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My new baby wants to feed constantly

(25 Posts)
LoobyLou33 Fri 20-May-11 18:06:29

I've seen a few threads about cluster feeding, but as well as cluster feeding for about 6 hours every night, my newborn (2 weeks old) also wants to feed most of the day. The most sleep we get in one go is 3-4 hours in the wee hours. He's often on each boob for up to an hour then hardly settles in between before wanting more milk...I reckon he's feeding for 15+ hours a day. Had breastfeeding support workers round but not quite clear whether I should feed feed feed every time he roots for food or try to settle him other ways on occasion (right now DH is jigging him round but he's still bawling!!) Help - this is MUCH more feeding than I ever expected!! I thought he'd feed every 2-3 hours during part of the day, but it's almost constant!

RitaMorgan Fri 20-May-11 18:19:14

Have you had his latch checked? Is he gaining weight/lots of nappies?

Niecie Fri 20-May-11 18:24:38

Congratulations on your new baby

No words of wisdom I'm afraid but I had one like that and I want to sympathise - it is incrediably wearing.

I ended up running out of milk sometimes and just pacing the floor with him wailing until there was a hope I might have some more. It went on until he was about 8 weeks.

With hindsight I think he didn't have a very strong suck and needed to increase his size a bit and get stronger. He did put on weight very rapidly - doubled his weight by 8 weeks. He started life on the 9th centile but headed up towards the 90th and has been there ever since so he clearly needed it. Do you think your DS might have the same issue or do you think the latch is perhaps not quite right? It might be worth getting it checked.

I know it is tough and the next few weeks probably feel like an eternity to wait for in improvement but it will get better.

4pudding Fri 20-May-11 19:20:42

I'd suggest to just keep feeding, it's still really early and will settle down eventually. Get a drink, the remote control and work through some boxsets of TV series you've been meaning to watch!

Iggly Fri 20-May-11 19:29:50

I remember DS having bouts of this when he was teeny. My nephew was also similar. In both cases they had reflux - very unsettled without being fed, liked to be held upright all the time.

What do you do after a feed? You should keep him with you - upright, facing you and gently rub his back to get wind up (DS needed winding although I was told otherwise as he was BF). In fact keep him with you for most of the first 6 weeks really - worth trying a sling, a fabric one.

However as he's so young it's hard to tell just yet. Has it been like this from day one? Have you had less intense days? There are a lot of growth spurts in the first 6 weeks where they want to feed loads in order to up your supply. Normal behaviour. Park yourself on the sofa and get supplies to hand.

How is his weight gain and nappies?

nailak Fri 20-May-11 19:52:05

hes probably just comfort suckin, this is not abnormal. dont be fooled by the routines....

nethunsreject Fri 20-May-11 19:59:19

I found it almost constant for the first 6 weeks. But keep getting advice from bfing peer supporters. Not hvs/mws as they vary widely in quality! There are almost always ways to improve latch, even if it is 'okay', it can be made even better. COmfort suckling is as important as 'feeding' at this tiny age, so please do not worry about over doing the feeding!

Could someone take him a walk in his pram or sling for an hour, let you get a nap or a nice bath/whatever?

COngratulations by the way, on your lovely baby.

MummyElk Fri 20-May-11 20:00:40

tricky one, poor you. i think he's probably trying to establish your supply - it is VERY early days, and it will all settle down sooner than you think (sometimes feels like it's going to go on forever).
If he's putting on weight and producing lots of lovely wet/soiled nappies, then you are obviously doing the right thing. You could try swapping sides and seeing if that fills him up for longer...so feed him for some time on one boob, sit him up and burp him and then try the other side (rather than let him suck and suck and suck on one side).
agree with others say about burping him - v important.
I'll have a look in my Mother Art of Bfing book hang on

MummyElk Fri 20-May-11 20:10:24

there's a great piece in The Womanly Art of Bfing about the two week thing - basically you can interpret your baby's screams as him saying "my god woman i've never been fed did no-one realise, i'm wasting away here" and then your job is to sooth, comfort and remind him in his panic that All is Ok and your boobs haven't gone anywhere.
I've thought about it more and i'm not sure swapping sides will make much difference - particularly if nappies/weight gain is ok. There's some interesting stuff on kellymom about early days of feeding...
If you can get your mitts on The Womanly Art it's, quite simply, a brilliant book.
Put your feet up, have lots of lovely skin to skin - and enjoy your baby. He's trying to work out life. It's hard work. smile

pooka Fri 20-May-11 20:15:45

Nest on sofa. Book/tv remote/phone/drink/snack all within easy reach. This is a good plan.

You are doing well with 4 hour stretch at night at 2 weeks. The fussy stage doesn't last forever and is ideal opportunity to catch up on series you've missed etc. Or ones you never thought you'd enjoy. I now know way more about the king and opillio crab seasons in Alaska than I ever thought I'd want or need. Thanks deadliest catch back to back. smile

LoobyLou33 Fri 20-May-11 20:38:37

Thanks folks - Niecie it's so comforting to hear I'm not the only one though sorry you had the same experience!! When the guides talk about babies feeding for 10-15 minutes on each breast I feel like I'm reading fiction!

Yes he's gained 4oz since birth but he started life on cup-fed formula because he was whisked into special care on day 1 with an infection and jaundice. My milk came thru about day 3 but we kept topping him up following some iffy advice. Then went cold turkey a week ago and he's just been on breastmilk since. So the formula may explain his 10-day weight gain, and it means we got off to a shaky start, and it's hard to detect a pattern. I'd say this all-day feeding has been going on for nearly a week but it's such a blur I can't be sure! confused

He's doing plenty of nappies, and since I had a c-sec not sure I can wear a sling just yet? Re: feeding I wait till he yanks himself off at the end of a feed, leave him to sleep on me for a few minutes (to check he's not going to ask for the other boob) and then put him in the cot in order to try to catch some sleep myself. Not keen on the idea of him sleeping in our bed. I'm going to try winding him more in case that's part of it but he usually makes it clear when he wants to be burped! smile

I've had a few breastfeeding support workers over who all say the latch looks great, although sometimes I think his tongue's getting in the way and the nipple's not getting as far back as it should. It feels like he's sucking well and it's not hurting, though at the end of the cluster feeds when he's been awake for hours he gets agitated and comes on and off a lot, and feeds quite aggressively.

Thanks for the advice please keep it coming if you have any more thoughts! Sadly he hates bath time otherwise we could try to use that to calm him down...

spidookly Fri 20-May-11 20:46:46

"When the guides talk about babies feeding for 10-15 minutes on each breast I feel like I'm reading fiction!"

It's not a fiction, it's true, but NOT at 2 weeks!

A time will come when you're out and about with him, pop him on for a quick feed when he's hungry and he'll be done in around the time it takes you to have a relaxing drink and a read of the paper.

But it's such early days now, and some babies do feed almost constantly. And I think breastfeeding is basically all you do in the early weeks for most of us.

It sounds like he's getting very little sleep though, so perhaps at times he is overwrought and getting into a crazy sucking frenzy. I've used soothers with both of mine in the early weeks to get through this, as I found it helped to break this cycle, but plenty of other people will say this is a terrible thing to do.

Iggly Fri 20-May-11 20:51:58

I honestly wouldn't put him down until he's fast asleep for at least 20 mins. Otherwise he'll want to be back with you. So in the day sit down, pop him on your chest and once he's asleep long enough, swaddle then put down. I used to do this with DS otherwise he'd just get upset and want me more.

Sling post c section - not sure TBH!

notthewowy Fri 20-May-11 21:38:57

i wore my sling 5 days after my section if that helps?

notthewowy Fri 20-May-11 21:40:16

oh, and maybe try changing his nappy after the first boob then offer the second? BF co-ordinator told me that some babies will just eat till the edge is off and go back to sleep. Or words to that effect...

Hopefully Sat 21-May-11 08:10:59

I wore a sling about 2.5-3 weeks after my section with absolutely no probs (after all, it is just the weight of the baby). However, both my slings are wraps and i was able to tie them nice and high, well above my scar. I don't know if a baby bjorn/mei tei/ring sling might sit a bit lower?

organiccarrotcake Sat 21-May-11 08:29:22

Hmm, a wrap or Mei Tai would probably be best as you get nice, even weight distribution over the shoulders and you can keep the bottom straps (or wrap fabric) higher than your wound, on your waist. A Mei Tai should be worn as high up as a wrap so should be fine. A ring sling or pouch would also be high enough, but if you're not used to one will possibly pull you slightly to one side (although it shouldn't actually do this) which may be less comfy soon after a CS. But if you know how to wear a ring or pouch sling, these would also be ok. If you can get to a sling meet (www.slingmeet.co.uk) you can make sure you're using a sling right, and probably try several.

4pudding Sat 21-May-11 11:02:42

What would make you more secure about having him in bed with you?

Honestly the best thing I ever did. With dd1 I made DH sleep on the floor for the first few weeks, so there was loads of space for mr and the baby. Use sheets instead of a duvet. You can bf lying down (google it, but I do it lying on my side facing baby lying on her side, nose at nipple level).

Then when he goes to sleep, you can go to sleep without having to move him and waking him up. Even just for naps in the day to start with.

lorelei88 Sun 22-May-11 21:08:15

Hey, you have my sympathy! Hungry boys! I had exactly the same issues with my DS who is now 10 weeks old. He fed eleven times a day for an 11/4 hrs at a time, and for me it was absolute agony. I almost gave up every day for the first few weeks. I agree with the advice here though, especially the sling which my nct friends call 'magic sling' - DS goes to sleep instantly when put inside.
At 5 weeks it all calmed down and has been smooth sailing ever since. Stick with it, its worth it and I have tons of milk now. I suspect your baby is trying to increase your milk supply after the initial issues so bear with him and you will be sorted in no time. Good luck - its definitely worth it. I'm going to stick with it now for at least 6 months!

funnylittlekaty Mon 23-May-11 16:31:12

I'm having just the same issue so this thread has been really helpful, thanks. My lovely boy is 12 days old now,and after a difficult start involving a c section and v dodgy postnatal stay where they kept topping him up with formula, we're now attempting exclusive breast feeding. The issue being that he feeds pretty much constantly during the day and into the evening, starting earlier every day. Friday he started monster feeding at 4, yesterday at aboyt 1.30 and today at midday. He still has a bottle of formula at 10pm as he seems so blinking hungry and tbh I'm at the end of my tether. Feel terrible about it though. I don't know if he's a) not getting enough milk because the latch is off or I haven't got enough milk b) he uses the nipple as a dummy and is comfort sucking or c) he's a big baby who needs to feed a lot. He weighed 3.9kg when he was born, dropped to 3.6 and is now 3.7. He did have constipation but since we've been persevering with the bfing he's got plenty of wet and dirty nappies. I'm just concerned that he's hungry all the time. He falls asleep on the breast quite a bit but when he goes down he stays down for 3 mins tops. Am really happy to feed all the time, even though im getting pretty shattered and strung out, and my
Mum's here helping out loads, but I don't want him to be hungry and losing weight. Going to breastfeeding support group tomorrow so hope that helps. Thanks for letting me share...feel sad xx

LoobyLou33 Fri 27-May-11 08:34:22

thanks so much everyone, not had time to post til now cos of all the feeding! Have to take a nap when I can get one... (or the occasional shower!) it makes SUCH a difference getting your advice and support grin

I have found leaving him asleep on me means he sleeps longer, rather than trying to put him down, so although it means I can't sleep myself at least it gives the breast a rest. I'll definitely look at slings - anyone recommend the best one for breastfeeding easily? I tend to use the cradle hold. lorelei what is the magic sling? glad it's improved for you now, sounds like there's hope! I admire you sticking with it thru pain, at least i haven't had much of that.

funnylittlekaty sorry you've had the same thing and finding it so stressful - I have exactly the same concerns as you, everyone keeps telling me he's cluster feeding / having a growth spurt but it's been going on for nearly 2 weeks which seems too long for a spurt! How did you get on at the breasteeding group? Has he put more weight on this week? like you we've been using one formula feed some nights, DH giving it so I can have a break when it all gets too much (e.g. 6 or 7 hours solidly feeding). i really wouldn't feel bad about it, you're doing so much for him and it's not as though your supply will drop by missing one feed if he's feeding so much. if you want to chat do message me and i'd be happy to talk or we can keep posting here.

Albrecht Fri 27-May-11 09:31:12

Someone on here described the first few weeks with a new baby as breastfeeding bootcamp. Its tough but honestly it doesn't last forever - it will get so easy. I never really believed that when I read it but honestly it will.

I know it seems a long time when you are in the middle of those early days but for most people it settles down by 6 weeks, which in the span of your whole life is not so long. Rope in all the help you can so when they aren't feeding you get a rest, shower, meal to keep you going.

QueenofDreams Fri 27-May-11 09:39:33

Ooh those early weeks are hard work! With DC2 I just set up camp on the couch. didn't even bother sleeping in bed eventually (birth gave me SPD so only recently off the crutches) watched being human on iPlayer while feeding!

Oh and Katy it is 100% possible to bf a big baby. DS was 4.25kg and DD even bigger 9lb 14 (can't remember the kg weight) and I exclusively fed both of them. We didn't have the dodgy start you did though (this is not meant as judgement, just reassurance)

trixie123 Fri 27-May-11 19:35:36

am sitting here with DC2 on my lap having a little snooze after her 6 or 7th mini feed in two hours. I mix feed so she gets a good hefty hit of formula 2-3 times a day + feeds from me. the cluster feeding is difficult, especially with a toddler around but it will improve as others have said. I am a bit concerned about some of the comments on here that people feel terrible for giving formula. Why? It is in no way bad for your baby and if it allows you to have a few hours "off" that is no bad thing. DS (DC1) was mix fed and is now a hulking great toddler who is rarely ill and has a great appetite for anything you put in front of him. As to slings - no reason not to after a section and I would also recommend th wrap slings - much more comfy than a baby bjorn. best of luck with this ) OP - also, if it HURTS you must unlatch and try again. It should not hurt after the first few seconds, if at all.

edeluna Fri 27-May-11 21:24:41

My DD was the same way in the early weeks. I had heard about having to feed every 2 to 3 hours, but I hadn't expected to feed FOR 2 to 3 hours straight, or sometimes more.

Much of DD's time on the breast was comfort sucking. We introduced a dummy around 2 or 3 weeks just so I could get a break. We limited the use and made sure she didn't fall asleep with it in her mouth. Now, at 10 weeks, she still uses it sometimes but more often spits it out in favour of the fingers she has now discovered she has!

Also, her feeds are much shorter now. She eats around 10:30 every night and only needs 15–20 minutes, sometimes less. So it will get better. And all those hours of feeding in the first weeks has done wonders for my milk production.

Good luck and congratulations!

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