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Help - 6 day old and I think I'm doing it all wrong

(15 Posts)

DD was born on Sunday night (crash section, 9lb7, 11 days overdue). My milk came in on day 3 like it should. She made a bit of a mess of my right nipple early on, to the point where yesterday and today I've expressed off it as it's just too painful to put her on and I'm really struggling with positioning her so she gets a good latch on that side; we're doing fine on the left hand side though.
I'm v small framed and have v little boobs, and I'm really worried she's not getting enough from me. My boobs arent any bigger then they were even though there's definitely milk in there. The last 2 days she's been on and off every 10 minutes in 4 hour bursts (every time I offer her my left side I express off the right to even it out, so to speak, I don't want to dry up on one side). She'll then sleep for 3 hours solid; nights she's feeding about midnight and waking up once in the night then waking up properly about 7am. I've given her a couple of 1oz formula top-ups this week when she just wouldn't settle late on, and she's had the expressed milk top-ups each day (I'm getting about 3oz a day expressing off the right. Today when I'm expressing my left side has been dripping as I express off the other one) . She's a very big baby at 9lb+ and has a very strong suck too.
Does this all sound normal?! It's really doing my head in tbh. I guess my questions are:
Will I keep up with her? Will I keep up just feeding from my left as well? Is it usual to be on and off and on again in 30 minutes? Are my boobs soft because she's draining them properly?
Sorry for such a long, garbled post! But would really appreciate some advice.

Cathpot Sat 03-Sep-11 18:41:12

Other people who have good breastfeeding advice will be along any second but wanted to say DONT PANIC! Yes it does sound normal- ie a bit all over the place, yes they do feed incessantly for phases, especially at the start with such tiny stomachs and finally, get any help you can about getting the latch right. Having been down the nipple falling off route I wish I had made more noise about getting help. Clips on internet were helpful as were changing position. Hang in there- it gets better.

RitaMorgan Sat 03-Sep-11 18:45:49

On-off-on-off for hours is totally normal. Do you mean she cluster feeds like that for 4 hours and then sleeps for 3 hours? If she is producing nappies and gaining weight then that sounds fine, but I wouldn't let her go more than 3 hours personally. Twice in the night doesn't sound like loads either - are you co-sleeping with her?

I'd really avoid formula top-ups at this stage as that will impact your supply - every oz of formula tells your boobs they need to make an oz less milk iyswim.

Sounds like you really need face to face help with the latch though - have your midwives been any good? Maybe get in touch with the NCT and La Leche League and see if they have anyone local who you can see.

The size of your boobs really doesn't make a difference to how much milk you can produce, so there's no reason you won't be able to keep up if you feed on demand. You could feed twins if you needed to!

Cathpot Sat 03-Sep-11 19:20:11

Just bumping for you. I dont think you have anything major to worry about. It is a bit tricky at the start but you sound like you are doing well. I would second what RM says and try and avoid the top ups if you can as that will lead to a tailing off of supply.

Nothing you have said suggests she isnt getting enough milk, but a nipple too sore to use IS something you need help with. I had this with DD1 didnt get help and bf tailed off over the weeks that followed as I couldnt keep up the expressing from the affected breast. With DD2 I had help with latching on and I realised the difference between tender nipples for the first few weeks that steadily improved, and the excruitating nipple pain of DD1. As RM says her nappies and her weight are the best guide to the milk she is getting- remembering babies usually loose a bit of weight right at the start. Have you got anyone helping at the moment?

Thanks Rita and Cath smile
I've just managed to get her back on the right side, yay! And she had a good 15mins on that side. Is the on-off-on thing standard cluster feeding? She had 8 10min feeds last night in 3-4 hours, the same this morning and looks like she's doing the same tonight (plus a couple of longer feeds in between), is that long enough? This is why I was worrying I'm not giving her enough. Plus I can't find time to eat or sleep much in between!
My mw's are brilliant, and I've had La Leche round - those feeds go great but I just lose my confidence when I've not got help.
Thanks again smile

RitaMorgan Sat 03-Sep-11 20:29:33

My ds spent the first couple of weeks doing the feed for 10 minutes/doze for 5 minutes/feed for 5 minutes/doze for 15 minutes thing - difficult to tell what counted as a "feed"! So long as you keep her close and respond to her feeding cues, she'll take enough.

After a few weeks ds was feeding more like 2-2.5 hourly in the day, and I never let him go 3 hours. Lots of babies will cluster feed particularly in the evenings, as a way to tank up before bed, so you may find yourself glued to the sofa in the evenings for a while. Just get some good box sets to hand and make sure your partner is weighting on you hand and foot.

As for eating, you need things you can eat one handed. If your partner is back at work, make them prepare you some lunch and leave it in the fridge before they leave in the mornings. I also had some snack boxes by the sofa and bed full of chocolate and biscuits.

Get someone to show you how to feed lying down, and co-sleep with the baby. I didn't really master this til 3-4 weeks but once I did it changed my life - suddenly it didn't matter so much how many nightfeeds there were cos I could doze through them. Eventually you barely wake up to latch the baby on grin

Your baby's weight is a better indicator that she's getting enough than length of feeds, or time between feeds. Has she been weighed yet?

RitaMorgan Sat 03-Sep-11 20:30:20

Obviously your partner should be waiting on you rather than weighting blush

HappyAsASandboy Sat 03-Sep-11 20:46:01

I second all the advice you've already been given - just keep going smile

Ask your DH to make dinner and to cut up your portion so you can eat one handed (not too hot, and muslin draped over babies head, otherwise they get lasagne on them blush).

I promise that it gets less time consuming. Some start to go longer between feeds, some don't. But it is amazing the difference it makes to your life when a feed us over and done with in 10 mins instead of hours!

Good luck! And keep going ....

She was weighed yesterday at 5 days old and she'd only lost 5oz from her birth weight, I guess that's good? Mw was unconcerned. Pllenty of nappies coming off her.
Another thing is, she goes on me then just falls asleep after 5 mins, she does this A LOT (and has just done it again) So I unlatch her, she wakes up and starts rooting and sucking again. Should I just not worry? I'm prepared to do anything for feeding but my nips are not a dummy, surely?

RitaMorgan Sat 03-Sep-11 21:04:20

A dummy is just a rubber nipple substitute - comfort sucking is totally normal. Once you get the latch sorted it won't be sore to let her suckle as much as she wants/needs.

They don't tend to worry about weightloss if it is under 10% of birthweight - so if she's lost less than 10% and starts gaining again then you're doing well.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sat 03-Sep-11 21:11:22

Comfort sucking is really good for getting milk supply really well established too (as well as being a lovely thing for your baby).

All sounds really normal for 6 days, it will settle down smile. And I know what you mean about feeds when mw/counsellor observing going well then not so well when you're on your own - remember it well!

MrsChemist Sat 03-Sep-11 21:29:46

Hey, I've got a seven day old and was about to post something similar. Last night he cluster fed from 6pm 'til 2am, but then slept until 7am, which is clearly too long. Part of me thinks he was just so shattered, he slept extra long.

My main concern is that when DH goes back to work, I can't spend hours glued to the sofa, because I've got a two year old. DH is being fabulous and doing everything at the moment, but he's only off for another week. What do people with other children do?

RitaMorgan Sat 03-Sep-11 21:36:54

I don't think 2am-7am is necessarily too long if the baby is feeding lots the rest of the time - one 5 hour stretch is ok, and he was probably full after all the cluster feeding! Obviously you wouldn't want lots of 5 hour gaps but if he's feeding 10-12 times the rest of the day (and is gaining weight, producing nappies) I would enjoy the sleep.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sat 03-Sep-11 21:42:16

Agree with Rita - one 5 hr stretch is fine (and at a time that you want to sleep too - perfect).

As for coping with newborn/toddler, I think the key to the early weeks is just to survive. DS was 2.5 when DD arrived, and he did end up watching telly more than I would have liked in the early weeks but hey ho! We did a lot of reading too (he turned the pages). I also used a wrap sling and found that DD slept quite well in there, leaving me hands free for DS. Also, call in any favours from friends and family to come and help out and do practical stuff - it won't be forever...

Mampig Sat 03-Sep-11 21:47:36

No doubt it is a challenge!! My 2 yo always needs potty or starts demanding juice etc as I start a feed. I've learned to either say no, have potty right beside me and generally be prepared in advance for those demands. One trick I have used is to keep tv off until I'm feeding- then I put on a DVD or nick jnr which she will watch cos she hasn't seen it in a while. Also a book or blocks come in useful - just about thinking ahead I suppose. I also use it as eye spy time or Simon says ... Which she loveswink . Just some suggestions- it is possible!!!

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