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What am I doing wrong? Feeding more frequently and crying loads :(

(23 Posts)
Samraves Thu 23-Dec-10 11:41:46

I am starting to wonder what I am doing wrong. My dd is now 5 weeks old, and she has always cried a fair bit but I was able to feed her every two hours during the day as well as every 3 hrs at night.. Sometimes she'd want a bit more but then she would sleep quite well for the hour or so after feeding and settling her.

Now she seems to only snooze for about 30 mins during the day and wakes up so grumpy she just cries and I try things like changing her nappy, dancing round the room, gently swaying, bouncy chair, mat on floor etc... But she is so grumpy I end up feeding her. But then because it is only an hour or so since last feed she only eats for 5 or 10 mins at most...

It is a nightmare, she does this most of the way through the night too... But if we are lucky she'll do a 4hr sleep. But the in the morning she eats faster than usual, is sick, then calms and eats a little more but then only snoozes for an hour before hungry again.

Any ideas of how to get out of this cycle... I dont want to leave her crying but only feeding seems to comfort her...

Please help!

Albrecht Thu 23-Dec-10 11:49:06

Could be a growth spurt. See here

Don't panic. I would just feed her.

tiktok Thu 23-Dec-10 12:06:46

Just feed - if it comforts her, why not?!

This is not unusual in a baby of any age.

organiccarrotcake Thu 23-Dec-10 12:11:00

Is she sick much? She may have reflux (may not show with sickness symptoms but just being grumpy if she's refluxing into the top of her throat which will be painful).

Babies with reflux often feed lots as the milk cools their throat, but, then they get too much foremilk which doesn't stay down so well and continues the cycle.

Is her poo yellow or is it ever green? Green is an indication of too much foremilk.

There are several causes of reflux, two common ones being an underdeveloped valve at the top of the stomach and dairy intolerance.

If it's the valve (which will fix itself over a few months, it's quite normal) then Infant Gaviscon may help. It's a powder you make up into solution and give by syringe or bottle before feeds. You may be advised by less-than-up-to-date GPs to try stay-down formula but that causes a whole load more problems and its best to stick to BFing.

Other things that help are trying to keep them a little upright after feeds and lifting the head of the moses basket or cot (NOT the mattress, under the actual bed) by 2-3 inches.

If it's dairy, removing all traces of dairy from your diet will make a huge difference. It takes about 2 weeks to get out of your system but babies with this problem will become different children very quickly. Usually it starts to improve after around 6 months but with true dairy intolerance you may need to see a dietician to work out weening without dairy.

It could also just be the 6 week growth spurt and nothing else, and she may well just settle down in a week or so. You are going through the hardest part and it will get easier, I promise.

organiccarrotcake Thu 23-Dec-10 12:13:18

tiktok am I being over-concerned about an underlying reason then do you think?

While some babies make the transition to the world more easily than others, if there is an underlying cause other than "oh my goodness where am I - I want my mummy" isn't now a good time to work it out?

Or am I causing more problems by suggesting problems?

tiktok Thu 23-Dec-10 12:34:25

organic - yes, you might be causing problems

The thing is, the OP's baby is not behaving abnormally or unusually at all. The one thing the OP has not tried with this issue is simply to accept it and to go with the flow. Instead, she is dancing round the room, changing nappies....etc etc etc.

It is hardly ever a good move to 'pathologise' normal behaviour, by suggesting messing about with positioning, mum's diet and whatever. These things can be a useful tactic in the fairly rare situations where there is something actually wrong and where normal responses have not been tried.

Crucially, it's better to assume the baby is normal before exploring anything else

AngelsfromtherealmsofgloryDog Thu 23-Dec-10 14:30:44

Some babies wake up after 30 mins and cry because they want to be asleep again but need some help to get there.

IMO the best way to handle it is to offer a feed as soon as she wakes up grumpy. If she's wanting feeding, you've done it, and if she's grumpy with tiredness, it'll send her back to sleep.

Even at 10 months I was still working on the basis that the slightest whimper = offer a feed. It works a treat and won't fail you. wink

Samraves Thu 23-Dec-10 16:36:52

Thanks for the reassurance... I think all babies have a little reflux anyway don't they- otherwise they wouldn't posset? I dont think my dd has a particular reflux issue as surely it would be there all the time? Maybe a generalised catch all colic thing as she cries for a couple of hours most nights and is inconsolable then.

I think I will try and go with the flow... She did manage to go a whole two hours snoozing in her pram and the car and did feed much better after that... So maybe she does need a little extra help. I just struggle to know how much stimulation she needs as her age as she is quite alert sometimes when grumpy..

organiccarrotcake Thu 23-Dec-10 17:23:43

<apologies for highjacking thread>

tiktok in that case, how do you (personally) make a judgement between reassuring a parent that something is normal and picking up on something which could indicate a problem? Is it just a second nature thing you get from your own experience?

I would be erring on the side of caution worrying that there would be something to "fix" that would be missed if they weren't considered.

At the same time, as you say, pathologising is just going to increase stress and reduce a parent's ability to relax and accept what's going on.

<sigh> I have so much to learn. But I am trying

gummymum Thu 23-Dec-10 18:44:51

My LO sounds quite similar - also 6 weeks. Have you tried a dummy? Maybe she just needs to suckle. I have decided our dd is rubbish at settling herself and even wakes up for a fart (TMI)I used to feed every time but since resisting feeding until 3 hours (ish) she takes a much better feed and we are now working on settling with swaddling and a dummy - slowly getting there!

gummymum Thu 23-Dec-10 18:46:05

Also am more aware of over-stimulating, like yours she would stay awake for hours if we let her - but then scream for hours with tiredness.

Samraves Thu 23-Dec-10 19:57:25

Gummymum, yes sounds similar... But what do you do to increase time between feeds without just holding you dc while they cry?

Also we have tried a dummy, but she is not interested and will suck her hand for a minute or so before giving up- only a matter of time before she finds her thumb but not happened yet.

She really can't self settle.... Tried swaddling her but she likes to be able to kick and wave so she just screamed even more

Samraves Thu 23-Dec-10 19:59:09

And I am a bit prone to worrying about every little thing- but trying to reign in the anxiousness because I am sure she is fine really. No green poo - yet lol :-s

gummymum Thu 23-Dec-10 22:26:08

I'm sure she is fine, they are so tricky aren't they? I have done it pretty slowly - 15 mins at a time. bouncy around, go for a walk in the buggy or drive, singing, etc etc and of course feeding when it seems necessary or for sanity!
Don't forget - "it gets better", try to enjoy!

AngelsfromtherealmsofgloryDog Thu 23-Dec-10 22:56:44

Trying to increase the time between feeds at that age is a bad idea. Bad for your LO and it could be bad for your milk supply too. Crying is a late hunger cues and means that the earlier cues weren't responded to. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to feed your baby when they want to be fed rather than trying to make them wait till you think it's necessary for your sanity. confused There's more on hunger cues here.

Very very few babies can self-settle at that age. My 12 month old can't, and that's pretty normal.

You don't need to worry about stimulation - either too much or too little - at this age. As long as they're held lots and are fed at every smallest sign of hunger, they'll be happy.

Samraves Fri 24-Dec-10 08:24:38

It isn't that I don't want to feed her, it is that when I follow her 'cues' she often feeds for only a couple of mins or so... Then won't settle at all is still grumpy! I am happy for her to be awake if she were content or happy some of the time... As it is there are days when I have to call in friends to hold her just so I can get food or drinks- let alone do washing up etc. I have tried putting her in a sling but she doesn't seem to like that either... She screamed even more!

Please don't get me wrong, I expect she will takeover my life and need loads of cuddles and feeds. I just want to be able to enjoy her whilst doing that rather than feel useless. I can't make her feed, so when she is rooting around, bobbing her head, sucking her hand, but keeps popping herself straight off my nipple, then what? I have checked there is milk.. And have tried swapping breasts... Doesnt seem as simple as just reading the cues to me

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Fri 24-Dec-10 08:39:45

Can you pop her in a sling between feeds? I used to sling DS a lot!

There are a lot of developmental leaps in the first 6 months making your baby grumpy, but it passes. So don't worry about how much stimulation they need - DS wasn't fussed by toys until 3-4 months old.

In hindsight I worried too much about keeping him entertained when he was happy enough watching the world from a sling or bouncy chair (when I could put him down)

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 24-Dec-10 08:41:20

My DD will only snooze for 20 mins or so and then wake grumpy. If, however, I go sleep with her she'll sleep for a couple of hours.

Also, my DD can get incredibly distressed when she is overtired. To me it sounds like your DD needs more sleep, rather than food.

I don't know if it would work in your situation but have you considered co-sleeping, even if just for day tine naps? It may mean that everyone gets more sleep.

MoonUnitAlpha Fri 24-Dec-10 08:48:24

I had/have a similar thing with my ds - he wakes after 40 minutes but is still tired so is grumpy! He needs help staying asleep, but if I can resettle him he'll often sleep for another hour or two and then be much happier.

I'd either take him out for a long walk in the pram/sling/car each day to get him a couple of hours sleep, or I go into the bedroom after 30 minutes and wait for him to start stirring and then shush and pat him or feed him back to sleep.

tiktok Fri 24-Dec-10 11:31:12

organic - 'fixing' things is a tiny part of a bfc's job

In the OP's case, it is just about possible there is something she can 'fix', though even with her subsequent posts, I still think it is 90 per cent certain this is a normal, healthy baby who just needs to be close to mum, and her grumpiness is something she will grow out of, as, like any mother and baby, their lines of communication become more mutually understandable

Part of training is knowing a lot about what is normal, realising that most situations are normal, and not overloading anyone with 'remedies' until the normality thing has been tried and tested.

Hope that helps.

Samraves Fri 24-Dec-10 12:50:32

Thanks tictok- hope she does grow out of her grumpiness! Yes.... Sure this is all normal... Was posting to see if anyone had any good ideas to try and improve the situation as things are just very hard right now!

VeronicaCake Fri 24-Dec-10 14:14:53

You aren't doing anything wrong if you feed her frequently. It could be a growth spurt which will end soon, or it could just be her being newborn and wanting to be cuddled and nourished and comforted lots. She definitely will grow out of her grumpiness and become much more communicative very soon. In the next few weeks (if she hasn't already) she will start smiling at you, and then saying 'Agoo' whilst gazing adoringly at your face. And not long after that she will start reaching out for your face and wanting to 'gently pat' it - in DD's case this usually meant pulling very very hard on my nose but the thought was there. It will all feel fabulous once it happens.

But in the meantime...

My DD wanted to feed every hour between 6 and 8 weeks and cluster feed every evening. It stopped literally overnight around 8 weeks, and although she was still awake in the evenings until around 16 weeks she was a lot more chilled out and happy to spend time just sitting on my knee and looking around.

But 6-8 weeks felt like very hard work for me and I did spend a lot of time thinking I must be doing something wrong. Things that might help:

Going with the flow as suggested above. If possibly don't count or time feeds. I found that really hard to do, but once I finally was able to let go of the idea that DD 'ought' to be able to go three hours between feeds it all became much easier.

Get out for a walk at least once a day, either with your DD or by yourself if you can leave her with someone. Or get someone else to take her out for an hour in a sling or pram and grab some time to yourself.

Pop her in a sling between feeds if she is happy to nap in one, then you'll have two hands free to get on with things (one hand for tea and one for cake).

Even if you can't sleep during her daytime naps put your feet up and chill out. Don't hurtle around cleaning the house and putting away laundry like I did. I haven't ironed anything for nearly 8 months now and nothing bad has happened.

If you have family and friends making unhelpful comments about how she 'can't possibly be hungry again' rehearse some comebacks (even if you don't actually use them). My MIL was fond of telling me DD only 'needs' to be fed every four hours for ten minutes or so. So during one of her visits I counted how many cups of tea she made in one day and pointed out that the longest she went between drinks was 1.5 hrs and maybe my DD just took after her. MIL is lovely and she did shut up after that.

Eat little and often yourself and try to eat fairly sensible smallish meals. Make sure you have a good variety of food in the house to tempt you. I was ravenous and can remember getting bored with eating chocolate hobnobs which I would never have imagined could happen. My Mum who bf twins said that when she stopped after a year she fasted for 48 hours because it felt so good not to eat for a bit!

At some point your DD will calm down again and start sleeping for longer periods. Then she'll have another growth spurt, then she'll start teething, or you'll introduce solids, or she'll learn to crawl and everything will seem chaotic again for a while. But I've found every period of chaos after the 6-8 week one much easier to handle because I know it will stop soon.

organiccarrotcake Fri 24-Dec-10 16:35:04

"My MIL was fond of telling me DD only 'needs' to be fed every four hours for ten minutes or so. So during one of her visits I counted how many cups of tea she made in one day and pointed out that the longest she went between drinks was 1.5 hrs and maybe my DD just took after her. MIL is lovely and she did shut up after that. "

Pure bloody genius. grin

tiktok thank you

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