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tiktok, mears, or any other nice lady with bf advice to spare

(33 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Tue 26-Jun-07 21:43:08

I'm at my wits end....my 9 day old baby, lovely as she is, is driving me up the left with constant feeding and I'm afraid that I'm going to crack and give her a bottle. I so want to be able to carry on, I just need to know that this is temporary.
She seems to be feeding every 1-2 hours, and sleeping so little, that I can't believe she is a newborn. Today for example, she has been at the breast for a total of 10 hours and slept for only 1hr 45min. Surely sleeping for so little isn't normal?
I know she is only tiddly and wants me for comfort, but It's absolutely exhausting and of course, impractical to be tied to her for as long as I am. When she does go longer than an hour between feeds, she makes up for it by then staying at the breast for up to two hours. She has only just this minute had a 1.5 hour feed and then screamed for more....I couldn't take any more and got DP to take her in the car for a drive while I've cried in frustration at home.
I've spoken to the mw who assures me this is normal....but the thing is, for how long for?
The thing I don't understand is, she doesn't always seem to be drinking, just suckling. Does this mean she's just using me as a dummy? I try to sit her up and me more alert to ensure a better feed, but she won't be put down in her crib, falling asleep only at the breast.
If she doesn't get the breast in her mouth as quickly as she likes, she screams and gets herself into such a state that she is too hysterical to actually latch on, and pushes the breast away with both fists. This means I have to respond to her cries for food in double quick time in order to avoid this.
Also- as I type this, my breasts feel empty, as she had both of them before she left. Does this mean I'm currently empty, or that my supply is low, or that she isn't getting enough?
Please could someone help me understand the way the whole thing works, and give me some inspiration to keep going. Any ideas on how I could encourage her to sleep a little more during the day would be helpful also. I'm pretty sure she should be exhausted, but the only thing she wants to do is eat.....

moondog Tue 26-Jun-07 22:29:38

Pingu, it is soooo tough at this stage.

First thing is not to worry about how your breasts feel.

The entie process is driven by supply and demand so the more she sucks,the more your breasts are stimulated to produce milk.
From my own experience,a very sucky day would be followed 24-48 hours later by boobs like bullets when i woke up.

She is not using you as a dummy, rather a dummy is used as a breast.
They like it there,it is warm and soft and comforting so of course they will stay there for as long as poss.

Generally speaking,it is not advisable to take them off the breast but having had a similarly attached baby i knew that i would go mad if I didn't occasionally take her off (use your finger to break the seal)so if I was absolutely sure that she had had a good feed,I would do this and give her to her father for a brisk walk around,walk in the pram or so on.It stopped me going mental.

You will soon start to understand when she is drinknig deeply (you see the jaw work under the ear) and when just sucking idly.

It is really hard work and this stage but it does pass.i found it very hard to give myself over to the baby but it was a valuable lesson in going with the flow and appreciating how important my physical prsence as a mother was.

Yo haVE TO APPRECIATE THAT this is a full time job at the moment and that everything else must be left to other people. Yo uneed to concentrate on relaxing and taking it easy and sleeping wheneve she does,no matter what time it is.

It does get easier and when it does.breastfeeding is so easy and hassle free.You can stick a few nappies in your pocket and whizz off at the drop if a hat.Be proud of yourself and your body.

If you need to talk it through in person try Assoc. for Breastfeeding Mothers helpline

0870 401 7711

XX

fishie Tue 26-Jun-07 22:37:44

fab post md. hello pingu, congratulations on your daughter. the thing i remember most from this time was trying to make sense of it and all the advice i could find or was given didn't quite fit, so i was at a loss. sleep etc won't settle down for a little while yet, perhaps you could get a sling so you can get off sofa occasionally?

you seem to be really very sane compared to me at 9days!

moondog Tue 26-Jun-07 22:39:22

I don't think I could walk and talk simultaneously 9 days post partum.
Accept that you have gone through the hugest upheaval that will ever happen to you.Don't try and rationalise it,just accept it as fact.

That helps a lot.

ediemay Tue 26-Jun-07 22:40:48

Hi pingu, I just wanted to send you some support and I second everything which moondog has said.

My DS was like this as a newborn, he fed and fed and fed. I promise you that it IS temporary. I'm sure you feel that you will never leave the house again but I promise that you will, and when she starts to feed a little less you will be delighted at how convenient it all is, as moondog says - your very own portable fast food!

I found that it helped me to grab a shower every morning and get dressed, even though I seemed to spend the rest of the day with my norks out! When I had days in my PJs it made me feel worse!

It's good that you are letting off steam - I think we all expect BF to be a lovely misty vision but in fact the first couple of weeks are blinking hard work. You are doing a fantastic job. I'm sure you are worn out. Sending you loads of positive vibes and good luck.

moondog Tue 26-Jun-07 22:42:58

With my first baby I remember thinking that i could not leave her-that if she cried I had committed a huge crime.With the second i could let her cry while i did something essential like go to the loo,get a sandwich or have a quick shower.
That's worth remembering.

MarsLady Tue 26-Jun-07 22:43:47

pingu.... just a quick thought... can your baby stick her tongue out?

Have you thought of cranial osteopathy? http://www.occ.uk.com

How does it feel when she's on? Any soreness?

Your breasts aren't empty... even when the breast has been "drained" it's never really empty. As long as she demands it your breasts will produce.

mamama Tue 26-Jun-07 22:43:59

Really good advice on here already - it sounds as though you are doing a great job. BF is exhausting but it does get easier.

If you need any other help in RL, you can contact La Leche League or the NCT (you'll have to google them - usually I'd put the links in but I'm in a hurry - I'll try to add them later)

Hang on in there Pingu x

ediemay Tue 26-Jun-07 22:44:08

By the way pingu, I watched loads of your namesake at this stage!! Also old repeats of Cagney and Lacey!!

mears Tue 26-Jun-07 22:46:26

pingu - she is only 9 days old and you are both learning. It WILL get better.

Pay close attention to her sucking and swallowing. When she is feeding effectively she should suck with every swallow. It may well be that she is just enjoying holding a nipple in her mouth and not doind much else. If she is falling asleep quickly then strip her down to her nappy and hold her skin-to-skin. Tickle her cheek, blow on her face - do whatever it takes to keep her sucking.

Are your nipples OK? If they are sore it is a sign she is not attached properly. If she isn't attached well it will take her longer to get the milk out. If she has fed will then give her to your DP and he can cuddle her on his chest. Babies love skin contact, mums or dads.

Breastfeeding does not mean that she needs permanently attached. It does mean that you need support with getting her settled and your DP could take her out in the pram.

One of the best tips I can give you is not to clock watch. When you count how long she has been feeding your level of frustration will increase. This can actually transfer to your baby and make her unsettled.

Have you tried feeding lying down? That way you can get some rest at the same time. It is only 9 days since you have given birth and you should try and rest as much as you can. Try thinking of it in a more positive way - all these feeds will be boosting your supply and the feeds will become more spaced.

Make sure your DP looks after you while you look after DD.

It WILL get better she says again

mears Tue 26-Jun-07 22:48:27

great site here for tips

fishie Tue 26-Jun-07 22:49:58

ha i watched loads of buffy and read hammer of the gods. that would be a very good thread.

pingu if you want to be given stepbystep personal advice you should ring advice line, if you want general support and to hear that we all got through it fine then carry on here. carry on here too of course

kiskidee Tue 26-Jun-07 23:05:54

New Helpline number for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) 08444 122 949

pinguthepenguin Tue 26-Jun-07 23:39:38

Thankyou so much for your replies girls. It helps to know it'll get better. My nipples were more or less ok until today, but they're quite sensitive now, and the left one hurts more than usual when she's latched on. There is an initial 5 second sting when she goes on either nipple- but i thought that was normal?....I'm currently using a syringe to draw my nipple outas they're very flat- a cheaper version of the nipplette I guess, but effective enough.
With regards to her idle suckling at the breast- she seems to do this alot and certainly doesn't seem to swallow much at these times. Should I take her off the breast when she does this?
What about the frustration she shows when I don't tend to her quickly enough? She turns bright red and her body goes iron-rigid with crying and rage (!), making it impossible to get her on until I calm her in some way.
Also- how do I break the cycle of refusing to be put down unless she falls asleep at the breast?
Is it normal to be sleeping so little? surely she is overtired by now and that is compounding things for her?

I'm sorry to bomabard you with questions...

kiskidee Tue 26-Jun-07 23:48:17

babies have hunger cues and it is better to respond to them before they go into meltdown which happens in oh, 5 secs it seems?


hunger cues

i found when dd was overtired, feed her lying down, then literally mm by mm would move ever so slowly away from her.

another thing that helps them sleep better is co-sleeping. as long as you follow a few safety guidelines, it will be perfectly safe. it will make you cope better too.

here is a small website about feeding lying down.

and guidelines for safe co-sleeping

kiskidee Tue 26-Jun-07 23:51:40

please don't worry about falling asleep at the breast and so called 'using you as a dummy'. you are not teaching your baby bad habits. that is what people who don't know enough about bf will tell you.

you are responding to your baby's needs. as long as you don't feel frustrated (and with the endless sucking it happens!) just let her get on with it. it is a phase and it will pass. and when you are feeling frustrated, let someone else take her out in the pushchair or in a sling.

bookthief Tue 26-Jun-07 23:52:27

pingu - can't improve on the advice given already but I just wanted to show some solidarity and echo the previous posters: This is normal and will not go on forever. Things will get better with no action required by you.

Ds wouldn't let himself be put down awake at that age and I went the first few weeks with him sleeping on my chest at night...it was only when I read posts on here that I found out this was normal. In "real life" I was getting people telling me that I was letting him get into bad habits and creating that dreaded "rod for your own back". Now that I'm slightly more experienced at this parenting lark (not much but a little!) I can tell you that it's bollocks!!! You have no cycles to break at this stage. Everything will change, and then change again...and again...!

You're doing magnificently well. I had flat nipples and found bf very difficult and painful for the first while. It sounds like you're very sorted with that so well done!

maximummummy Wed 27-Jun-07 00:16:32

looked this up in b/feeding factfile for you

GROWTH SPURTS at any time a baby may need to be fed more frequently.This may be indicated by waking more or crying more.It is often associated with babies at 10days,3weeks,6weeks,and 12weeks old and is referred to as a growth spurt.

RECOMMENDED ACTION encourage mother to b/f more frequently over a few days,which will allow her body to respond to the increased needs of the infant.emphasis on night feeds can help to increase a mother's milk supply as more milk-producing prolactin is secreted at night.As a result,within a very few days a new feeding pattern or a return to the previous pattern will emerge as the milk suypply increases to meet the baby's needs.Reassess positioning and attachment-mother may be trying to keep her now (large) baby in the same place on her lap as she did when he was small.

hope this helps (bit technical but good!)

ediemay Wed 27-Jun-07 00:19:54

Just a little thing which used to help to calm my DS before feeding and stop him from pushing off the breast (owww): he loved to be swaddled and it always seemed to relax him. I used to wrap a thin cotton blanky around his arms and shoulders and he would know that milk was on the way!

Scree Wed 27-Jun-07 00:38:22

Just to agree with everyone else, IT IS ONLY TEMPORARY, IT WILL NOT BE LIKE THIS FOR LONG! It's hard to imagine, but these days will be over so quickly.

Have you tried a sling for just wandering around at home? I couldn;t get anything done when DD1 was a baby without her in the sling. She may get a kip in there too.

Aloha Wed 27-Jun-07 00:39:02

sucking is a real need for little babies, but you don't have to breastfeed all day. After a feed put her in her pram and go for a walk. Head for a cafe, bring a magazine or newspaper. She is very, very likely to fall asleep on the way (wrap her up warm and ignore the initial howls - babies howl when they are tired) and you will get a walk, a change of scene and, hopefully, a peaceful coffee and a read. It can make all the difference. If you are shattered, find someone else to take her for a walk while you lie down.
These are very, very early days and it does get better, I promise!

maveta Wed 27-Jun-07 08:21:38

well I´m far from an expert and only know what works for my ds but I had many bf-ing problems at first and very sore nipples and the rest of it. I gave ds a dummy when he seemed to be comfort sucking rather than eating. As a rule if he is still hungry he´ll reject the dummy and need to be put back on the breast. Now you might not like the idea of a dummy but it saved my sanity and stopped my nipples becoming bleeding sores.. I´m a big fan of whatever works...

Good luck, it´s a really hard time and you WILL get over it. I could have cried tears of frustration to think of weeks more before it would pass but try to just deal with one day at a time and before you know it you´ll be there!

And there´s lots of lovely ladies on here to cheer you on when you aren´t sure you can do it which helped me no end.

pinguthepenguin Wed 27-Jun-07 15:15:54

girls- thankyou so much for your responses. You're right that I did worry I was teaching her the wrong associations for the future. I know that this is silly at only 10 says old, but I dreaded the idea of having a baby that wont consent to being put down at any moment! I'm going to perservere and try my best for her x

tiktok Wed 27-Jun-07 15:36:44

pingu, glad you are feeling better.

When you respond to your baby's needs for feeding/comfort/attention, you are indeed teaching her associations, but good ones. You are teaching her that the world is a good place, that her needs are important, that she is loved, and that she can be confident her distress and discomfort will be taken seriously by the people around her.

This builds emotional resiliance and high self-esteem, and actually leads to lower crying levels in later babyhood.

What's not to like ?

twofalls Wed 27-Jun-07 15:38:06

Pingu, can't help with the bf much because I reluctantly gave up at 6 weeks due to a number of problems but I remember clearly worrying that she would never go to sleep on her own and that she would be permantly attached to me until she was a teenager! Babies need lots and lots and lots of comfort at this stage. I just wish I had gone with the flow and not worried so much. As someone else said, just focus on you and the baby in these precious few weeks and don't worry about anything else. It will all fall into place and you won't teach her any bad associations at this point (IMO).

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