Constant Breastfeeding - please help

(24 Posts)
Sunisshining12 Mon 06-Mar-17 04:01:37

FTM here & at my whits end with bf my 10 day old baby aleady.

First 5 days were a real struggle, hand expressed some colostrum in hospital but had to top up with formula as I couldn't get her to latch most of the time & when I did the pain was unbearable sad

My milk came in around day 6-7.

The bf helper recommended nipple shields which we are now using although still a little difficulty getting initial latch no where near as bad without & I'm in much less pain.

My main concern is the length of time she takes to feed - I'm feeding for around 1 1/4 hours every 2 - 2 1/2 hours which is absolutely exhausting. In the night she can feed for 2 hours & when I put her down she cries & roots! She seems to be feeding big just comfort suckling because her jaw is moving & she's swallowing but I'm not 100%. She's put weight on & has around 2 pooey nappies & 4-5 wet ones per 24hr,

Why would this be? The nipple shield or low milk supply? Any other reason?

I've been expressing once-twice per day as well just to boost supply. I wondered if it would harm for DH to give her 1 bottle of expressed in the night just to give me a rest?!

I really want to bf but I just dont know if this way is normal! Please help

PragmaticWench Mon 06-Mar-17 04:17:23

Didn't want to read and run, but this sounds fairly normal to me for the start of bf. DD fed for 12 hours straight on her second night alive and I think it all helps to establish a good supply.

Saying that, it does sound as though she's struggling with her latch, has she been checked for a tongue tie? A lot of doctors and even breastfeeding advisers can't recognise a tt, but is there a La Leche League group near you that you could call for help with this?

AppleMagic Mon 06-Mar-17 04:19:20

Lots of what you say sounds normal. Babies often have a massive growth spurt at around 10 days which can make them feed all the time. And feeding every 2hrs or so is very normal for a bf baby generally.
OTOH it does sound like the feeds are taking a long time, suggesting maybe your baby is not transferring milk very efficiently. Has she been checked for tongue tie?

With regards to the bottle I would get your dh to give it at around 10pm. 1am to 5am is really important for milk production, so I'd avoid giving one between those times if you can.

Nottalotta Mon 06-Mar-17 05:18:31

My first son was like this although lost weight and took over three weeks to regain his birth weight. Despite feeding constantly. The mw/HV would ask how often he feeds for, how long and I just couldn't answer. All the time didn't seem to get through to them.

I've got ds2 and with hindsight it's immediately obvious that he's a much better feeder than ds1, quicker, more efficient

With ds1 what helped was doing breast compressions (YouTube) and switch feeding (change sides every 5 minutes)

IrregularCommentary Mon 06-Mar-17 05:45:17

The cluster feeding is totally normal at this stage (it will get better!) but I would also get her checked for tongue tie as it sounds like she could be struggling with her latch. Definitely try and get some proper bf support. La Leche League are great. Midwives and HVs are really hit and miss unfortunately. Just try not to pressure yourself, if baby wants to feed all the time then just put your feet up and watch Netflix - just go with it. You're doing a great job and it gets so easy in a few weeks when you're both totally settled into it.

eliolo Mon 06-Mar-17 05:47:21

It could be the nipple shields causing the feeds to take so long, my DDs feeds went from around 15 minutes to almost an hour sometimes when we started using them. But she's now 13 weeks and each feed is around 5 minutes so it does get better smilehave you tried any different types of shield? I started with Medela but use Mam ones now and get on with them much better.
It is hard but it does all get so much easier, I didn't believe everyone when they said that but one day you'll suddenly realise everything's changed smileyou're doing brilliantly to have made it so far already! Also nothing wrong with giving a bottle of any sort, you've got to keep your own sanity too!

Sunisshining12 Mon 06-Mar-17 06:08:36

Thanks for the replies. Glad to hear that it's 'normal' to feed so much as the midwife & the brochure from hospital says feeds should only last 5-40 mins.

I've only tried one type of nipple shield I'm going to send Dh out for a few others! It's the only way I can feed her.

The midwife recommends giving her a bottle once in night or a dummy to soothe her - but then I read about nipple confusion & im even more confused what to do!

At what age would you say they start to go longer between feeds? I really want to enjoy bf & the bonding but can't help resent it when it's so often. Thanks

cockermum85 Mon 06-Mar-17 06:37:45

Oh my goodness, I red your post and thought I'd written it. My baby is also 10 days old and it's a similar story. Really struggled with her latch and I'm using nipple shields but topping her up with EBM. We're using a Medela Calmita teat and so far no confusion. In fact twice in the past day she's latched on my boob without the shield. She is such a lazy sucker that I've always got her attached! 10mins on 10 mins off for 4-5 hours in the night.
I'm also pumping 6 times a day after every feed to increase my milk which is slow but I don't think I've been eating or drinking enough. I completely understand how you feel, stick with it and don't have guilt. I've spent so many days crying over this but at the end of it, I can't leave my little one screaming in hunger just because I've said I 'need' to feed from the breast! I look at it that she's getting EBM so it's all good. (I've also had to do a couple of formula top ups, I managed a 3hour nap after that the other day and woke feeling alive and ready to start over!)

Sunisshining12 Mon 06-Mar-17 06:46:34

I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I knew babies were demanding but I had no idea they could feed almost every hour for hours at a time!! My LO fed for 3 hours straight in the night! I'm solely breastfeeding now no formula top ups but was worried I wasn't producing enough for her seens as she's always on me!

I'm using the Lasinoh shield which already seems to have lost its 'sticky'.

Any views on a dummy if bf?

The midwife said she has a very very slight tongue tie, but it's so 'mild' she wouldn't refer for it. Perhaps I should push this further?

eliolo Mon 06-Mar-17 06:46:43

The nipple shields can make it harder for them to transfer milk until they get the hang of it smilemaybe try and check some sizes online as they all come in different ones which will affect how much nipple/areola your baby manages to suck on with them. I went with a large but wouldn't say I had particularly large nipples and they work great.
I think it was probably around 7-8 weeks when there started being longer between feeds, during the day my DD would have rubbish naps and feed when waking up and be grumpy but I started wearing her in a sling for 2 of her naps (she'd sleep for up to 2 hours at a time in it) and she's sleeping better overnight now too. She usually has a 3-4 hour gap and then a 2-3 hour one in the night now. It does all change when they have growth spurts too and you'll feel like you've broken your baby (maybe that's just me! grin) but they're pretty short lived smile

Sunisshining12 Mon 06-Mar-17 06:48:38

Cockermum you must be exhausted all that feeding AND pumping 6 times per day! Well done!

Im only pumping once sometimes twice for 15mins - should I be pumping more?

eliolo Mon 06-Mar-17 06:49:14

I've also given my DD a dummy since she was a couple of days old as it was the only way of settling her. I'm not sure if that's part of the reason why I can't yet wean her off the nipple shields but I haven't tried too hard yet so I'm not fussed smile I decided that nipple shields were a better option than listening to a crying baby for hours grin

cockermum85 Mon 06-Mar-17 07:13:19

Sunisshining12 it's tough pumping this much but because shes not feeding from me all the time and I have introduced bottles for ebm I many to get my supply up. Though I've not seen a great change in 4 days but I've up my food and water and it's a little better. I let hubby do a couple of bottle feeds a day so I can pump at the same time but I like to feed her, even if it's with a bottle it's soothing for both of us. Are you pumping with little one near you? I always have her with me, as when I didn't my supply was less by half!!! Weird how the body works. Im not sure my current system is ideal but we had the mw concerned about her lack of wet nappies, I was getting one in 24hrs at 6 days old! We started with ebm top ups and she's doing 6 a day which they're happy with. My theory is that I'm going to give her my milk for as long as I can possibly manage and then I'm not going to beat myself up if I need to stop. Her growth is just as important as where her milk cane from, and I had a baby who was on the edge of being quite poorly because I would only let her feed from the breast. It's got to work for everyone!
Just remember you're doing amazing and the fact your on here looking for help shows how much you want it to work. Keep me posted with how you go, it's good to know of other people at the same stage with the same issues. X

RedLemonade Mon 06-Mar-17 07:13:58

My DD1 was just like this and she had a mild tongue tie too. Like PP I have DD2 now and she is much more efficient, though still feeds just as often.

I didn't need nipple shields but I remember wailing to DP "They said she might feed every hour in the beginning but they didn't say she's feed FOR an hour every hour!"

She did get more efficient over the first few weeks but she continued to fee every 2 hours till she was well on to solids. But much more manageable when the feeds were only lasting 15 mins.

She did end up being very into BF and sucking for comfort though so dummy was a lifesaver there. I introduced it in the early days and used a Nuk latex one with the same teats for the expressed bottles I gave her. No issues with nipple confusion- she loved sucking too much!

You'll hit your stride soon and you are not alone!

cockermum85 Mon 06-Mar-17 07:15:41

Eliolo my midwive told me I could use them forever if they work. I had them for8 days and then out of nowhere my dd fed from me without it. Not a great deal, she's very lazy (no tongue tie, we had that checked by EVERYONE at the hospital)

Imaginingdragonsagain Mon 06-Mar-17 07:17:00

It might be worth getting a second opinion on the tongue tie.

Note3 Mon 06-Mar-17 07:21:52

Oh I so hear you on wanting to enjoy feeding but feel it's just a drain. I BF all three of mine and remember the early days well. With my first I was in a lot of pain as initially her latch was very poor (I was never shown correct latch and got very sore as a result) plus IMO newborns mouths are simply too small to get a sufficient latch to cause zero friction and your nips needs to toughen up a bit.

The thing that saved my BFing journey was Lansinoh ointment. If in the UK you can get it free on prescription and your midwife or a BFing advice place usually have some free samples to tide you over.

The lansinoh is safe to put on immediately before a feed (great as reduces friction) and then put on immediately after to heal between feeds.

The nipple shield is a good short term fix for some (caused more pain for me) but they can cause problems with supply and with causing blocked ducts so you should aim to stop using asap.

This stage will pass fairly soon but if you really need your DH to give a bottle then one would not hurt (providing you use a bottle that mimics BFing technique else bottles can make babies lazy towards feeding). He could do a late night feed as suggested earlier and you could get your head down for a block of 3-4 hours sleep as a result (don't faff once baby fed, go straight to bed yourself and arrange for DH to only wake you when baby's due a feed from you after had bottle and a sleep).

The comfort suckling is still sending milk production msgs to your brain so it's a good thing but equally can be difficult when you need a break. One thing we found a big help was after I fed DC I gave her to DH to burp and then put down in crib. It made her less reliant on just me for sleep which reduced the constant suckling.

Around this stage your DC will soon establish cluster feeding. It can occur at any time of day but generally occurs in the mid to late eve and they literally feed, sleep in a quick cycle for a few hours and when done they sleep for a longer stretch at night. I just accepted I was confined to the sofa for a few hrs and sat watching programmes with a bottle of water and snacks next to me with baby on a v pillow on my lap

lilydaisyrose Mon 06-Mar-17 07:25:43

We haven't had the same problems as you but did introduce a dummy at around 19 days old due to a sucky baby. Baby is now 10w old and has never had any nipple confusion. I don't like the look of dummies but they are so good for us! Do you think she might be comfort sucking?

mummydoc123 Mon 06-Mar-17 07:36:29

You're not alone. My first was like this and I don't think I left the house for the first 6 weeks after he was born as all he did was feed. ..very, very slowly. The fastest he ever fed was 45 mins and that was when I was weaning him (although admittedly he went much longer between feeds). I gave a bottle of formula at night (10pm) as I could never express enough to give a breast milk bottle, just to give me a break. Wish i'd known about La Leche League then as it sounds like they are really helpful and might be a great support. Sending you good wishes (and enjoy watching the box sets....may as well pass the time productively! ).

MinesALargeGin Mon 06-Mar-17 11:48:27

My baby was a very slow feeder as well, and I struggled with pain on feeding for the first two weeks. It sounds like we had a slightly different situation as he failed to put on weight at the expected rate and ended up nearly dropping off the bottom of the centile chart. As far as I know very frequent, lengthy breastfeeding can be normal in the early days but if I ever have another baby the things I would do differently are:

- get the latch checked by an expert (I think my baby probably wasn't latching on properly until he was a couple of months old, I wish I'd sought help with this earlier)
- make use of breast compressions and switch feeding (as NottaLotta says). My baby was spending ages snoozing on the breast rather than actively feeding. I needed help to tell whether he was actually swallowing or not (you may already know this but when a baby's feeding you'll usually be able to hear a sort of puff of air coming from their nose as they swallow). Once I figured that out I could use compressions/switching to keep him actually feeding for longer, which helped with my supply and also cut the time taken for feeds.
- make sure I get up during the night to feed as this boosts supply. My skinny baby sometimes slept through and to my shame I was too tired to set an alarm and get up to feed him between midnight and 6 as advised. Once I did eventually start doing this (I'm an idiot, it took me weeks) my supply improved noticeably.

An NCT breastfeeding counsellor came to my house and helped me (for free) - worth seeing if this is an option in your area? Get all the help you can, breastfeeding is often not easy especially if you've never done it before.

PragmaticWench Mon 06-Mar-17 14:31:16

Seconding the idea of getting the tongue-tie checked by someone more specialised than a midwife, a posterior tongue tie can be really hard to spot and can cause big latch issues. After a LOT of issues with feeding and pain I saw an IBCLC (lactation consultant) privately and had DS's tongue tie snipped.

Bluebellevergreen Sat 11-Mar-17 17:15:04

I could have written your post :-(

NameChange30 Sat 18-Mar-17 03:41:51

Joining the club of FTMs struggling to cope with BFing a newborn!

My baby is 8 days old and feeding CONSTANTLY. It's completely exhausting. Based on what PPs have said I wonder if it's partly a comfort thing? He does seem to snooze/stop sometimes..

There don't seem to be issues with latch or anything and I'm not worried about his weight, he'd only lost 5% on day three. I'm not expressing (ha, when would I get the fucking time).

I know they're supposed to feed a lot in the early days to establish supply, and at night, but it's the second night in a row of constant feeding (with only brief breaks for nappy changes) from 9.30-10pm to 3-3.30am and I'm wondering how on earth it can be normal. He can't possibly be feeding the whole time, his stomach isn't big enough confused

ICJump Sat 18-Mar-17 07:56:19

Feeding lots can be normal but a 2 hour feed with a pause is pretty long. And the nappies are on the low side of ok. It might be worth seeing a lactation consultant.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now