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Struggling with breastfeeding

(16 Posts)
ab00 Mon 13-May-13 09:58:27

Hi, I'm new on here & desperately need some advice / support regarding breastfeeding as I don't know what to do or if this behaviour is 'normal' & am seriously starting to consider giving up.
The situation is this - I have a lively 16 month old who when born I had desperately wanted to ebf but due to a difficult birth & subsequent problems after (the hospital had to give him formula top ups due to severe jaundice) including a nightmare trying to breastfeed as a result we combined fed for 6 months. I now have another beautiful boy who is just over 7 weeks old so really wanted to ebf this time which so far we have managed but it hasn't been without it's struggles & doesn't seem to be getting any easier.
Initially things got off to a great start, he latched on well, didn't fuss & settled peacefully. He then started getting fussy during feeds, would pull off screaming after a few Sucks but would still want to feed as was still hungry. At around 5 - 6pm everyday he would start crying which would become more & more intense & would not stop until about 10pm all the while feeding a few sucks at a time for no longer than 5 minutes each & would then fall asleep exhausted for up to 6 hours. We tried all the standard colic remedies & the gp has now prescribed gaviscon a few days ago which seems to be helping as we no longer get the huge screaming fits & if he starts to fuss during feeding once he's had his gaviscon, which he hates, he seems better.
During the day he seems to want to feed what feels like constantly. Sometimes he feeds for 5 - 10 minutes falls asleep only to wake up 10 - 20 minutes later hungry. I try to keep him awake by tickling, nappy changing, winding etc but he literally won't open his mouth. Other times he can go up to 3 / 4 hours but only if he's being held, is in the car or a sling. If we try to put him in his moses basket the longest he sleeps for is 1.5 hours during the day & then wakes up to be fed. At night he will sleep in his crib for a max of 3 hours then wakes up to be fed. I'm so exhausted I often doze off feeding him, he falls asleep too & will happily sleep next to me, propped up safely with me sitting to feed, until we try to put him down when he wakes within minutes regardless of being in his sleeping bag, with a warmed muslin cloth that has been wrapped around me under his head. We then feed again & round it goes until about 6am when his dad takes him & has him on his chest so I can finally lie down, get warm & give my back & neck a break by which time they are in bits. I desperately need him to sleep in his own bed not just so i can get some much needed quality sleep but im also worried about the safety side of it but at the moment it's the on only way I'm getting any sleep. The oh seems to think that after his initial 'big sleep' he will just keep waking every time we put him down. We did have the same issue with our first re the sleeping in own bed but after persevering with putting him down be quickly got the idea. I'm at the point of now feeling I have no idea what he wants or when he wants it. Is he still hungry when he falls asleep, is it hunger waking him or does he just want comfort?
Is this behaviour normal, does bf get easier, when does it get easier & how do I get him to sleep in his own bed?
I really want to bf & enjoy it but at the moment I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope this all makes sense!

rubyslippers Mon 13-May-13 10:05:18

has he been checked for tongue tie???

i would get him checked for this first

rubyslippers Mon 13-May-13 10:06:24

apart from that, can you feed him laying down and co-sleeping

this was you can feed without it hurting your neck and back and will give you more rest

ab00 Mon 13-May-13 10:27:54

No he hasn't but we've got our post natal check tomorrow so will ask then.
Haven't tried the laying down co sleeping as had a dodgy pelvis after birth so physically couldn't but will see if I can now. Was also worried about safety of co sleeping & lo becoming used to sleeping with me & then having a battle to get him in his own bed later?

CityDweller Mon 13-May-13 10:41:41

I'm pretty clueless (ftm of 4wk old), but isn't only sleeping for 3hr stretch at night normal at this age? I'm overjoyed when my lo sleeps for that long at night in her co-sleeper crib as her average night time stretch is more like 2 - 2.5 hrs. Mine also will only sleep on me, in sling, or on dh during day. If she's totally conked out, I can get her in pram for a bit (longest so far 20 mins), but if I try to put her down anywhere (tried pram, Moses basket, car seat, bouncy seat, sheepskin on floor) when awake she lasts max 5 mins befor having a shit fit

My point is that others tell me this is normal, to keep on trying to put her down other than on me and that eventually she'll get used to it. It's really hard tho as it means I can't nap when she does during day and longest I get to sleep in a stretch at night is a couple of hours...

shelley72 Mon 13-May-13 10:59:14

tried to send you a PM but doesnt seem to be working.

firstly you have my sympathy. its bloody hard and exhausting isnt it and no-one tells you that all babies are different and they haven’t all read the manuals! you have described my DD to a tee. She was fussy at feeds, grumpy, wouldn’t sleep very well at all and then would only sleep if on my / DH chest. She hated her pram and moses basket and would only really settle in a sling. We did end up co sleeping (for our own sanity apart from anything else) and there are guidelines out there which tell you how to do this as safely as possible (in bed, never a sofa). Your HV should have these. I realise that isn’t the solution for everyone but we were happy with it (and most importantly so was she).

i would also recommend getting checked for TT - two paeds in hospital missed my daughters, i had BF my son previously and so i knew something wasn’t quite right. in DDs case, she also had reflux, and so was prescribed gaviscon which didn’t help that much. then i saw our HV who suggested that she may have an intolerance to dairy and so i cut it out of my diet to see if that had an effect. it did and she was a lot more settled at feeds after. it became particularly apparent once weaning started and we were both dairy free for a long time, she still is.

we also tried osteopathy, which did seem to help, but then she may have been improving anyway. do you have any BF support groups local to you? Maybe make contact there or pop along with your baby? they should have counsellors / peer supporters who will be able to help you. feel free to PM me if you would like and sending very unMN hugs to you.

ChunkyChicken Mon 13-May-13 11:09:52

It rings "reflux" bells for me!!

Gaviscon is not ideal for ebf babies. Get your GP to prescribe omeperazole I think? Or another one, can't remember. Could be CMPI causing the silent (& not so silent) reflux... Google it.

Only know anything about this from YellowWellies, another Mum on the Nov 2012 thread. Constant feeding could be comfort feeding (bm is an antacid & soothes throat & tummy). Being upright could be because laying down causes pain. Bad nights due to tummy pain etc etc etc.

Sorry to be brief as trying to get my 6mo to sleep & on phone...

noblegiraffe Mon 13-May-13 11:17:53

There could be something wrong, but it also sounds like it could be completely normal. Sleeping for 6 hours straight is actually exceptionally good at that age and waking after 2-3 hours is completely normal.
Constant feeding and crying in the evening is also completely normal - see here for some reassurance and tips

Waking up from a daytime nap after 20 minutes doesn't sound like he's waking because he's hungry, but rather because he is overtired. How long is he awake for between naps? It shouldn't be any longer than 90 minutes and probably less before you attempt to get him to sleep (if he won't self settle, then rocking, pram, sling, car are all good ways to force sleep on a reluctant baby).
If he wakes and is crying, and then takes the breast, it could be not because he is hungry, but because he wants comfort. Babies get both comfort and food from breastfeeding. If you are unhappy with comfort sucking then perhaps you could try a dummy?

minipie Mon 13-May-13 13:53:30

Some of this sounds normal for a 7 week old (the big sleep followed by more unsettled sleep is normal), but some of it sounds like reflux as chunky chicken says...

Sounds like your GP thinks it could be reflux, as that is what gaviscon is given for. if you've found gaviscon helps then that says it quite possibly is reflux. I would go back to GP and ask for ranitidine which is usually the next step after gaviscon (and is IME a lot more effective and less faffy to get into an EBF baby). omeprazole is, I believe, stronger than ranitidine (it works slightly differently) but has more side effects so usually only given if ranitidine hasn't worked.

ab00 Mon 13-May-13 23:50:31

Gaviscon seems to have helped so will ask the gp about the other medicines you've recommended. The 6hr sleeps have well & truly gone as he's not screaming himself to exhaustion anymore & the most we get at night is 2.5 - 3 hours in his crib followed by him feedin hungrily for 10 minutes or so before going back to sleep only for him to wake up within 5 minutes of being put in his crib no matter how deeply asleep we think he is. I've tried nappy changes, feet neck & ear tickling as thought he was falling asleep without feeding enough, although previous experience with our eldest tells me if a babies hungry it stays awake!
Today he's been really unsettled all day with sleep & naps & had wanted to feed practically all day. Normally he will settle in the car as long as its moving, traffic lights are not our friend, or in a sling he'll sleep for at least a couple of hours so again if he wax hungry he would surely still be awake.The longest he slept for today was an hour, but only on me.
Having said that I tried lying down to feed thus evening while oh put our eldest to bed to see if I could & he finally fell asleep at about 7.45pm & is still sleeping pewcefully now right in the middle of our bed! Not sure if it's being in our bed or the position he's in from feeding or just being shattered from a bad day thats done it or a combination!
For those of you that co slept how did you do it so that you knew lo wouldn't get squashed by either you or dad? My oh is talking about going in the spare room as he fidgets a lot in his sleep.

Cloverer Mon 13-May-13 23:56:55

Make sure the baby is only on your side, not between you and dad (mothers have an instinct not to roll on baby, dads don't)
No pillows or duvets near the baby
Never share a bed if you have been drinking, smoking, taking drugs or medication that might make you drowsy

Co-sleep and enjoy some sleep! I got to the point where I couldn't have told you when DS fed in the night as I barely woke up. He went into his own bed in his own room at 6 months.

I also used to feed to sleep, then get up and have the evening to myself, then get back into bed later.

ab00 Tue 14-May-13 00:21:23

Did you have any problems moving baby from your bed to their own room?

shelley72 Tue 14-May-13 07:21:27

<looks over at nearly 3 year old who has just spent most of night in our bed>

Dd does at least (mostly) go into her own bed at start of night, I am sure that it can be done easily we just haven't found a way yet..

Cloverer Tue 14-May-13 08:24:20

Personally, no. Stopped feeding to sleep at about 5 months and then it was fairly easy to just move DS into his own room at 6 months. I had a bedside cot (a cosatto one) so he was already used to the cot.

ChunkyChicken Tue 14-May-13 09:41:43

The settling in the car thing is very familiar!! DS would scream unless the car seat was moving. He has grown out of it - can't remember how old he was, maybe 12wks? Anyway, he's fine in it now, so don't stress too much about that, hellish as it is at the time.

ab00 Tue 14-May-13 21:21:01

After a night snuggled up next to me in bed where the little man seemed much happier with very little feeding wanted (don't know if this was because of where he was sleeping, having hardly slept all day, feeding all day or something else entirely) seen gp who was very sympathetic about the situation. She thinks sounds very much like reflux & has prescribed ranitidine to go with the gaviscon. Does anyone else have any experience with this? How quickly did it work? So far he seems more settled today & even managed 1.5 hours in his crib this afternoon although I'm not sure if it's just coincidence.

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