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Breastfeeding and a very hungry newborn

(16 Posts)
BefuddledBob Wed 25-Oct-17 08:26:14

Hi all,

Looking for some help please!

Our first little one is now 3 days old but had a bit of a traumatic entrance into the world unfortunately.

To cut a long story short, we were kept in an open ward for obsevation for a couple of days so not ideal for mum and baby to bond as lots of midviwes and doctors coming and going.

Baby was also very very hungry. After breastfeeding seemingly quite well for a few hours, baby had a meltdown. We'd checked everything, nappy etc and baby happy other than rooting & sucking fist etc.

After an hour of not being able to settle baby, midwife suggested we could give a small bottle to help with hunger whilst mum's milk comes through. I gave baby 1 scoop in 30 ml so a third of a normal bottle feed whilst mum slept.

Anyway now on day three baby can't seem to get enough milk from breast, and after a few hours of feeding will have another meltdown... Yesterday we gave in after about 4 hours of breast and I gave her another small (30ml) bottle to calm her down (which it did) whilst mum rested.

We're now worried she will lose interest in breast.

Has anyone got any advice for mum as she is exahusted from a difficult delivery, couple of nights of no sleep on an open ward and an extremely hungry little baby!


p.s. baby is otherwise fine, midwife said she was perfect and was happy with everything. We also get quite a few wet nappies a day etc

teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 25-Oct-17 08:31:57

Has she been checked for tongue tie?

AlbusPercival Wed 25-Oct-17 08:33:19

No specific advice but just to say my baby was identical.

Day 4 my milk came in and he hasn't had formula since, even when offered.

Just keep offering breast and doing lots of skin to skin.

Once out hospital find out where local bf support is, i.e baby cafe or la leche league

BefuddledBob Wed 25-Oct-17 08:34:41


They're both asleep at the moment so I can't ask. Is that a routine check or something you have to ask the midwife to do?

Cantchooseaname Wed 25-Oct-17 08:39:16

It should be routine, but if feeding is difficult, I would ask for it to be checked. Are midwives visiting?
Has milk come in? You will know if it has- enormous, rock hard boobs. See if that makes a difference- it's usually about day 4.
I think what you are doing sounds great- what will help in long run is mum having resilience/ reserves to get through tough nights. Rest will help that.
Also- so long as baby is fed in long run it will all be fine- breast feeding doesn't always work out!!

ElizabethShaw Wed 25-Oct-17 08:42:45

At 3 days it is totally normal for a newborn to want go be at the breast constantly, baby should be more settled once the milk comes in.

If your wife can try feeding lying down then she can rest/sleep at the same time and you can keep an eye on them.

teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 25-Oct-17 08:43:10

They would only do a proper check for tongue tie if there appears to be an issue with feeding but it’s something you can definitely ask for. You’ll probably get a Midwife just look in her mouth but ask if there’s a specially trained Midwife or lactation consultant on who is properly trained in this area.

Otherwise like the previous poster said, offer breast as much as possible, as much skin to skin with Mum as possible to stimulate milk supply. If there are no issues with tongue tie, weight gain, nappy output, Baby is trying to get the milk supply to come in.

If Mum is keen to BF, try not to offer top ups too often (easier said than done with a crying baby I know!!) but breastfeeding works fine n supply and demand so every time Baby feeds elsewhere, mum’s body won’t know that and therefore won’t produce enough milk to satisfy baby’s hunger so it can spiral.

There are lots of very experienced posters here so keep asking if you have more questions. Congratulations on your baby!

Wooterus Wed 25-Oct-17 08:48:19

First of all congratulations on your newborn flowers The first few weeks are exhausting, it feels never-ending and often breastfed babies will feed for hours and hours at a time. Rest assured that this is totally normal, it's what they need to do to signal mum's body to produce milk. After a few days it will settle down. The problem with introducing bottle feeds is twofold - 1) the baby feeds less from mum, so mum produces less milk (catch 22) and 2) it's much easier to suck from a bottle, so some babies can get "lazy" and have problems latching onto the breast - which, again, will affect milk supply.

My advice would be to keep on breastfeeding for as long as the baby wants - if you want to co tongue with breastfeeding, this is the fastest way to get things to settle down onto an even keel. Mum could practice breastfeeding lying down (lying on her side with the baby in the crook of her arm on the bed) so she can feel a bit more rested. As long as the baby is having plenty of wet nappies (the discharge notes and leaflets they give you from hospital will tell you how many to expect) then they are getting what they need and there shouldn't be any need to supplement. If you feel you need more support or practical pointers, speak to your health visitor or midwife, they should be able to direct you to local support. Often there are groups you can pop into and they can check feeding position etc and reassure your partner she's doing it right!

Your job is to keep an eye on her, if she does get exhausted you could take the baby for a bit while she snatches an hour or so of sleep (I remember doing this on the first night home from hospital, I fed until 5am and then my DH took DS and just rocked him for an hour while I passed out...). Make sure she has everything she needs - a steady supply of snacks, drinks and a netflix subscription are all good! Tell her she is doing a fabulous job. On day 3 you are really on the front line of new parenthood - her milk is coming in and her hormones will be all over the place, so just be there and follow her lead. Also, any time that the baby isn't feeding, get her to smother her nipples in lanolin cream (lansinoh is the most widely available, comes in a lilac tube) - it's about £10 per tube but will help to ward off cracked nipples and is worth its weight in gold.

Good luck! Keep posting here if you need more info. I promise it does get easier!

Wooterus Wed 25-Oct-17 08:48:41

Ooh cross posted with lots of people!

Wooterus Wed 25-Oct-17 09:03:39

Also that should say continue not co tongue blush

BefuddledBob Wed 25-Oct-17 09:08:49

Thanks to you all for your replies, this forum is so helpful.

Yes we got some of that cream yesterday which she has been using since!

I should have explained better, we're home now but the time on the ward made their bonding time more difficult .The 1st midwife home visit was yesterday (morning after getting home) and all was ok, we have a happy little baby.

When wifey wakes up from her nap I'll pass along your support and advice smile

tealandteal Wed 25-Oct-17 11:15:42

We topped DS up with formula by syringe to prevent nipple confusion. You can offer a very little bit and offer the breast each time as well. It can be enough to calm baby a little bit and give you some peace of mind but they are still hungry enough to stimulate the milk supply.

Lunalovepud Wed 25-Oct-17 13:19:48

I recently went through this exact thing... To start with, I hope you are all relaxing as much as you can and getting some rest. These early days are so overwhelming!

As PPs have said, please try to get some face to face breastfeeding support and check for tongue tie with an experienced person - both my babies had TT, with the first one I was told he didn't by a few people on the post natal ward and by the time I finally got a diagnosis for him, it was too late for us and breastfeeding. Experienced, face to face support is the difference between success and struggle when it comes to breastfeeding - it really makes such a difference.

My (unqualified) advice would be lots of skin to skin snuggles - there are nighties you can get which open in the front - I have a couple from Mothercare which are really good - and in the early days, I just stuck DD down there in her nappy only and we spent days cuddling and feeding.

I gave DD formula when she had been on the boob for ages and was getting frustrated and hungry and she just dropped it when my milk came in properly... It takes a while to bring up supply and as long as baby is getting lots of time on the breast then he or she is stimulating supply. In the early days DD was permanently on there almost - some days I only took her off to go to the loo!

I have ended up combi feeding but that was my intention and choice, not due to lack of milk. My supply has increased to meet her demand as we have gone along. She drinks from two different types of bottle and from me - basically, if milk comes out of it, she'll latch. I know some babies have problems with nipple confusion but this hasn't been our experience. Maybe she's just a greedy guts!

Good luck - it's really tough in the beginning so just stick at it, don't be afraid to use formula if you need it (baby is not producing enough wet / dirty nappies without it) just make sure you are topping up with it (both breasts drained and baby still hungry) rather than replacing feeds with it.

And Lansinoh after every feed... It stains nighties though so advise your wife not to wear her best ones until things have settled down a bit!

Good luck with everything... You sound like a really supportive partner so I am sure you will make a go of it together. Someone said to me not to give up on a bad day and this has been invaluable advice. Also, I am assuming that this is your first baby. In case you don't already know, days 3 - 5ish can be a hormonal shitstorm. Arm yourself with tissues, chocolate / treats and films with happy endings!

Chickchickadee555 Wed 25-Oct-17 14:32:36

The first few days and weeks are so tough!
As pp have pointed out, giving formula especially as early as this, could make continuing to breastfeed very problematic. Also, 30mls is a huge, huge amount at just 3 days old so do be really careful.
I think it’s a shame the midwife didn’t better support your wife in the hospital - it’s likely that your baby just wanted to stay close to mum and the breast for feeds and comfort which is why settling away from the boob might have proved tricky! Newborns need that contact.
Are you getting dirty nappies as well as wet ones? These are just as important.
It would be a good idea to find some good local breastfeeding support to help reassure your wife that everything is ok and what she can expect to happen over the next few weeks.
Can you ask the midwife to point you in the right direction?

Unicornberry Wed 25-Oct-17 14:52:20

It's totally normal for a newborn to breastfeed constantly, it's called cluster feeding.

You don't need to give the baby a bottle unless there are signs of problems (not enough poo nappies- you ideally want 3+ poos in 3rd 24hrs) and if you must give a bottle make sure you pace feed.

BefuddledBob Thu 26-Oct-17 17:31:53

Hi all little update, the midwife came today and helped mum and baby feed.

She basically said you’re not showing baby you’re the boss, and pushed baby and boob together...

Baby has now had three more successful feeds (once with midwife and twice afterward) and baby is happy and sleeping with a full tummy smile

So mum now happy and confident.

Formula going back in the cupboard in case of emergency grin

Thanks again everyone

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