HELP PLEASE im 5 weeks in.... is it all going wrong? [sad](21 Posts)
My baby is 5 weeks old
She is exclusively breast fed
Until 4 days ago she has been suffering with colic so has cried / screamed etc most evenings, had several feeds to calm her, then settled 9 /10pm ish
(she has slept well since 6 days old normally waking once, occasionaly tice)
From the moment my milk came in i had massive over supply. She was born 14 sept and on 2 oct I gave 2 pints to SCBU and i have about 2 or 3 pints of milk (since 2 October) in my freezer, which was also destined for SCBU.( I have also spilt loads out of breast shells and dropped 6 oz on the floor!)
I express every morning and normally get a good 3oz, and then again so I have 5oz excess per day. I dont seem to be able to generate more excess than that though... (which i thought was fine)
Anyway yesturday she seemed hungry all afternoon.
I fed her at 6.30, and she fed (well it felt like) for an hour and she still seemed hungry. I gave her 3oz of my expressed milk, she downed it and fell asleep.
We then gave her her 1st dream feed from a bottle (as when she is asleep, she seems too tired to suck from my breasts and after a few sucks falls straight back to sleep again) so she had a 4oz bottle at 11.15...
and the went through until 4.45, quick breast feed then woke at 8am, again another quick feed etc
so today she fed 8am, 9.50am, 11.30(but was hungry before) then nap. Fed 2.15 / 3.30 / 4.30 (until 5.25) still seemed hungry but she was taken up for bath (she likes that) at 5.45, and fed at 6.20 until 7.30. (at all feeds she feels like she is feeding well)
She was still hungry so i offered her 4oz of expressed milk, she downed the lot, but when in bed we STILL not settled , so OH gave her another 2ox of expressed milk
how after feeding (well?) from both breasts for a whole hour can she need another 6oz of milk? (she is 5 weeks old and at last weigh in 6 days ago was 8lb 4oz)
Have I stopped making enough milk? she has clearly been starving all afternoon.
How can i solve this? I cant express 11oz per day (6oz at evening / 5oz dream feed)
also she is hardly ever sick and today she hasnt even been sick a drop.
at the moment i have a nice stash in my freezer but its going to disappear very quickly at this rate
i am DETERMINED to BF and I really dont want to resort to formular
She could be having a growth spurt, they have loads of growth spurts during the first few months.
Personally I would stop expressing and just feed her. Your body will adjust really quickly and clearly supply is not an issue. She is probably having a growth spurt so feeding her expressed milk when she is trying to stimulate more supply will put the demand and supply out of kilter. The pattern of feeding sounds about right for her age too.
I am not an expert, and hopefully one will be along soon, but a few things occur to me.
Firstly, if she has previously been quite settled, it could well be a growth spurt. Some babies will (almost literally) feed round the clock for a day or two at this point to up your supply. If you bottle feed through these periods (whether expressed or formula), you and your baby don't get to do the delicate calibration you both can do naturally.
Secondly, many breastfed babies will down a bottle if offered, even if they don't really need it. Much like I may polish off a box of chocolates if set down in front of me. It's not necessarily that reliable an indicator of hunger. Unsettled behaviour could just be because, well, she's five weeks old.
Also, waking once in the night is amazing at her age. To be able to do it, she will most likely need to feed a lot in the day. And going 1.5- 2 hours is pretty normal anyway at this age, as is evening cluster feeding.
As a final thing, can I ask why you're expressing if oversupply is a problem? It might be better to let things settle down.
Finally, and this is the only one where I would be totally confident in my being correct, get yourself some real life help from a baby cafe, or one of the charities. Nothing beats real life support and they can rule out all sorts of other issues that won't have occurred to any of us. Diagnosis over the internet is always dangerous!
My first thought was that you should stop expressing as well. Expressing so much at this stage will 'confuse' your supply so it won't be able to settle into what your DD needs.
You also need to trust in your body to provide what your baby needs. She's probably, as someone said above, going through a growth spurt so needs more. Just feed on demand and try to go with it. At only 5 weeks old it sounds normal.
OK, firstly it is completely normal for babies this age to feed little and often, consider what you eat and drink in a day i.e. breakfast, drink, snack, drink, lunch, drink, snack, drink, evening meal, drink, 2 drinks in the evening? thats 12 times! That is why it is important to just bf on demand at this age with no expressing. By expressing you are telling your body that you are then stimulating your body to make more and more, resulting in leakage. If you just bf on demand it will settle down.
If she still seems hungry after feeds it could be that she might not be latched on well, does she have a wide mouth when she is on the breast? do her lips look pursed?
Has she been checked for a tongue tie? This can affect how effectively they suckle? Some babies are just very slow feeders and it can be frustrating but just bare in mind that turning to bottles will not speed her up , some ff babies take 3/4 hour with a break for winding, plus the equipment prep. The first couple of months is mostly feeding.
If you are struggling and tired try feeding on your side lying down preferably with DH to watch for you falling asleep, to put her back in her cot.
Try not to watch the clock while feeding, just allow her to come off when she is finished iyswim, change sides and again allow her to finish.
Your baby is not starving , she can glug a bottle down very quickly because the teat is a different shape and the flow is faster, giving bottles will not help because they can get used to not having to suckle. It is a different technique from the nipple.
You have already had good advice, and I am no expert, but, from skim reading your post, I would say that you need to stop looking at the clock, and thinking about timing and amounts. Therein madness lies. Try and just go with the flow, feed her when she seems to need it and let her guide you. She is tiny and your supply is still being established. DD1 used to cluster feed for hours in the evening - I worried, stressed etc, but it didn't last forever and all turned out fine.
Also, by regularly expressing, you are indicating to your body to keep making more, so you will continue to have an over - supply of milk (fab for SCBU but not so good for you!) If you need to express to reduce discomfort, then try just hand-expressing a minimal amount to reduce fullness and then latch baby on. Unless you need to express for other reasons, I would ditch the pump, bottles etc, as it's casing over-supply and making more work for you. The beauty of EBF is not having to deal with all that faff.
Well done for making it this far, good luck.
thanks for all the advice
am going to baby cafe on Monday with a friend
I hope its just a growth spurt and will sort itself out, i thought the hard part was week 1 - 2 (ouch!) but i made it through that
nanny, you ask "how after feeding (well?) from both breasts for a whole hour can she need another 6oz of milk? "
Easily - babies don't just feed to satiate hunger. They feed to be close, because they like the experience of sucking, the whole experience of bf feels good to them, and reassures and soothes.
If she wants more after both breasts, give a third and a fourth breast - you have the milk there, it's not rationed
No need to faff about with formula or expressing, from what you describe!
It was the absolute agony that made me stop- like a crocodile biting me. If it's not hurting you just keep feeding her.
SOC Do you mean Thee book I sadly got sucked into that with dd1 and luckily became more educated
<<largely due to tiktok I hasten to add and wave!>>
Where are you that you can just donate straight to the SCBU? That is AWESOME!
Sleep and feeding patterns were all over the shop for us at 5 weeks too. Try to relax and enjoy it as much as the baby is...
I am is west yorkshire
there are 12 milk banks in this country.... i live a short walk from the lady who co-ordinates one of them.
they do a blood test first (to check i dont have nasty illnesses) and then i freeze my spare milk, they check each bottle i donate (they provide me with sterile bottles) and then it goes to NICU and SCBU
well i think perhaps she was having a growth spurt as she has slept almost constantly since OP.
She hasnt had any bottles since (and hasnt needed them) and i havent expressed anything either
i think we may be back on track (phew, was getting worried)
I spoke to HV yesturday who suggested growth spurt, only breast feed / no expressing / bottles either.
thanks everyone for your advice
also as a milk donar you cant smoke, and 1-2 units of alcohol per week, and max 2 cups of tea / coffee / cola etc.
the tiniest babies need only 1ml milk / hour so every drop is valued
Glad to hear things are settling! Ahh so the milk was going through a bank then. It sounded like you might have been donating direct. No banks near me and although I dont drink or smoke Im disqualified through having had a blood transfusion.
My baby boy fed every one to two hours round the clock for the first couple of months so this is not unusual. He also suffered from colic and when it got to 4pm would scream for a few hours, which was a mixture of being hungry and wind. He couldn't get the wind up and because of that he couldn't get the food down. I found that the gripe water really helped. Colic drops didn't seem to have much effect, plus they were expensive.
He was always hungry so I started him on solids at three and a half months because I couldn't cope with the breast feeding regime. He has been on three meals a day from about four months! Once he started on solids he was instantly much happier and the colic also went away, though this could be coincidence as I have been told it goes away after the first three months usually anyway.
I stopped breast feeding at nine months and went onto formula, thinking it might fill him up more, and it made not one jot of difference to his appetite! Even now, (he just turned one on 14 October), his food pattern is as follows: breakfast, mid morning bottle (5oz) and snack, lunch, afternoon bottle and snack, tea, snack before last milk feed, last milk feed approx 7.30pm. Then he still wakes up once or twice in the night and has another couple of full bottles, before his breakfast! I have tried giving him porridge before bed to fill him up but he got wise to this after a week or so and started refusing to eat it. I tried the health visitor's advice to only give him water when he wakes up but in my opinion this was a waste of time as he just screamed blue murder and wouldn't settle, because he was hungry. So that only lasted a day!
He is not a big baby and is very slim, he eats a varied diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, meat, beans, pulses etc so I really don't know what the answer is but I'm hoping he will grow out of it eventually.
Re the breastfeeding, I found the first few months before he went on solids incredibly hard going but once combined with solids it was a doddle. You just have to remember to eat well yourself and drink plenty and get as much rest as you can to keep the supply going. It took about 6 months for my supply to settle down to meet baby's requirements and not leak all over the bed etc I regret giving up at nine months and switching to formula, my advice would be to keep going as long as you can.
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