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Newborn really slow feeder for 2 weeks - having to express EVERY feed. Can't continue.

(45 Posts)
springerspaniel Fri 01-Aug-08 07:49:32

My DD was a very slow feeder from birth. She lost close to her 10% and then didn't put on weight so MW suggested I expressed at the end of every feed to give it at the end of the next feed. This means that every three hours I:

- breast feed from both boobs (approx 15 mins each)
- throughout breast feed, I have to poke baby to stay sucking (tickle feet, blow on her, drip cold water on her, etc.)
- then whilst DH bottle feeds her EBM, I express

The whole process takes over an hour. We've been doing it for over a week and it is killing us. We are all exhausted - we apart from the baby!

We cannot continue. DH will be going back to work (he has extended his leave another week) and DS (age 3) will be around much more next week because his nursery hours are reduced.

She should be having total approx 25oz of milk a day and she has 12oz of EBM so she is getting a significant amount directly from me.

Does anyone else have experience of this?

I guess I'm hoping that someone is going to tell me that next week she will magically start sucking harder and won't need the EBM.

I have two solutions if not:

(1) SMA
(2) Keep baby on boob for even more time

I know I can use a sling, etc. but I think that, for me, my sanity and my family, I am not prepared to do option (2).

caribee Fri 01-Aug-08 08:01:25

Firstly i would stop expressing after every feed.

I don't know who has given you a figure in ounces of how much your baby should be having but you cannot estimate feeding in breastfeeding in that fashion. It may be an indication that whoever is giving you advice is not very well informed of how breastfeeding works.

When your baby is feeding, actively encourage skin to skin contact between both of you through the entire feed and don't worry about tickling and all that palava.
To keep her feeding, feel free to swap breasts 2 or 3 or 4 times in a feed as the milk flow will keep her feeding

you can also try 'breast compression' google the phrase to see how it works.

Stay as much as possible on the sofa or bed with your baby awake or asleep and watch cbeebies, read, colour with toddler.

As long as you don't have cracked or painful nipples, your baby is weeing and pooing and generally content after a feed then

trust
your
body
and
trust
your
baby.

others will chip in. lastly, was your baby jaundiced in the early days?

isaidno Fri 01-Aug-08 08:15:50

I would stop the expressing too.
Your baby is able to get the milk direct so let her. Even if you feed more often it's got to be less faff than your current method.
Babies do get faster and stronger quite quickly.

caribee is right - trust your baby and yourself.

seeker Fri 01-Aug-08 08:16:46

How long is she feeding for each time? Or is it too much of a blur to tell?

ruty Fri 01-Aug-08 08:17:04

i am pretty much expressing for every feed too [and it is a nightmare] but if my baby were feeding for 15 mins on each side for every feed i would be over the moon.
What is her weight gain like now? Some babies are just slow to put on weight. have you tried ring LLL or NCT breastfeeding counsellors?

stitch Fri 01-Aug-08 08:22:36

taking an hour to feed a newborn sounds perfectly normal to me. breast or bottle
i personally could never do the whole expressing malarky. far far too much hassle.
personally i would suggest you just sit with baby on breast for as long as it takes. hours and hours and hours. as long as youget toilte breaks, and time to get up to stick a meal in the microwave, justkeep her at the breast. it will increase milk suppyl. stop her having to get used to two different types of teats, etc etc.

seeker Fri 01-Aug-08 08:30:39

Sorry - I didn't read your OP properly. 30 minutes I would say is on the short side of average for a newborn's feeds. Would it be possible for you to spend the day in bed with her just feeding with lots of skin to skin contact? This will get your milk supply going and maybe help her be a more efficient feeder. If she takes the ebm then she's obviously still hungry - I'm not sure what the advantage of expressing is - or am I missing something?

Oblomov Fri 01-Aug-08 08:50:17

Firstly, it does take quite while to feed.
Whichever way you do it.
Some babies are quick feeders. Some are slow. Just the way it is, I am afraid.

It is perfectly normal to sit and bf for an hour. I think you need to mentally accept that this is feeding time. Sit down, relax and enjoy. I used to be grateful of an excuse to sit still for an hour.
Even if you change to bottles, do you think your baby will suddenly turn into super sucker and be finished in 5 mins, so that you can rush off to the ......
It is unlikely.

Please continue with the bf. But if you want to stop, then no problem. But please accept that feding takes time.

Oblomov Fri 01-Aug-08 09:00:55

Do you have other children who need caring for/taking to school ?
Do you NEED to be anywhere ?
Tell us some more info and let us help you.

If not, who cares. No really, God I was so tired in the first few weeks. I slept at every opportunity. Don't feel bad. It is normal. SLEEP WOMAN SLEEP. Being tired does not help looking after any baby.
Sod everything else. Look after yourself.

Notanexcitingname Fri 01-Aug-08 09:02:20

Ok, not an expert, but one thing that strikes me from your post is "every 3 hours"

I think that's quite infrequent for a 10-day old, and taking an hour to feed isn't at all unusual.

Breast compression, definitely is a good thing to try. Personally I'd be inclined to forget about oz, and knock of expressing, but I'd be wary about suggesting it to someone else, since I'm not an epxert

jeanjeannie Fri 01-Aug-08 09:09:41

Just to say I'm in a similar situation - baby takes ages to feed and often snoozes in the middle of it all. I've also got a 21 month old - so I know it's a nightmare. Personally I'd knock the pumping on the head...as it's probably taking up more of your time.

I've decided to go with the flow - and there are days I could scream (yesterday being one of them) and just keep baby close by and keep on feeding. It is getting a bit better (9 weeks today) but still not great. I'd say 15 mins was good - it can be 10 max for me! I didn't fully BF DD1 so it's all new to me and I never thought it'd be this time consuming. but the pro's outweigh the cons for me.

I do express once a day - slam it in the fridge and give it to DP at end of day so I can slope off to bed. But even then I know he'll sometimes wake me as she wants more - but it buys me some time!

Also I've noticed that all this relentless feeding has speeded up my let down...so I think (judging by the huge weight gain) that it's taking less time to get loads more - which is pleasing smile

GillianLovesMarmite Fri 01-Aug-08 09:09:43

Can you get some support from a local breastfeeding cousellor, or from nct or lll as they are really good. Plus -if there is someone who will come out (your local lll leader will certainly do this) they can check how the latch is etc and positioning and give you lots of good advice.

If you tell me the area where you live I am happy to look up the numbers for you - otherwise you could search for la leche league and then look up your local contact, or phone their breastfeeding helpline who will give you the number. It is run by mums who are or have breastfed and everyone is v helpful. (In the interests of fairness - I will point out that there are other bfeeding support orgs out there... but my exp is with lll!)

Breastfeeding can take a long time, but I like to make the most of it - read a book (get dh to bring me a nice drink/snakc when he's in grin).
Also providing you are adequately secure - ie in the middle of the bed or feeding lying down one of the other many amazing things about breastfeeding is that you can sleep while they get on with it (in fact they can do it in their sleep while you sleep!) so you can make the most of plenty of rest. I found that ds has got quicker at feeding the older he gets - although sometimes he just wants the comfort and the contact of being at the breast.

springerspaniel Fri 01-Aug-08 09:13:51

As I said in my original post, I have a three year old. He is already behaving very badly due to extra time baby gets. When DH goes back to work, baby will get even more.

I do do breast compression. I sit with a hot flannel on my boob. There is no problem with milk supply or flow.

The problem is the baby is hungry, has two sucks then falls asleep.

My MW and my HV independently gave me the 25 oz estimate as exactly that, an estimate, to give me some guide. I am not taking it as precise.

As I said in my original post, I am not prepared to sit all day with the baby at my breast. I cannot cope with that emotionally and neither can my toddler.

The hour every three hours is because I am expressing - if I left it up to the baby it would be more like two hours every three hours due to her sleepy feeding.

If I didn't poke her, etc. then she wouldn't suck.

I just wondered if anyone had any experience of a slow feeder that became a faster feeder. I am running out of time.

springerspaniel Fri 01-Aug-08 09:14:30

..and I don't need to increase milk supply. I am producing much more than she takes from the bottle.

springerspaniel Fri 01-Aug-08 09:17:05

..sorry just read some more replies.

Pumping doesn't take longer than her feeding.

As for the 'every three' hours bit being infrequent, I'm taking my lead from her. When she cries and roots, I feed her. The minimum time she seems to want is three hours. She goes about 5 or 6 in the night.

She has short periods of wakefulness where she isn't crying and just gazes at things so I know she is content.

springerspaniel Fri 01-Aug-08 09:19:27

...aargh last one I promise. I keep realising I haven't answered your questions.

I am not keen to go to a breast feeding counsellor. I had experience of this last time and I felt they were too baby focussed. I was at my wits end with exhaustion and found it difficult to hear suggestions like spending all day breast feeding. I won't be made to feel guilty just because I'm not prepared to do that. I know it works for some people and I'm fine with that but it's not for me and it's definitely not for me this time with a toddler.

wastingmyeducation Fri 01-Aug-08 09:25:45

Sounds like my DS in his first couple of weeks, he now feeds much more. He was very sleepy and not very demanding and consequently had slow weight gain.
If you want to continue breastfeeding, then the advice you've had is good. Cut the expressing and keep baby close. Also, don't wait until she is crying or obviously hungry.
I think they can get into a cycle where they're too tired or hungry to eat.
It sounds to me like you've made up your mind though.
Best wishes, whatever decision you make.

xx

caribee Fri 01-Aug-08 09:38:33

Then stop the pumping and bottlefeeding if breastfeeding is really what you want to do.

it is quite possible that with the extra feeding you are doing your baby isn't building up much of an appetite 3 hrs later so will fall asleep is he is not quite ready to have a full feed.

From the weight loss issue, I was advising on the cautious side to keep baby close, skin to skin etc.

as long as your baby is weeing and pooing and generally content and your nips are not suffering, he should be fed on cue.

Only you ultimately will be able to decide what is best for your whole family.

There is nothing wrong with a bfc being 'baby-centred' as you refer to it. The early days has to focus around making sure feeding is effective as early as possible. The early weightloss indicates that something was not quite right early on. It is worth checking out with a bfc that these early difficulties have already passed so that you can be less 'baby centred' as you phrase it.

Oh, if you are willing to use a sling, I recommend it whole heartedly. They are a v. helpful tool when you have a toddler to consider too.

seeker Fri 01-Aug-08 09:45:04

You won't have to sit all day with the baby at your breast for long - honestly. If you do the day in bed with her thing while your dh is still at home, then your toddler can have a lovely day with daddy, and your new one may very well get the idea of feeding a bit more. If she can smell milk all the time she is more likely to feed more. 3 hours is a really long time for a new born to go between feeds.

Oblomov Fri 01-Aug-08 09:48:51

Sorry, missed bit about 3 year old.

Ds fed evey 4 hrs. I mean every 4 hrs, to the minute. To some that is too long, but he fed very contently, for ages, then fell asleep. So I don't have a problem with your '3 hrs'.

Ds was also very sleepy. MW kept saying, stop wrapping him up, keep him cooler. I suppose it has been very hot recently.
Mind you, you say that dd is very hungry, two sucks then falls asleep. I can't help with that I am afraid. But others will be able to help, becasue that is very common.

You say she is content. Atleast thats something. With short periods of waking.
So maybe , my issue of my ds nbeing a sleepy baby, is similar to yours.

LadyG Fri 01-Aug-08 09:50:08

Yes my DS now 3 and DD 1 week old is alas proving the same. It is very frustrating and difficult with the two of them and luckily I have a lot of help with my mum close by who takes DS to the park to wear him out a bit. From memory DS speeded up at about 6 weeks and by 4 months all was plain sailing. I have felt exactly what you're feeling but am sticking with it just because I know the pay off comes later. So far CBeebies DVDs and trips to cafe to bribe DS with cake while I get a feed in are my tips.
As for expressing the breast pump is by my bed but I can't even be bothered to plug it in so I think you and your DH are doing really well-whatever you decide will Im sure be the right decision for you and your family.

Oblomov Fri 01-Aug-08 09:54:22

Yes, a trying 3 yr old, whose nursery has just stopped, doesn't help.
You are probably too tired to take him 'out for the day'.
You need support. What to suggest ?????
What wouyld your ds like ? Is something possible ?

Oblomov Fri 01-Aug-08 09:55:55

God, yes, hrs and hrs of tv and dvds are the answer . No seriously, I believe they are. Not every day for the next 3 years, but right now, they are a godsend.

TettyLouBar Fri 01-Aug-08 10:24:34

My dd is 7 weeks. BFing well. takes over an hour for each feed. first stint she goes for around 15-20 mins, then she pulls herself off completely wiped out and snoozes for 5 mins, I wind her and then put her back on because she is always still hungry. if shes sleepy after first stint, i change her nappy (or sometimes pretend to just to wake her up a bit) and then continue.
its part of our routine now.
Breastfeeding does take time, but enjoy the time with her and make it special!
good luck! grin

NobbyD Fri 01-Aug-08 10:32:02

I think I may have the same problem!

My ds will be three weeks tomorrow and he is a VERY slow feeder. I have just spent the last 3 hours feeding him from the breast and he still doesn't seem content. I have had to put him down as I need a break and am hoping he will fall asleep for a bit.

Is this really normal? He will feed well for about 10mins and then fall asleep but as soon as I put him down he cries for more. This goes on for hours. I am pretty sure he is latched on OK and is getting my milk - I also squeeze the boob each time he falls off to check there still is some in there - there always is.

Whilst I don't mind spending this amount of time during the day (although it does feel like I feed him ALL day), it is the night times that get to me. I end up shusshing him to sleep just so I can get some shut eye - but then he wakes within the hour for more.

Many of you have said that it is normal for a newborn to take their time feeding, but I'm just concerned that 3 hours is excessive!

He has been weighed once and has regained his birth weight plus an extra ounce. I'll be weighing him again next week.

I have also now tried giving him a formular feed as his last feed of evening (at about 11pm) and he gulps his down and falls asleep straight away after. Does this mean that it could be the way I am feeding him from the breast?

Sorry to butt in on someone elses thread, but it sounded like a similar problem that I wanted to share.

Thanks for any advice. Must go - ds will not sleep and wants more feeding!

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