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1st time mum with 2 wk old feeling so confused about how to feed, pls help

(55 Posts)
kookiegoddess Mon 06-Oct-08 18:54:23

Please bear with me, grateful if anyone has a minute to read and tell me if things will get better!

My baby was 6lb 3 oz (2.6kg) when born, lost about 15 % initially and then didn't poo on day 4-5 and MW said hmm she lost weight, not regained, not pooing, you need to express lots and top up with a bit of formula, milk doesn't appear to have come in (we'd had no yellow poo) and DD taking a long time to feed. MW also thought there may be a tongue tie, had this checked and no tongue tie - DD has no frenulum so tongue just doesn't come out very far. I did all those things, topping up with 20ml ff at each feed and then 1 full FF feed per 24 hrs. I did this but would have preferred to just demand feed to get milk flow up. Also had mum and DH saying it's ok to bottle feed, mum in partic putting pressure on saying that by only BF and not knowing how much she was getting that I was starving/dehydrating her which was very upsetting. Mum has left now and I'm doing boob only and topping up with EBM if she seems hungry still.

Gradually my milk has come in but my DD still seems to be feeding very slowly - 20 min on each boob initially and then I usually have to put her on each one again till she falls asleep - feeds can last up to 1 1/2 hours including waking her between boobs. She gets very sleepy on boob, but is defo drinking, then slows dowm and seems to doze off, comes off boob and then starts to cry for more just when I think she is full and ready to sleep!

Those of you with little babies/milk supply problems - how long was it before your baby's sucking got stronger?

Also, I never seem to express more than about 25/30ml per boob - is this normal at this stage? I am so worried that I'm going to be told that my supply is low and that I need to put her on the bottle. I express at least twice a day, just do it when I have the time so not at any fixed times. 15-20 min per boob. I can't seem to express enought to "get ahead" and have enough to top up with only EBM after feeds when needed. Is 40ml enough for a top up?

Also how long before her feeding patterns regulate a bit? last night she was feeding on and off for about 2 hrs and I was almost in tears from tiredness. This afternoon she was awake for nearly 3 hours - is this signs that she is "waking up" after 2 wk sleepiness?

How to keep her awake and stimulated to suck during feeds? She gets sleepy as soon as she goes on boob and and blowing on her face doesn't do anything, tickling feet makes her cry and come off, I'm scared to undress her as I always worry she'll get too cold, given the amount of time she's on the boob.

She's being weighed tmw. I think she's gained a bit as her hands look pudgier to me but I really don't want to be told to put her back on formula.

Does anyone have any thoughts on all this? I'm on my own for the first time today and just feeling overwhelmed with uncertainty and wanting to do what's best for her.

tiktok Mon 06-Oct-08 19:08:29

I can hear how uncertain you had sticky start, with a midwife who could have supported you better to bf only, and a mum who was frankly undermining your choice

And now it feels confusing and scary. But it doesn't have to be!

Unless there is a serious issue with the weight tomorrow, you can bf only - many times day and night, which will be tiring, but which is important at the moment to get the whole show on the road again

Don't blow or tickle...just let her decide to feed and sleep when she wants to. If you have time, express if you want to, but it sounds like hard work to me. Maybe fit expressing in once you have got into a pattern you are comfortable with. At the moment you are doing 3-4 things - bf direct, expressing, topping up with EBM and still half-wondering about formula each time too Phew - exhausting!!

If the weight tomorrow is fine you can relax and just do the one thing ie bf direct

digitalgirl Mon 06-Oct-08 19:09:30

I'm sure lots of very wise and experienced MNetters will be along shortly. But I just wanted to say that what your baby is doing sounds perfectly normal.

You've done brilliantly to drop the FF top ups. Also, I could never express more than 30ml from both boobs when my DS was 2 weeks (he's now 5 weeks). Babies are FAR more efficient at extracting milk from your breast. The best way to tell if they're getting enough is from how many wet nappies they're producing. I wouldn't worry too much about poo-ey ones yet as these tend to be all over the place.

My DS started off with jaundice and I was told to top up with FF. Which I did, and regretted instantly as he stopped BF before my milk came in. I expressed like mad to stimulate my supply, which worked. I then cup-fed EBM in order to wean him off the bottle and encourage him to work harder for his food. Eventually he took to the breast and we were able to drop the top-ups. It took him a good week longer to really 'learn' how to suck. We had a lot of tears and fussing before that happened where he'd be hungry, but couldn't get suck so would hit, scratch and beat my breast instead. But we got there and the better he got at feeding, the more my supply increased.

At 2 weeks she could be having a growth spurt so you may just want to surrender yourself to doing nothing but feeding her. Try co-bathing and lots of skin to skin to stimulate the milk-producing hormones in you and then suckle instinct in your DD.

My DS's feeding hasn't regulated yet and I've been told it can be up to 8 weeks before they settle into a pattern. The best way to get your supply up is to keep feeding, feeding, feeding. Try swapping boobs if she falls asleep, and winding in between (sometimes wind can fill them up even though they're still hungry).

hope that helps! and good luck

scorpio1 Mon 06-Oct-08 19:12:19

in the beginning i could hardly express at all - you are doing so well with that!

Just give in to feeding the baby however long & often she wants...take food and water to bed, lie down together topless, have you been shown how to feed lying down? So much easier and more restful, i find.

You are doing brilliantly.

SharpMolarBear Mon 06-Oct-08 19:15:29

Congratulations on your DD
You sound as though lots of people have put their oar in and stopped you doing what would seem natural
Expressing is a nightmare and no indication of how much you produce. It's miserable and heartbreaking when you knock it all over the floor (which you will). Please don't express unless you have to!

noonki Mon 06-Oct-08 19:18:19

I wouldn't tickle if it makes her cry, maybe just shifty around a bit

It will get SO much easier relatively quickly
the feeds will get much much shorter (to about 5/10 minutes in a few weeks)

she may be having a growth spurt / feeding frenzy(at around 10 days, 3 weeks and 6 weeks if memory serves), they are a pain but important for supply.

The first few weeks are hellish, and it is scary on oyour own at first but you will quickly suss it out!

Can I ask why you are expressing? I personally hated it and wouldn't bother at all,

milkmoustache Mon 06-Oct-08 20:32:08

just to repeat what everyone has said: this is very very early on, the beginning IS really tough and you are both learning about each other and about feeding. Things do change and she will get stronger and therefore quicker at feeding - in a week's time she will probably have changed! Nothing is carved in stone at this point and though it is really tough at the moment, she will settle down soon and your confidence will grow too.
If you can see her ears wiggling and temples moving, then she is drinking, but if she is just 'propping up the bar' and staying on the boob because it's a nice place to be, then you are allowed to take her off until she's interested - use your little finger to break the latch to avoid agonising pain!

kookiegoddess Mon 06-Oct-08 20:47:39

Thanks for all reassurance here.

I am expressing because MW was concerned milk wasn't coming in, I think it's in (what I express is defo separating into fatty and thin stuff so I think it's full blown milk), she advised that I express 3-hourly for 48 hours, I managed to do this for about 24 hours which I was pleased with. It's a bloody nightmare! I hate expressing but my husband is a banker and as you can imagine working v long hours, so I'm trying to create a bit of extra milk to so I can feed her more quickly at night - I find it very hard to rouse myself at night...

another question, can I bathe with her now if I had 3rd degree tear?

think she must be having a growth spurt, she has been feeding about every half hour for the last few hours. think I'm in for a long night...

kookiegoddess Mon 06-Oct-08 20:54:52

digitalgirl, thanks for letting me know how you're getting on, it's really good to hear about how other people are getting on so I don't feel so alone!!

Will try switching boobs - have been reading a book that advises letting them "empty" one boob so I have been trying to let her stay on till she takes herself off. switching will be nicer for me as I have one sore nipple at the mo.

milk tache, thanks for advice, I try to watch her carefully to make sure she's drinking but am conscious that she's little so pauses longer maybe between sucking, think she does suck for comfort tho. Biggest thing I realised today is that it's very hard being the only body around for her to rest against, everytime I pick her up she seems to be rooting, I feel like I just arouse her hunger rather than offering comfort! She did sleep on me for a while this avo which was lovely and made me feel better for a while, before she got hungry again that is!

annamama Mon 06-Oct-08 22:23:46

Feed feed feed... Took me ages to resign to the fact that the baby is in charge, if and when baby wants boobs baby should have boobs. Forget about looking at the time. Like someone said, lying in bed feeding is great. My dd was at the bottom of the charts until about 6 weeks, now she is 5 months and on the 75th centile, no formula ever! But I think pumping one (small) bottle a day and giving to her in the evening somehow helped. She used to take ages to feed and fall asleep at boob too, very frustrating when you know that they need to eat to grow! Don't give up!

fourlittlefeet Mon 06-Oct-08 22:37:04

Just wanted to say don't give up too. It is hard, and it is tiring, but its not forever. Can you get a good book or something to distract you while you are feeding so it doesn't feel such a chore and you don't time watch?

mytetherisending Mon 06-Oct-08 23:18:58

Really sorry you are finding it tough, I had similar experiences with dd1, especially regarding my mother. With dd2 I knew better smile

You are doing a fab job, the early weeks are hard until supply settles down. Just keep feeding on demand as you are.
I know how frustrating it can be when they fall asleep when they haven't been on long, she will grow out of it. I did strip them off in the early days and had a blanket near by to cover with if they started feeling cold smile I did express every morning after dd2s breakfast feed, no specific amount, just whatever I could. I just felt that if I emptied most of the breast I should hopefully produce more, thinking my body might be fooled into thinking the baby was taking more at a feed, so get an over supply iyswim. I think it did help in the beginning until dd got less sleepy. The milk seemed to flow a little bit quicker so she didn't have to suck so hard.

As long as she keeps gaining FF is not really necessary and might hinder your supply (I was advised to top up with dd1 and never established a good supply because she took less of my milk so no more was being produced iyswim) I think expressing at set times is better from my own experience. Don't be disheartened if you don't get much, it doesn't indicate poor supply, more that you need more practice with a pump. I found electric better than hand ones.

The best advice I had was to feed lying down and dose while dd2 fed. This was so helpful for night time because we never woke fully iyswim, I just heard dd2 snuffling and rooting so put her on the boob lying down and we both fell asleep. smile

Only a thought, but with dd1 I always assumed hunger before thinking about other things, has she perhaps got trapped wind and it isn't hunger when she cries just after a feed?

My dd2 didn't get a real pattern until 14/15wks so I say just go with the flow.

Good luck you can do it! smile

elvisgirl Tue 07-Oct-08 00:37:09

As advised, demand feeding is the way to go. The first few weeks are pretty crazy. Have you tried a sling? Much less tiring than supporting her all the time & you may find you can feed with her still in it too.
I wouldn't worry too much about waking her up during feeds with invasive methods unless you really need to get more milk into her if she is seriously not gaining weight. You could try stroking her cheek, jaw or nose to see if that generates more interest or squeezing the breast to push out some milk which may perk her up to take a bit more (see Breast Compression on for more on this). This also helps empty the breast, as does replacing her on the same side after she appears done before swapping to the other side, if you are not too sore. At this early stage she will need to rest whilst feeding as it can be tiring for their jaws & cheeks so feeding can take ages but it's not forever & soon you will be moaning about a distractible baby not keeping still long enough to feed! In terms of when to finish a feed, decide on a strategy as to when to take her off: eg if more than 10 seconds elapse between 5 consecutive sucks = babe not interested anymore. Frustratingly they do often seem to cry when you think you can put them down - they may just need a tiny amount more to make them feel nice & full again so they can go off to sleep.
In the early weeks I read books of short stories whilst babe was at the boob - only wish I had time to read now!

DumDeDum Tue 07-Oct-08 00:38:51

Sorry no advice for you here but wishing you a peacefull night and a good tomorrow smile

kookiegoddess Wed 08-Oct-08 13:31:32

thanks all, had a fairly dreadful night - she fed on and off in the evening, fell asleep on me, then woke up as soon as I tried to put her to bed - and demanded to be fed. She then fed on and off, eating, falling asleep and then crying with rage when she realised she was off the nipple, till nearly 2.45 this morning, I finally took her to bed and let her fall asleep on the boob as I was nearly crying with tirednes. I also topped her up with FF because I had no EBM left - no time due to all the feeding! She was quite alert during most of this time so I think she has her days and nights mixed up a bit - she's been sleeping peacefully now for about 21/2 hours.

Anyhoo, MW said she had gained 200g in past week which is fine, but to keep topping up her feeds with EBM - which seems bearable to me.

She's just woken up so better go. Thanks for all advice tho.

tiktok Wed 08-Oct-08 13:43:45

you sound soooooooo tired, kookie.

It is fine to take your baby to bed to feed her - you seem to think this is a no-no??? Just putting her back to the breast while you lie down dozing/sleeping is fine and easier than topping her up with formula or ebm...not sure why your midwife seems to think you need the hassle of topping up still. Did she say?

Hope today goes better for you.

digitalgirl Wed 08-Oct-08 16:28:20

kookie - you could try co-sleeping through these high-demand nights. it's so much easier than getting up to feed and then having them cry when you try to put them down again. it's been my saviour these last few weeks, I lie down with DS and he's learnt to attach himself onto my boob. I can then doze off in the same way that he does whilst feeding. I usually open my eyes 45 minutes later to find he's unlatched and is sleeping soundly, then I fall back asleep and wake up when I hear him fussing for another feed which is when I swap sides.

kookiegoddess Wed 08-Oct-08 18:08:19

have been co-sleeping - am comfortable with it but worry that dd doesn't latch on properly and I'm too tired to notice/do something about it, also she quite often gets her nose in the wrong place if I haven't lined her up correctly and then I hear her snorting trying to get in air. so I try to only let her feed lying down when shes at the end of her feed rather than for the whole thing. one sore nipple is bad enough, I don't want 2!

Topping up because she is small, think she is not sucking very well, and still not back to birth weight so MW advised top up with EBM. I find the long feeds exhausting and quite traumatising as I have to anxiously wait to see if she is hungry between dozes, hoping that I can go back to bed. If I top up it's easier because it's quicker. My nipples were stinging last night!

kookiegoddess Wed 08-Oct-08 18:11:08

long feeds also and uncertain sleeping times also mean I'm struggling to find time to eat (also can never decide what to eat so it's mostly fruitcake, chocolate cake or an apple) - have managed to make a big tuna and rice salad today with lots of veg, thank god, and have defrosted home made curry for dinner. Hurrah!

Am going to try to squeeze in one express now. wish me luck.

digitalgirl Wed 08-Oct-08 18:21:31

good luck!

can you put a call out to friends and family to come help you over the next couple of weeks? get someone to come over everyday to make sure you've got enough to eat in the house, or hold dd while you cook up a batch of food?

the more you do it, the better your dd will get at feeding lying down (also, as she gets bigger she'll be able to position herself better). if it helps, you can prop yourself further forward with a couple of pillows behind your back so that dd can reach. my ds buries his nose in my boob till he's forced to move his head back in order to breath (I've tried moving it for him, but it won't budge till he's run out of breath!).

Lansinoh after every feed for a while can help with sore nips.

toddlerhip Wed 08-Oct-08 20:15:41

I had similar issues to you in the beginning re 15% weight loss and sleeping, though my baby was much bigger. My v personal is:
- unless people are making a really really big fuss about your baby's weight (i'm thinking of a friend whose baby was readmitted to hospital for not feeding) i would suggest you go by how she looks to you. If she's looking healthy, she probably is. We were in hospital a lot in the first weeks with problems, and i noticed that the doctors went a lot by how the baby looked "in himself".
- I was ill-advisedly told to put my baby on top ups which really messsed up my feeding and also absolutely knackered me. b/f is hard enough without the hassle of bottles and sterilising as well. With the baby i'm expecting i'm going to do everything not to get into the top-up routing cos you end up even more exhausted and you start obsessing about millileters.
- Forget millileters. I obsessed about these unbelievably and kept logs that you truly wouldn't believe. Try to trust how your baby looks / feels. If your boobs feel emptier after a feed, and you can hear your baby gulping/ swallowing i take those to be good signs.
- It is important your baby is wetting / soiling nappies. A nappy needs to be pretty wet, even the modern absorbent kinds. Hold a wet nappy in one hand and a dry one in the other and you'll be able to start judging. If she's not putting anything out, she's proably not getting enough in. Sometimes a baby can go two weeks without pooing as they are using up everything they're getting in. Mine went 3 weeks once but there was a good reason for that. Check with h/v though if not pooing as it can mean an obstruction.
- Wouldn't bother with expressing unless you really need to sleep / partner wants a go. It's more hassle and best to get b/f established first anyway before introducing teats. Expressing to increase supply and yet topping up sounds like a contradiction to me....Top up bottles, sterilising, expressing and b/f is an absolutely exhausting combination, esp with a newborn. Try to do just one of them!
- My ds fell asleep feeding all the time too. Looking back i was so worried he wasn't getting enough but next time round i hope i won't worry as much and just be pleased he's asleep! Rest assured she'll cry when she wants feeding.
- Sometimes they feed all the time for comfort too. Try to judge when they're feeding - proper sucks and swallows, and when they're just comfort sucking. If comfort sucking in her sleep, put her down and take a break.
- Feed in bed. Get up as little as possible. So much easier. I will do more of this next time round. Try one of those nighty /bags you can just lift up for nappy changes so you don't need to do the babygro poppers.
- i had a friend who fed her baby a max of 15 mins each boob and fed on each side each feed. Her mum told her this and had b/f 4 kids. Her baby put on weight faster than ff babies!
- I found this really useful on all aspects of b/f.
- Also, have you seen this
Very Good Luck!

toddlerhip Wed 08-Oct-08 20:20:13

PS - my friend who did the 15 mins each side rule every 3 hours or so (her baby was about 2 months at that stage) did sth v similar to the bbc article. Possibly newborns may need more demand feeding to better establish supply though...?

annamama Wed 08-Oct-08 21:32:10

Very interesting BBC article, 10 mins on each boob seems a bit short though, 15 sounds more like it, 2 boobs is definitely good. The thing is there is so much different advice about bf! I was going crazy trying to work out who and what to believe when I was having a hard time... In the end I just did what felt right and things got good. Poor Kookie, I had similar experince but had forgotten until I read your posts! IT. WON'T. LAST. FOREVER.... YOU. WILL. SLEEEEEP. AGAIN. Oh and PLEASE EAT!!! Lansinoh can also be put on nipples before feeding, it says on instructions that it won't harm baby.

tiktok Thu 09-Oct-08 00:09:19

Some good stuff in your post, toddlerhip

But not the study reported in the BBC piece, as you suspect...this study has been roundly criticised in the journals and its methodology was poor.

The clock has very little role in breastfeeding. The individial baby's needs are a much better guide to what should be happening.

Some mothers and babies can get away with scheduled, timed, limited feeds. But it is not a good method to adopt until you know what your baby needs.

Hope kookie is having a better night

TinkerBellesMum Thu 09-Oct-08 00:38:30

When you're alone eat and drink what you can get in, you need to keep your calorie and fluid levels up - for you not, baby will get what she needs to your detriment if necessary. I was living on Mars, shortbread and coke in the early days and having main meals when TBD came home or if I was at my parents when they did me food. I would sit on the sofa with a pile of cushions one and Tink on them and a pile on the other side with my food!

You've got some good advice on this thread, I don't need to repeat that to you

Am laughing at the earlier X-post by TikTok and DigitalGirl!

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