW.

After the first couple of weeks everyone complimented me on my ability to keep my big baby satisfied on my milk alone. It is a lovely feeling to look at a chubby little thing and know that you did it yourself.

mousesma Sat 04-Dec-10 19:40:55

My DD hovers between the 2nd and 9th centile and at 7 weeks was feeding at least every 2 hours for an hour at a time. Alot of the time we were going less than 30 mins between stopping feed and starting another one. She also cluster fed from 6-10ish every night.

I don't think these problems are unique to large babies, it can be just as hard to feed small babies in the early days. Its bloody hard work though isn't it

stinkypinky Sat 04-Dec-10 20:00:58

You will be fine. DD2 is now 7 1/2 months and I am still feeding despite her being 10lb 3 at birth. I also had a section, and have DD1 to deal with also. She slept through at 8 weeks, and started solids at 24 weeks. I returned to work full time at 27 weeks, and she has yet to have a drop of formula.

I found expressing really helped once milk was established - it meant that I was ready for growth spurts - just stopped expressing for a few days so she could have it all - plus built up a little store in freezer, which is helping now I am back at work.

My Gran had triplets nearly 80 years ago - her memory kept me going during the cluster feeding.

I have never had DD2 weighed, except at 7 days. I also avoid health workers wherever possible smile

omnishambles Sat 04-Dec-10 20:06:00

Well done you and congrats.

I had exactly the same experience as queenofeverything - 1st baby average size fed all the time, second baby 95th percentile fed every 3 hours and stayed at 95th percentile until weaning at 6 months.

It makes no difference how big they are as to how they feed - your baby would be cluster feeding at night even if smaller.

I expressed in the morning when I had a lot of milk that dd didnt want and used that in the evenings occasionally or 'caught' the milk from the other side let down in plastic shells and collected that all day in the fridge and fed that in the evening.

negrilbaby Sat 04-Dec-10 22:27:07

My DD is 5 months now and ebf. She is also a big baby - in 9-12 month tops with lovely chubby thighs. Her brother was the same but is now a very skinny toddler - so I'm not worried about having a fat baby.
All I can add to the advice already given is to ensure you are getting enough fat in your diet. When I have fat rich food the milk does seem to keep her satisfied for longer.

PlonkerForLifeNotJustChristmas Sat 04-Dec-10 22:34:33

tiredfeet you're doing a fantastic job smile

My dd was also 98th centile (she was also tt) and fed what felt like a ridiculous amount for the first 3/4 months but it wasn't impossible to persevere and I did manage to EBF her till 6mo, then carry on BFing her till she was around 16/17 months.

Just keep doing what you're doing - you're doing great!

Zimm Sun 05-Dec-10 08:06:37

No advice but just to say well done!! And that health professioanls in your area sound a bit barmy :-)

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