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7 week old, cluster feeding and slow weight gain - please help me!

(20 Posts)
splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 06:21:43

I have a 7 1/2 week old DS. He was little at birth (6lbs), regained his birth weight quickly and is hovering around 9th centile but slipping a little below the line.

He feeds ALL DAY though, I mean really. I can get out with him for maybe an hour in the morning and he'll sometimes sleep in his pram if I manage to get him in there having nodded off on my boob. Sometimes he'll sleep a little at lunchtime - can be an hour or we've had a few random 3 hour flukes.

Then he feeds the rest of the time. Yesterday he was switching constantly between my boobs from about 1 to around 10. He managed a couple of sessions of 10 mins or so of happy time and a few little catnaps but otherwise he was on. He then slept 7 hours so I'm just up with him now.

This can't be good can it? Surely if my supply was adequate he'd be bigger feeding all day? I feel like I'm starving the poor boy and he's crashing out exhausted and weak at night time! If I take a little break, he's very hard to comfort - cries until he's back on a breast. So is he in pain/ comfort feeding?

I'm sorry for the essay, I'm a bit desperate sad

LittleLostRoeDeer Wed 17-Dec-14 06:28:10

Hi Splendide, congratulations on your little boy! I've got a 3 week old and we were going through similar. However, we knew he had a tongue tie that was causing the issue - has your little boy been checked for this? In our case, it meant he wasn't latching on properly, so wasn't taking in much milk and getting really tired in the process. My 2 year old daughter was exactly the same. It might be worth getting him checked out for it. Your health visitor should be able to help you make a referral. In the meantime, is there a breastfeeding group anyway near to you, that you could get to before Christmas? There might just be someone there who can give you a bit of help and reassurance. Good luck x

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 06:37:45

Thanks Roe!

I've had a breast feeding support person round and she thought the latch looked good but he hasn't been specifically checked for tongue tie. There is a drop in group tomorrow that I'll try to get to but I'm not very good at articulating the problem!

My mum would say he was a fussy baby for example - she'll take him off me to give me a break and he won't really settle even if he's just been fed. Same with me, he won't stop crying if I cuddle him only if I feed him. Whereas if I'm on my own I just hunker down and keep feeding so then he's a baby who doesn't cry much but feeds constantly if you see what I mean!

My DH thinks we should try topping up with formula but I'm not massively keen to do this. I guess I do just need to say all this to the HV, for some reason I don't seem to be able to explain it right!

Imeg Wed 17-Dec-14 07:33:33

This sounds quite similar to mine, who was smallish (6lb 3) and seemed to feed all the time but gained slowly. With hindsight a lot of the time he wasn't actually swallowing, just sucking, so he was 'feeding' very inefficiently. It sounds like your baby is gaining weight ok though? (mine went down to 0.4th centile). The thing that helped us was breast compressions as described below, which made feeds more efficient and helped me work out when he was actually swallowing:

www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8:breast-compression&catid=5:information&Itemid=17

Also on the same page is a really helpful description of what proper swallowing looks like.

anothergenericname Wed 17-Dec-14 07:44:37

Can't offer good advice rightnow as I am beyond exhausted so will probably talk gibberish, but if he can sleep for 7 hours that suggests he's probably nice and full.

When he suckles are there any clicking noises, does it feel as though he starts off latched well but gradually 'slides' towards the end of the nipple? Do you experience any soreness? Does he pee for Britain?

All of those would indicate some form of TT which can mean lots of feeding with not so much weight gain. However he might just be a hungry boy working hard to build up a good supply. Hard to know without more info. I would hold off the formula for now, it sounds like you're doing a good job as long as you don't get stressed by what you feel should be happening. All babies feed differently and if he's mostly content and you're not too sore then what's the problem?

New mums can sometimes get foxed by the idea that they should be out and about with baby sleeping peacefully in a pram, but for many of us this is a myth and feeding your baby with your feet up, the telly on, and lots of cake to hand is a very valid and useful way to spend your day.

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 08:16:03

We do get some clicking! And lots of pee. Maybe he does have a tongue tie. Latch seems good though.

Will try compressions.

He's being weighed today so I'll see if he's put anything on this week. I can definitely live with frequent feeding in return for long stretches at night but I worry he's having to work so hard to put on such tiny amounts sad

tiktok Wed 17-Dec-14 09:32:15

Sounds like you are doing all the right things, and keeping an eye on his weight is a good idea.

A seven hour stretch of sleep is not necessarily a good sign - you can't assume it is. Nor is it necessarily a bad sign! Sorry to be confusing. It all has to be seen in context.

Ditto weight gain - see it in context.

The same goes for all day feeding - can be normal.

A whole-baby check is due about now - have you had one?

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 10:34:04

I've just had him weighed and he's put on nothing this week. Poor little thing. Beside myself and just had panick attack at the HV. I don't know what to do for the best really.

LittleLostRoeDeer Wed 17-Dec-14 10:42:59

I missed the bit about the 7 hour stretch - personally, I wouldn't let him sleep for that long in one go, as tempting as it is to get the sleep! Mine would sleep that long at night but I wake him up halfway through to have a feed.

With the latch - both of mine appeared to have a good latch, and both put on weight really well. However, with my daughter her weight gain started to slow down at 12 weeks ish which is when they diagnosed the problem.

Until you can be seen, try googling different types of feeding positions, particularly one called something like a biological or deep latch. It really helped my little boy out to properly drain my milk until he had his TT sorted out.

LittleLostRoeDeer Wed 17-Dec-14 10:43:59

Please try not to worry! Go back to them and ask to be seen and spoken to about it in depth. Even if it isn't tongue tie, you need a bit of reassurance. X

squizita Wed 17-Dec-14 11:47:21

Do get him checked but mine went through a phase like that. Then it resolved itself.
For me the clicking was down to a scary let doen.
Bubs is still 9 percentile but much more manageable now- feeding 2-3 hourly.

FX its the same for you. But do see a bf support or gp to give a whole baby check.

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 12:19:51

Yes I felt really guilty about the 7 hours! It was just unprecedented so hadn't set an alarm or anything.

I've just finally seen someone competent and it is tongue tie. Severe tongue tie. So at least I know and hopefully things will improve when it's snipped.

tiktok Wed 17-Dec-14 14:12:28

Glad you are hopefully on the way to a solution.

Nil weight gain is concerning, though again, it can be within normal in a healthy baby. You wouldn't normally weigh a baby as often as this (weekly intervals) because it can be misleading.

It's really impossible to say - but if he does have a tongue tie it may be causing poor milk transfer so great it is being sorted.

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 16:30:17

Well I sort of hope that's the problem otherwise I'm out of ideas and will probably have to give some formula which I really don't want to do. I can't feed him any more often really he has epic sessions which leave us both exhausted. HV wants me to give formula now but we've agreed to leave it a week and see if he's gained by next week.

anothergenericname Wed 17-Dec-14 17:36:11

Wonderful that you've been diagnosed. If you want to avoid formula, but would like to try and up his weight, maybe you could express some for him and feed either by bottle or cup if he'll take it? Might give you a bit of peace of mind, pacify HV and DH, but not compromise on the bf/formula thing?

Are you being referred for a TT division or will you pay for a private one? The NHS referrals can take a while and the longer it's left, the harder it is for the baby to re-learn how to feed sucessfully (they can, so don't worry, but obviously the sooner the better)

It makes me so cross that mums have to do their own leg work to get these diagnoses - it's something that should be picked up within the first few days of birth and dealt with immediately.

Good luck to you - you sound like you're doing a really wonderful job. Well done.

splendide Wed 17-Dec-14 17:41:51

I'm getting it done privately. I'm actually on my way to the clinic! I also bought a breast pump and will try expressed top ups this week.

anothergenericname Wed 17-Dec-14 17:45:29

Yay! Do hope it helps straight away smile
Ask if there are any stretches/exercises you need to do to prevent it reattaching, also

anothergenericname Fri 19-Dec-14 09:39:30

How are things OP?

splendide Fri 19-Dec-14 10:30:26

Well I'm tentatively optimistic! It was traumatic seeing it done then we had a horrible stressful night where he wouldn't feed and cried for a couple of hours. Then about 2 he had a feed and settled a little although he grizzled all night.

He was fine yesterday though and had a good night last night. I think he is a little more satisfied after feeds but it's hard to say and I was told it may take a while for him to get the hang of his new tongue.

anothergenericname Fri 19-Dec-14 16:26:04

It probably will, but he'll get there. Just make sure you keep an eye on his latch and if he seems to be slipping, gently remove and re-attach him so he can start afresh. Hopefully that will help him learn good new habits. Fingers crossed for fewer, deeper feeds and a lovely peaceful Christmas for you

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