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Cluster feed help!

(8 Posts)
breakfastinbread Sun 23-Nov-14 05:31:57

My ds is 3weeks and so far Ebf. He cluster feeds each evening for 4-5hrs, but at different times. Tonight it was 7pm-2am and the night before 2am-6am. After all that time on the boob, in exhausted, demoralised and in tears.

I'm keen to carry on bf, but these cluster feeds are wearing me out, which in turn is making dh frustrated as he feels helpless. Neither of us are sleeping much, so dh is keen to use formula at night to preserve our sanity.

What I want to know is whether giving a bottle of formula when I've reached breaking point will do any harm to my supply? Surely if he's fed for 4hrs it can't affect it that much? I'd only plan on giving one bottle, and towards the end of a cluster. Ds is gaining weight astronomically (didn't lose anything from birthweight, and already put on loads).

ilovelamp82 Sun 23-Nov-14 05:50:56

He's only 3 weeks old. He's just getting the hang of it. He'll learn to keep more in his stomach and feed more efficiently. I know that it seems like it will never end because you're exhausted but it will, I promise.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with formula if that's what you want to do. However breastmilk works on supply and demand. So the amount he feeds affects the amount that you make, therefore adding a bottle will affect it.

A happy Mum is obviously the most important thing for a content baby, but if you can manage it, I would continue as you are for a few weeks and see if your situation looks any different.

I know it's hard. Sleep deprivation is not to be sniffed at. But congratulations and well done so far.

LastOneDancing Sun 23-Nov-14 11:54:40

Can I ask if your DPs frustration and keenness to use formula is adding pressure to the situation OP?

He can help in many ways which don't involve bottles - I asked DH to bugger off into the spare room so I could make as much noise as I liked and have the baby in bed without fear of him being squashed (he was unsurprisingly supportive!) but for you it might be him making you a cuppa, or setting up your 'feeding station' with drink, muslins etc. he shouldn't be pushing for formula because it makes life easier for him.

This cluster feeding part lasts a really short but intense time and it's important for getting your milk stocked up, however as the previous poster said, happy mum, happy baby - don't push yourself to breaking point.

I'm no expert but I've been repeatedly told that the night feeds are most important as they put in the order for the next day. Would it be possible to do a bottle feed in the morning so you can lie in and catch up?

ithoughtofitfirst Sun 23-Nov-14 16:57:03

I'm 4 weeks in and the same thing is wrecking me. She's fabulous in the night (touch wood) so i feel like i can't complain but it's just hours of fussing/feeding/winding/crying/rocking in the evening.

She's dc2 so i kind of knew it was coming. Still a shock though! It DOES get better OP. In not very long too. I'd say 6 weeks is a big turning point.

squizita Sun 23-Nov-14 17:25:50

I expressed in the morning and DH gave it daytime/tea time so I could nap. This helped with sleep but kept the night feeding in place which I understand helps supply.

breakfastinbread Sun 23-Nov-14 20:00:34

Lastone- dh will support whatever I want to do, he's been fab. But, he's getting upset because he feels like he's doing nothing, and regularly coming into the room to find me in tears because I'm so tired and frustrated.

We did cave last night and give a pre made bottle last night after I'd been feeding for 5hrs on and off and ds wouldn't settle. Ds fell asleep straight after for 3hrs which gave me (and him) a break. I still got the guilt anyway.

I'm going to start trying to express tomorrow morning after first feed so that dh can do an evening feed so I can nap. I do like the idea of him taking over a morning feed instead if it's been a bad night.

It's good to hear that it's only a phase, but at the minute I feel like I can't see the wood for the trees!

breakfastinbread Tue 25-Nov-14 22:54:53

Arrrgggghhhh. He's been feeding since 5pm and my nipples are agony. I thought newborns could only stay awake for 1.5-2hrs at a time?

ilovelamp82 Wed 26-Nov-14 00:18:42

It won't be this way forever. Although it feels like it. If your nipples are sore it sounds like you may not have the best latch which 1) would hurt you and 2) might affect how efficiently ds is feeding. Might be worth chatting to your midwife or getting in touch with a local breast feeding group.

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