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5 week old feeding every 1-2 hours

(18 Posts)
firsttimemum0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 21:35:50

My 5 week old dd usually feeds for 10 minutes, sometimes only 5, (exclusively bf) and wants to eat every 1-2 hours maximum, day AND night. Obviously this is exhausting and combined with her recent penchant for crying inconsolably for roughly 2 hours every night has me at my wit's end. I was wondering if this is normal and what, if anything, I can do about it.

She was quite small at birth (5lb50z) but has put weight on really well, she's up to a little over 7lb now, so I'm not worried about her not getting enough or anything like that. She's a happy little bunny and has been very active and alert recently. I'm just worried about my sanity! I only got around 4 hours of broken sleep last night and haven't slept for more than 2 hours at a go since she was born. I'm pretty much at the end of my tether now.

At my friend's suggestion, as often as I cba, I strip her to her nappy to try and get her to feed for longer. This has had limited success however and often it's not that she has fallen asleep on the boob, though she does do this most times, she just doesn't want to feed for more than 10 minutes.

At the suggestion of my bf counsellor, I have started expressing a bit before a feed as it seems I have very fast let down so she'd be getting more hind milk and hopefully filling up more on the good stuff. I have only done this a few times but each time it hasn't made any difference in that she still wanted to feed 1 hour later. This was particularly frustrating the times when she fed for 25 minutes so I went to bed hoping for a nice long sleep!

Having broken sleep at night isn't so bad when I can catch up a bit in the evenings when dp is home. So I go to bed but he brings her up after an hour, 2 if I'm lucky, because she's hungry and it feels like I've been asleep for 30 seconds!

She feeds 18 times a day on average for around 10 minutes. I am totally and utterly exhausted now.

So a few questions;

Presumably she will grow out of this eventually, when?! What can I do to get her to go longer between feeds and/or eat more with each feed?

If expressing the fore milk off first is the way to go, should I be doing this for every feed? Will it take a while to make any difference?

Do I just need to be tougher about keeping her awake during feeds? Sometimes even stripping her off and using a cold wet cloth on her won't keep her awake. And in the night I'm obviously delighted when she goes back to sleep cos it means I can too!

Should I swop boobs with each feed, even if she only does 5 or 10 minutes on one? I've tried swopping each time and block feeding, neither made any difference.

Is it too soon to start expressing so dp can do some feeds?

Any help will be much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
firsttimemum0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:12:14

Originally posted this here...

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/behaviour_development/1975442-5-week-old-feeding-every-1-2-hours

OP’s posts: |
ExBrightonBell Wed 22-Jan-14 22:23:24

Have a look (if you haven't found it already) at the Kellymom article on frequent nursing. There's lots of useful info on the Kellymom site.

sherbetpips Wed 22-Jan-14 22:23:43

My DS was the same, he was using me as a dummy and happily drifting off to sleep. I was offering the breast constantly and he never fed for more than 10 mins. A successful feeding session will last up to 40 mins, it's not a ten minute slurp. So the question is how do you get back to feeding instead of being a comforter. Had I known at the time I would have used a dummy to break up the pattern. The first few months are very confusing but the answer to crying is not feeding every time, that isn't what feeding on demand is. You don't need to keep her awake, you need to feed her when she needs feeding and resist doing so in between. I managed 10 weeks in the end until my HV advised me to stop as I was starting to really struggle with pnd. My SIL managed to do it with her second (having learnt from her first). Maybe keep a diary of when she has fed and for how long as tiredness can be confusing. Good luck and whatever you choose it's the right thing for you and your lovely daughter x

minipie Wed 22-Jan-14 22:29:25

Expressing off the foremilk sounds like a red herring to me. Fast let down would usually cause choking and spluttering at first but easier feeding once the let down passes but that's not what you're describing.

Has she been checked for tongue tie? If she has tongue tie that could be why she can't feed for long at a time and can't get much at a time.

ExBrightonBell Wed 22-Jan-14 22:33:22

For some babies 10 minutes is a perfectly long enough feed, it doesn't always have to be a specific time such as 40 minutes. At 5 weeks old I don't think it's a great idea (for long term breastfeeding) to restrict feeds to a schedule or to attempt to space them out. The whole supply/demand system is still being established.

Feeding on demand means being responsive to your baby's needs, and feeding can be about closeness and comfort just as much as nutrition. That doesn't mean you should restrict any feeding that is somehow deemed non-nutritive. Closeness and comfort are surely as important as nutrition?

Anyway, that's just my thoughts on it, I'm not a health care professional :-)

TarkaTheOtter Wed 22-Jan-14 22:37:38

I have fast letdown and my babies have only ever taken 10mins to feed. So in itself that might not be a problem.

QuietNinjaTardis Thu 23-Jan-14 08:11:36

Dd is an efficient feeder and averages ten minutes a feed and has done since birth. She has been perfectly happy and content feeding for that amount of time. She hadn't out on as much weight as expected so I was advised to feed her then when she falls asleep/drops off to change her nappy and wake her a bit and then try her again so she gets more of the hind milk. Doesn't always work sometimes it does, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get longer between feeds. Your dd is establishing your supply and there are a few growth spurts in the first few months quite close together so I would feed her when she wants feeding and remember that this too shall pass. Could you try feeding long down so you can get a bit of shut eye while she eats?

QuietNinjaTardis Thu 23-Jan-14 08:11:49

Lying down not long down!

firsttimemum0000 Fri 24-Jan-14 10:19:47

thanks for the replies guys, didn't manage to get online at all yesterday! apart from being a frequent feeder, she's also going through a phase of screaming for no apparent reason in the evenings for a couple of hours. we took her out in the car at 10.30pm last night as it instantly settles her. it totally worked too, until we got home that is! but at least she was calmer by then.

my instinct is telling me that she does just need to feed frequently at the moment and i just need to learn to deal with it. it's fine during the day, it's just really hard being woken up so often at night. and not being able to catch up on a bit of sleep in the evenings when dp is home is an added bummer. it's particularly frustrating when she falls asleep on the boob after 5 minutes then demands food again 30 minutes later, especially at 5am when it feels like i've only just got back to sleep. as i say, none of this is a problem for her. she's putting on weight, filling nappies etc and is happy (mostly!). it's just knackering for me.

to be fair i have got a bit lazy about trying to extend her feeds by stripping her off, changing her etc. it's become a vicious circle really cos i'm so tired that when she does fall asleep, i'm pleased and just can't find it in myself to go through all that and am pleased she's asleep! i do keep a cold wet flannel on hand which sometimes extends the feed by a few minutes.

i think she does comfort suck quite a lot, i.e. she's fast asleep on the boob but still sucks every now and again. she's not getting much milk when this happens right? but yes i agree that this is important too. i do let her stay on if i can though do break her off if it's sore on my nipples or if i have to do something else.

i am practising at feeding lying down, it's not the best position for me as for some reason my nipples get sore after a bit, i guess her latch isn't as good and she also tends to come off more easily so i have to hold my boob so can't sleep. i suppose this will get easier as she gets bigger and her latch gets stronger.

i'm going to start expressing so dp can do some feeds, at least one in the evening so i can hopefully get a proper rest. if i can just get 3 hours or so in the evening i tend to feel much less deranged! any tips on doing this for the first time?

she hasn't been checked for tongue tie, i never considered it since she seems to be getting enough generally as she's putting on weight. i'll ask the hv next week.

OP’s posts: |
Kelly1814 Fri 24-Jan-14 18:44:49

My 18 weeker still eats every two hours in the day. FF.

Chocolateteabag Sat 25-Jan-14 13:43:10

Hi OP - my 5 week DS is asleep on me after yet another 5 min swig hmm
I have a fast let down which he does choke on at times but I figure he is just a quick drinker. He can go as long as 3 hours between feeds, but we then revert back to 1-2 hours every few days - which I chalk up to growth spurts. He currently has a blocked nose after catching my and DS1's cold.

My advice (such as it is) - keep going with trying to extend feeds where you can, but don't worry about the night ones so much - do what you need to get her back to sleep (and then yourself) you will want her to get most of her milk through the day anyway

I worry too much about falling asleep and rolling onto DS2 to try feeding lying down (it gives me nightmares as it is)

Express in the morning as you should have more milk. I have done this a couple of times and get 3oz on my mega boob but may switch to formula as I worry about getting oversupply issues as I can't express every morning.

As for comfort sucking, listen out for swallowing and if she has stopped or slowed to less that one swallow per 5-6 sucks then detach her by putting your little finger in at the side of her mouth, in between her gums and break the seal. This is how to preserve your nipple (don't ever just pull your nipple out ouch!) I am trying to get Ds2 to take a dummy to stop this and it can distract him for a short while if I'm in middle if something when he wants food. He needs help to get going and it often falls out straight away, but IMO worth persevering as I don't want him to suck his thumb or have a comfort toy or blanket.
Good luck

cakeandcustard Sat 25-Jan-14 14:06:01

Hi, my 4 week old will cry and root if shes tired as well as hungry. I would try to aim for two hourly feeds and try everything you have in your arsenal to settle her without feeding her if shes restless before the two hours is up. I've got my DD to take a dummy to stretch her out which I know you're not supposed to do but I did full on 'feed on demand' with DS2 and ended up with PND which meant I was no good to anyone. If I'm lucky she will also settle to the washing machine on spin or me walking up & down stairs with her in a sling.

If she goes longer in between feeds you may find she takes more at each feed and then settles for longer. Don't sacrifice your sanity on one approach to breastfeeding, the advice used to be scheduled 4 hour feeds & ten mins on each boob, find what works for you.

froubylou Sat 25-Jan-14 15:38:55

My ds is 6 weeks old and was similar to your lo. We now usually get 3 hours between feeds at night which makes a massive difference but he was still every hour or two during the day. And wouldn't go down between feeds. So as the day progressed we end up with a very tired baby and a sore, tired mummy.

I have found that if I pop him in the sling he is asleep in minutes and will go 3 to 4 hours. He then wakes up starving, takes a proper feed and is a much happier baby!

We still struggle at teatime until bedtime but am planning on using the sling at tgat time too. Or instead of the morning so I can spend a bit of time with dd and dp without being a dummy.

It's not easy this bfing lark. And although we should feed on demand and let them feed whenever they want its sometimes just too much.

I can sometimes pass him to dp to settle down and because he can't smell milk he will settle a bit.

froubylou Sat 25-Jan-14 15:39:10

My ds is 6 weeks old and was similar to your lo. We now usually get 3 hours between feeds at night which makes a massive difference but he was still every hour or two during the day. And wouldn't go down between feeds. So as the day progressed we end up with a very tired baby and a sore, tired mummy.

I have found that if I pop him in the sling he is asleep in minutes and will go 3 to 4 hours. He then wakes up starving, takes a proper feed and is a much happier baby!

We still struggle at teatime until bedtime but am planning on using the sling at tgat time too. Or instead of the morning so I can spend a bit of time with dd and dp without being a dummy.

It's not easy this bfing lark. And although we should feed on demand and let them feed whenever they want its sometimes just too much.

I can sometimes pass him to dp to settle down and because he can't smell milk he will settle a bit.

Artandco Sat 25-Jan-14 17:06:00

I think every 2 hrs is perfectly fine. What you can try is cluster feeding in the eve, ie getting her to feed every hour for a few hours 7-11 pm. Then he should be about to go 3-4 hrs at night.
We did this and usually only fed around 3 and 6 am. But from 12 weeks they began to sleep 11-6, quick feed then sleep again until 8/9am so does get better.

Also Lots of fresh air during the day helped them work out day from night.

Seff Sat 25-Jan-14 20:42:22

DD used to scream every evening for about 2 hours. She wouldn't feed, wouldn't settle for me or DH, and would eventually feed to sleep. It went on for a few weeks but I can't really remember when it stopped. Trying to pre empt it with cluster feeding may help.

She would also mainly feed for 5-10 minutes, every 1-2 hours. I would try everything to keep her awake but that was just the way she was. Even at night (though she did start sleeping longer stretches at night quite quickly) Haven't read other replies properly, but try to offer the other side, but don't worry if she won't take it.

It could also be a growth spurt. Try to stop counting feeds, and watching the clock and just go with it. Sleep when she does (if you can, at least rest if you can't) and keep hydrated (very important!). It will get easier, and she will grow out of it. She's still very tiny smile

Every day is different.

naty1 Sat 25-Jan-14 21:06:17

I found trying to get baby to bed later worked for me. Especially if you are up till 11 say anyway.
More help from oh.
I think it is worth expressing to bottle feed some babies won't take bottle at all if given later on
Have you got a baby swing. That sends them to sleep well.
I agree to some extent extend time between feeding so more taken at once especially in evening.
Some foods can cause gassy baby I think for mine parsnip and garlic were problems. Other suggested ones cruciferous veg.
Sometimes they just eat a lot.
It will slow down in the end

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