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Evening feeds and sleep struggles, 7 week old, encouragement needed please

(25 Posts)
Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:09:39

I have a gorgeous BF daughter of nearly 7 weeks who is gaining weight well.

I am (mainly) enjoying feeding her, and also wish her to gain the health benefits, BUT whilst I know we are likely still in a 6 week growth spurt, it feels like every evening since she was born has been one constant feed. She will cry if not on the breast, but when on often appears asleep, until I try to move her!

We have a 17 month old, so I don't have hours to sit and feed in the day (luckily daytime feeds seem somewhat shorter but she still wants a feed every 1-2 hours) or to do the skin to skin / lots of massage as my health visitor suggested for her evening crying unless on the boob. I have bad shoulder and neck pains from sitting feeding for hours, (trying to get comfy and stretch) and I feel like I'm getting nothing else done - have some work stuff and lots of stuff in house to do. DH picking up where he can but he's tired too.

I'm feeling torn that I'm not giving everyone enough attention as I feel like I am feeding so much. I haven't got the time to express - with DD1 I expressed and DH gave an evening bottle which really gave me a break and she did seem to sleep for longer periods than new baby.

At night I am having to cosleep as when I put her down in cot (bedside crib) she is groany and starts crying and making funny noises like she will be sick. No issues at all with lying flat in daytime. DH consequently in another room as he is anxious about cosleeping, so it feels like we are a bit separate.

I guess my plea is to be told that it does get easier....but I have also seen that this pattern of feeding can go on for weeks and months - how likely is this to be the case? Is there anything I can do to improve things?

I've gotten myself really anxious about changing gut flora by doing a formula bottle which was one idea we had, and health visitor only stoked those anxieties.

Thanks in advance, sorry if I don't reply straight away, she is asleep on me so I will try a sneaky transfer and hope for some sleep!

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:17:36

And to add a little bit more to my already epic post, I saw a breast feeding counsellor the other day at a baby cafe (DH took eldest so I could attend with youngest) - whilst very helpful, her advice was basically that I have to go with it (I think she described that the baby at this stage is like a limpet that should not be separated from the mother)....and I left feeling that whilst I am doing well by DD2 by doing this, I am missing my time with DD1. I think this lady is very much an attachment parenting person, whereas I am needing pragmatic advice that will fit my family. I will suck it up and carry on if necessary though.

And I am already using a sling!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Aug-15 22:19:28

She sounds exactly like my dd was at that age. The thing that helped was getting a sling. It seemed that as long as she was close to my breast, she would settle.

Could you try breast compressions when she's on the breast but not actively sucking?

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Aug-15 22:20:28

Cross posted with your second post, sorry.

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:23:20

JJJ - did you have her in a sling round the house in the evening? I have only really tried sling in house when on my own with the kids so I can safely parent DD1. Perhaps I should try sling in evening - thanks.

And by breast compressions do you mean trying to almost express milk into her mouth? Presumably that would rouse her a bit and prompt her to either carry on feeding or decide she has finished, I shall try!

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:24:54

And JJJ, can you remember how long this phase lasted? I can't really compare my two as DD1 had the evening bottle of EBM.

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:25:53

Also, have tried a dummy without success.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Aug-15 22:31:55

And by breast compressions do you mean trying to almost express milk into her mouth? Presumably that would rouse her a bit and prompt her to either carry on feeding or decide she has finished, I shall try!*. That's exactly what I thought too. There is some info on it here.

I mainly used the sling in the day and kept her with me in the evenings until I went to bed. It helped though if DH took her out for a walk.

Have you tried putting a shirt that do has worn in her cot? Some people use it as a fitted sheet? Yours will smell of milk so won't work.

Have you tried warming the cradle, swaddling and white noise too?

They might not work, but worth a try smile

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 22:44:26

That is a fantastic link, thanks!
DH's top in crib now. Using white noise already, not tried warming crib though.
Swaddling tried but she seemed to fight it, wonder if 7 weeks is too late to start it.
DH plans on taking her for walks tomorrow to give me a break and some fun time with DD1.

Lilipot15 Sat 01-Aug-15 23:26:50

Is it possible she is not settling in bedside crib as I am too close to her? I can transfer her asleep then within a few minutes she will wake, seem frantic, like she might be sick, fine when laid next to me just suckling (doesn't always seem to feed). I think really she would lie on the boob all night. I am struggling with major sleepiness worsened by that soporific effect of feeding.

BumWad Sun 02-Aug-15 04:10:52

I do the opposite with settling. I put used breast pads under 10 week old DS cot sheet, it seems to work.

I feel for you though op. I have a 10 week old (3 weeks corrected) and he is pretty much attached to me 24/7. I haven't another baby though. I'm have a bottle of formula but that has led to constipation. I'm trying to just go with it.

GrizzlebertGrumbledink Sun 02-Aug-15 04:22:53

Same situation here exactly! Loitering for advice

LomboDePorco Sun 02-Aug-15 04:33:58

It does get better, I could have written the OP a few weeks back but now at 9 weeks my DD sleeps more by herself in the evening and I can have time concentrating on my older DS's bath and story routines. I'm managing to express a bottle in the morning whilst she's feeding on the other side, can you try that? (It's not helping me sleep though as she won't drink it from a bottle confused)

Lilipot15 Sun 02-Aug-15 07:16:50

Lombo I'll sterilise the breast pump and see if I can express at same time as feeding. I tend to do the first feed in bed as DD2 sleeps later than DD1.

Does anyone know if I should be waking up the baby if we are all otherwise up at 7 (latest!!)? She tends to stay sleeping till around 8, and I quite like the idea of her having toddler-free sleep in peace.

Lilipot15 Sun 02-Aug-15 07:20:37

Ps I did read a book about routines, but she is so far from being able to space out feeds and more often than not I am feeding to sleep, so there is none of this baby whisperer routine happening.
I sort of remember just going with it with the toddler for the first months and it seems easier to go this way again.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 02-Aug-15 09:34:44

I so wouldn't worry about the baby whisperer. It's just one woman's opinion, not evidence based and its on the Kellymom list of books to avoid.

I shouldn't worry about waking her up either. If it means that you get an hour with dc1 and time to have a shower and get dressed, I'd just go with that smile

Milkyway1304 Sun 02-Aug-15 09:51:31

Lillipot15 my DD did this every evening for weeks. I had been under the impression that cluster feeding happened only with growth spurts but for us the first 2 months seemed like 1 long growth spurt. It did settle down, I'm not sure exactly when but I travelled when she was 10weeks and she had definitely stopped by then. I found she would settle and sleep in a sling, or on my husband for short periods. It's so tough when it's happening but it does pass.

Lilipot15 Sun 02-Aug-15 10:46:40

Thanks for the replies so far.
How long do I just keep going with the feeding to sleep that she seems to be doing?
We got into a real pickle with DD1 with her needing me there for ages to settle to sleep. I think one thing I did which worsened that was that in her bedside crib she was so "reachable" I would soothe / fuss over every little noise she made. When we moved her into her own cot at 6 months I realised how many little noises just happen in sleep and don't necessarily mean she needed seeing to.

Milkyway1304 Sun 02-Aug-15 19:44:22

I think it's quite individual between babies. I always fed to sleep but from around 4 months she could be cuddled to sleep by other people. And would generally sleep in the sling/pram if needed,

LomboDePorco Sun 02-Aug-15 23:27:56

Feeding to sleep is not something to worry about, it works and it's brilliant. As you've already said it's the other bedtime habits and routines that can be a problem eg when you're spending an hour a night rocking and singing.

Did you manage any expressing?

The routine books are interesting, SWMNBN did have a few valid suggestions but most of it was unachievable, unworkable or inappropriate so I ignored it.

Lilipot15 Sun 02-Aug-15 23:58:36

Didn't manage any expressing, DD1 poorly and cranky today. Baby was also somewhat miserable and there were lots of tears.

But, I did put DD2 in a sling and go out for an evening walk which got her more sleep than she usually has on an evening and made me feel less close to tears.

Made the mistake of moving her after a feed an hour ago - she was so settled next to me in bed. 10 mins in her crib and she starts writhing, making a "whooping" noise and being a bit sicky. It's like it is reflux but she doesn't do this when laying flat on a really similar surface next to me.
I have a feeling when she cosleeps that we both sleep with her on the breast so she is possibly sleeping mainly on her side, which I know is against guidelines but I am struggling with breast feeding inducing such a tired feeling for me. I really would like to be getting her to sleep in the crib, or even in the sleepyhead next to me which feels a bit safer but this has just the same effect.

IBelieveInPink Mon 03-Aug-15 00:18:24

Sorry. Not sure I have any helpful advice but I could have written your post (ds is 4 weeks and dd is 20 months.) I just cannot get anything done!
One thing I have tried, ds will take a dummy while someone us holding him. So dh takes him for a bit to give me some time with dd.

It's tough going isn't it. I just keep repeating... This will pass. It will not be like this forever.

lemoncordial Mon 03-Aug-15 08:43:03

Sorry if this has already been suggested but have you tired feeding in a wrap? It is possible but I've never tired as I've only got one 1 dc so I was able to sit in front of the tv during those first couple of months then she fed s lot.

If there's a local sling library or sling meet near you someone should be able to show you.

Lilipot15 Mon 03-Aug-15 09:22:48

Thanks - I have a sling but have't tried feeding in it. Need to see if I can.
It's all just pretty difficult and part of it I think is accepting that not everything gets done and not snapping at DH when he tells me how much he is doing and what time he's been up at with the eldest (yes, but I am feeding 3 times through the night!).
Deep breaths....

Milkyway1304 Mon 03-Aug-15 14:16:47

My dd did the same grunting, writhing etc when she wasn't in contact with me at night. We had a cosleeper and I would lean into it and make as much contact as possible with her and gradually pull back. It worked some of the time!

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