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Bf at night, don't know what to do

(22 Posts)
snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 01:16:39

DC3 is 9wks and ebf, nighttimes are a complete nightmare. He wakes at least every 90 mins for a feed, as he has since the beginning and is showing no signs of going longer, and I am now really struggling.

When he wakes, he sometimes only feeds for a few minutes before falling asleep, but is then difficult to get back into the cot as he wakes as soon as transferred. It's like a cycle of waking and very light sleeping, in very short bursts. He often wakes very quickly after being put in, so he's in and out for hours.

He feeds frequently in the day too, only really going longer stretches if we have been in the car and he's very deeply asleep. He often swallows air which makes him uncomfortable. He had a tongue tie at birth which has been clipped, but I can't get any deeper latch.

He has to start going longer than this, it's not sustainable and I can't function on the 2-3 hrs a night I am getting. We cosleep sometimes but feeds seem to be even more frequent then, and he suffers with wind as then he's not sat up and burped.

He's the 3rd child i have breastfed, and i totally expect night wakings but not to be up for most of the night, every night. I don't want to introduce formula but this can't continue, any ideas?

PetaPipa Sat 16-Aug-14 01:28:29

That is hard work - my dd was like that. Have you got anyone who can help you during the day? You need to try to space out the feeds a bit so he stops snacking and takes a good meal (including the fatter hindmilk, which will help fill him up). Is there someone who can take him out for a walk/drive to help you out with this? Also, the latching problem definitely will not help - can you get to a breastfeeding clinic or see a breastfeeding counsellor to help with this?

snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 01:39:01

Not really got any help - DH is kept busy with the other 2 during the day at weekends, and haven't got anybody to ask during the week.

I looked into bf groups but the health visitor said they weren't suitable to bring older children along, and they run on days when I have them all at home. I don't know about other sources of bf counsellor - I have phoned NCT and LLL in the past but only had phone advice. Don't know if they can send someone?

snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 01:40:40

It's like he only wants to sleep attached to me, snoozing and sucking.
I tried a dummy but he won't have it

snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 01:43:14

He's currently been up for an hour after sleeping an hour beforehand. He's been in and out cot 3 times and fed for a total of about 30 mins, in 3 goes during which he fell asleep. I can't get him back in.

wejammin Sat 16-Aug-14 02:16:39

My DS was like this and it turned out he had allergies that were affecting him being comfortable. Does he have any other symptoms?

stargirl1701 Sat 16-Aug-14 02:40:18

Can you get the tt looked at again? They sometimes reattach. I would try a bf helpline. How about the Infant Feeding Specialist at the hospital where you gave birth? A board certified lactation consultant? They sometimes work over video link to reduce travelling.

PetaPipa Sat 16-Aug-14 03:34:52

I would push your HV on breastfeeding help - it's ridiculous that you can't go to a group because of having older children! Very unsupportive! I'm not sure if NCT and LLL will send someone out, but it's worth calling them again and asking. The latch is definitely the place to start to improve things. If you can try to space out the feeds a bit then give it a go, but I know how hard it is if you haven't much help and have older children too. Maybe start at a weekend when your DH can have the big ones and you can focus on the baby. Take him for a walk or drive, try to get him to go 2 or 3 hrs before feeding. Then at night see if on a weekend your DH could stay up with the baby while you go to bed early. See if he can comfort him with rocking, cuddling, a dummy, anything other than you while you get a couple of hours. That will give you a break, and help to space out the feeds. Do you think that would work? Can he be comforted by other people? Also, speak to your GP if things don't get better very quickly. Sleep deprivation is awful and you need some help - ask for a referral to a sleep clinic.
Of course formula is an option but it sounds as if you're not ready to give up bf, and actually it may not make much difference, depending on what the reasons are for ds's frequent wakings.

Monkeybrain10 Sat 16-Aug-14 07:38:47

i am having similar with ds...6 weeks old. like u i didn't want to introduce formula but due to early weight loss was told i had to top him up. now we're giving him a formula feed last thing at night most days which seems to help him sleep...and giving us between 3-4.5 hours sleep in one go. he's a mare again afterwards just snacking and falling asleep for about 30mins the doing it all over again. tbh whilst i hate the formula feed i think having reduced it to one a day it is helping him sleep which is good for both of us.
i await with interest any more suggestions!

snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 08:47:30

Thank you. I will call the HV and see if there's any other support I can access, yes I thought the thing about children was unbelievably unhelpful, there may be some other numbers for bf support in the big pile of leaflets she left.

Re allergies what sort of thing would indicate that, how did you find out? He's gaining weight fine, nappies all good. He's a bit sicky but nothing unusual. Quite windy at both ends, but I think that's cos he swallows air. Anything else I should look out for?

He can be comforted, yes, he will sleep for quite a while if held, he just won't go in cot. Last night we continued till 430 am, then gave in and let him cosleep. He then fed about 3 times lying down until 0730. About the same night before, Gruelling. He's now feeding again, lazily.

CelticPromise Sat 16-Aug-14 09:00:46

I have run several bf groups and older children are welcome at all of them. I would turn up with them, hv may be mistaken but in any case they won't turn you away. Take something to entertain them, my current one doesn't have any toys.

Justgotosleepnow Sat 16-Aug-14 09:10:36

It can be done safely and you get loads more sleep. I cracked up after 10 weeks of what you are doing. LLL lady showed me how to cosleep safely and it's been much better since.

snoggle Sat 16-Aug-14 09:21:22

We do end up cosleeping, but he does snack a lot this way. I make sur no covers near him etc. a question though, if you feed lying down and both nod off feeding then baby is still on his side, which isn't recommedmpnded. How do you get them onto their back when finished?

ZenNudist Sat 16-Aug-14 09:35:55

shock At not being able to take older dc to bf support group. It's not like that round here. Also there's a lactation specialist who does house calls and a peer support network of trained bf mums who also do the community groups and home visits on a volunteer basis. Talk to your HV about getting support and insist.

TT needs to be checked again as he may still have scar tissue from the snip or a posterior tie affecting tongue function. Again you need to insist on a consult with TT clinic or look into private TT specialists in your area. Hopefully go back to who you've seen already. Say that the frequent feeding is not normal for this age and a good sign that he's still not getting enough milk per feed.

The UNICEF baby friendly initiative has details of where TT can be divided which is good place to find a specialist if you need a second opinion. In my area the consultant has delegated the clinic to a very knowledgable midwife who is able to discern slight TT. Not all HCP can spot it.

As for coping in the meantime I suggest co sleeping. I get your point about wind but it's relatively easy to sit up baby to burp and lie back down again. The air gulping also may be a TT symptom.

this is helpful to get comfy lying down. The whole series of videos really helped me when i was struggling with getting ds2 latched, with posterior TT.

Otherwise thanks sorry you're going through this. I think you're right that something's not right with this at 9wo. Do try to keep going, you've got this far, you've done really well. I know things will improve for you, this time goes by so quickly you think it'll never end but then when you look back it was not a long time to struggle.

What helped me keep going was the knowledge of how lovely and easy it is to feed once bf is established. Like you it's taken longtime for me to establish bf with both of mine and I see establishing bf as the hardest thing to do out of pregnancy birth and bf!!! 9 weeks is still normal to struggle so take heart but don't be fobbed off by HCP as you need to take steps to improve situation.

PetaPipa Sat 16-Aug-14 09:44:15

If he can be comforted by your dh and will sleep on him, I would make use of that in the evenings to get some sleep before the rest of the night. And really push for some professional support with bf. It sounds as if you've been really let down by your hv in this department. I hope things improve soon.

Imeg Sat 16-Aug-14 11:14:58

Breast compressions worked for me to improve latch (think made baby open mouth wider) and make feeds more efficient and therefore less frequent. I followed the instructions here:

Although I think part of my problem was that I wasn't confident how to tell the difference between swallowing and sucking (there is a clear description on this page) and if you have done this before you probably know what you're looking for from that point of view.

Really hope it improves for you.

CeliaBowen Sat 16-Aug-14 11:17:41

All the bf support groups I know of welcome older children. I think you should contact them direct. x

BertieBotts Sat 16-Aug-14 11:19:02

When co sleeping I used to burp by holding the baby onto my stomach and rolling onto my back so he was lying tummy down on top of me. I'd then rub and pat his back and it would make him fart more usually than burp but it seemed to work for getting the wind out and didn't require too much waking up.

Can you convert your cot to a bedside one for easy access but so he has his own space and you can sleep a bit easier?

I agree with getting checked for tongue tie, by someone who knows what they are looking for. HV and MW often say "Oh yes no tongue tie there" but there is one.

wejammin Sun 17-Aug-14 05:26:09

With his allergies to be honest there were very few symptoms at first except never settling to sleep, gassy, micro feeds all the time. By 12 weeks he had eczema and bloody poop from colitis.

Sounds like the tt issue is more relevant for you. Hope you can get it looked at again soon.

snoggle Sun 17-Aug-14 07:54:36

I will definitely seek out some more bf support.
In the meantime, I let him cosleep all last night. He still woke to feed 4 times, but completely different baby - relaxed, not windy and no crying. I think we'll have to go with this for now.

snoggle Sun 17-Aug-14 08:00:33

Thanks for that really helpful video zen, I put it into practice last night.
I still dont understand though what happens when you nod off? The baby is left on their side and that's not good?

CeliaBowen Sun 17-Aug-14 09:35:39

In my experience they usually sort of end up on their back as they relax and fall asleep themselves.

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