clueless new mum, help with bf please(18 Posts)
Feeling a bit tearful as I just don't know what to do for the best.
My ds is ten days old.
I am worried baby is not getting enough food to gain weight.
The five day check found he had lost 330g or 10%. I had a cs and milk didn't come in till day 5, which might explain it, but also baby was very sleepy and reluctant to feed also.
After the day 5 weigh in I was told I had to get his weight up in 48 hours or would have to start expressing. He put on 30g which they were happy with, but doesn't have another weight in till day 13, and am worried it will show he isn't gaining properly and will then be ambushed by the expressing again.
I have been daily to the breastfeeding drop in and they are confident that my position is good and baby is latching and feeding well.
I have a couple of things I am confused about if anyone can guide me.
1. Should I be waking baby to feed?- baby is still very sleepy and I have to really work at it to get him awake enough- nappy change, strip him off, stroke feet etc.
I didn't for the first 5 days and he lost weight, so did wake him every three hours on day 6 & 7 when he gained weight, so now don't know if I need to keep doing this (MW says no, demand feeding is better, but he went from 2am till 6:30am this morning with no feeding at all). It feels unnatural to wake him, but if I don't he just doesn't seem to wake up himself properly at regular enough intervals and I don't think can get enough food.
2. Night time crying/cluster feeding/wind etc.
He is much more unsettled and awake from about 8pm till 2am, and will feed, scream, feed some more. MW says this is normal and to just feed him whatever he wants.
BF clinic lady says the baby had a lot of wind, is screaming because in pain and the mouthing etc doesn't mean 'i need more food' it means 'i'm distressed and I don't know what to do' and feeding him on top of the wind just makes him more distressed hence the screaming, and I shouldn't keep feeding him once he's had a proper feed but just wind him and put him down.
MW says bf babies do not get wind and there is no need to wind at all.
Baby does seems quite windy to me, you can hear it, he scrunches up his legs to his body, he does lots of farts and if you wind him you get a lot of air up. And if you feed him he does get more distressed after each feed until he is back feeding again so seems to me there might be something in this...but if I do feed even if its wind, at least he is getting food in.
Sorry it is long, please help!
Sounds like you have a lot to deal with on top of recovering yourself
Cluster feeding in the evening is perfectly normal. Please don't worry. Although you can try to help him with the wind with things like a bath, tummy massage or just getting DH (if you have one) to stick him in a sling and take him for a walk.
Its a bit odd that the lady at the clinic has said that. Do you know what qualifications she has? Is she a BFC?
If you are concerned about his weight I'd try to feed him every 2 hours in the day and every 4 at night.
I'm not trained though, so you might be better talking to one of the Bfing Helplines. Have you got the numbers?
Here are some articles that might help, how do I increase my baby's weight gain, feeding your newborn: what to expect in the early weeks and sleepy babies.
Has anyone checked him yet for tongue tie or given you any reasons why he had the 10% drop?
While I would definitely follow the medical advice and make sure the baby is monitored I just wanted to say that almost everyone I know who has breastfed (including me) has had these sorts of hiccups with weight at the beginning, but very often things seem to settle down with a bit of help and advice.
If he is still sleepy, then yes you might need to wake him to feed him (we had to set an alarm for every 3 hours when DD was born, as she was quite jaundiced so very very sleepy. We did it for about 4 weeks, at which time DD decided for herself what her routine was going to be.
DD also cluster fed every evening. Eventually it got her into a good routine for sleeping through the night. I understand it's quite normal.
Agree with the others - yes you might need to wake him up to feed him and that evening time cluster feeding is normal.
About the wind - I think it is true that in general you don't have to wind bf babies as a matter of course like ff babies but they can still get wind and be in discomfort. Have you tried infacol?
She definitely gets wind. A good burp after each feed sorts her out, and she's very farty to boot.
At 10 days old I was still feeding at least every three hours, more if she wanted it. Expressing isn't actually a great help for many mums, putting baby to breast (for me at least) has done way more to kick start milk production.
I also had a CS and a jaundiced baby (she actually had prolonged jaundice that lasted about six weeks...) as well as a litre blood loss, so I understand your anxiety about not producing enough milk. But if you're keen to bf then don't make the mistakes I did with DC1 (also CS, jaundice plus I lost two litres of blood...) - I thought expressing would help (it didn't) and I gave a bottle at night instead of boob (night feeds encourage milk production more than daytime ones, apparently).
Oh, I've found a routine of troubleshooting helps - so
I will change nappy first, then offer boob, then wind (if she seems uncomfortable and back-patting doesn't work, I lay her down and push her legs back and forth), then just cuddle. One of those will usually hit the spot.
There is a feeding position that may help with wind. You sit up but slightly reclined, put the baby facing you, also in a sitting position with one leg either side of your leg. Allow the baby to "fall" naturally against the breast.
This position does have a proper name, but I can't remember it. Because the baby is upright it means the wind can escape a little easier. This is also a great position if you are relaxing whilst watching telly, as it means you have at least one hand free.
The early days of bfing are hard - just take one day at a time and get as much support as you can.
cluster feeding is totally normal... but bf babies do definitely get wind despite what anybody says so I would also wind him after a feed or halfway through but wouldn't then stop feeding if he wants to cluster feed.
waking to feed - yes, every three to four hours. if he cluster feeds like crazy up to 2am i might be tempted to let him go till 6/6:30am after that but normally after a more 'normal' feed then wake after 3-4hrs.
this is a real mumsnet refrain but have you had him checked for tongue tie? it can make them gulp more wind when feeding and also find feeding hard work and therefore sleep more. my ds was diagnosed after a week and snipped at three weeks.
Wow good on you getting to the breastfeeding group etc when you've had a CS too. my dd had terrible wind, we used infacol then gripe water in the end, I never got a burp up without. It all sounds very familiar, but I don't think I got any answers, just got through it somehow.
We woke my dd up through the day and even at night if it got too long.
The evening cluster feed definitely seems normal, exhausting though it is!
Good luck and I second the PPs suggestions of breastfeeding helplines and websites plus following medical advice, and getting tongue tie checked.
Gosh, it's so difficult isn't it when you're getting conflicting information.
Sounds like he's falling into a similar routine as my DS (now 10 weeks) who cluster fed like crazy in the evenings and then slept for 4/5 hours straight. It's as if they're 'tanking up' to last through the night - not a bad habit by any means!
After trying (and failing) to wake my DS every 3 hours in the first few days, I gave up and followed his lead - which worked really well for us and he gained like a trouper.
Just be vigilant about wind and keep burping. If he's showing signs of wind mid feed, take a break and burp some more. Aside from that, I'd try feeding him as often as he demands it and let him sleep when he wants to sleep - provided he's not going more than 4-5 hours at a time that is!
Are you offering both breasts at every feed? That's another way to make sure he's getting as much as possible.
thanks so much for the replies, really helpful and I am so encouraged that others got through this stage and managed to carry on to success.
Particularly useful to hear that expressing didn't seem the answer- this was my instinct and I'm going to keep trying to avoid it if possible.
Also articles incredibly useful, thanks. Good to know that there actually is such as thing as sleepy baby syndrome- it isn't just me imagining things or doing a poor job in
The BF lady is actually a specialist breastfeeding midwife, sorry if I made her sound like an amateur! She does strike me as very knowledgeable and has many years experience, but it is difficult to go against my own MW's advice which differs so much.
My plan for the next 72 hours until weigh in is now to feed the baby every three hours by waking, in the hope of getting more food in.
I went to the breastfeeding drop in again this afternoon and they taught me some baby massage things to do to get rid of wind. First feed after this at 6pm this evening, baby fed for 10 mins and then dropped off as usual, so I winded and baby hungry again, so winded etc and baby ended up feeding for an hour all told which is the most they have ever taken, so the winding does seem to help.
Offering both breasts at a single feed has never really been an option when baby only feeds for a few mins, but hopefully with the winding baby will carry on feeding for longer and I can offer both.
Breastfeeding MW's opinion seems to be that baby is very windy, so baby thinks it is full so doesn't get a complete feed, so blood sugar is low making them hard to rouse and feed, so the answer is to wind a lot more to increase feed times which will hopefully then increase baby's wakefulness, but in the meantime to wake every 3 hours.
My own MW is very keen on only doing demand and not waking as she says this leads to better milk production and long term nursing but it just really isn't working at the moment, baby just does not wake up.
FX that this does the trick
3 hourly is quite infrequent - I would aim to feed much more frequently than that if you can, 10-12 times in 24 hours.
Demand feeding only works if the baby is strong and gaining enough weight to do the demanding imo. Once he's regained his birthweight and has started to ask for feeds frequently is the time to feed on demand.
As I understand it bfing on demand is the best option for most babies but if your baby isn't gaining as much weight as you hope you may need to help by things such as winding, offering the breast again and maybe doing breast compressions
You don't mention tongue tie. Has any of the MWs checked him yet?
Agree with whoever said that if he'd cluster fed from 8pm until 2am I would be tempted to leave him if he slept for 4.5 hours too. Sorry if I'd made it sound like you should have woken him earlier.
Also think you are doing very well to get out so much too. It might help to have a day or two off going though if you are going to the bfing group every day. Have you considered having a Babymoon? See if DH will bring you up a packed lunch, some snacks, drinks, phone, remote etc and spend a day or two in bed with your Lo.
It might also be worth seeing if there is la Leche league group in your area too. The leader may be able to speak to you over the phone and they may have meetings you could go to and meet other bfing Mums
Agree with hollie again. I would go for offering a feed every 2 hours in the day. I did this when my DDs weight plateaued and she soon gained
My baby cluster fed and slept 4/5 hours at a time from the beginning too. She gained weight well and is just fine! As long as he's not lethargic all the time and is waking for other feeds, I think it's probably okay to take your babies cues. If he's pretty lethargic in general, try waking him. I don't know what this midwife is taking about telling you that breastfed babies don't get wind! My breastfed baby is a champion burper and farter! I also kept thinking she was hungry because she would make the same motions - rooting, putting hands in her mouth - and sometimes she was still hungry and sometimes she just had a burp or a fart. I still can't tell which one is which now. But soon you'll start to get more confident that he's had enough (you'll be able to estimate how much he's had by feeling your breast before and after). Breastfeeding can be so anxiety-causing in the beginning. It does get better as you figure each other out though. Hope that helps!
*He is much more unsettled and awake from about 8pm till 2am, and will feed, scream, feed some more.
he scrunches up his legs to his body, he does lots of farts and if you wind him you get a lot of air up. And if you feed him he does get more distressed after each feed until he is back feeding again*
From my own recent experience and from speaking to lots of other new mums, this is all very normal newborn behaviour! Just think how small their little tummies are and how new they are to the world. They are still learning how to feed at this point. Your baby is as new to all this as you are, and he can't logon to "babysnet" for help and reassurance!
You are doing really well and I'm sure your baby will thrive.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.