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Cluster feeding help - wits end(11 Posts)
My LO is a week and a half old - and since we brought her home nighttime has been a bit of a struggle which was totally expected.
However for the last week she has started cluster feeding - during the day I don't mind st all. She is my little girl and I want the best possible start for her so am glad to be stocking her up however, she is cluster feeding every night from around 11pm until 3-4am (she has confused day and night) and I'm really struggling to cope. Obviously in the short term I am not worried about I've been reading that babies can cluster feed for months. That has really stressed me out and I'm not sure how people handle it.
Does anyone have any success stories, positive encouragement or advice for this? My husband is currently out buying a pump and a dummy - that I still haven't even decided whether or not I will use.
I just don't want to be made to feel a failure as people are just saying 'it's normal' - it might be normal but it's starting to really get me down. I adore her and there's no doubt she is my priority - there just must be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Any help welcome
Aw you poor mum.
It won't absolutely will not carry on like this for months I promise! Your daughter hasn't figured out day and night yet. My first also cluster fed in in a similar pattern to you are experiencing. It will ease off in a couple of days and then it will happen again in a few more weeks!
Can you get out for a walk with her in the buggy? Daylight during the day will help regulate her. But she's still so little and feeding a lot is I'm afraid normal. I know. Sorry!! I said it. It is hard. These are the little windows that are so rough at the start.
Fwiw, my friend was having massively similar problems, cluster feeding and with a mild tongue tie to make it even trickier. I met her with her gorgeous daughter st 6 weeks old and she was absolutely flying it and fed her in the cafe (something she'd been afraid to do, feed in public).
Hang in there xxx
Sorry - I just re read your post again. I'd suggest not pumping just yet while your daughter gets the hang of feeding. If you can, just let it be her and you managing the supply and demand on your supply. Honestly she will come good and it WILL GET EASIER.
I fed my first til 9 months and the second til 13 months and the start was so hard and then it's really sudden - it is so so easy. Very hard to know and see if when you are in the thick of it with the baby.
Cluster feeding is often a short term thing to boost your milk supply so once your milk supply is up it will stop.......at least for a few weeks and then you might have a day or two of it again.
Try and help her tell the difference between night and day. So just put a lamp on for night time feeds to try and reduce stimulation.
Try and go to bed yourself really early. Get your dh to look after her in the evening. Even if you only get a couple of hours sleep from 8-10 before she needs feeding it will help.
Unfortunately it's really normal and they do it to build up your supply. You should only be looking at a few weeks.
You might find by 6 weeks they have got your supply sorted and stop.
My personal opinion is that I wouldn't be expressing or giving a bottle or dummy before 6 weeks. Cluster feeding stimulates and regulates your supply so expressing can mess with this.
Also some say a dummy and bottle given so early can lead to issues with bf or latch.
That said if you are finding it difficult then you just need to do what you need to do.
The first 6 weeks of bf are the hardest. If you can crack that then you should find it all starts getting easier at that point.
I have two rubbish sleepers both bf and ds was a big cluster feeder so I sympathise.
It's a phase. Repeat until that phase is over and she moves on to the next one!
I agree with don't express or introduce a dummy just yet. Feeding is the best thing you can do to boost supply and get over this phase quickly. A dummy won't help, and may slow down your supply as she sucks on that rather than stimulating your supply. Pumping is an utter PITA, depressing, and unproductive, and a pump is less effective than a baby so again, your baby will speed up production faster than pumping.
Sit on the sofa and feed as much as you can. I don't think I even bothered unlatching for the first two weeks, just sat there. Make your DH fetch you food and drink, and sort the housework.
Also don't creep around her if she naps in the day. Leave her in the sunlight, with normal background noise. Dark and quiet at night time.
Just wanted to say I'm going through the same with my baby, he's 6 days old. I've taken to staying downstairs at night so I can watch all my recorded programmes while he's feeding. I'm shattered though x
Have you tried BF lying down at night? It means you can rest and baby might fall asleep. It's exhausting to BF without some form of co-sleeping but if you embrace it, it all becomes much more bearable.
I agree with not introducing EBM or a dummy yet. If you express a bottle for your DH to give her, you will have to express when she has that in order to maintain supply so you don't get any more rest. And expressing is a PITA and you have to be quite committed to get on with it.
Just want to say that whatever you decide to do you are not a failure. Whether that be pumping or entirely changing to formula. You want the best for your baby which is great but you do have to think of your own wellbeing too. It feels never ending when you're in the midst of it but just know that it'll all be a distant memory before long.
My experience (2 EBF DC) is that while cluster feeding can continue for the first 2-3 months, the window will rapidly shift earlier and the crazy all-nighters only go on for the first couple of weeks max. After that they start crashing out for the night around midnight, having fed on and off all evening. So don't panic! Just sleep in the day as much as you can and review your options in a week's time - you may well find things have already improved a lot.
I really second co- sleeping. I know its not advised. But i actually wouldnt be able to breast feed without. I have a co sleeper cot, which baby will not tolerate but is very useful for reassurance as know he wont fall out ( also use for snack storage). Then one pillow angled so is at my back and blankets not quilt. Try and always have him between me and co sleeper, instead of me and husband. So as safe as i can make it. The great thing is neither of us really wake up. He snuffles a bit i sleepily lift top and shuffle into position. He latches and i go back to sleep. He feeds and falls off when ready. I literally have no idea how often he feeds at night! I feel not quite as good as on totally undisturbed sleep but almost. I justify it because i have three others. I have to do school run and drive them to activities etc. Feel doing this on no sleep would be more dangerous.
Also i lie to my health visitor.
Anyway baby is really little. They do settle a bit, but give yourself a break.....lots of snacks and lots of tv! Congratulations!
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