Want to carry on bf but worried (long, sorry)(22 Posts)
DS will be 5 weeks on Friday, and bf has been going really well so far - no pain, no engorgement, nips not too sore, good latch etc etc etc. Have been really happy with bf, and have even got brave enough to do it in public.
BUT am finding the nights very very hard. DS wakes up once or twice, but won't go back to sleep for two hours sometimes. DH does most of the walking round at night but I still don't sleep, and it is crippling. I feel horribly guilty even admitting it, but sometimes have really resented DS the next morning.
DH has suggested switching to formula once or twice, on grounds that bonding properly with DS is more important than any benefits from bf. He could then do some night feeds, and DS might sleep longer.
I don't want to stop, but I just don't know if he has a point I should consider for the greater good of our little family.
Also, DS takes 45 mins to feed sometimes (every two-three hours). He bobs on and off the breast and falls asleep on it. But if I take him off earlier, is screaming within ten mins. Is this normal? And any tips?
Thank you and sorry for the length if you're still reading.
Sounds normal. It's horrible. It will get better.
Your DH is probably just feeling powerless to help, but in general you need the night feeds to keep your milk supply going. Your DS will adapt to sleeping more at night probably within the nest few weeks. Do you feel that being so tired or feeling resentment sometimes is stopping you bonding with your DS properly? I don't feel as though I 'bonded' with my DS for months - I was anxious about him but he seemed very alien and irritating.
Could you give yourself a bit longer to learn to relax so that you can sleep while your DH is looking after your DS at night? Are you able to feed lying down?
Sorry about all the questions
This is very very horrible and makes you feel so so tired and very very normal too - both my dd's were the same at this age. Do you ever feed your ds in bed? If you can it is a real godsend, you might find he wakes less anyway and you can also go back to sleep. I promise you it will get easier and there will most certainly come a point where it will be easier to pop a boob in ds's mouth than to go downstairs and faff around with a bottle.
Well done for what you've managed so far - hang in there.
Some info here:
i really feel for you..I was where you are not long ago and it is very draining.
my DDs feeds got a bit quicker and longer spaced from about six weeks, but i know there's no guarantee that this will happen for yoou.
It is hard and even at 12 weeks DD and I's issues aren;t completely resolved, but it is getting easier.
You sound like you're doing a good job though . Take it easy on yourself and try to get as much rest as possible during the day and sleep when he sleeps. that way you will have a fighting chance at coping through the night.
Some dh's bond in different ways than feeding, if bf is really important to you perhaps you could express occassionally & let dh feed this?
There is no shame in the odd ff the choice is yours at the end of the day!
In my early days, like you, my dd feeds were 1hour long + took both sides & some days on growth spurts would be so frequent!!!!! I fed on demand & sometimes struggled with the demand but personally I'm really glad I did it, it suited me & is what I chose to do.
My night feeds would take about 2hours, we really had marathon sessions. It took a few months but they did shorten as she became more efficient!
It's amazing what lack of sleep can make you feel, it does get easier, you may find you'll turn the corner with ds sleeping more soon.
Do you sleep when he does? Make sure you rest/sleep plenty, eat & drink plenty & your milk supply should be ok.
Congrats on feeding successfully for these really hard first few weeks!!
Have you looked at ways of keeping ds awake a bit more whilst feeding?
Sorry, I'll probably be flamed, but it's a great point.
I had a very similar situation when ds was born. I don't see a problem with combining the two ... and your dh sounds lovely. Wouldn't it be good to let him feed in the middle of the night too?
As a point of interest, when ds was about six weeks old, I wondered whether he actually did need feeding or not (still on the breast at the time but not for much longer). So, I bought a dummy ... and he slept right through till the morning. And has done ever since.
co-sleeping might help. i never had the courage to do it myself but there's lots of info on here about it....just do a search in the feeding topic for co-sleeping.
Would link something but been on a constant feeding growth spurt all day and am feeling drained....
..that last statement of mine probably did nothing to help, sorry.
it does get better, honest apart from the odd growth spurt but they only last a few days and all settles down again!
Hi Moorhen. Poor, poor you - the exhaustion is so painful. My dd (now 5 mo) was the same, one famous night she fed pretty much all night and I was weakly banging the wall at 7am croaking out orders for tea and toast (dh opted for sep. bedroom - grrr!).
BUT came on to tell you that it is probably a stage, the feeds get quicker and your ds will sleep more in a few weeks. In the meantime I agree that co-sleeping is a good form of crisis management. he is too tiny to get 'into habits' yet - don't worry about that for now. Worry about you. Survival is the word of the day and co-sleeping might help you get over this patch.
You are doing so well and even if you don't carry on 5 weeks bf is great.
moorhen, it is a horrible shock, giving birth, becomign parents and nothing can possibly ever prepare you.
your dh will bond fine and his very own ds will adore him. formula relaly isn't anything like as good as your milk, so if your dh wants to help it will mean making sure you can feed ds. and take him away when he isn't feeding!
It all sounds perfectly normal. Bloody hard, but normal. 3 things to remember..
1. It will get better
2. No guarantee that he would sleep any better with formula - depends more on the baby than the feeding method.
3. It will get better .
thinking more about this.... dp was very keen on me giving formula in early days, because he was ignorant about breastfeeding, how it works etc. well so was i!
you shoudl expect to do little else but feed and yr dh should help to make this possible. this period will end v soon.
Do both! Breast, formula, whatever. If you're suffering from a lack of sleep then you need to find a short-term solution.
I had exactly the same situation as you, but every half an hour, all through the night. It's difficult, but babies cry in the night, and it doesn't necessarily mean they're hungry.
Unless you're very anti-dummy, I would suggest you get one.
I sympathise entirely - I found the first 6 weeks utterly gruelling. Could you express maybe so that dh can take over a feed at night? Are you sleeping when he does in the day too? Just grabbing naps when I could helped me keep (vaguely) sane.
I'd second the dummy too. Gradually (and with the dummy) he started going straight back to sleep after his night feeds and by 6 weeks we'd got night feeds down to 20 mins each.
Good luck - you're nearly through the hardest bit of a new baby.
Is it the actual feeding or the not going to sleep afterwards? We had a similar situation with DD (now 5 months). She fed every 2hrs round the clock and took 45-60mins to feed and took a lot of walking round to settle.
I considered bottles and only once tried EBM in the night but it wasn't much help. She got herself so worked up waiting for the bottle and it was very hard to get her to have it then she had bad wind from swallowing so much air and I felt cruel not letting her have what she wanted.
Instead we agreed I would feed then DH walk her round downstairs where i couldn't hear her. We also used a dummy as a last resort when she seemed not hungry just overtired and it did work. plus we had no trouble stopping it by 3 months. Definitely get some sleep in the day too. DO NOT do housework when he naps go straight to bed do not pass go!
The good news is this is the very worst bit, the darkness before the dawn. It is normal to resent them at this age! Soon he will smile and interact a bit more and starts to get better. From 6 weeks things improved for us she started to go 4 hrs at night, then 6, then 8 and cut down feed times to 20-30mins.
In the end BF is easier than FF no washing or sterilising, always available, free so I would say keep going a little longer and I don't think you will regret it.
Bless you all for the support, feeling better just to know this is normal.
I am considering expressing so DH can do night feeds a couple of times a week, and we have invested in some dummies which do work sometimes.
At the moment, it's the combination of marathon feeds plus not sleeping for ages afterwards. DH is wonderful about taking him away, but it's a flat so I do still hear him sometimes. I suppose we just need to hang in there, from your combined posts sounds like it should get better soon.
And today he is feeding every 1.5-2 hours, for 40 mins, and we're about to embark on a five-hour drive up North to see the in-laws. Shivers. Wish me luck...
Good luck with the journey! I hope it starts to get easier on all of you soon. Thinking about your post last night I was asking my DP if he feels like he's missed out on bonding because of me bf and he said no - but I think he still feels frustrated that he can't do everything. You could try telling him repeatedly how grateful you are that he's helping so much at night. This article www.theecologist.org/archive_detail.asp?content_id=586 really convinced my DP that bf is worthwhile despite his frustrations (his ex chose to ff their kids, so he was used to that)
You may find he sleeps in the car and feeds less .. Good luck with the journey. It sounds like you're doing a great job, so hang in there!
My ds was a lot like this and I'll tell you this, he was no better AT ALL on formula. It's only artificial breastmilk, not magic!
If he is going to stay awake he is probably MORE likely to do so after formula as breastmilk contains mildly sedating ingredients (and stimulates relaxing hormones in you, though it doesn't feel like it) and if he's up at night but not with you and you still can't sleep, why would it be different if you feed him formula. Can you get some earplugs? Also, not only will your baby very probably get more settled with time, you will also learn to sleep even if your baby is awake, as long as you aren't responsible for him.
Just to add to others it sounds totally normal!
One thing I found out about this time was that I was waking DD up when I fed her at night by putting on a nightlight and reading over her shoulder (well I was bored!)
Once I learnt to feed lying down and turned the lights out she woudl go straight back to sleep after a feed as she hadn't really woken herself up properly.
With regards to the resentment thing DH loves to remind me that one night after about 4 or 5 weeks I started lovingly singing her a lullaby that went along the lines of
'shut the f*ck up, you're driving me mad, you're a noisy little brat, think of the sleep I could have had....'
I remember some of my lowest points with dd being in the early hours of the morning. Everything seems worse at night and you can feel v alone.
I think try and persevere with the bf. I thought about formula a lot but stuck with it and was v glad I did when I could just go out in the day and not worry about how long I'd be and how many bottles I'd need to take.
I remember not really believing that things could change that much when they reach 6 weeks plus but miraculously it did so hang in there.
Also, tip that worked for me - when nothing else would settle dd in the early hrs, I'd go downstairs, stick MTV Dance on and dance around like a loon holding dd. Sounds mad but really worked (I think the beat, movement etc just oveloaded her senses and zonked her out!).
5 weeks is still very early days. As everyone else says its normal and will get better. If you want to introduce formula best to leave it another few weeks till say baby is 2 months old otherwise your milk may dry up if you don't feed regularly. You could express some milk for your dh to feed your ds during the night. Good luck.
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