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Is this normal, and if so, how do I cope with it?!

(28 Posts)
SerenityReynolds Fri 11-Dec-15 08:24:42

DD2 is 6 days old. Her first night home (24 hours later) she had a mammoth feeding session for 4 hours and managed to completely mangle my nipples to the point where I literally couldn't bear to feed her from the breast. The lactation specialist I saw day 2 tried to latch her but as the pain was so bad, told me to hand express and rest my nipples for at least 24 hours - we had already been topping up with formula to try to allow more time to recover between feeds.

Day 4, back to breastfeeding cafe, nipples much better with rest and gel pads, milk has come in. Latching directly onto nipple reopened wounds within 4 sucks but nipple shield worked great, so planned to continue with that. They think she has a lip tie and possibly a posterior tongue tie, though I am not keen to get them cut if she can feed with a nipple shield.

All was going brilliantly until last night when DD2 cluster fed (I assume!) from 7pm to gone 3am. Towards the end, I am sure it was more for comfort but literally NOTHING else would settle her. I broke at around 2am and gave her a tiny bit of formula to try and get a break but it didn't help. My nipples are a bit bruised again, though nowhere near as bad as earlier this week. Is this normal cluster feeding? Can it really go on so long??? And how do I best cope with it? I have a DD1 who is 3 and just cannot be stuck under a feeding baby day and night.

Sorry, long post, but I thought the more detail, the better!

TheWordOfBagheera Fri 11-Dec-15 09:54:01

That doesn't sound like normal cluster feeding to me. Your poor nipples!

I know you say she can feed with the nipple shield, but do you think that tongue tie latch might mean she is only getting the milk very slowly, hence the loooonnng feeding session? When she does these mega feeds is she actually sucking the whole time or does she fall asleep but stay latched on?

The only thing I can suggest is googling some videos of a good latch as it's a world apart from someone watching you and saying whether it's good or not (you need to see it yourself). It will at least give you idea as to whether she's actually feeding effectively.

And maybe speak to HV or GP to get the ball rolling with the lip/tongue tie? You don't have to go ahead with it, but you might be really desperate if feeding doesn't improve and it turns out she definitely needs it done (no idea how long these things take to organise, but a day of bleeding nipples can feel like a week!).

Hufflepuffin Fri 11-Dec-15 10:04:35

My son had a borderline tongue tie, I didn't get it cut on day 10 because things were improving... They went way downhill again though and ended up having it cut at 14 weeks, which was much more traumatic for everyone - including the feeding specialist who cut him as he was so active by then she really had to pin him down!

The problem we had was that his ineffective suckling overstimulated my supply to the point where it was choking him! So it wouldn't surprise me if she's having to feed for so long because she's not getting her milk very efficiently.

MoreGilmoreGirls Fri 11-Dec-15 10:12:11

Sounds like she is not getting an effective latch. You may have to get the tongue tie sorted as upsetting as that may be it is better when they are small. Good luck. You are doing marvellous flowers

SerenityReynolds Fri 11-Dec-15 13:29:54

I did wonder that about the nipple shield, but also whether the sucking is for comfort. I don't think she's just hungry as a bottle doesn't always settle her either! She always wants something in her mouth to suck. At the start of her feeding frenzy, she will feed well for 20-30 minutes. By the middle of the night it was 10 minutes, doze off, then wake up as soon as moved sad Finger/thumb sucking works a bit to calm her. Her latch is not perfect, but the nipple shield is always full of milk. I'm really hoping last night was just a blip as the day before she was perfectly calm and settled after breastfeeds and slept overnight for 3-4 hour stretches confused

If she does have a tongue tie, and it is snipped, will the lip tie still make feeding difficult? Not sure I want to put her through a procedure if there are other issues still affecting her ability to feed.

TheWordOfBagheera Fri 11-Dec-15 13:45:34

If she wants to comfort suck over night you could try a dummy as first course of action. If that makes a difference to sleep and feed duration overnight, and there are still plenty of wet nappies and good weight gain then you can assume enough milk is getting in?

SerenityReynolds Fri 11-Dec-15 13:51:28

I have considered a dummy, but wasn't sure when you can start using them?

Thank you all so much for your replies so far. She has continued to be unsettled this morning, despite apparently feeding well sad

ArriettyMatilda Fri 11-Dec-15 13:51:50

Tongue tie snip was so quick and dd didn't notice at a week old! I would definitely get it snipped, as its made such a difference to so many of my friends. I think dd has lip tie but she's only ever had her tongue tie snipped and we're are still breastfeeding two years later.

scandichick Fri 11-Dec-15 14:00:50

My relative recently had a baby in NICU, and the nurses told her to start on tgr dummy straight away (this was in Sweden where there's huge pressure to breastfeed), so I would try the dummy - but agree with previous posters that checking for tongue tie would be wise. It can affect speech and eating down the line, not just breastfeeding.

BabyTheCaveLion Fri 11-Dec-15 14:01:21

DS1 would have stayed attached forever if I let him. I broke on day 2 and gave him a dummy! It was a life saver and without it I'm not sure I could have continued to breast feed. I think they're actually recommended now as well aren't they? They were when I had DS2 nearly 3 years ago anyway. Something about the continuous sucking lessening the possibility of SIDS....apologies if this information is horribly out of date

BertieBotts Fri 11-Dec-15 14:05:57

You can use a dummy from birth - do try it if you think it will give you a rest.

I would definitely seek advice on the tongue tie, as it appears to be causing issues even with the shields. The other issue is that although shields aren't terrible, they are an unnecessary hassle and could be contributing to poor milk transfer. You don't NEED to stop using them, as such, I mean they can be invaluable, but it isn't as simple as assuming that they can solve a problem. They are designed to be a temporary solution. Ideally you want to look for a solution to the problem which made you need the shields in the first place, which could be the tongue tie, but it's hard to say without being able to observe a feed.

You need the help in real life of someone who really knows their stuff.

Schmoochypoos Fri 11-Dec-15 14:15:22

Sorry no real advice as such, but I remember DS2 feeding for hours at a time at the beginning, he's 16weeks old now and all is well. I think they just like to be close to you at the beginning. Are you on Facebook? There is a great page I joined 'all about breastfeeding. Off topic conversation' lots of brilliant help available from breast feeding mums all over the country

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Fri 11-Dec-15 14:16:09

Please seriously consider snipping the TT and lip tie if that's something they do as well.
I struggled through 6 weeks of TT despite specifically asking about it, and was told DD didn't have it. After 6 weeks of pain I went to a BFing clinic and they diagnosed TT. I had it snipped a few days later and that same day feeding changed, she fed so much better, faster and it didn't hurt me at all anymore (apart from when I got positioning wrong).

My thoughts on having the procedure was it can't harm her to do it, it doesn't physically hurt them as there are no nerve endings in the frenulum (apparently) the surgeon told me they cry because they have hands being put in their mouth. The second it was done she stopped crying, there was maybe 1 or 2 drops of blood on a muslin and that was it. Furthermore an undiagnosed TT could in theory prevent correct speech development and silly things like sticking tongues out, licking ice creams etc
For me, the positive of any assistance at all on the ordeal I first found BFing to be, far outweighed the negative of an uncomfortable experience for DD who wouldn't remember it.

I also gave a dummy pretty early, maybe 2-4 weeks old? DD was very sucky and I only gave it to her once she was fed and was just comfort sucking. She still has it for naps now (still BF to sleep at night) aged 1 but not unless it's sleep time, it hasn't seemingly interfered with speech development or given her nipple confusion.

For us the first 6-8weeks were the hardest with the longest cluster feeds, normally 3-4 hrs. Then we all settled down and got used to things.
Good luck flowers

Hufflepuffin Fri 11-Dec-15 14:47:57

I think they tend not to cut lip ties in the uk so I wouldn't worry about that - if you're really worried about the lip tie you could get a private Dr to look at it - post a thread with your location for recommendations.

SerenityReynolds Fri 11-Dec-15 17:18:16

I think I'll persevere over the weekend and see if this looks like a regular thing. Can go back to breastfeeding cafe on Monday and am also seeing midwife so can ask their opinions on everything and maybe at least start the referral process for tongue tie.

Just dreading tonight sad

WalkThePlank0 Fri 11-Dec-15 17:46:34

I don't normally post, I am a lurker but your situation seemed similar to mine. DS2 is 7 days old. I had three bad nights exactly as you described -from 12am til 5am battling, fighting, not latching on, won't settle etc... Me weepy and worried there were problems. I eventually found my way to Kellymom and found some great advice. The best being to look at how bf was going during the day to understand if there was a problem. Sure enough, I have no problems during the day, it's defo a night thing. I also read the fussing was thought to be natures way of stimulating milk supply during the night ie skin to skin. - which makes sense. Anyway, last night, inexplicably was a different experience - woke three times and settled in between - so I managed to get some rest too. Hope this is helpful. And my experience was not just a one of... Otherwise I'll see you here tonight.

SerenityReynolds Fri 11-Dec-15 18:22:22

Thanks walk. Same here, last night was dreadful but the one before was good! I had heard that night time is the best for stimulating supply, which is why I tried to just push on through it. Fingers crossed for us both tonight!

happytocomply Fri 11-Dec-15 19:33:27

Nipple shields can be really helpful when your poor nipples have been destroyed in the early days but they can also impact on effective milk transfer and sometimes baby's can suck and suck but not get much milk out so that might be part of what's happening? Does baby seem full and satisfied after daytime feeds with the shields? My DS had upper and lower lip ties so latch is a bit lazy and early feeding really destroyed my nipples, it dramatically improved on its own by week 2-4. Lanoseh cream was my saviour, that and airing my nipples whenever possible (the glamor of motherhood!).

Otherwise evening cluster feeding is really common but that doesn't make it any less exhausting. Like others have said, Kelly Mom website and Can I Breastfeed in it off Topic Facebook Group (closed group) have some great tips/really helpful people respectively.

Hope tonight is a good one and you manage to get a little sleep!

SerenityReynolds Sat 12-Dec-15 08:01:03

Quick update. After a bit of an unsettled morning yesterday, DD had a 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon. Then fed 4 times between 6 and 12.30 (with a little nap) then slept until 4.30am!!!! I woke her for another feed as she's still so little and she was asleep back in her basket by just gone 5. Woke up at 7.45 grin.

Totally different story to yesterday, so feel encouraged that maybe I can do this. Hope you've had a good night walk

BertieBotts Sat 12-Dec-15 17:32:59

Oh yes! Brilliant news OP, well done DD!

SerenityReynolds Sat 12-Dec-15 18:43:53

Thanks Bertie grin Will still probably discuss at breastfeeding cafe as her feeds are still quite long and not really sustainable with a toddler!

BertieBotts Sun 13-Dec-15 14:56:13

YY, keep an eye on things.

WalkThePlank0 Mon 14-Dec-15 01:27:52

Hi serenity. Last night was great for me too. DH takes him in the evening circa 9 and brings him to me when he needs a feed - so last night that was 12ish. DS2 fussed for a bit and settled about 2. We both slept til 4. Quick feed then down again til 8! He seems to have little cluster feeds during the day and then go 3 -4 hours and if that happens at night I'm laughing. It's definitely getting a bit easier but like you I have an older child to think of and it's tough finding the energy to entertain both... Too early to tell how tonight will go but I'm optimistic.

SerenityReynolds Mon 14-Dec-15 16:51:08

Not such great news today sadly. DD2 has continued to feed constantly. Went back to bf cafe today. They confirmed posterior tongue tie and recommended snip. Also saw midwife who is concerned re: weight. She recommended formula top ups plus pumping and getting the tongue tie sorted ASAP. We are going privately and having it done tomorrow, so hopefully that will improve things. Just feel a bit rubbish about it all and poor hungry DD sad

Hufflepuffin Mon 14-Dec-15 18:37:51

Don't feel rubbish! You're doing everything right! I'm sure once her tongue tie is snipped she will catch up on her weight in no time.

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