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Really struggling with breastfeeding :( pls help

(31 Posts)
FTM85 Sun 26-Feb-17 04:45:02

Hi all

My gorgeous LO is 5 weeks old on Monday and I'm really struggling with breastfeeding. As the name suggests I am a FTM and feel I was never prepared for how difficult breastfeeding can be. I have been clusterfeeding it seems all day every day since she was born. I KNOW people say this is normal and I'm so proud with how far I've come as she is really thriving - midwife and HV couldn't believe how much weight she'd put on after birth - but I just feel so alone with it all.

The longest she will go is about an hour to an hour and a half without a feed - not everyday but most. I must say we've been lucky that she loves a long sleep in the nighttime sometimes going 4-5 hours without a feed. But I feel I can't leave the house. I'm quite shy with BF in public especially out on my own which I'm sure I will get used to. But I can't stop the pram without her crying and wanting to suck. The health visitor and Bf counsellor said this could be just for comfort if she is nursing so frequently but I'm really struggling to get her to take a dummy, she loves it when I hold it in and will often fall asleep but she doesn't have the ability to hold it in her mouth (I've tried various different ones).

The other night my husband and I tried a bottle of formula in the hopes that I could mix feed with one bottle a day - we felt she was taking the milk as she was sucking but then after about 15 mins the amount was still the same so I think she was just holding the teat in her mouth. I don't want to buy various bottles as it will cost a fortune and there's no certainty she will take to any.

Basically I just feel pretty alone with it all. I get jealous of my husband being able to leave the house or even have a bath. I feel copped up on the house while he is at work. It's 4.45am and I'm sitting downstairs with her while she's nursing and screaming at me inbetween as if she's frustrated (nothing wrong with positioning or latch have been through all of that).

Basically I just feel at the end of my tether. I really don't want to give up - people keep saying it will get easier but when? Really struggling sad

Please be kind x

nothoughts Sun 26-Feb-17 04:58:35

I can't really offer much practical advice but didn't want to leave you unanswered I know how isolating it can be on your own at night feeding. You are doing really well and it is still early days.

Have you taking her out in a sling? I found that provided the comfort the baby needed and meant I could get out of the house for a while. It may even work if your husband could have her in a sling so you could have your body back for an hour or so.
Also would you feel less self conscious going to specific breast feeding groups? You might at least meet some people in a similar situation.
Good luck and remember how well you are doing.

Iwantawhippet Sun 26-Feb-17 05:01:38

I'm up. That sounds tough. You'd like to get out but she feeds very regularly and you don't feel ready to breastfeed when you're out. Here are a few ideas

Dummy - she seems to like sucking so it might help. Or pop your finger in her mouth.
Find a breastfeeding group or a playgroup with lots of little ones - maybe other people feeding will make you feel less shy.

Cluster feeding is normal but usually in the early evening. We tried to make sure that each feed was a good one - if the baby fell asleep I would change its nappy to wake it up and feed a bit more - to make sure it was full. In the early evening we did a little routine of feed bath feed and then bed. The baby got very full and very tired and we had time to make and eat supper.

Have a look at La Leche league for info on breastfeeding.

breastfeeding is something lovely for your baby and for you - relaxing as you sit down. But I can understand your frustration if you can't get out. But I found people hardly blinked when I fed in public. Apart from when you latch on, it just looks like you are cuddling the baby.

If you have a local John Lewis see if they have a baby feeding room - very useful if you're shy.

seven201 Sun 26-Feb-17 05:07:13

My dd was the same. She's always been a snack feeder so would never last long between feeds. Some were definitely just for comfort. At home I just walked around with my boobs out as I seemed to always be putting them away or getting them out again 5 mins later. She screamed when in her pram (although she does have allergies and silent reflux too though) but was so much better in a carrier (she would only go in outwards though). I was shy about all things boobs before having a baby but did get used to feeding in public. I end up flashing quite a lot as my baby likes to change sides every couple of mins with no warning! Have you got a feeding apron? My friend uses one for every feed when we're out. I tried a feeding scarf but I felt all tangled etc. I think you need to get out for your own sanity. I think start with really safe place e.g. Breastfeeding groups etc and build up. My dd is 8 months and still breastfeeds little and often (she's not a fan of solids!) but it's nowhere near as bad as it was in the early days. It does get easier, promise.

PoloZolo Sun 26-Feb-17 05:08:12

I'm awake too and feeding my 4 month old, didn't want to leave your post unanswered as I know it can be tough in the early days. I never got either of mine to take a dummy either, although sounds like you've had a bit more success than I've ever had!
It is hard in the early days, I think I found by 12 weeks I could get into more of a routine with it and she'll go longer between feeds especially if distracted and we are out and about. If I stay in all day she definitely feeds more often.
What made it easier for me was having friends with babies same age who were also breastfeeding, that way I could get ideas from them. Do you know anyone or could you go to some baby groups or something to meet people? Is there a breastfeeding support group nearby? They'd be able to help with any issues you are having too
It sounds like your little one is doing well at night, although I know it's still tiring!
Hopefully someone else will come along and give you some advice on the feeding, it is tough, especially when it's all on you to feed them and you can't share it with anyone. It will get easier soon I'm sure

AlfaMummy Sun 26-Feb-17 05:08:40

Well done for getting this far. You've done so much for your baby. You should feel proud.

Could you express and feed from bottle when out? I did this in the early days when I was struggling and it helped, I could at least leave the house. I used the Medula single electric pump. You can freeze BM in handy bags.

From memory, everything changed at about 8 or 10 weeks. My DD by then had learned to latch on straightaway, without any help whatsoever. I didn't notice at first, then one day I realised it had become so so easy. I think at that age they also become better at sucking, so get more milk and therefore start to go longer between feeds. You're half way there - don't give up!

I also found visiting shops with feeding / parents rooms particularly useful. John Lewis and M and S are good for this. Some even have proper nursing chairs for you to use. Look into visiting such shops, check out the individual store info on their websites.

Despite attending BF class at hospital before the birth, I too felt massively unprepared for the realities of BF. It's tough. Really tough. But it does get easier. Honestly. To the point that I now actually feel sorry for people who have to make bottles, it must be so hard especially at night.

It will click and come good soon, you've just got to carry on what you're doing.

Again, well done for getting this far.

seven201 Sun 26-Feb-17 05:08:53

Oh forgot to say I also needed a break for my own sanity so dd has a bottle of formula before bed. If you do want to do that then persist with the bottle you have. She might just 'get it' eventually.

Itdidnottastegood Sun 26-Feb-17 05:11:37

It sounds like you're doing really well to me. And your baby is only five weeks old- it's really natural and normal to feel like this. I didn't feel like I'd got to grips with anything until around 8 weeks with my first one. I found just getting out once a day helped. Maybe you could plan to include somewhere you feel less conscious about bf. I also found working out a way to do it where I wear a vest with a t shirt over the top, then slipping one vest strap down helped me expose as little of my boob as possible which helped.
Just hang in there! I promise it will get better x

BreatheDeep Sun 26-Feb-17 05:14:30

The bottle sucking but not taking any seems very unusual as the milk normally drips out without any suck so I would have thought even comfort sucking would end up with some drinking. Have you had her latch checked at all? Are you in pain when she's feeding? I'm just wondering as if she has a poor latch she may be an inefficient feeder and therefore needing to feed more frequently. My son was gaining weight fine but occasionally causing some nipple pain and feeding very frequently and for long durations. I had his latch checked and he had a 70% tongue tie. I had it snipped and his feeding improved so much.

ThreesMyMagicNumber Sun 26-Feb-17 05:15:45

Hello, not sure if I can help but can certainly say you're not alone!

My DD is 8 weeks and I've found feeding really tricky. Mastitis, poor latch, sore nipples....a bit easier now but still not without discomfort.

In my darkest moments I would just repeatedly read on my phone the benefits of breastfeeding as this would keep me motivated.

I also know from experience (this is number 3) that in the long term BF is SO much easier!

Be kind to yourself and don't try to do too much. Find a good box set to watch...can recommend Veep smile

Good luck


Pearl34 Sun 26-Feb-17 05:34:29

This was very much my experience and it was quickly grating. My mum said the midwives also told her to feed on demand, but couldnt go on every hour. What worked for me was starting with 2hr gaps.. then 3 which then she sometimes slept through to nearer 4hours. In this time she would be swaddled in a blanket and bounced/sang to etc. What also massively helped to settle was using a white noise app. It didnt take my baby long to adjust and meant a had decent sleeping intervals at night.

PetalMettle Sun 26-Feb-17 06:16:14

First well done. You're doing spectacularly well and you should be very proud.
It does get easier, although it's different for each person. Some notice a change st 6 weeks.
It's hard and lonely.
Can you go to bfing groups or playgroups - everyone will be feeding there so you won't feel odd. Or some stores have specific rooms e.g. John Lewis.
Make sure when your DH is around you get a break - a walk or a bath x

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 26-Feb-17 07:49:04

You're doing really well!

If you are conscious about BF in public - what are you wearing? I find I'm far more comfortable wearing two layers, so a vest with a top over it. Then lift the top up, pull the vest down and very little is on show. Could you find a child friendly cafe to have a go in? In my experience, nobody bats an eyelid but especially in those places. Do you have BF friends who you can go for a coffee with?

It will get so much easier. Neither of my DC will go longer than an hour without feeding either but I know from DD that this becomes much more manageable.

humanfemale Sun 26-Feb-17 08:02:40

OP I feel for you so much! My youngest is three and a half now but I still remember how tough those first few weeks were.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're in the thick of it just now, but it will get easier soon. It will.

This graph helped me a lot to keep going through all those growth spurts. It won't always be this tough.

BF with ease in public will get easier as you both get more accomplished at it. Remember you are both still learning! And your baby will get faster at feeding. I really agree that a dummy might help a lot.

humanfemale Sun 26-Feb-17 08:03:12

Here is the graph that helped me.

user1483016137 Sun 26-Feb-17 08:15:16

Your doing really well. Babies usually go through a growth spurt and cluster feed around 6 weeks but as they get older it gets so much easier.

I would suggest joining some breastfeeding Facebook groups (there are some very large uk ones) and going out to some breastfeeding meet ups (la leche league for example) as if you meet other breast feeding mothers you can go out and feed in public together until you feel more comfortable. When I was going out shopping, I would find out the location of all the feeding rooms first so that I could head straight there if I needed to and always had a plan to find somewhere to feed in the early days when I was quite shy, failing that I got a pack of muslin swaddles to cover up if I felt nervous while feeding.

My baby wouldn't take a dummy or a bottle but you can let them suck on your finger. If you stick to exclusively breastfeeding it gets a lot easier a few weeks down the line so I would advise that. I found the first 6-8 weeks hardest and it then got easier and easier every week.

If you carry your baby in a sling he/she will probably be happier, I had the same problems with the pram but the first time I wore DC in a sling, we went 4 hours without a feed (usually 30 mins max)!

Whatsername17 Sun 26-Feb-17 09:03:01

Get yourself a feeding Cape- I love mine. I wear two tops - a vest top and another top over the top. When I feed I pull one top up and the vest top down. That way, all but my boobs is covered and once she is latched that is covered too. I use the Cape in public and then nothing is seen at all. At night, do not get up! Get a pillow, lay it lengthways on the bed and pop your lo on it, feed laying down so that when she falls asleep you can pop her into her bed without too much moving around. Finally, I find dipping the dummy in gripe water helps dd2 to keep ducking long enough to realise she likes it. My dd is 5 weeks too - I feel your pain!

FTM85 Sun 26-Feb-17 10:35:10

Wow what an amazing amount of mamas to reply to me! And all up at the same time too grin thanks so much for all the replies.

I've been to a BF group, mainly to see a consultant and was told latch and position etc are all good. She has slight silent reflux bless her so I've researched positioning from the start.

I think I'll start bathing her every night as it really helps relax her and makes her cosy. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy breastfeeding her it's a wonderful experience - just when you do it 6-8 hours in one go it can be draining! I am going to persevere though.

I have a sling and will make more use of it halo

humanfemale that graph just says it all really doesn't it!! So much easier not to mention the benefits for her.

Most of my friends have either had kids long ago or are yet to have them (bit of a mix!) so I'm keen to get out and meet some more mamas. Going to look into all the bubba activities the health visitor has advised.

Thank you all for being so kind and helpful I feel so much better already x

PetalMettle Sun 26-Feb-17 10:45:01

There's a Facebook group called come nurse with me. Might be worth posting on there to see if there's any bfing mamas close to you

Purplebluebird Sun 26-Feb-17 10:51:15

I felt exactly the same, I really didn't like it at all, but persevered because I do believe it's the best for baby, and also bf'ing lying down in bed meant I didn't have to get up in the night to make a bottle.

For us it got very suddenly easier spot on 6 weeks, then gradually easier as time went by. I kept bf'ing on demand, and by 12 months DS stopped asking for it in the day, and only needed it for bedtime and nighttime. We shared a bed so this was very easy. Now at 3 and about to start weaning properly, as he still feeds in the evening to go to sleep (but sleeps through the night most of the time). I thought it was weird to bf past 12 months. Then when I got to 12 I decided 18. Then 24. And here I am, but now I've really got to the point where I feel I have to wean, as I don't want to do it anymore. It does get easier, and at some point it won't bother you at all. I would sit in the car and bf if we were out and about though!

welshgirlwannabe Sun 26-Feb-17 11:04:54

You're doing really well. Congratulations on your little baby and on the good weight gain - you did that! This is a tough stage for breastfeeding, and it's a tough time of year to have a newborn as you can't even get out for a walk in this weather :-(

Babies go through do many difficult stages and unfortunately this is one. It doesn't last forever. I second what a pp said about trying to feed lying down. Learning to do this just about saved my life with ds1.

Also - try to find a nice cafe with other mums and babies in it. You may see other mothers breastfeeding their baby in public and that may help you. Ive never found that anyone notices whrn I bf in public tbh. I think it's one of those things you get used to doing though.

I'm currently bf-ing my 11 month old and it is such a nice way to give him food, comfort and closeness. It gets easier as they get bigger and can suckle more efficiently and hold more milk in their tiny tums. I completely get what you're saying about being jealous of dad who gets to leave the house as will! But truly this too will pass.

Good luck!

FreesiaFlower Sun 26-Feb-17 12:54:27

This too shall pass. It may not feel like it right now though!

I would also recommend a feeding apron as a cover whilst out and about. Made me feel more comfortable.

I totally hear you about feeling attached to the baby - although breastfeeding feels like a lovely bonding time for some, I had times when it didn't feel so lovely. I just wanted a break! I discovered one decent nap/sleep can make things feel more manageable.

You are doing great. (I just made my nearly 5 year old lie on me for an hour today as I miss his baby snuggles).

DelphiniumBlue Sun 26-Feb-17 13:08:35

The first few months of bf are very hard, it's not at all unusual for babies to feed as often as yours is. You've done really well to get this far, lots of people give up much sooner. that said, it does get easier, although even at 3-4 months I was finding I'd have to dedicate approx 1 day every 3 or 4 days to feeding and not being able to do much else.
Make sure you are eating and drinking enough - have water on hand every time you sit down to feed. Don't expect to get anything else done - your job is to feed the baby. If you can arrange for anyone to visit you, even just for 10 minutes at a time, do. Lots of people will wait to be asked as they won't want to intrude, so you need to let it be known that you would welcome visitors. If people ask if they can do/bring anything, have some suggestions - food, snacks, cartons of juice for you - it all helps. And just having someone else hold the baby while you go to the loo/brush your hair can be a real relief. And company helps. Is there anyone from ante-natal classes you could hook up with, at least bf would not be a problem if you are just sitting in someones front room.
If you are up to going out, keep trips short for now - local shops or park is fine. Don't put pressure on yourself to be doing major outings at this stage.
You might find a sling helps, but they can be difficult to put on by yourself, which can add to the stress!
And try to sleep when the baby does - there's no rule that says you have to be up all day.

littledinaco Sun 26-Feb-17 14:38:20

You've done amazing so far OP, your're probably in/past the hardest bit now.

Keep going to the breastfeeding group, it will help with getting your confidence up about feeding in public. The Facebook group 'can i breastfeed in it' gives you lots of ideas on what to wear for easy feeding out and about.

If you can get the hang of feeding lying down it can make a big difference to getting much more sleep.

Get DH to wear baby in sling around the house for an hour or two, it will give you a chance to get a bath,etc.

4/5 hours a night is really good (I know it may not feel like it) but the constant day time feeds are probably helping her sleep well at night.

If you can get the hang of feeding in the sling (it can sometimes take a bit of practice) it can make it so much easier to get out and about.

I understand what you mean about feeling jealous of your DH, I felt the same even with baby number 3. My DH did loads to help (all the cooking, housework, washing, literally everything) so I think in some ways he felt jealous of me getting to sit on the couch all day feeding and watching telly! Make sure your DH is helping and all you've got to do is feed the baby, that can make a big difference.

Whatsername17 Sun 26-Feb-17 14:51:14

I can't say I enjoy it to be honest. It's convenient and natural and that's my motivation. That and the fact that I know from bitter experience ff is no better. With dd1 I was diagnosed with primary lactation failure after a difficult birth. Dd was lactose sensitive and dropped so much weight. I fed on demand and she took an ounce every hour. It was so stressful. I know formula isn't a magical solution (and also that it isn't the cause of a fractious baby - I beat myself up with dd1 thinking that my inability to establish bf was the cause of her colic - but dd2 is fractious at times too so clearly it wasn't!). Keep going - you are doing a great job!

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