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6 day old feeding non-stop.....losing the will to live

(47 Posts)
emmylou30 Sun 03-Jul-11 15:31:53

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Pesephone Sun 03-Jul-11 15:56:11

Hang on in thre she is only a few days old, i know the relentless feeding in these early days and weeks can feel exhausting but its worth it and even with formula and bottles its still exhausting and time consuming caring for a new born.
Her suck suck pause patern sounds good, can you hear her swallowing too? also when she comes off are your nipples mishapen or white(blanched) at all?
And secondly is she getting 5-6 wet nappies and 3-5 poo's in a 24 hour period?
and if so are the poo's beggining to become greeny yellowish yet or is the meconium still present?
i would if at all possible try to steer clear of dummies and bottles as they really can foul up a nursing relationship this early on. Please try to breath. lol easier said than done with a tiny baby. But your more than likely doing fine. There are ways to know when she's had enough milk without looking at mls on the side of a bottle so try not to get too fixated on her getting enough assume she is untill there is a reason to think otherwise.

TruthSweet Sun 03-Jul-11 16:07:09

Emmylou - it really quite normal for a newborn baby to feed near constantly. If you aren't in pain past the initial latch on and baby is feeding effectively when she is feeding (you can see her suckle and pause [pause will be very short - is a mouthful of milk being swallowed]). Don't forget she was feed continuously when she was inside and hasn't had much time to get used to the outside world yet.

Babies nurse for reasons other than hunger (tiredness, help with regulating breathing [they mimic mum whilst they feed], for warmth, for company, for safety [they don't know they live in a semi in the UK as far as baby knows there are things that eat babies prowling about], for comfort, etc, etc) so whilst baby might be at the breast a lot it might not always be about the milk you are providing.

Is baby having 6+ wet disposable nappies a day (8+ cloth nappies) and doing 2+ £2 coin sized poos a day? Is there any medical concerns with baby or with the delivery?

It will get easier as she gets older and copes better with the outside world. 6 days old is very early days so don't write off bfing just yet (I have a friend with a formula fed 6 week old who takes 1 1/2 hours to have a bottle so it's not always easiest on the other side!)

AlwaysbeOpralFruitstome Sun 03-Jul-11 16:15:08

Relentless feeding in the first few days is par for the course but if your having a bit of pain, even just at latch on, you should consider seeing someone to asses your latch which may needed tweaking.

Also these vids on youtube examples of good to poor drinking at the breast, there's lots of info under the videos in the drop down section:

These ones show how to latch well:

Your doing really well. It does get easier, promise.

emmylou30 Sun 03-Jul-11 16:30:46

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emmylou30 Sun 03-Jul-11 16:35:06

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Pesephone Sun 03-Jul-11 16:41:26

Sounds as though she's feeding beautifully, and yes near constant feeding is normal at this age, as Truthsweet said they nurse for many reasons and at 6 days old she's only just adjusting to life on the outside. smile
Yes bottles can mess with both latch and supply at this stage they really are best avoided untill everything is established, and tbh do iether of you really need the added faff of steralising and pumping on top of all that there allready is to do?
There are so many ways in which your DH can help share things, he could become chief nappy changer, be incharge of her first bath, hold her skin to skin on his chest whilst you enjoy a bath of your own, bring you drinks whilst you feed her, stroke her cheek and rock her while you go pee.
Honestly I know it all feels a bit scary and hectic but these first few weeks pass so fast, you'll soon be gazing into the eyes of your 6 month old wondering what happened!
Also a great tip is that when anyone offers to help say yes please could you bring us a meal round, or could you wash the dishes. People iether really genuinly want to help and will be delighted to do these things or they'll bugger off and leave you alone to enjoy your daughter.

RitaMorgan Sun 03-Jul-11 17:03:38

Are you waking her up to wind her? I would try not winding her when she falls asleep, and just hold her - she might sleep a bit longer.

Avoid bottles and dummies for the next couple of weeks at least - let your supply settle down and establish feeding first. This stage goes so quickly really!

Junebugjr Sun 03-Jul-11 19:45:13

Hi Emmy,

My dd is 6 weeks old, so I remember this stage clear as day!

I used to let her fall asleep on me and stay like that just to have some peace, as soon as I used to move her she'd scream. This stage does go very quickly, and just from recent experience I'd say this won't be your experience of bf forever. Dd now does 3-4 hrs between feeds an is on for about 20 mins, , and at your dd age there were no gaps at all, just one continous feeding session until 10pm when she would fall asleep and stay asleep. Admittedly I was close to packing it in a few times, but I'm very glad I didn't now. Best of luck- best bit of parenting advice I've ever been given is 'everything is just a phase'

watto1 Sun 03-Jul-11 19:55:16

My dd was exactly the same - feeding, falling asleep for 15 mins and then wanting another feed immediately. Just remember that it won't last forever. I had nights where I was literally crying with tiredness and getting furious with DH for daring to sleep while I was feeding! Like junebugjr, I am so glad now that I persevered. Hang on in there!

Loobyloo1902 Sun 03-Jul-11 21:31:14

Ah I remember this stage! I wish more women knew what to expect with BF, I certainly didn't and wrote a similar post when my little pickle was hanging out of my bra morning noon and night.

As a suggestion, you could try feeding the bubba lying on your side with a towel under you both, perhaps in bed. That way when she's done she can safely roll off and go to sleep and you can perhaps catch a few winks yourself whilst she's feeding. The towel's just to protect your mattress so you don't have to spring up if she has a dribble.

best of luck xxx

fruitybread Sun 03-Jul-11 21:54:48

It sounds like your DC is doing well, but I really, really do sympathise with the constant feeding. I was so unprepared for it, I was exhausted, resentful and quite angry, really. (I remember hating my partner for sleeping as well...).

Expressing did work for me at 2 weeks - DS took a bottle from DP well, I was able to express easily, and it worked for us, DS continued to do well with no confusion.

You will get conflicting advice about expressing, btw. I do think 6 days is too early, the supply/demand situation is still very new for you and your baby, but if it's still going well (well, from their POV) in a week, trying once might be an idea.

I used to express enough for DP to do one feed at night, and let me sleep 12-5. Which was a godsend.

Otherwise, all I can say is do whatever you can to cope. I had a July baby, and hated being trapped inside on the sofa in glorious weather. If you can try and nap/read/watch tv, do anything to amuse yourself while DD is feeding, do. This bit is so tough. It does pass, though....

emmylou30 Mon 04-Jul-11 17:51:34

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fruitybread Mon 04-Jul-11 20:28:55

emmylou, I was (still am, actually) VERY frustrated and resentful that none of the pro-BF pamphlets/DVDs/advice I was given before birth prepared me for the constant feeding of the early days.

I say that as someone who is very pro-BF and has exclusively BF-ed my one year old DS (well, exclusively until he started solids...).

I was part of a near mutiny at a local BF group, when the conversation got going along the lines of 'things I wish I'd known about BF-ing before birth' - the poor HVs got a bit of a roasting. They protested that they weren't allowed to 'say anything negative' about breastfeeding in case it put people off.

I said that I knew so many women who thought things were going wrong with them or their baby in the early days of BF, when in reality there was nothing wrong at all. They panicked, fed formula, BF-ed less, their supply dropped and BF-ing got harder, and it all went tits up before 6 weeks were up. If only they had been better prepared for the constant demand, and just the nature of feeding they might have kept going. (I struggled for so long with the idea that my DS should be feeding for a solid 20 mins or so, then happily not feeding at all for a few hours. Nonsense. BF-babies hardly ever feed like that). I would also have appreciated a warning about the sudden shocking fever of mastitis, so I didn't think I had meningitis when it hit. Ahem.

Anyway. It can be very very tough going early on, even if you don't have specific problems. It does get easier, the breaks do come - I just think in those early days mums should do anything and everything that makes their life easier, as they just have so much on their plate. Get some fresh air if you can (but don't get very stressy because it takes a lot longer to leave the house now. Like I did... very silly of me).

RubyrooUK Mon 04-Jul-11 21:10:15

I just want to echo what lots of people above said. I found breastfeeding a nightmare at first - terrible birth, milk didn't come in for days, mastitis, awful engorgement...the list goes on. And my god, it NEVER stopped. I remember once going to the toilet for the first time in eight hours and my son screaming blue murder at the terrible tragedy of it and saying to my husband: "That's it! He's going out the window!"

My son regularly fed when newborn for 45 minutes each side. Then he would get to the end of a feed after 1.5hrs and then 15 minutes later begin again. For three weeks, I felt like I was going mad. Then it improved a little. Then a bit more. Then I could get to the supermarket or park without having to stop to feed. It really really helped that I met other breastfeeding mums. We would go to each other's houses and feed for hours together at first (while gossiping)...later, we could actually go places too! But it stopped me feeling cooped up at home. Also, seeing that everyone was oppressed by feeding too meant I didn't lose my mind!

By three months, I was glad to breastfeed because it was so portable and free. No bottles, no boiling kettles, just me and the baby to take places. By six months, when I could see my baby get a blissful face when feeding, I loved breastfeeding.

Now I work full-time and still breastfeed because my 10 month son in the eve and morning and I still get a strong bonding experience from it. I would never have believed that I would still feed that baby who never let me even have a pee at first!

How you feed your child is of course your own choice - I just wanted to tell you that I understood this tricky time and it doesn't go on forever. Didn't try expressing till about 6 weeks and that worked when I needed it till 4 months when my son decided never to take a bottle again. Oh.

Nobody tells you in those NCT classes that you will literally be feeding constantly at first and all those books based on bottle-feeds suggest 3hr routines which I always found completely unlike my experience.

Good luck whatever happens. It sounds like you are doing a great job.

fruitybread Mon 04-Jul-11 22:49:36

rubyroo, I could have written your post.

Being able to BF when out and about, and not have to plan trips around feeds (well, apart from finding somewhere to sit down) is incredibly liberating. It used to drive me round the bend in the very early days when people kept banging on about how 'convenient' breastfeeding was. Convenient???! When I don't get time to POO? Let alone shower/pack bags/brush hair/leave the house without stopping to feed every 5 bloody minutes, and just giving up in the end....

But then of course it is convenient, a couple of months later. I spent HOURS in the park, then the museum, then a cafe, then back to the park with my DS, feeding as and when he wanted it. No idea what the time was. After going through the Prisoner on the Sofa stage, I felt like I'd been let out of prison!

threefeethighandrising Mon 04-Jul-11 23:04:17

I found this website a great source of well-researched info on BF

It does get easier, honest!

If I ever do it again, I'm going to try to express so that DP can help out a bit more.

Personally I wouldn't mix-feed except as a last resort, I think it can muck about with your supply.

tiktok Mon 04-Jul-11 23:23:55

I dunno....I am an NCT breastfeeding counsellor and we always say in classes that babies feed a lot esp in the early days.

I have just checked 'Birth to 5' - the book everyone gets in England and Wales - and this is what it says:

"In the beginning, it can seem that you are doing nothing but feeding...'

The info here on mumsnet says this: " * ... Breastfeeding a newborn is a full-on occupation...

"If you think you're feeding too often, you probably have it about right." Pannacotta

For the first few weeks at least, you will probably be more or less sofa-bound, feeling like an overworked milch cow. It won't always be like this but, for now..."

I have seen leaflets that don't stress this frequent feeding, and there are some books which actually mislead, but on the whole, this is talked about and written about extensively....but maybe it's something that's only really understood when it is experienced. The magnitude of looking after a new human being can be overwhelming and the shock of always being 'on duty' takes some getting used to.

And this is why people often say 'but I never knew/no one told me/they don't explain it/the books don't describe it....'

fruitybread Tue 05-Jul-11 10:22:01

tiktok, I agree that it's likely the experience of newborn/BF-ing is so overwhelming that a likely reaction is to say 'why did no one warn me!' (often get the same reaction to birth, IME) -

BUT, while you may be stressing the constant feeding aspect in your NCT group, I know for a fact that others don't, sorry! Our local one talked a lot about bonding, mentioned latch difficulties and a few other common problems, but everyone in that class said they felt it had painted an overly rosy picture of it all - and no one was warned about frequent feeding.

And yes, MN is a great source of BF advice. I'd never even heard of cluster feeds until I came here (and DS was going through an epic one). But it's easy to think that 'everyone' comes here, when that's just not true. I only came here for BF advice because none of the leaflets I had from the NHS seemed to be describing my experience (I'm in Wales, I don't know if it's different here). I was being told my baby would feed about 9-12 times in 24 hours, and that was that. I couldn't even tell where one feed ended and another begins. I also think the constant emphasis on how wonderful and bonding it should all be, with no warning of how overwhelming it could be in the early days, made me feel a bit freakish and bad when I felt frustrated, miserable and wasn't enjoying it. I know I'm not alone in this through talking to other mums at BF groups.

With all due respect, I think you are someone who is very aware of ALL the BF advice out there, and no doubt provides excellent advice themselves. For mums relying on MWs, HVs (who are not necessarily very well informed, and often have no experience of BF-ing themselves, only FF-ing), and NHS pamphlets, then it's just not a good overall preparation.

tiktok Tue 05-Jul-11 10:32:49

fruitybread - we don't stress 'constant' feeding, and that's not what I said we did....but we do explain that it is normal for babies to feed a lot. I have observed many classes, and I have never come across any that don't explain this. I believe you when you describe your experience, of course, but it's unusual. I have taken to saying really clearly in classes - 'babies feed very often - they need to do this, it is normal, and please remember I said this' !! I talk about 'visits to the breast' because separate feeds with beginnings and ends are rare - just as you say.

I don't think it is a question of 'warning' - frequent feeding is not a negative at all. It is good when a baby feeds frequently, because it stimulates the milk supply, supports maternal-infant attachment, helps the baby feel comforted and soothed, and of course keeps the baby well-fed and hydrated smile

Yes, I do know the advice out there and I do know mothers hear different things from their m/ws and indeed their own families.

But it is just not true to say that 'no one' tells you about frequent feeding, because alongside the unrealistic stuff about routines and so on, there is plenty of stuff that is accurate about frequent feeding as well.

fruitybread Tue 05-Jul-11 14:47:56

I'm sorry tiktok - I am not alone in my experience. I know this for a fact. What you are overlooking is that there are plenty of women who don't do NCT classes at all, and of those who do, not all NCT classes are equal. Not every woman reads MN or kellymom. Plenty go on info which really, really does NOT communicate well about frequent feeding in the early days.

I am not criticising your info, or your NCT classes, so please don't get defensive about that.

And yes, the semantics of 'warning' mothers to be about feeding habits we can argue. 'Prepare' is certainly a more neutral word, and I'll try to use that. I understand that it is a beneficial thing, I really do.

But in my experience, and those of others, it was hard to downright hellish in the early days. I could understand at the same time was that it was a sign things were going well from my baby's POV, and it was MY problem to accomodate it, and to adjust the way I thought about my day, my priorities, and to adjust my expectations.

I really, really do understand that. BUT what I wanted was someone to understand how I FELT. How UNHAPPY and DRAINED it made me feel. I wanted someone to say it was OKAY. Not to coo at me about how wonderful an experience it was, and how bonded I was supposed to feel. Maybe that works for other people. For me, it was good to let me know what a baby needed, and that I was doing my best for them by doing something I found very hard at that point.

An insisitence that I overlook the negatives (and they WERE negatives for me, to start with - the loss of control over my day to day life, being confined to the house and sofa, being so exhausted) just made me feel bad, miserable, and alienated from myself. There's a fine balance to be struck between emphasising the positives of this phase, the early days, and making women feel like shit by not allowing them to feel what they feel.

This is a horrible message to type. I can remember now how isolated and miserable I felt in the early days, thinking 'everyone's telling me how wonderful this is supposed to be, and I feel so unhappy'. What helped me hugely was joining a BF group, and finding other women who were, thank god, happy to admit they were finding it all very hard, and would own up to 'bad' feelings like resentment and frustration. Thank god.

I don't know where this message is going now. Sorry, I'm a bit upset.

tiktok Tue 05-Jul-11 17:48:59

fruitybread - I know you are right that plenty of women don't do classes, nor do they read the stuff that says freq feeding is normal. Not disputing that.

I was responding to posts which said ' no one ever tells you this' and 'NCT classes don't mention this' - from women who are reading mumsnet and who have been to classes.

I am certain that just describing the frequency is not enough to prepare women, and the overwhelmingness of a newborn's powerful needs is easily enough for many mothers to respond in exactly the way you do - with a feeling that it this loss of control is confining and exhausting.

Of course these feelings are genuine - but they are not there because of a lack of 'warning' or 'preparation' or whatever you want to call it. The feelings are there because caring for a baby the way we are expected to care for a baby in the 21st century is hard work - there is nowhere near enough TLC for new mothers, nowhere near enough 'permission' to stay in your PJs and snuggle with your baby for as long as it takes - the traditional 40 days 'lying in' is probably about right!

I am doing an NCT class later this week. I will tell the mothers 'it is difficult in the early days', and 'your baby will feed very often in the early days' and 'you need help, support and encouragement in the early days' and 'it helps if someone else can look after you while you look after the baby' and 'this is all normal'.

Some of them will take this on board and remember. Others will not and the reality of it will come as a shock....and they will say, 'no one ever told me.'

Well. Both groups - the ones who remember and the ones who don't - are equally likely to feel overwhelmed and tired and out of control.

Telling them in advance does not make much difference to this.

But to say that it is always miserable and always painful and always isolating is not true, either. It can be wonderful (being a mother) even when it's miserable - and as time goes on, the deep, rewarding joy is a constant. I'm not going to deny that, either smile

KeepOnSwimming Tue 05-Jul-11 18:07:54

I think though there is a difference between what "frequently" means to different people.
We were told "frequently" by the NCT class - I was expecting 2 to 3 hourly feeds - gaps of 2 hours in which to sleep, wee, bath etc. I was not expecting gaps of 10mins to 45 mins max day and night, with at least one run of actually constant feeding from 7pm - 4am ish each night with the only breaks being nappy changes or winding. I have to ignore her cry to grap 2 mins to wee...
There is no way I was warned it could be like this in the first weeks...

KeepOnSwimming Tue 05-Jul-11 18:10:06

I was hallucinating from lack of sleep last week, and am now surviving on accumulated 4 hours sleep per 24 hours...
she is feeding now and has been on and off since 4pm. She is 8 days old...

tiktok Tue 05-Jul-11 18:12:03

Swimming - if the class left you with the idea that you routinely get 2-3 hour gaps between feeds, then you need to contact the bfc and tell her you needed more detail than 'frequently'. I know I spell it out to my classes. They sometimes gasp, and I am pretty sure some of them don't believe me or think their baby will have read a different book or something smile

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