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BFing on demand taking its toll

(20 Posts)
IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 14-Aug-14 16:05:27

DS is a week shy of 6 months and is EBF. He is DC2 and I'm trying to not make the mistakes I did with DD of thinking he needs a routine and only needs to feed every X hours, so he has been fed totally on demand since day 1.

He is a happy baby and putting on weight following 9th-25th centile since birth so absolutely perfect.

The only problem is he feeds so frequently. Probably every 2 hours or more frequently in the day. I'm exhausted. He wakes at least twice a night for a feed (twice is a good night) and it's starting to take its toll.

Should I try and make him go longer between feeds? If so how? And how will I fit in weaning between such frequent feeds.

It's over 6 months away but already stressing about going back to work and his feeding, especially as I will work a 15hour night shift every 8 days too.

DD was EBF until 12.5 months and I want to BF DS until at least the same age but it's getting hard!

Sorry for the long post. Probably more of a rant than anything.

mrscog Thu 14-Aug-14 16:07:42

I think he's old enough where you could try and stretch him out between feeds now. Presumably you'll be introducing some solids soon - My DS dropped a lot of feeds once he was starting the day with a large bowl of ready brek. The advice I was given with introducing solids was to do the solid first then the feed.

CultureSucksDownWords Thu 14-Aug-14 16:56:37

Firstly, I wouldn't worry about going back to work now. Your DS will be 12 months plus by then, having more solids than milk and you can move to giving cows milk in a cup instead of breastfeeding if you want to.

You could consider trying to reduce night wakings, by only offering a feed if it has been more than 3 hours (or 4 hours or whatever you are comfortable with) since his last feed. If he wakes sooner than that, do anything necessary to get him back to sleep other than feed him. You should hopefully find that he stops waking up so frequently at night as a result.

As for introducing solids at 6 months, you can just start with one meal a day. I disagree with mrscog, in that I would offer food about 1 hour after a breastfeed. That way he won't be starving and wanting a breastfeed, but he also won't be full and not interested.

So about 1 hour after a feed just offer some solids and see how he goes. Once you have one meal established for a couple of weeks you can move to two meals, and then 3 and so on. Or you could try Baby Led Weaning and just offer some of your food when it is meal time for you and your DD, which would be even more straightforward.

IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 14-Aug-14 16:58:49

Yes, planning on introducing solids next weekend. I was planning on BLW so not sure he will be filling his tummy up enough for a while.

He loves BFing so no idea how I'm going to eek it out for longer between feeds!

IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 14-Aug-14 17:00:53

Culture, I think my main worry is him waking DD in the night if I don't feed him to sleep straightaway! I'm worried there will be screaming blush

Heels99 Thu 14-Aug-14 17:03:51

Going longer between feeds I found better done gradually. So if he normally feeds every two hours, then when he starts to need a feed entertain him, read a story sing songs etc etc see if you can get him to go an extra 20 mins. Do this every feed. Once he starts going a little longer, gradually stretch it to 3 hours then 4. Combined with the solids. I found feeding at set times worked for us, 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm. Obviously if wanted more feeds in between would give them but I stuck to those times in addition. If you could get to that would it make a difference?

Heels99 Thu 14-Aug-14 17:04:08

NB I was express and then bottle feeding

CultureSucksDownWords Thu 14-Aug-14 17:06:10

Do you have a DP/DH around at night who could re-settle your DD if she is woken? If you plan for that in advance then it won't be so stressful if it happens.

eatscakefornoreasonwhatsoever Thu 14-Aug-14 17:08:47

BLW can be helped along. Porridge fingers, sweet potato wedges, roasted carrots are all filling but quite easy blw foods.

Justgotosleepnow Thu 14-Aug-14 17:11:07

I'm a bit wary about the advice to stretch out feeds. surely that means your baby is hungry and you are waiting for a set defined time that it is acceptable to be hungry at.

blw is great, but you do know it doesn't mean no spoons? it means you don't force food on the baby, but if they have had a wee taste of something and they lean forward to take it off your spoon thats ok .

i had to mix feed at the weaning time - so it was visible how much milk my dd dropped when she started solids at 6 months. it was a lot! I reckon you will find it easier once you start solids.

it is normal for a 6mo to need night feeds. yes it is tiring.

but it doesn't mean they will be the same in another 6 months. try not to think about the going back to work logistics just yet.

IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 14-Aug-14 17:16:49

Yes I have DH around and I have mentioned to him it might be better for DS not to smell me/milk if trying to settle without feeding. He agreed that it's probably a good idea but obviously we've not tried it yet.

My concern with stretching out the feeds is that he's putting on weight perfectly at the moment, and less feeds might stop that. That was what happened with DD as I was a first time mum and was feeding her according to what I read I should do. Got referred to paed at the hospital for possible failure to thrive due to dropping centiles.

If anything I'm more concerned about getting it right this time than I was with PFB!

Justgotosleepnow Thu 14-Aug-14 17:29:37

I'm sorry that happened with your first baby.
no one other than your baby knows when they are hungry. the x hours gap is just daft sorry.
and there is every likelihood that the same will happen if you let this baby wait to be fed.

to look at it another way- if you are hungry what do you do? eat. maybe just a snack and not a 3 course meal. that's the beauty of breastfeeding, its perfectly tailored to your specific baby, exactly what they need at that exact time.
if you don't eat when you are hungry you lose weight, as anyone who has been on a diet knows.

CultureSucksDownWords Thu 14-Aug-14 17:37:55

I'm not in any way suggesting that you try and stretch out feeding in the day time. I wouldn't do that and never have. Clearly no one would suggest not feeding a hungry baby.

I do think it is reasonable to try to reduce night wakings as waking every 2 hrs (or less) isn't sustainable in terms of sleep for the parent that is attending to those wakings. It got to the point with my DS that I knew he wasn't hungry when he woke, it was just that he didn't know how else to get back to sleep other than to feed. I don't think it was daft to try and settle him back to sleep without feeding him, when he woke 45 minutes after a long feed? He also didn't lose weight or even slow down his weight gain during this period of time.

WhatsMyAgeAgain Thu 14-Aug-14 19:23:18

Sounds hard. Sounds like my LO. Sounds like bf on demand. BF caters for all levels of hunger and thirst, as well as comfort. Really don't think you can ebf and have it any other way, unless your baby changes habits of own accord.

WhatsMyAgeAgain Thu 14-Aug-14 19:26:06

Sorry- I'm talking about daytime. Can't offer any advice about night time- I cosleep and feed LO 4 or more times at night. (will be back looking for advice when I'm back to work next week, I'm sure!)

Heels99 Thu 14-Aug-14 19:49:14

Less often doesn't mean baby gets less milk, they take more milk at fewer feeds. Their total milk intake should not change and they should not lose weight. You asked how to extend the feeds. If you don't want to as you think your baby will lose weight then you'll have to hope the weaning helps or just continue with the two hourly feeds.

Enidosaurus Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:15

If you reduce the number of feeds doesn't your body stop making as much milk?

Breastfeeding at 5 months is new to me, I'm feeding on demand with one bottle of formula in the evening so DH and I can tag team putting DD1 to bed.
DD2 is also feeding every 2 hours squishy and it's exhausting. I've been thinking about trying to space out feeds but like you I'm worried about messing up the lovely weight gain she has.

No answers for you OP but I'm hoping that weaning helps give a bit more of a break between feeds!

IShallCallYouSquishy Fri 15-Aug-14 13:54:47

Well after a chat with DH last night we are going to start weaning tomorrow and try and space out BF between mid morning and mid afternoon.

So still feed him whenever from waking until nap, then feed about 10:30, try food at DD's lunch time 11:30ish then see if he will settle for a nap without another BF. Will then BF on whenever from mid afternoon until bedtime.

Might work! Seems a bit more gentle than suddenly saying every X hours and that's that

Heels99 Fri 15-Aug-14 22:13:49

Just to point out nobody said feed every x hours and that's that. Everyone on this thread has agreed you should feed as demanded, but perhaps try to stretch out a title if possible gradually

eagle2010 Sat 16-Aug-14 10:52:18

FWIW, I found 6 months the hardest with DS and BF. There's a growth spurt, he was teething and I naively thought that once I introduced solids he'd suddenly stretch out his feeds!

As whatsmyageagain said, babies don't just BF for nutrition - but for comfort as well. So it's not just about baby being hungry.

Once that 6 month phase passed, things got MUCH easier - DS didn't feed so often during the day and DH could settle him with a cuddle if he woke at night.

I know all babies are different but there is an easier time coming very soon so hang in there! Good luck and have some cake

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