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Every feed is a battle - getting desperate and very stressed

(33 Posts)
cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 07:42:05

Hi everyone,

My EBF DD is 13 weeks and every feed is now a constant battle, unless it's the end of the day and she's tired. First thing in the morning she doesn't want to feed, so I offer her my breast every half an hour or so. BF anywhere other than her dimly lit bedroom is absolutely impossible. It's so hard to get calories in to her during the day she's waking more at night but only for a few minutes each time.

She has fed well in the past and there doesn't seem to be any problems with her latch etc.

To add to the problem she refuses a bottle (I've tried all of the usual tricks, six brands of bottle, different teats and using formula instead of my milk but she just screams).

She has only put on 5oz over the last three weeks. My HV was useless and suggested 'I just persevere'. She was 7lbs at birth and is now 10lbs, dorrping two centiles. She is very long though (90th centile).

I am desperately counting the days to weaning in the hope of easing the stress, but that seems a long way off...She is constantly trying to put her fist into anything I am eating (yoghurt, houmous and such like) and shoving it in her mouth, but obviously is three months off being given actual food!

Please help with any advice, I am getting increasingly desperate.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 01-Jun-11 08:40:13

hi cocoa. I had a similar experience around 3m. In the end i just offered less often and all was fine. I think i was still trying to bf him like a newborn. He was that bit older, could go longer between feeds and wanted to look around at the world more.

I wouldn't worry about one weigh in. They grow in spurts rather than a straight line ime.

Don't worry about the interest in food thing. They are interested in everything. Tooth brushes, car keys, yoghurt. I know that we feel a compulsion to offer to share when someone seems interested, but you are very much right to wait till 6m imo. No point before then as it would be purees which are less calorific than milk anyway iirc.

Personally i would avoid making a habbit of the dark room as i wouldn't want to be tied. And if she is ok in other aspects i think she will feed when she is hungry. Though others may not agree...i never went down that route, just leaving it to ds to make clear when he wanted to feed... smile

gourd Wed 01-Jun-11 08:54:19

I agree that the turning away from the breast and the grabbing at food etc is just because she's taking an interest in everything and although this is a nightmare when trying to breastfeed (especially in public) it's good really, as it means your LO is a bright little thing and her showing interest in everything is a development milestone. It does get better (my LO was just the same) but for now try to use feeding facilities when out (so baby's not so distracted by lights/people/cafe noise etc) and/or perhaps wear a necklace or bright or tassled scarf that your baby can look at and play with when feeding to keep her at least facing the right way! My LO loves too tug on my necklace, so it's best not to wear anything expensive or delicate, but it helps to keep her attention from wandering! A clip-on toy may also help. Have a terry or muslin cloth to hand, for those squirty moments when baby suddenly turns away, and don't worry, your baby will still be getting enough milk despite the interrupted feeds.

gourd Wed 01-Jun-11 09:02:17

Oh forgot to say, if she's feeding very frequently but not for long before she gets distracted, she's possibly feeding for comfort or to try to get to sleep rather than due to hunger, so you can try to offer comfort or get her to sleep in other ways and offer milk a little less often. When she cries for milk, just distracting her with toys, books, songs with actions, or her own reflection in the mirror etc will be enough to keep her from crying for milk for an extra few minutes and you can gradually increase the amount of time you distract her for. I used to keep our LO amused for an additional 20-30 minutes (with no crying) just by signing a few songs, a look at herself in the mirror, a walk around the house or garden looking at flowers etc and a play with a toy (peek- a-boo with a teddy bear seemed to work well).

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 09:14:09

Thank you both. You have made me feel so much better. Once again- thank goodness for Mumsnet!!

gourd Wed 01-Jun-11 09:18:50

BTW I wouldn't get too strung up over dropping centiles unless your baby isn't producing wet/dirty nappies or seems ill. It doesn't sound like your daughter is tiny anyway. If a baby is born fairly large they might lose weight or not gain weight very fast to start with, whereas a baby born very small, but whose parents are tall has a lot more catching up to do, so needs to put on weight faster. I'd guess your daughter's eventual height centile is likely to be somewhere between that of you and her Dad. Are you 90th centile in height yourself? If not, then perhaps your baby doesn't need to put weight on very fast to get to a similar height. Growth spurts happen at odd times and without much warning too, so I wouldn't worry at this stage if she is healthy.

Albrecht Wed 01-Jun-11 09:26:53

ds is a distractible baby too - it can be a right pain! More info here.

We went through a week or so were he was hardly feeding during the day but having huge long feeds at night. This was not what I wanted (!) so I worked on getting him to feed during the day by putting him on the breast as soon as he woke up from a nap, lying down in darkened room. When they are sleepy they don't focus so much on anything else. If we were out he'd often just have a small feed and make up for it later once we were home but they can go longer at this age so don't worry if its just the odd feed.

She's still putting on weight so I wouldn't fret too much, they sometimes need to find their own curve which doesn't necessarily reflect their birth weight.

Now ds is 11 months he can look around and feed at the same time (solids had very little impact in this house). People always comment on how active and interested he is in everything (favourites include the toilet, the contents of the fridge, all electrical equipment...) grin

Have you got a local bf group you can go to, to have a moan with people who'll understand? I found that helped me. Search here.

Glitterybits Wed 01-Jun-11 09:34:43

Against all the advice of the midwives/ health visitors etc. I fed my baby boy porridge at 7 weeks and he is now a happy, healthy 2 year old. We never looked back. Having said that, I had terrible problems with mastitis, my DS had a tongue tie and I was already supplementing him with formula because he was a fairly big baby from the outset and feeding was such a trial for both of us. Nothing could fill him and I instinctively knew he was starving. That doesn't sound to be the case with you, but I remember how much of a battle the bf thing could be at times. By 4 months old my DS was practically weaned and there isn't a chance in hell we could have made it to 6 months. Mind you, 4 months was considered to be a sensible time to wean then. The government advice keeps changing!

I hope you find a solution that works for you. I think many of the feeding problems we encounter stem from fears about doing everything right, weight gain/ loss etc. and it's virtually impossible to relax and take it all in your stride. It could well be that your baby is now a much more effective feeder than she was a few weeks ago and only needs short stints on the breast to get to the milk she requires.

organiccarrotcake Wed 01-Jun-11 12:30:38

To be fair, TT can often cause problems that appear to be similar to a hungry baby, but filling them with food makes them sleepy which sort of off-sets the symptoms and makes it seem like hunger is the problem. Obviously early weaning works fine for some babies but for many it's a real risk so I would recommend avoiding it if possible as there are very clear studies of the risks. (Risk meaning that it doesn't happen to everyone and of course many early weaned babies are beautifully healthy - but not every one will be).

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 13:46:05

Just back from HV. DD has put on 6oz this fortnight, but they have recommended weaning at 4 months. I also got a lecture about persevering with bottle feeding. HV suggestsd I'm just not trying hard enough!!!

GreenTeapot Wed 01-Jun-11 13:57:53

Ignore your HV, they don't sound like the helpful sort. If she's happy and growing out of her clothes then you don't need to weigh her at all. I've had mine weighed once since around 8 weeks, to work out a medicine dosage. She's 8 months!

These babies are a ballache to feed (I'm on my second!) but they also tend to feed quickly because they're so damn busy. No time to spare to savour a meal, they just gulp and go. Solids won't make a jot of difference. You'll probably find she hates spoons and insists on self-feeding too grin - they're wilful little blighters!

I have found myself feeding before naps until recently (now she's started crawling she's obviously hungry enough to stop and concentrate for a few moments!) and that works quite well. It means two or three decent daytime feeds to take the pressure off the night time.

I also cannot overemphasise too much that although it's stressy and tough just now, it is a very short time and before you know it this will be a memory. smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 01-Jun-11 14:09:11

Can i ask why they have recommended weaning at four months? Curious as as far as i'm aware this is against the guidance they are ment to give and i can't see the logic. confused

Cosmosis Wed 01-Jun-11 14:15:24

Ignore your HV, there is no reason to “persevere” with bottle feeding unless you really want to – and no reason to wean at 4m against the current “around 6m” guidelines. I haven’t had mine weighed since Christmas and I only did that as we were seeing rellies and I knew they would ask!

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 14:19:54

HV's 'logic' was that as I have plenty of milk (have expressed after DD goes to bed at night and I can pump plenty- which ultimately gets thrown away as DD rejects bottles)) and I am offering my breast but DD is refusing it and will not take a bottle, that weaning my give her the extra calories she needs.

I was fairly happy that as she is growing out of her clothes and has wet nappies everything is okay, however HV concerned that DD only gets dirty nappies twice a week, and this coupled with slow weight gain suggests extra calories are needed.

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 14:21:41

ps. I am definitely going to stop having her weighed...

Cosmosis Wed 01-Jun-11 14:25:48

Dirty nappies twice a week is completely within the realms normal for an ebf baby though, not at all anything to worry about. I think the not feeding is probably temporary as she’s realised she can look round and the world is an interesting place etc, and she’ll settle down again.

If you can pump plenty and your DD is not currently using it, you can always freeze it and use it on food when weaning, or later on if you do get her to take a bottle. Or you could think about donating it to a milk bank?

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 14:34:11

I thought about donating/ freezing, but the milk has usually been out of the fridge for a while in 20ml portions each try!

Cosmosis Wed 01-Jun-11 14:35:56

Have you tried her with it straight from the fridge? DS has pretty much always taken a bottle cold.

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 14:46:54

I have tried cold milk, yes. It is so frustrating as she took a bottle beautifully at three weeks, but I headed the warnings on nipple confusion and stopped. I needed to go into work at six weeks and that's when we discovered she wouldn't take one. Since we've tried Avent, TT, Breastflow, NUK, Sainsbury's own brand and a Medela special needs bottle, with various teats etc. but no joy.

Albrecht Wed 01-Jun-11 15:16:59

Expressing and fiddling around with bottles is such a hassle if you don't need to, better if the hv encouraged you to persevere with ebf! (BTW I've read on here of people who gave a bottle every night and then dc just stopped accepting them one day - they can be contrary blighters! So don't beat yourself up over not continuing with the bottle early on.)

And most early weaning foods ie fruit and veg contain less calories than milk (except banana and avocado) so how is that going to help with weight gain? Honestly some hv seem to sabotage you more than help you!

I'd try the sleepy feed thing, really worked with ds. Hope it gets easier soon.

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 15:23:51

I have just tried feeding before her nap and it worked a treat!! She is now fast asleep and hopefully full up.

Thank you all. smile

Albrecht Wed 01-Jun-11 15:45:29

smile Yay!

cocoachannel Wed 01-Jun-11 16:01:45

I am sure there are fantastic HVs out there but based on my experience I think the Government should sack a load of them and use the money to throw the MN gurus a Champagne fest!

GreenTeapot Wed 01-Jun-11 16:22:10

I think your HV pretty much confirmed how little she knows about breastfeeding when she expressed concern at 2 dirty nappies a week. That's completely, utterly normal.

It makes me so fucking angry that millions are spent on education and promotion of breastfeeding and then there are idiots like your HV doing the supporting bit. How many mums have abandoned their perfectly successful breastfeeding relationship because she's given them completely dud advice? If you feel able to complain I really think you should, the woman's in desperate need of further training.

Anyway, glad to hear you've got some milk into her, and really try to trust her to take what she needs. If something was really wrong you wouldn't need a HV to tell you smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 01-Jun-11 18:13:06

your hv knows nowt. Please complain if you can face it.

Your dd knows what she needs. Unlike your hv. Two nappies is lots by some standards. It's common to go two weeks without poo! (it,s because bm is so super absorbable nothing is left over. Hv's panic about constipation cause most babies are ff and all the inabsorbable iron in formula makes for poomares.

Champagne fest! grin

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