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2 1/2 wk old baby doesn't seem satisfied with my milk no matter how long/often he feeds. Help? (Long story)

(49 Posts)
bananabump Sun 26-Aug-07 15:19:58

ds is 2 1/2 weeks old now, about a week or so ago his feeding started getting really demanding and erratic. Sorry this is long.

At first it was just at night, he'd feed for ages and fall asleep at the boob. I'd put him in his moses basket, he'd sleep for a few minutes then wake up crying for more milk. He went through this cycle all night one night, feeding about 11 times, we didn't sleep properly til about 8.30 in the morning, and then he slept in 3 hour stints for the rest of the day.

But now he's doing it during the day as well, just feeding and feeding until he falls asleep but waking up as soon as he's put down, and then crying for food again. He doesn't seem particularly satisfied apart from when he DOES sleep for a few hours and feeds when my boobs are fit to burst.

When he was screaming the other night and I'd been feeding him just constantly for hours and they felt totally empty, we gave up and gave him a bottle, and he downed it like he was ravenous. He was immediately so content and slept beautifully for about 4 1/2 hours. I feel almost mean for not being able to satisfy him like formula can.

Also, he was very jaundiced so he NEEDS fluids to flush the jaundice out. I've been trying to do that myself but I'm wondering if my supply is up to the job yet. I definitely want to breastfeed but the most important thing is that he isn't going hungry/suffering with the jaundice. He was 7lb 2oz at birth, at 2 weeks he was 6lb 7oz.

Last night I tried to get the best of both worlds by feeding him a bottle and also expressing for ages so my supply wouldn't be affected (got about 10mls total- pathetic) To be honest I feel like I know NOTHING about this whole thing. I don't know if I should be offering both breasts at a feed, or sticking to one until he lets go/falls asleep.

I tried called the NCT breastfeeding line but got through to some shitty bored sounding woman who made me feel like crap for giving him a single bottle feed (easy to say when you haven't got a desperately hungry newborn screaming at you)

I spoke to my health visitor about it last tuesday, she said it was normal, probably preparing for a growth spurt, and it would last very long. But it's been about a week now, I don't understand why he isn't getting enough.

It's making me wonder if it's a problem with the latch because although my nipples are no longer sore and bf isn't painful, I read somewhere that if he's truly drinking and not just sucking for comfort, you should be able to see his chin pausing between sucks. But baby seems to do several small fluttery sucks then an audible swallow, which (previous to reading that) I thought was okay. He is doing about 2 or 3 dirty nappies a day and a few wet ones.

I'm so confused, does anyone have any advice? right now I'm letting him feed as much as he wants and giving him formula when he won't settle and seems really hungry, but not usually more than 90ml once a day. I think I'll go mad otherwise, I'm not getting more than about three hours sleep a day at the moment, and even that is in half an hour stints.

Sorry this was such a long post!

TooTicky Sun 26-Aug-07 15:41:08

I wish I knew just the right thing to say! Have you tried feeding and carrying him in a ring sling? I have found that the sheer comfort and security of this is very useful for keeping tiny ones contented and asleep for longer. Does he bring up much milk?

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 26-Aug-07 15:41:46

I don't know, but I would think this is probably normal. He's a very new baby and he and you just haven't got into a routine yet. Your milk supply is probably not established either.

I know it seems hard (and I really do know how hard it is because DS2 used to do this as well) but I think you just have to keep doing what you're doing, and it will sort itself out.

Don't beat yourself up about giving formula - the occasional bottle will do you and him good if it gives you a break and he gets a bit of sleep - but remember that it can interfere with your supply, so is probably better used at this stage only as a last resort.

The critical thing to do - imo - is to make sure that you rest as much as you can, and eat properly, so that you can focus on him and you can encourage your body to keep your milk supply going.

Hard work, isn't it?!

bumperlicious Sun 26-Aug-07 15:47:16

Hi bananabump - no advice, sorry but just wanted to sympathise with you and say you are doing a great job by persevering. I'm sure someone will be along soon with some advice, but bfing can be really hard in the first few weeks and it takes a while to learn what your baby wants.

Do you have a breastfeeding group near you? Sorry you are not getting any sleep.

With the expressing, try and do it in the morning, and try and relax while you are doing it. Maybe you could try expressing and feeding him, seeing how much he takes and whether he is settled. If he takes a good amount then is settled it would suggest that he is not getting enough out of you which will narrow down the problem. If he feeds a good amount and still isn't settled then it's not that he isn't getting it out of your boobs, but that he needs more to be satified or he is unsettled for another reason, does that make sense? Sorry if it doesn't, I just want to try and help as I remember how crap the first few weeks were.

Is he actually hungry? Could he be comfort feeding?

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 26-Aug-07 15:56:27

Ah yes - comfort feeding! This was something that both dss did, and I did end up using a dummy with both of them. Something I had said I would never do!

With ds 2 though (although he did use the dummy) it didn't stop this constant feeding - but it might be worth a try?

sweetkitty Sun 26-Aug-07 15:59:13

Sounds completely normal to me at this age some babies just want to be attached to their mums 24/7 and I think it's as much to do with the physical closeness and he sucking as it is with the milk.

I'm no expert but they recommend no bottle before about 5-6 weeks as it is a different method of feeding and it can confuse babies.

Have you considered a dummy might be worth trying to see if it's the sucking he finds comfort in, my DD2 was like this stuck to me 24/7 I tried a dummy and she took it for about 3 months before refusing as there was no milk coming from it.

You are doing great and you have exactly what your baby needs to grow, get comfy I got a load of old films and went to bed and watched TV whilst feeding it was a nice time for us, it is a phase and he's so young it won't last long.

The person you need is tiktok she is a BFing expert and is great with all queries. best of luck x

MrsBadger Sun 26-Aug-07 16:01:20

the 'feed for ages, fall asleep, into basket, 2min quiet, wake up wailing, feed again' sounds like the first few nights the Cub was home.
Drove myself and DH to tears feeding, changing, jiggling, singing, picking up, putting down etc in effort to get her settled in basket.

Fourth night gave up and took her into bed with us - she now wakes up every 2.5-3h, feeds and drops straight off again. I think she was just miserable in the basket by herself and wanted comforting rather than actually being hungry.
Dummy may have similar effect I suppose...

sweetkitty Sun 26-Aug-07 16:04:34

Thats what I meant comfort sucking newborns just love to suck whether they are hungry or not. He loves sucking and when you put him down in his moses basket he think wheres Mum and that lovely boob that comforts me so much so he cries for it. They may be little but they know what they want!

Honestly just let him suck 24/7 if he wants to or try a dummy, it's such a short phase in his life, it will go so fast I know it doesn't seem like it when you are so knackered and emotional right now but do whatever it takes to get some sleep and don't be hard on yourself.

I ignored everyones advice (apart from lovely mumsnetters) and let DD1 sleep on me for the first few weeks of her life. We coslept until 15 months and she slept great. I had no problem getting her into her own bed and she sleeps great now. Do whats best for you and your little DS.

tiktok Sun 26-Aug-07 16:11:11

Aw, banana, I am so sad to read your story. I am especially sad about the NCT bf line (I am an NCT bfc ) - you can complain about the line by leaving feedback on it, or you can write the details to and if you put date and time, it will be followed up.

I think you are right to be concerned, and you need some decent help. Your health visitor seems unable to help you. I think the weight indicates there may well be an issue with transfer of milk - as you suspect, this may be a result of him not feeding effectively.

The 'wanting to be close to mummy' thing is normal in a newborn - yes, including the 11 times in one night thing - but your description of him never being satisfied makes me think his behaviour goes beyond this.

Is there someone who really does know about bf and newborns in your area? Can you give (dare you give!) the NCT bf line another ring or one of the other helplines? From what you say, I can understand the formula - bf is, on this info, not working as well as it should and your baby needs to be fed. But with the right help, the bf can be fixed and you will not need to give it.

CantSleepWontSleep Sun 26-Aug-07 16:12:43

Oh bananabump - I can't read and not post, but don't think that I can add a lot that you haven't already heard. It sounds like bf is important to you, and this is probably why the NCT lady emphasized that the formula would interfere with your supply at this stage. I guess she forgot to sound understanding at the same time!

It does take around 6-8 weeks to get bf really established, and it's important during this time to let supply and demand 'do its thing'. Don't take the amount that you can express as any sort of indication of how much baby is getting. I never could express anything much, but am still bf at 18 months! Babies are much better at getting milk out than even the best pump .

Whilst I can't say that this behaviour pattern is normal for all babies, it doesn't sound uncommon IME. The tiredness is a killer, so I sympathise with you there - I went 4 months never once getting more than 4 hours sleep in a day, but this did seem to be exceptional (dd turned out to be milk intolerant which was the cause of some of our problems). It does get better eventually though.

Hopefully someone will be able to advise on your latch soon - I always got confused by the descriptions, and now that dd just does her own thing it's hard to remember blush.

bananabump Sun 26-Aug-07 16:14:28

TooTicky: I do have a ring sling, he seems to like it but I haven't been wearing it round the house, just when we go out. I might try sticking him in it to feed then, cheers for the tip. He is being sick/posetting quite a bit, but I put that down to me being crap at winding him, plus also winding him wakes him up when he's fallen asleep at the boob (every time!) Every time he is sick though it makes him cough/gag/sneeze so the sleep I get isn't restful anyway since I'm constantly on choke alert.

Thanks for the words of support BecauseI'mWorthIt, I suppose after the first couple of weeks you think you should be back on top of things and people stop fussing so much, and it all goes to shit! lol

Bumperlicious, thanks for the advice. I will try expressing tomorrow morning, if he'll let me. I think he is hungry, he usually isn't happy with a dummy, and he drinks ravenously when we do give him a bottle. Poor little sod.

Hi MrsBadger (hope you and your lo are doing well!) thanks for the advice. I like sleeping with James next to me but dp hates it as he is squished and feels it will get worse as baby gets bigger. And he is mortally offended if I suggest him sleeping in the spare bed! hmm

Sweetkitty, it's encouraging that cosleeping worked so well for you. I think maybe it is the solution, but we need to rethink the bed situation a bit! I think you're right though I'll try not to stress so much about this. I already feel better after all your good advice. The lack of sleep is a real swine though.

CantSleepWontSleep Sun 26-Aug-07 16:15:59

Ah - x posted with tiktok - bravo!
Is there a bf support group in your area that you could go to even?

bubblagirl Sun 26-Aug-07 16:17:06

i dont mean to wporry or upset you but my family ahve a history of this as we dont produce enough milk my cousin got into such a state as couldnt express much and baby was always hungry she swapped to formula and she hada very satisfied baby hopefully your problem can be sorted but just bottle feed and breast feed at least he will be satisfied and you wont feel stressed

tiktok Sun 26-Aug-07 16:18:08

I am sorry, people, but reassurance is not what banana needs....this is a baby who is still 10 per cent below birthweight at 2 weeks, which is not a good sign that bf is going well, nor is her feeling that the baby is never satisfied. No, it's not a disaster, and it can be fixed, and new babies do benefit from being held a lot and being responded to, but that's not the whole story

Of course the weights may be wrong, and the baby may have turned a corner, and all may be well....but even so....this is a situation that needs more help, I think.

CantSleepWontSleep Sun 26-Aug-07 16:18:59

Ah - ok, if he's being sick a lot then it might also be worth considering whether he might have reflux.

sweetkitty Sun 26-Aug-07 16:21:37

Glad you are getting some good advice on here your post struck a cord with me because DD1 was jaundice and I came home from hospital with her drinking EBM only it was only with the La Leche League's advisors help and mumsnet that we got BFing truly up and running. She would never settle on her own in a moses basket or crib so after a few days I gave up and in she came with us and we never looked back anything to get precious sleep.

With DD2 she was straight in with us from the off I love having them close and snuggled up to me couldn't think of not doing it now. We did buy a bedside cot which is the best invention ever.

Oh DD1 was the same could down a bottle no problem but struggled with BFing I think it's because bottle feeding is more passive i.e they don't have to work as hard to get the milk out so it just seems to flow and they guzzle it faster.

bananabump Sun 26-Aug-07 16:24:56

Thanks tiktok and cantsleepwontsleep, I might try the advice line again, after all it's easy to misinterpret someone's tone when you're stressed and it's a touchy subject. Maybe I was her 15th call of the day asking "should I give baby formula?" and she just wanted to say "NO, you stoopid woman!" lol

I think I will ask the healthvisitor on tuesday to take a look at the latch and if she can tell me if he's actually drinking (if they know about that kinda thing?) and just in the meantime keep feeding him as much as he wants then giving him a bottle at bedtime and expressing so my supply doesn't miss that feed iyswim.

I would be interested to see how much I can express first thing in the morning though.

tiktok Sun 26-Aug-07 16:29:16

banana - you're being too kind to the bfc, matter what she felt like, she should not have made you feel worse

As I say, if you give the time and the date of the call, it will be followed up.

Judging your supply by what you can express is very misleading. For a start, expressing can produce less than the baby takes, and in some cases, it might produce all depends on technique and how you respond to the pump, and how your baby is feeding. It's not a guide to anything at all, honestly.

If the HV is not able to judge how effective his feeding is, then do ask about seeing someone who can judge it.

And it would be a good idea to get him weighed again, too.

Good luck and stay in touch.

bananabump Sun 26-Aug-07 16:30:24

Hmm, well if you think it sounds a little more serious tiktok I might give them another ring now. I'll let you know what they say. x

sweetkitty Sun 26-Aug-07 16:44:34

Sorry I kind of missed the fact he was not up to his birth weight again I was thinking of it more from a comfort sucking point of view.

I found La Lache League great when I was having problems, for some reasons I couldn't get through to nct.

LaCerbiatta Sun 26-Aug-07 17:08:21

I remember dd being a bit like that, not as bad, but also never seeming to be satisfied. She would feed continuously between 7pm and midnight. It got a bit better when I become a bit strict in making her have as much as she could in one go so that she could be having the hindmilk, not only little drinks of foremilk. SO when she would fall a sleep after feeding fpr 15 or 20 min I would wake her up by changing her nappy for example and make sure she would feed a bit more. Also I was like you, putting her down without winding not to wake her up, but then realised it was worse, she was bringing up so much milk that it was waikng her up.


is there a breastfeeding clinic where you are, other than NCT, a drop in one?

bananabump Sun 26-Aug-07 21:41:38

Thanks tugamommy, I think you're right about needing to wind him, especially since he's bringing up his feed because of the trapped wind. I'll ask the health visitor or tuesday what breastfeeding resources are available locally.

Well, I did call the NCT, and I have to say I spoke to a much more helpful lady who explained everything and gave me loads of info on how jaundice is cleared and the best course of action to take. She said I could do with getting someone to observe how he's feeding, and in the meantime to express in the morning and give it to him when he's cluster feeding in the evening.

I tried expressing again while he slept earlier, and managed to get 40ml which was an improvement. I think I'll get much more than that first thing in the morning. Thanks for all the good advice, guys!

tiktok Sun 26-Aug-07 23:06:54

Thanks for reporting bacj, banana, and I am glad the NCT bf line was helpful to you. Hope things go better from now on and when you have your baby weighed things look ok.

itwasntme Sun 26-Aug-07 23:11:05

This sounds exactly like my dd.

It turned out she had reflux. Maybe talk to your HV about this possibility?

bananabump Mon 27-Aug-07 13:31:00

Tiktok, I'll ask the health visitor to weigh him tomorrow and let you know if he's put on any weight. I really hope he has!

itwasn'tme... you know, I was wondering this myself, as he sometimes screams when he's on his back but stops when he is sat up, and sometimes it seems for all the world as if he has acid because he looks in pain when he is sick, plus he always has hiccups which he HATES and he coughs after being sick. A lot of the time he seems to be trying to stop himself from being sick by swallowing over and over (I'm sure this helps his wind- not) hmm

I'll try keeping him upright after a feed, he's been sat upright quietly on dp's knee for almost an hour now. (if that was me holding him he'd be crying for milk)

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