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4-5 months: can anyone remember?

(22 Posts)
laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:30:54

How much a breastfed baby feeds?

I know 'one size doesn't fit all' but I can't remember what to expect.

My prem baby is dropping down the percentile chart, started off just under 50% the. 25, then 9 and now falling towards 2%.

At first I put it down to tongue tie, but this has been resolved for 6 weeks and still we're going the wrong direction.

Baby sill also feeds every 1.5-2 hours for about 15-20 min each side. When I say 'feeds' I should qualify that l I mean; he sucks and swallows and then nibbles, and sometimes will begin to suck and swallow again (usually if I try to prise him off)!

I am exhausted! I've had a sore throat for a month now and every time I think I've shaken it off, I wake with another blocked nose and sandpaper throat.

I think this 2 hour round the clock malarkey is wearing me down. I think baby is getting tired too, as he doesn't sleep between feeds, only catnaps 12-20 min. Not to mention my poor 3 year old who isn't getting a look in.

Any ideas to help, or hope that this will soon pass?!!!

minipie Thu 17-Oct-13 08:41:55

hmmm. that frequency of feeds combined with the weight centiles dropping and combined with the catnapping, does suggest something is going on. Any of these on their own would be fairly normal but all together suggests he's not getting full at feeds. Worth checking that the tongue tie hasn't grown back? Have you tried topping up with formula - not as a long term solution but just once as a diagnostic test - ie if he seems more content/sleeps better/goes longer till the next feed after some formula, it would suggest he is not getting enough from the bf as things currently are.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 17-Oct-13 08:43:50

Agree with mini but you could also try topping up with ebm, if you can manage to fit in a bit if expressing.

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:47:10

Any idea what the problem could be, or how I could find out? I agree it seems as though he isn't satisfied for long.

I had the tongue tie checked at about 2 weeks after it was healed and they said it was totally fine.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 17-Oct-13 08:51:53

My DS was exactly like this and it turned out tipi be tt and upper lip tie. Is there a lll group near to you?

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:54:05

I can try and find one smile

CelticPromise Thu 17-Oct-13 08:54:19

There are ways to encourage baby to feed more, with breast compression etc. Do you have a bf support group you can attend? Some support could really help.

If you do decide to top up, current advice is to do so once or twice a day, not every feed.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 17-Oct-13 15:02:01

There are some helpline numbers here

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 16:23:58

Apple to health visitor who, with my agreement, made a plan to combine feed with alternate breast to formula, and expressing between to; a) ensure I get rest, and b) ensure baby has sufficient milk. The suggestion was to exchange the formula for expressed milk once I have bottled enough of it. That way I have to confidence that he is being fed adequately and so if he fusses too much between feeds then I will try to find an alternative way to comfort him (other than to be used as a dummy, which is too much when I am unwell and have a toddler to deal with too)!

The plan is to review it on Monday. I am hoping I will be able to keep my supply going and ditch formula once he has got used to waiting a little longer between feeds, rather than 'grazing' all day and night

aliciagardner Thu 17-Oct-13 16:30:50

I have a 5 month old. He now feeds every 3 hours in the day, but at 4 months was still every 2 hours. However, he sleeps for good blocks of time in the night (usually 2 or 3 wAkenings between 7pm and 7am).

I do agree that you should look at more specialist help than regular MW/HV. if there's no LLL near you, how about contacting milk matters (specialists for tongue tie). I know that they have a Facebook page that links through to their webpage, as I looked it up ahead of DS2 being born.

Good luck - sounds knackering! Hope you can get some rest and DC can get their eating sorted,

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 16:42:21

Did yours gradually increase timings or suddenly go from 2-3 hrs in the day?

aliciagardner Thu 17-Oct-13 17:13:12

It was a gradual thing. I have always demand fed but was trying to lengthen out his usual 2 hour requests as it was hard to get much done between (as I'm sure you're feeling too!). He just started to seem not quite as ravenous after the 2 hours were up, then it became more like 2.5 hours, then 3 hours. Now he's 5.5 months and he can last 3.5 hours if he needs to, but I tend to feed more or less like this:

First thing on waking (between 6-7am usually) - quick feed just from one side
9am, 12 noon, 3pm, 6.15pm ish good, long feeds from both sides (about 20 mins total these days).
Then on a good night, one good long feed around 2 or 3 am and back to sleep (another feed if needed but try to settle him without feeding immediately if he wakes before/after this rough time slot if possible, my DH will try to settle first then if no good, I'll feed).

We've just fallen into that routine by following DSs lead, but it's much much better than previously when he fed every 2 hours.

CelticPromise Thu 17-Oct-13 18:55:08

laughing I'm glad you have a plan you are happy with, but I'm concerned it's not addressing the underlying problem that your baby may not be feeding efficiently. If you can, please get to a group and have a specialist observe a feed. Lots of HVs don't have great bf training.

Of course, if new plan is working for you feel free to ignore smile

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 22:13:25

Thanks for that info Alicia. When you say 20 mins, do you mean altogether or 20 on each side?

I'm currently doing 20 on each but he doesn't properly drink that long at all. Am just a bit paranoid about giving him the hind milk as well as foremilk!

Celtic - I will call LLL tomorrow and discuss with them too. Am a by wary of dropping breast feed as wouldn't want it to be permanent, so will express to try and help.

CelticPromise Thu 17-Oct-13 22:35:22

Hope they are helpful laughing. Sounds like you are doing a hell of a job. Timing feeds isn't usually helpful, it's active feeding that makes the difference. pumping a good idea. Well done for sticking at it.smile

laughingeyes2013 Thu 17-Oct-13 23:59:56

Just managed to express 100ml which is the most I've done so far! I'm wondering how many times in 24 hours this will be necessary.

I'm aiming to do alternate breast and formula, 4 of each. So if I express twice a day that will be 6 stimulation in 24 hours to help supply. Will that be enough?

laughingeyes2013 Fri 18-Oct-13 00:00:51

Thanks Celtic for your vote of confidence! It's nice to get some positive feedback as its a real game of doubt-all-the-way!

MinnieMousse Fri 18-Oct-13 00:11:47

This sounds exactly like my DD2. She has always enjoyed a good feed and was feeding as regularly and about as long as your baby. She also had a tongue-tie, but was snipped fairly early on. At around this age, I gradually started to reduce the length of feedings. When the "nibbling" began, I would switch sides to see if she genuinely seemed hungry. I would often offer 3 or 4 different sides.

If your baby lived with the tongue tie for some time, it can be difficult for them to begin using their tongue properly and so they continue to feed inefficiently. Have you tried seeing a cranial osteopath? It is often recommended after a tongue-tie snip (I think to help with use of the tongue muscles?). Anyway, a couple of sessions seemed to really help my DD.

LadyDowagerHatt Fri 18-Oct-13 01:29:16

OP - the thinking on foremilk and hindmilk has changed and you don't need to worry about keeping your LO on one side to get the hindmilk, especially when feeding so frequently. The article below is an interesting read to explain it. In fact switch nursing (changing sides when baby falls asleep/loses interest), along with breast compressions is a better way to improve weight gain.


With regards to the plan - 6 times in 24 hours does not sound like a huge amount to keep up supply, considering it is normal for bf babies to feed 10-12 times in 24 hours and nursing is better than the pump to stimulate supply. As a short term plan it should be ok but just so that you are aware this could be a problem if you were to carry this on. Also try not to miss evening/night feeds as these feeds help to trigger supply.

laughingeyes2013 Fri 18-Oct-13 02:16:16

Lady - is 10-12 times normal at 5 months old, or should it reduce by then?

laughingeyes2013 Fri 18-Oct-13 02:17:12

Minnie - seeing cranial osteopath already!

aliciagardner Fri 18-Oct-13 20:11:01

Hi laughing. I meant 20 minutes total - feeding is now approx 10 minutes on each side but that's got quicker in the last 6 weeks or so. Previously it was longer - when tiny, an hour per feed then shorter and shorter as DS2 got more efficient at feeding - but I agree with Celtic and Minnie, if you can feel confident that 'active' feeding has stopped, and your breast is empty, switch to the other side and resist the temptation to clock watch if possible! I also agree with Celtic that MW not always specially trained in BF and so perhaps it may be worth looking for some more specialist help if you still don't feel fully sorted after implementing your new plan (but of course, I hope you do!).

As for number of feedings, for 5 months old I don't think 10 - 12 feedings is typical. My experience (2 babies) is more like 6 - 8. That doesn't mean that I think 10-12 is 'wrong', but whilst I have always demand fed, I've made a conscious effort to always try to get a full feed rather than snack feed iykwim (and 10 -12 feeds at 5 months would indicate snack feeding to me). That means tickling feet, etc. if needed!

Last thing - totally agree that fore milk/ hind milk is not to be worried about. I've done my fair share of worrying and obsessive googling about it, so I am a fine one to talk smile but after exhaustive research, it does look like its really not something to be concerned over.

Hope you're doing okay.

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