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Breastfeeding advice please

(19 Posts)
nothoughts Thu 16-Jun-16 03:58:43

DS2 is just over 3 weeks old. Up until the weekend feeding was going reasonably well. Feeds were taking roughly an hour approx every 3 hours. My left nipple is inverted and not easy to latch on. I know from ds1 as he gets bigger and stronger latch will improve. Therefore I was feeding on the left side for at least 20 mins each feed. This consisted of latching him and relatching as he slipped off. If he was feeding well on this side I would go with it. I would then put him on the other side where he would feed for 30-40 mins. I was also expressing a couple of times a day on left (to maintain supply and prevent engorgement) I could then top up using a cup if required at end of a feed. This was all very manageable.

However this weekend it all went wrong. He started feeding constantly 6 hours at a time. To start with I just went with it assuming he was just trying to increase my supply. However I then noticed that he wasnt pooing and worried he wasn't getting enough. I was also exhausted. So so I started increasing how much I expressed and topping him up at every feed. This slowly worked and by Monday evening he was pooing 3-4 times a day a d was satisfied after a feed of around 90 mins. Great I thought - we have cracked it. However it has all gone to pot again in the last 24 hours or so. Feeds have gradually increased to 3-4 hours plus I have had to top up with both expressed and formula ( not enough time to express the required amount - roughly 120-140 ml). Again he hasn't pooed for 24 hours and I have also come down with a stinking cold.
I can't carry on like this I'm getting barely any sleep besides that I have DS1 to look after as well and can't be constantly feeding.

Has anyone got any ideas on what to do to make feeding more manageable? I pretty sure he isnt effectively feeding for the whole3-4 hours. He falls asleep. I take him off and related him.

Sorry this is so long just wanted to include as much info as possible. I hope it makes sense. I would really appreciate any ideas.

HariboFrenzy Thu 16-Jun-16 04:23:27

Congratulations on your new baby smile

How is baby's weight gain? Have you had him checked for tongue tie? It might explain the long feeds and the lack of dirty nappies until you were expressing more.

I found an NCT breastfeeding counsellor invaluable as she observed a feed and checked latch and tongue tie.

Ask your midwife or hv to check for tongue tie.

Well done for all the expressing though - no wonder you are exhausted flowers

nothoughts Thu 16-Jun-16 08:31:27

Thank you for replying. I meant to say he hasnt been weighed since last Tuesday when all was going well. I am going to take him to clinic today and get weighed. Hopefully that will put my mind at rest a little. Will try and find a local breastfeeding counsellor.

DropYourSword Thu 16-Jun-16 08:35:27

Don't worry about the amount of poo he does. Breast fed babies can poo lots or very little.
I'm currently struggling with feeding issues and reflux so totally feel your pain!

CelticPromise Thu 16-Jun-16 08:38:52

Don't worry about the poo. After the first couple of weeks they can go for days. You are doing a cracking job. I would get along to a group for someone to observe a feed. Growth spurts are normal but sounds like the feeds are very long so worth getting some in person advice.

ZZZZ1111 Thu 16-Jun-16 08:39:01

Many midwives and health visitors aren't trained to detect tongue ties. Try to access someone who is (they should be able to advise you when you go to the clinic).

Re the top ups - a BF baby doesn't usually need that amount per feed. Your baby is probably just drinking that much because it's easy with the bottle. You could try to practise paced bottle feeding which will reduce the amount of formula you need and amount of expressing. I have been there and know how exhausting the whole thing is.

Link for paced bottle feeding - http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/

Good luck!

nothoughts Thu 16-Jun-16 14:52:29

Thank you all for your responses. Feeling a little more positive. Amazing what a couple of hours sleep will do. I went to clinic this morning and he has gained 200g in just over a week. So I can stop worrying about that. I am going to get someone to check him for tongue tie and I have contact details for a couple of groups so going to try that them next week. HV seems to think it's just a case of persevering and this is fairly normal newborn behaviour.

I was also thinking that the top ups are quite a lot. To clarify about the topping up he is getting these by cup not bottle. He also is not having the whole 120 ml in one go. Usually after he has had an effective feed and has come off but still won't settle and is asking for more. I give him any expressed I have usually 60-80 ml. If he still wants more and won't settle I then try feeding him again. He then has another top up when I start to get totally fed up I give him another top up of prob 40 ml (usually formula) if he still won't settle and I try and feed him again with possible a third top up before he will be content. So the 120 ml is spread out of 3-4 hours.
Thank you again. Am going to persevere and investigate tongue tie and see if anyone has the patInce to watch more than 10 mins of a feed to identist if there are any problems.

CelticPromise Thu 16-Jun-16 15:11:11

If you go to a bf café or group the volunteers there will watch a whole feed and spend decent time with you. Great news on the weight gain. Good luck smile

SnotGoblin Thu 16-Jun-16 15:13:50

I would ditch the expressing and the topping up and just feed on demand (even if it feels a little too demanding at the moment). My son almost never poo'd, it's not unusual, it just means all the nutrients are being used and there is nothing spare to excrete. It doesn't mean he's not getting enough milk.

Good luck, it can be utterly exhausting in the early days but hang in there and take your cues from junior.

nothoughts Thu 16-Jun-16 20:47:07

Thank you all again. He seems to have heard me moaning as today the feeds have gradually got shorter and are back down to an hour every 2-3 hours. I think I will just need to accept that there will be ups and downs especially in the early days.

DropYourSword Sat 18-Jun-16 19:58:09

I think I will just need to accept that there will be ups and downs especially in the early days

So true. I have good feeds, a good night and think "oh we're finally getting there" and then it all comes crashing down and goes to pot again, ending up with me sobbing, thinking I'm a shit mum with the world's unhappiest baby. It's so so difficult to remember the good bits when you're having a challenging time - I keep panicking that a good night was a one off and the bad nights were the normal. I'm working hard to change my mind set.

ZZZZ1111 Sat 18-Jun-16 20:29:00

Glad things are better and he's put on weight. Some babies still weight gain early on with tongue tie so still worth getting checked.

Sorry I didn't read properly that you're cup feeding. Interesting he's taking so much. Hopefully the professionals at the drop ins will have some insight.

Hopefully it's just been normal cluster feeding then. I remember when my baby first properly cluster fed at 2.5 weeks old, he fed from 6pm - 1am constantly and it almost broke me (BF was painful and stressful and he'd recently had his tongue toe snipped). I was worried I wasn't enough for him, but luckily our lactation consultant said it sounded like cluster feeding.

BF is a complete mine field! There are some good Facebook groups such as breastfeeding information and support UK you could check out too.

timelytess Sat 18-Jun-16 20:36:06

Just in case you want to take a different view... put the baby to the breast and leave him there. Change sides when you/he feel/s like it, not to any schedule. He's been part of your body for nine months, and he hasn't forgotten that, he still wants to be there. Think of him as like your arm or leg, you don't say 'Oh, I've had this leg on for 20 minutes, I'll take it off for three hours'. Don't think of breastfeeding as food, think of it as what a baby does. Like breathing. To be safe and nourished, his instinct tells him to be attached to you. Your milk is fully digested in a couple of hours, but that shouldn't matter because left to regulate himself he'll feed for a couple of minutes in every 20 minutes or so. The problem isn't with what the baby is now needing, the problem is with the socialisation that tells you he's wrong. Its not your fault you've been misled with false information from people who think they know but don't. Your baby knows. He's right. Follow him and you'll be fine.

nothoughts Sat 18-Jun-16 20:56:00

It's good to hear I'm not the only one Sword. You described exactly how I have been feeling.
I think after a horrendous night last night I think I've worked out at least part of the problem. The awful times seem to always follow the days that DS1 doesnt go to nursery. On those days I obviously cant give DS2 my full attention. As a result feeds sometimes get interupted meaning he is awake longer. By the evening he is therefore hungry and overtired. I had already noticed that when he is overtired means he does latch or feed as well. Meaning feeds take longer hence a downward spiral. We then get the ultra long feeds (last night was 9pm - 5 am) where he as he wont settle. Being overtired means he struggles to settle and the best comfort he knows is me. At least this gives me something to work on. I'm going to try using the sling more on those days and get out to groups or visit friends etc on non nursery days so DS1 is better entertained. Will see how it goes. Knowing the cause of the problem has helped me turn round the downward spiral quicker (fingers crossed) this time. Thank you all again.

nothoughts Sat 18-Jun-16 21:13:10

Tess - I totally agree with what your saying. I think what I've realised I am better at listening to him and responding when it's just the two of us. I need to find a way to do it when DS1 is at home all day. Just noticing the pattern has made me feel better about it.

DropYourSword Sun 19-Jun-16 07:32:19

I know my little one was getting very overtired. I read what Tess wrote, bit know for me at least that that wouldn't be sustainable. 9pm - 5am as ONE feed is insane - he's not nutritionally feeding after about 20 Mins per side. My DS would just not sleep in his cot or bassinet - had to be held by us. In a total fit of exhaustion last night I made sure he was fed, changed, warm and dry and then put him in his cot. He cried for a little while but then settled down and slept for FOUR hours, the longest time he's ever slept. I think every time he so much as muttered I would go and pick him up and try and settle him and probably ended up over stimulating him. I just had it in my head so much that you shouldn't leave newborns to cry and they need love. But for the sake of my mental health I needed some sleep. So now I think when he's been fed and changed and is showing signs of being tired I'll put him down in his cot and see if he settles within 10 minutes. If he cries longer than that or has a real strong in pain cry I'll go to him. I think he just needed to learn to go to sleep.
I also have a poor milk supply, in the 7+ weeks he's been here I've only felt full 3 times. So once he's had a good feed from both sides and is still looking for more I comp him with formula.

CelticPromise Sun 19-Jun-16 13:33:39

Why do you think you have a poor supply Drop? Lots of women never feel full, and many babies feed for longer than 20 mins per side. Your breasts are never empty but make milk as baby feeds. If you wanted to increase supply, one way to do it is to switch back to side 1 after the second and then back to the second, so instead of 2 ' sides ' per feed baby has 3 or 4 or even 5 or 6. Formula itself can have a detrimental effect on supply as I'm sure you know.

nothoughts glad things are making more sense to you. It's so tough looking after two little ones! Your plan makes perfect sense.

DropYourSword Mon 20-Jun-16 09:51:44

Probably because I was expecting to feel fuller between feeds. And maybe for the baby to be more settled. And probably hormones and sleep deprivation don't help. It does help to hear that lots of women don't feel 'full'.
We had a tongue and lip tie released today. Hopefully that will make a difference long term. Been told to expect a difficult couple of weeks as he heals and relearns how to feed.

CelticPromise Mon 20-Jun-16 19:13:06

Hope things get easier for you Drop and the tie release makes a difference.

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