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Cluster feeds and hungry baby - help!!

(4 Posts)
itsaruddygame Thu 04-Apr-13 23:22:25

My son is 3 and a half weeks old - he arrived a bit early and we were in hospital for the first week where he was bottle bottle fed donor breast milk initially. I pumped every 3 hours and when my milk came in we started offering him the breast then topping up with expressed milk/donor milk as he was too tired (under lights for jaundice) to exclusively breast feed. We were sent home offering my expressed milk or formula top ups at every feed. We have managed to almost completely stop the top ups now but we seem to hit a problem once every 24 hours at either the evening or first night feed where I can't seem to satiate him and end up topping him up with milk that I have expressed in the morning. Yesterday was the first time we didn't need a top up but today he has been cluster feeding constantly since around 5.30 (5 1/2 hours) and is still hungry (currently guzzling a top up!).

Any tips for me? I was on a high yesterday as we didn't need a top up but a bit down hearted tonight that despite feeding for hours the little guy is still hungry! He has some really good feeds now and his suck is getting stronger but I really don't want to have a hungry baby (he was only small so is playing catch up) port have to resort to the bottle!

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 00:47:11

Congratulations on the birth of your son! Unfortunately no one prepares you for the reality of BF and how much of a struggle it can be sometimes. You are doing all the right things, keep putting him back to the breast as often as you can as this will stimulate your body to make more milk the following day.
If you are worried about using a bottle to top up, then just keep BF him as much as you can through the evenings and nights for the next couple of days, it should eventually boost your supply to the levels he needs. But you should be aware that growth spurts and hungry days do occur and then you just need to accept that he may be attached to you all evening. This is perfectly normal for a BF baby! But do get him weighed to make sure he is putting on the appropriate amount of weight.
If you are not opposed to bottle top ups, then you could always give yourself a bit of a break and continue to have one evening top up a day, while you pumped instead. This would also help stimulate your supply.
This is such a intensive time as a mother, so be sure to take care of yourself too, eat, drink and rest (impossible I know!) and don't make too many plans to go out or to entertain hoardes of visitors. This is your time to be there for your baby - enjoy!

itsaruddygame Fri 05-Apr-13 10:29:55

Thanks quiet. I thought we had cracked it but I guess no such luck! He fed literally all night but still couldn't seem to get enough from me. I hope supply kicks in soon. He is a very content little man if his belly is full so it is hard to see him so unsettled and makes me feel frustrated that the milk just isn't always plentiful enough!

AmandaCooper Fri 05-Apr-13 11:08:34

It sounds completely normal. My DS 5 weeks old today is exactly the same clamouring for more constantly and never off the breast. It's very wearing and at times worrying. It helps me to remember that in the survival of the fittest nature has favoured the genes for shouting loudest, feeding as often as possible and staying close to mum. Also don't forget your baby is not just feeding - he is also activating your hormones to maintain and increase your supply, developing his immune system, staying warm and feeling safe.

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