2 week old cluster feeding all night long

(22 Posts)
ajm200 Mon 03-Nov-08 11:29:23

Hi all,

I have a very healthy BF 2 week old who is gaining weight well and feeding enthusiastically. She feeds every 2-3 hours from morning until late evening but overnight (midnight to 5am) she wants to feed almost constantly. I know it is early days and normal for her to feed a lot. My only problem with it is total sleep deprivation as I also have a two year old who is up all day long.

I try all ways to keep her awake during night feeds so that she takes a decent amount of milk in one feed but after 5 mins she is so sleepy that she is floppy and impossible to wake. She then dozes for a few mins and repeats the process. I keep putting her on the same breast to make sure she gets hindmilk but really need some advice on how to move her cluster feeding to late evening instead of the early hours.. I know I'm asking a lot and many of you may think this is unreasonable to expect of such a young baby..

Any advice?

ajm200 Mon 03-Nov-08 12:21:30


hopefully Mon 03-Nov-08 13:06:44

I have completely minimal experience (1 DS, 7 weeks old, but he did exactly the same), some proper experienced BF counsellors will probably give you totally different and more reliable advice, but I did the following:
- Don't let her go more than 3 hours during the day, wake if necessary
- do the same, but 2 hourly, from 6pm till midnight
- do everything within your power to give her a full feed when she wakes (burping her, popping her on a play mat for 30 seconds.does she wake up with a nappy change? I know it's grim getting up and doing it, but if it means she feeds for a few minutes extra...)
- Don't let her go too long between feeds, but it's probably reasonable to attempt other settling methods (walking with her over your shoulder, rocking, dummy if you're not worried about possibly endangering breastfeeding) for 20 minutes or so after each feed. She may either settle, or work up enough of an appetite to take a more reasonable feed. Do you have a DP/H who can take her for a few minutes each time?

Apologies if any of that is completely counter to current breastfeeding advice! I did it and it worked, but I gave birth to a big (9lb 8oz) baby, and had no problems with supply - it was stopping him feeding that was the problem, there was plenty of milk there to express! I really feel for you trying to do the newborn thing with another child to look after - I really don't think I'll be having another one until DP's earning enough to cover a maternity nurse and/or my mother moves in.

beeper Mon 03-Nov-08 13:18:31

Its normal, both my boys have done it. DS2 is 6 months. Its to increase the production and is ususally followed by a growth spurt. It usually settles down again, until the next time. Trust your baby and your body and just go with it.

tiktok Mon 03-Nov-08 13:19:40

hopefully's is the valuable voice of recent experience, ajm200....but I can't be the only one thinking the 'cure' sounds a lot harder and more tiring than the condition

20 minutes settling, and/or putting on the playmat (in the middle of the night...) all seems harder than working out what to do in the night that will allow you to doze at least a bit, and to catch up during the day (a sitter for your toddler while you nap, DH playing bathing toddler while ditto...).

As you suggest, what your baby is doing is normal for a baby of his age, and he won't do it forever. He might change his pattern without you doing anything at all.

This is not to withhold sympathy at all with your difficulty of sleeping enough to feel able to care for a toddler and a newborn. But honestly, it is easier to change what you do to cope (I think) than what the baby does.

No one who's had a toddler and a newborn at the same time (inc me) could fail to recognise the real challenge of keeping the show on the road - and you may well need grown up help in the day and the evening for the moment. I can sort of sense a note of anxiety in your post that makes me think you are worrying about the whole system collapsing if you don't get some control over it. You need a reliable, regular hand with your babies, and the chance to s...l...e...e....p.

beeper Mon 03-Nov-08 13:20:31

Also it may be for comfort, in order to know you are there. Have you considered co-sleeping it really helps with these phases.

mum2jakeyroo Mon 03-Nov-08 13:23:20

Hi ajm. congrats btw. my ds3 is 3weeks old and is doing the same. I am at present trying to feed every 3 hrs in the day but tbh he is still cluster feeding in the night. I think I read somewhere that they have a growth spurt around 3 weeks old though.

hopefully Mon 03-Nov-08 13:27:19

Tiktok is entirely right - it is bloody hard work, and probably no easier than living with the current situation! The only reason I did what I did is because I'm a teensy weensy bit of a control freak ( excel spreadsheet for hospital bag packing, anyone?) and it made me feel much better to be doing something about it. The result is probably a baby that went longer gaps a fraction earlier than many, but it may not be the solution for you!

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Nov-08 13:35:04

It sounds like you need to give her a dummy, or she will continue to use you as one.

tiktok Mon 03-Nov-08 14:37:45

A baby finds it hard to use a mother 'as a dummy' - the dummy is a substitute mummy

She is 'using' (horrible word...) her mother as a mummy, not a dummy.

Given what we know about normal infant behaviour, and the possible effects on breastfeeding of introducing a dummy before breastfeeding is well-established, I think the implied threat* in your post is unhelpful, to be honest, Cote, though I guess you meant it to be helpful.

* the threat being 'if you don't do something about it now, it will last a long time'

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Nov-08 15:20:58

And you know what a newborn thinks... how exactly? hmm

You might not like the idea of a dummy, but it does help some babies (and their sleep deprived parents) sleep longer.

OP's DD is sucking all night because she has a need to suck, and finds comfort in the act of sucking. Not because she needs to feed All Night Long.

My DD was a very sucky baby like this, by the way. I didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time for about three weeks, and started to hallucinate from sleep deprivation. Then we gave her a dummy and she started to sleep 2-3 hours at a go.

If OP wants to give dummies a go, that is her choice (not yours).

tiktok Mon 03-Nov-08 15:51:19

Of course it's her choice - but it needs to be an informed one....wouldn't you agree?

mum2jakeyroo Mon 03-Nov-08 16:23:33

Isn't it advised though that you are supposed to wait a certain amount of time before introducing a dummy though. I have tried googling this info as I can't remember how long you are supposed to leave it to avoid 'nipple confusion'. Hence ds3 (3 weeks) is possibly suckling and wants a dummy but can't introduce one.

hopefully Mon 03-Nov-08 16:46:26

I think the official advice is 6 weeks (although I haven't googled to check). However, plenty of people seem to introduce dummies before then without any probs. I would imagine it's not a good idea if there's any problems with feeding, as presumably the dummy would excacerbate them. A MW also told me (no idea if this is true) that in the very early days the baby will fill up on saliva if it has a dummy, so won't know it's own hungry signals, as they have such tiny tummies in the early days. Might be complete crap though.

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Nov-08 17:08:15

All this guidance is just that - guidance. It is not gospel.

I gave DD a dummy at about 3 weeks and there was no nipple confusion. When she was hungry, she would spit the dummy right out and scream bloody murder for the real thing grin

If dummy interfered with feeding, I would have taken it away. Simple.

ajm200 Mon 03-Nov-08 18:24:47

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm reluctant to introduce a bottle or dummy as it really caused problems when I was BFing DS a couple of years ago. I know some people get away with it but I didn't last time.

I'm just desperate for sleep at the moment and know that this phase is normal, natural and required to increase my milk supply but I'm so tired at the moment that I feel dizzy and have shapes floating in my vision by late evening. Shame I can't get my toddler to sleep in a bit later in the mornings or take a nap but neither works.

I know sleep is precious when you have a newborn and everyone goes through it but with no family locally I'm just feeling a bit sorry for myself. Thanks again.

I'll keep going for a while and hope she sorts herself out soon.

belgo Mon 03-Nov-08 18:27:50

just coming in with solidarity ajm, I also have a newborn (born in the same week as yours!), and two small children, but fortunately they go to nursery for a few hours each day and I know I'm lucky because that helps.

Hope you manage to get some sleep soon.

ajm200 Mon 03-Nov-08 18:48:13

Hi Belgo, thanks. smile

How are you getting on? i wish DS could go to nursery but he isn't 2 yet and the private nurseries are so expensive

ajm200 Mon 03-Nov-08 18:54:04

Mum2jr, Tiktok - Sorry to hear you are going through the same.

DD is definately going through a growth spurt. She's gone from tiny baby to newborn clothes in about a week and put on half a pound between the MW's final visit at 9 days and the HV weighing her on day 12.
DH was supposed to be my grown up help but he saw his paternity leave as holiday and insisted that we went out and about everyday. He's back at work now so at least we can get into a proper routine

BabiesEverywhere Mon 03-Nov-08 23:30:22

ajm, Just wanted to remind you, it does get easier as your newborn gets older. I am in a similar situation to you and just a few weeks ahead. I have a (still nursing) 2 year old energetic sunny DD and a very chunky loveable 10 week old DS.

DD had a dummy for a few weeks as a baby and during those weeks I was very sore whilst nursing and when she rejected the dummy, I found the nursing a much more comfortable. So I won't introduce a dummy to DS, just in case there is a connection.

I can't afford to place DD in a nursery either, so like you I have both children with me full time. It has been a wonderful and tiring experience so far.

My coping strategies include :-
a. Cosleeping
b. Going to bed very early as soon as DS had taken a decent feed and/or stopped cluster feeding (which varies between 6pm and midnight)
c. Having a quick 30 minute power nap in the early evening when DH came home from work.
d. Taking toddler into the family bed when she woke up in the morning (not recommended unless you like crayon on the walls hmm)
e. Nursing loads and offering loads especially in the evening. I have no idea if this is true but I feel the more my baby nurses whilst having a growth spurt, the more quickly my milk supply will increase and hence ending the growth spurt. But this is just offering not keeping the baby awake...I don't believe in waking up a sleeping baby or keeping a sleepy baby awake.
f. Doing minimal housework/cooking or even trips out. I stayed home a lot in the early weeks, less tiring that way.

Now 10 weeks in, I am feeling much more energy filled, even looking at trying to learn to cook again (poor husband)

Just my opinion but I feel trying to follow a routine with a small baby and a toddler, will just add unnecessary stress to your life. Going with the flow makes things so much easier to handle.

mum2jakeyroo Thu 06-Nov-08 07:58:52

Hi ajm how is it going. Joshua is still feeding all night and asleep all day. I also have a 2yo and a 4yo. nightmare as no rest time at all. Think I will go to bed on Sat afternoon while dp looks after them.

jan01 Sat 05-Nov-11 14:34:08

Hi,I have a 2 week old that is a real sleepy feeder, struggling to feed him on and off for over an hour at a time but as he falls asleep when being breastfed after 5 mins.have to try all the tricks to wake him up,taking him off,letting him play on mat,stripping him down to vest or just nappy,changing nappy but each time same result just nods off whilst feeding.Can eventually get him to settle for 2 hours max if i'm lucky (or he'll wake up again hungry after 10-20 mins aargh) He then cluster feeds all night and will not settle unless in bed with me.I also have a 3 year old who keeps me very busy all day so do not have time nap in day so I'm becoming seriously sleep deprived so worried about falling asleep whilst breastfeeding at night.I would really appreciate any advice on how to get DS2 to take a decent feed and how to combat the stressful night feeding situation.DS2 is very sucky baby and night wakings and crying is affecting DS1 who was a very good sleeper and is now waking crying for attention too.Feeling terrible as sometimes have to let one or other cry so can settle the other.Feeling emotionally and physically drained and feeling like a rubbish mum.

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