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DS taking hours to feed - any ideas?

(14 Posts)
AJH2007 Wed 17-Aug-11 03:39:35

My six week old DS takes anything between an hour and a half to upwards of four hours to feed - in fact he never 'finishes' a feed and comes off on his own. In the day I just take him off and put him in his sling where he will eventually fall asleep, but the nights are killing me. How can I get him to feed in an hour or so? I think my supply is a bit crap (boobs never hard or full, he has to work to make the milk as he goes along) but I'm already taking fenugreek and domperidone - don't know what else I can do. Am seriously considering giving up - I just can't stay awake all night like this. He has been feeding since 2 and at 3.30 he is still groaning and kicking me for more milk. TIA.

lilham Wed 17-Aug-11 04:08:37

Is he really feeding? Or comfort sucking? Can you hear or see him actively swallowing the whole time? It'll be a good idea to get someone to check your latch too to rule out a bad latch causing slow transfer.

sunnyweather Wed 17-Aug-11 04:27:21

Is this a new thing? It is possible that he's having a growth spurt so just really hungry- my ds did that at 2 and then again6 weeks and I think he will be due another one at 12 weeks. I struggled at the 2 weeks and in the end took him into bed with me even tho I'd planned not to. He stayed sleeping with me for 6 weeks until he was 8 weeks old then moved into his owncot with no probs. Kelly mom website has advice about sleeping positions which helped me. But maybe he is already in with you- I used to be able to sleep while he fed. The other thing that helped me was starting a dummy at 8 weeks( coincides with going into his cot and is what made this possible) he was always a very sucky baby and seemed to need boob constantly I was never sure whether for food or comfort- I tried to resist the dummy as felt it was ok for him to get comfort from me- at 8 weeks was so exhausted I couldn't do it anymore. Dummy worked like magic and ds became much happier and was able to fall asleep more easily and sleep longer making feeding more effective too. They don't recommend dummy til 6 weeks can you hold out for that long? Hope that helps.

sunnyweather Wed 17-Aug-11 04:30:16

By the way I also did the sling thing as ds never happy being put down at that stage- really exhausting and lovely at the same time having baby attached to you constantly but did change at the8 week point and is now settled babe at 11 weeks.

Janeymax Wed 17-Aug-11 04:33:11

I'd be considering giving up too if I had that little sleep. Only suggestions are: call the bf association and doctor. I'd consider finishing the feed after an hour even if not finished. Get DP or someone else to then play and settle baby and you go to sleep! Do another feed 3 hours from the first. If there's a physical reason they're not getting enough then hopefully the doctor can identify it and you can deal with it or supplement with formula. If the baby's only comfort sucking then they will soon get into a more user friendly rhythm. My dd is 7 weeks and I thought she was hungry after about an hour from waking and after feeding initially for 30 mins. - I've finally worked out it was tiredness not hunger. She doesn't settle easily, but we've been getting more persistent and using a dummy at this time. The great thing about a dummy is that DP can work it too.

Thumbwitch Wed 17-Aug-11 04:42:10

Is he sucking effectively? Is there a little 'clicking' sound (indicative of latch break)? Does it hurt to feed him?

DS had a tongue-tie, only a partial, but his feeds were easily 2h long each time. I was lucky in that the MW who came to see me at home and check on him feeding already knew about his tongue-tie (lactation expert at the hospital had identified it) and she referred me to have it snipped. The paediatrician was unsure it would make any difference as it was only a minor partial tongue-tie but it made all the difference in the world - feeds down to 40 minutes within a week.

You need to see someone who is an expert in this area to make sure his latch is effective and that he doesn't have a tongue-tie - if he does, it should be easily fixed (depending on which area you are in) - if he doesn't, then they might be able to help you with different positions etc.

buttonmoon78 Wed 17-Aug-11 07:44:32

thumbwitch I was posting to say something similar but you're even further down the road than me and reading your post was good.

DS is 5 wks on Sat. He has been a very slow feeder from day 1. He'd be attached literally ALL day if I let him (instead of the 2-3 hrs per day I insist on having off grin). He is cripplingly windy and very colicky. His weight gain is very slow and he still has 2oz to go to regain his birth weight (9lb6).

Yesterday am I had a few lightbulb moments and whilst at drs I asked a new HV to check for TT. He has a slight TT and she recommended we see a specific counsellor at the bf clinic as she can do divisions. I then asked gp what he thought - yes he has TT but it's not enough to cause issues. So I asked my HV yesterday who said - yes he does and it's worth following up.

So I am. He's booked to have it snipped on Thurs (tomorrow shock) and I'm hopeful we might see an improvement.

It's worth considering if it's not already been ruled out BY AN EXPERT. After all, with his slow gain ds has been seen by numerous hvs, mws, gps and paeds yet it took me to suggest it hmm

Good luck!

buttonmoon78 Wed 17-Aug-11 07:47:51

Oh, and have you tried bf lying down in bed? DS starts out in his basket but then comes in with me when he wakes. He then only wakes me for me to turn over and give him the other side. Easy peasy and more sleep smile

Ask your mw/hv to show you how.

Thumbwitch Wed 17-Aug-11 07:56:03

buttonmoon - glad you pushed for it. I am looooong way down the road - DS is now 3.8 grin!
I will add this bit of info as well:
the paediatrician who snipped DS's tongue-tie said it might make no difference as it was so minor; but it did. He also said that he had seen complete tongue-ties divided and it had made no difference - the level of tongue-tie doesn't always tell you how much difference it will make to the baby's sucking ability.

I also have to say that it was very fast and DS didn't even whimper - a squirt of sucrose solution, a dab of novocaine (dentist anaesthetic) and he not only didn't feel a thing, he was feeding 5 minutes later (they asked me to do that to check that he could latch on ok, which he did).

I had to feed him lying down as well as that was the only way he could latch to start with and he kind of got used to it - it was a few weeks before I could feed him sitting up! I co-slept with him because of this, that way, like buttonmoon, I got more sleep.

I also should mention that as DH had an undivided tongue-tie, I was primed to ask them to check DS - 3 people missed it visually, it was the lactation expert who ran her finger under his tongue who said yes, there was a partial tongue-tie.

RitaMorgan Wed 17-Aug-11 08:58:47

My first thought was tongue-tie too.

How is his weight gain? Are you sore at all?

AJH2007 Wed 17-Aug-11 09:46:00

Hi all, thanks for the replies. Good to know some comfort suckers have settled down a bit at eight weeks.
Funnily enough, he did have a partial tongue tie, which was snipped four weeks ago when he was two weeks. Feeding has been less painful since then and he has been gaining half a pound (or 250g) a week, so although I think his latch isn't brilliant he is doing okay. He posseted a bit after his feed so I am sure he had had enough milk (plus the v wet nappy later).
I gave him to DH at 3.45am and he was still crying at 5am when I took him back. I got him to sleep five minutes later sucking my little finger, then he slept for FOUR hours, which he's never done before. He must have been exhausted so perhaps that's it - he was too tired to sleep. I've tried him with a dummy a couple of times before and he has spat it out, but I have new resolve now to try again (either that or cut off my little finger and give it to him!).
One other thing, we supplemented with formula in the early days but have got back to mainly bf'ing - he just has about 90ml (3oz) around 10.30pm now and that is to give me a break more than anything.

Button, have been following your threads - do hope having the tongue tie sorted makes a difference for you!

Mollcat Wed 17-Aug-11 09:54:09

AJH2007 when you say feeding has been less painful, is it still painful? Because it shouldn't be. Tongue ties can reform or it may not have been completely snipped first time around if it was a posterior one and difficult to see.

If you think it could still be causing issues, it would be better to get it looked at again now because (a) you may have an oversupply now which compensates for any inefficiency in his feeding but once milk production becomes entirely supply/demand driven at 3 to 4 months you may hit problems and (b) it's a lot more stressful and painful for the baby to have it clipped at 12 weeks+ than at 6 weeks, judging by mine's reactions to having his TT divided twice at 6 weeks and 12 weeks.

Might all be absolutely fine of course!

You've done so well to keep going through this.

sunnyweather Wed 17-Aug-11 11:31:28

Hey there he sounds just like my ds, after we gave him the dummy he slept for 48 hours just waking to feed and then straight back to sleep. I think he was exhausted and and the dummy helped him to drop off and learn how to sleep! just to let you know the only dummy ds would take is a tommy tipper cherry - they are worth a try if he doesn't like the others- good luck

AJH2007 Wed 17-Aug-11 16:25:16

Mollcat it is painfree on the left but can still be sore sometimes on the right - I think due to that nipple being quite badly damaged in the first couple of weeks.
Sunnyweather thanks for the dummy tip. We co-sleep at the moment and feed side to side lying down some of the time, but I can't sleep while the little man is feeding. Would love to get him into his basket or cot... Fingers crossed for the dummy!

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