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7 week old DS, so close to stopping BF(18 Posts)
Apologies in advance for the upcoming rant/tale of woe but I am nearing the limits of my sanity.
My lovely wee DS is 7 weeks old today. He was very jaundiced after birth and had to be woken every 3 hours to feed. He was so lethargic that BFing just wouldn't work and after he lost 13% of his birth weight I gave him expressed milk plus formula at the midwives' advice. When we were able to go home 5 days after his birth I continued feeding him every 3 hours with expressed milk and formula top ups and as the days went on he started to wake and ask for milk himself, which was great. During this time I also offered the breast and eventually he took to it. Now he is breastfed by me and gets two bottles a day from DH (one so I can get a few hours uninterrupted sleep and the other while I express for that feed).
But as the weeks have gone by his feedings have gotten closer together. He has always taken a good while to feed (45 mins to 1.5 hours is standard). The longest we'll get between feeds is 1-1.5 hours but he has also been cluster feeding these past 2 weeks in the evening (5-10 or 11). Today he has cluster fed from 2pm until now (10pm) and is still going. During his cluster feeds he pulls on and off the breast, gets very agitated and screams with the breast in his mouth, continues to scream if I take it away and launches himself back at it. After many hours feeding he'll still be bobbing and rooting on me.
He is gaining weight really well (put on 14oz between weeks 4 and 5) and is now off the chart for length so I don't necessarily think it's a supply issue. He also has completely stopped agreeing to lie in his Sleepy head except after a huge cluster feed when he's exhausted (if I'm lucky). Generally he just wants to sleep on me.
The health visitor says it's all normal but none of my BFing friends have been through this. Can anyone offer any advice? Is this normal? I'm desperate and not enjoying feeding my lovely boy at all, which is awful.
It will get much easier again soon. It is perfectly normal and his way of increasing your supply for needs as he's getting bigger. Of you can hang on in there it'll slow down again soon and he'll be going far longer in between feeds too.
As for the sleeping, I ended up cosleeping for exactly these reasons. Not something i ever wanted to do really but both dd and i got far more sleep that way and feeding lying down is much easier overnight! Can understand if it's not your thing but for me it saved my sanity and meant i could keep feeding without going spare!!
It is pretty normal, but it does sound like he night have a bit of wind or reflux? How do you wind him after a feed? It could also be a growth spurt. Look at kellymom.com its got so much bf info on there.
Hopefully someone with more advice will be along soon! You've done great so.far it does get easier.
My first was like that. Omg it was so exhausting. It just went on and on and on and it was definitely not a supply issue. He got very very fat quite quickly (after losing loads ast the start) i learned to feed lying down and coslept. He was always a frequent feeder and at 4 he's still more of a little and often type eater. But the cluster feeding stopped around 10 weeks. You're nearly through the worst of it! Obviously you should just switch to bottle feeding if you really can't hack the breastfeeding, it's not worth driving yourself crazy, but I don't think much would necessarily change. As in he might still be fussy and on and off the bottle all evening. But this is not forever! Honestly, in a few weeks it'll all be so different.
Congratulations on your DS!
BF is so hard in the early days
Cluster feeding and only wanting to sleep on you sounds entirely normal to me. It won’t last much longer, I promise. You’ve nearly done the hardest bit. For me, I saw gradual changes from 8 weeks on and by 12 weeks it was so much easier (and cluster feeding has been a thing of the past since then.)
I’m not sure about the length of time he is taking to feed though. My DS was speeding up quite considerably around this time (somewhere between 10-30 mins depending on how sleepy he was). Have you had bf support from a lactation consultant? There may be groups in your area where you can access this and I found speaking to a real expert invaluable. They might be able to check attachment and position to ensure that milk transfer is efficient.
Advice for cluster feeds - eat a meal early in the evening then: box sets, chocolate, tea and lots of water! I felt so much better when I accepted it was going to happen, set myself up on the sofa and went with it.
By the way, your friends must have those babies that all the books talk about (you know, the ones you put down “drowsy but awake” and they sleep for hours.) You have a normal baby
My experience is they do want to sleep on you all the time. DS is 4.5 months and would still like to sleep on me if he could all the time, but as they get older they do start sleeping in their cot/basket/pram/bouncy chair much more.
I'm breast feeding on demand and have had times when DS has gone 3-4 hours regularly between feeds, times when it's been every couple of hours and times such as this evening where he's been constantly attached. In my experience it changes regularly depending on whether he's having a growth spurt, feeling unwell or increasing supply. It does get easier.
Some feeds are still taking a long time others now only take 10 minutes. Learn to feed lying down then you can doze at the same time or watch tv in bed.
I was in a similar situation with the loss of birth weight and readmisson (sp) to hospital but once DS started gaining weight I dropped the formula top ups and expressing as I find it much easier and quicker just to breastfeed.
If your DS is just sucking for comfort not for milk have you tried a dummy? Mine happily takes his dummy if he just wants to comfort suck but will spit it out and grizzle if he wants more milk. It's also easier to settle them in cot/basket/pram etc if they're sucking a dummy. The Mam ones are good.
Thanks for replying to me I'm so bloody tired that I'm in tears and it's amazing that someone is actually listening!
Canyousew, can you tell me what co-sleeping looks like for you? We have a Next to Me sidecar cot but I've avoided feeding in bed thus far due to the length of the feeds - I'm worried I'd fall asleep and DH would get no sleep (he's back at work and gets up at 4 to take DS off me). Do you feed lying down? I"m a bit confused by that one in terms of winding.
katie we've been given Gaviscon for himself as I am sure he has silent reflux - he hates being on his back and though he probably doesn't sick up more than most babies, he sometimes chokes then swallows. He often squirms and scrunches up his face as if in pain multiple times in his sleep until it finally wakes him up and he cries. I'm sure wind is an issue too - I try my best to burp him (over my shoulder or holding him under the chin) but it often takes a good long time to get anything up. He farts a lot, often while feeding. I was thinking growth spurt too but this intense, frantic feeding has been going on since the middle of weeks 5.
My ds was just like that when he had bad wind/acid reflux. The screaming on the boob and pulling /tugging and then rooting when you take him off are all signs he needs a good winding. They do the rooting thing not out of hunger but because suckling is soothing and their tummy is hurting. I wind my son every time he comes off the boob naturally and he does protest loudly, but as soon as he does a big burp he's alright then. He also had other symptoms of silent reflux such as grunting when lying down so he was on ranitidine from about 5 weeks. I'd say it sounds like a combination of that and the normal cluster/growth spurt feeding which happens sometimes but doesn't last forever.
My ds is 11 weeks now and only in the last couple weeks has he been going any decent amount of time (eg more than 2 hours) without a feed, it was quite typical for him to be wanting to feed almost hourly sometimes! It doesn't last forever. Try to wind him regularly but if he's anything like mine and doesn't part with wind easy you might have to be patient with it and persevere a little while!
Sorry, cross posted, just seen your follow up message sounds a lot like my ds at that point maybe see about getting him some ranitidine?
I feel your pain!
My dd is now 6 months old and I am so grateful I stuck with it but my god! I still have the emotional scars from those first months, it was so hard.
She was exactly the same, feedstock around 45-60 mins, EACH BREAST and of course 1 just wasn't acceptable and that was outwith cluster feeding. I had a lactation consultant who told me it was perfectly fine, I didn't believe her, I worried, I cried, I wanted to quit - to this day I have no idea how I kept going! But.... somehow without me noticing it got easier, quicker, more convenient!
Only advice I can offer is not to put pressure on your self, if you are pissed off/struggling then offer a bottle (formula is fine) to give yourself a rest. 1-2 bottles a day will save your sanity and do no harm at all to your supply or bf journey. Also the best advice I got was don't give up when you are emotional and exhausted- say, if I still feel like this in 3 days I'm going to wean to a bottle. It takes the pressure off and gives you breathing space and if in 3 days it's still as bad then you gave it your all and you can start slowly swapping feeds to a bottle.
Please don't stop suddenly as it can lead to engorgment, pain blocked ducts and mastitis - ouch!
I have the mam dummies too, they've really helped
Hang on in there, sounds like you haven’t had the easiest of starts (I did 3 hourly topping up too and it was so tough!) but you are doing so well and are so close to it all becoming easier. You just have to get over this hump and it all starts falling into place. Feeds get much shorter and night/day start being differentiated - all the cluster feeding sessions in the evening should help set him up for longer stretches at night and before long they will stop. Try and get along to a breastfeeding support group with a lactation consultant if possible, as if he’s a bit colicky they can sometimes work wonders tweaking your position/latch to help. If you are combination feeding already, could your DH give a bottle in the evening sometimes to cut short the mammoth cluster feeding sessions and give you a break? No harm in using a bit of formula if it helps you stay sane and keep BF in the longer run.
Get him checked for posterior tongue tie. Only a really good lactation consultant or paediatrician won’t miss it. My son had his lasered st 6 months after 6 months of hell im terms of feeding and lots of people including lactatoon consultants telling me it was just the way I was latching him or that there was nothing wrong. It’s worth getting checked by someone really good.
Thanks so much for the replies and suggestions everyone Wee fella has now fallen asleep on me so I'll grab this moment to read everything.
We coslept in bed. There's a really natural position for beastfeeding mothers- lie on your side with your knees drawn up so the are in front of you and you cant roll forward. The baby then sleeps above your knees/ in front of your stomach.
Pillows well away from baby, and keep your duvet away from him too as they are both suffocation risks and the duvet is also an overheating risk. We used single duvets and kept them lower down on the bed to keep them away from the baby. He should have his own bedding/sleeping bag so he doesnt overheat. No smoking/drinking/medication which makes you drowsy if he's coming in your bed (both of you!).
You can feed when you're in this position which means you can fall asleep while he's still latched on, and there's less disturbance for both of you if he needs a feed.
Research seems to suggest that bf mothers sleeping in this way tend to be really responsive to their baby's presence overnight so risks are low as long as you take precautions as above.
I have a sidecar cot thing but getting the baby back in it after a feed set me back to square one each time. The only way i got any sleep was by sleeping with them in my bed!
My ds was just like that when he had bad wind/acid reflux. The screaming on the boob and pulling /tugging and then rooting when you take him off are all signs he needs a good winding. They do the rooting thing not out of hunger but because suckling is soothing and their tummy is hurting
Halebeke this makes perfect sense. In my knackered state it didn't occur to me but it absolutely makes sense. I wish the HV had suggested this. I think I've got so confused with BFing on demand and just give him the boob at any sign of discomfort and obviously things escalate if he is actually in pain and needs winding.
I'm glad I could help a little bit, I do hope things get a bit easier for you. I'm sure they will! I'm finding feeding really easy now after the initial difficult few weeks. Still permanently knackered though but it's OK!
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