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Help! 5mth old feeding for hours, not sleeping... getting sore nips...

(28 Posts)
Umlellala Wed 31-Dec-08 10:12:45

My 5mth old was sleeping well, waking every 2/3/4/(5!) hours for a quick bf then back to sleep.

BUT over the last couple of nights he has fed for aaaaaages and still found it difficult to get to/stay aseep - was pretty much feeding/dozing from 5-7am this morning. He is waking every two hours. He is also barely sleeping during the day - 10-20mins.

My nipples are so sore (and I have given the lansinoh away as it's been trouble free so far hmm). Help! Is there anything I can do? Is it a phase? He is a big boy (growing out of 6-9mth clothes) but would weaning help, really?


PuzzleRocks Wed 31-Dec-08 15:31:01

bumping for you

bubbleymummy Wed 31-Dec-08 15:41:36

Sounds like he is just going through a growing spurt or maybe teething? I know it's hard but just keep feeding him on demand. For the sore nipples, try letting some of your breastmilk dry on them after he feeds. This helped me a lot when I got a cracked nipple. I really don't think weaning will help - they don;t get more calories or anything from early food and they don't really eat that much of it either in the beginning - best to keep their tummies full of milk IMO. Hope it gets better soon xo

Umlellala Fri 02-Jan-09 09:47:14

Thanks, thats what I am doing at the moment. I can't see how a tiny bit of sweet potato woud help him sleep but...

Anyone else got any help? Feels like I am doing something wrong, he is feeding for ages...

BabiesEverywhere Fri 02-Jan-09 12:39:18

Sounds like a growth spurt and if this is the case, then more milk feeds is the way to go. Especially as most solids are much lower in calories compared to breastmilk.

Can you try nursing in different hold or lying down to give your nipples a bit of a change ?

Umlellala Fri 02-Jan-09 15:46:58

Hello, nipples much better now thanks! Was trying to stay lying down I think that did it... <lazy emoticon>

Have been thinking and think it might be that he isnt feeding enough durinng day (keeps pulling off, v distracted) and so is making u for it. So theres a plan (however much these work... hmm)

Thanks for the reassurance. Will battle on grin

bubbleymummy Fri 02-Jan-09 16:02:22

Glad to hear they're better! I had the distracted thing with DS too..can you maybe try taking him into a quiet, dim room when possible for the odd day time feed?

Maria2007 Sat 03-Jan-09 18:01:36

Hi Umlellala

Very sorry to hear you're having sleepless nights... but yes, I agree with you that not feeding during the day definitely could be contributing to what's going on at night: he's simply making up for feeds! Also, babies at 5 months (my boy as you know is 5 months also) do have an increased appetite, and until on 3 solid meals per day, probably need to feed more on milk to satisfy them.

What I've been doing to encourage DS to feed more in the day is expressing on top of regular feeds, so that I can make sure my supply in the day is maintained & that he's getting full satisfying feeds. I also have my doubts whether feeding completely on demand at 5 months is the way to go. Perhaps if you let your breast fill up a bit more (and if needed give him EBM top-ups) he can get used to getting bigger feeds at longer intervals? I know many bf-ing experts will jump on me for saying this, but as I think I've told you before in other discussions we've had, creating a bit of a routine at 4 & a half months has actually HELPED my supply & has led to better sleep. Just my experience, hope it helps, & we could discuss more if you want

By the way: happy new year!

Umlellala Sat 03-Jan-09 19:44:54

Hey there, it has settled sightly, though today he has been unputdownable (teething I think), sleeping cutely on me now though! How's yours?

Am hoping it'll sort itself out when dd back at playgroup and dh back at work and we have more of a natural routine anyway ... but will endevour to give him full feeds (as mentioned, they often get interrupted with dd shouting 'wipe my bum' hmm). Not sure if expressing would work - I feel full after an hour shock - and leak if he doesn't do his usual feed of 2-3hrs.

And I hate to say this but food hasn't made the blind bit of difference to seemingly random dd's sleeping/waking grin

Maria2007 Sat 03-Jan-09 20:06:09

Ah, it's great that you have such a good supply. Am jealous envy.

As for food not making a difference, yes, I've heard this before, but am still holding out hope wink.

My boy is a bit like yours, slightly unputdownable, a bit hysterical at times (probably it's meeting so many people over the holidays!) but ever so cute to make up for it all. He has some excellent nights- we had a few nights of 6 hours straight sleep (shock) but some bad ones. Am also looking forward to returning to london so that we can get into our routine again...

Will chat more soon, I'm sure!

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 09:35:06


I am a bit confused in one post you say that
"routine at 4 & a half months has actually HELPED my supply"

Then in the next you say "it's great that you have such a good supply. Am jealous"...which suggests you are having a problem keeping up your supply.

Then you mentioned waiting for your breasts to 'fill up' which I assume is due to meeting some kind of scheduled nursing pattern for your baby.

Just checking you do realise that by letting your breasts remain full, a hormone is released that sends a message to your brain to slow down milk production, because there is no need to hurry making more as there is little demand..i.e. No baby nursing. So by extending the gap between feeds you are actually telling your body to produce LESS milk.

Then you are taking a lot of time and energy to express, store and bottlefeed your breastmilk all of which would be completely unnecessary if you nursed on demand. As expressing milk is not always as efficient as a baby nursing, expressing is unlikely to give your breasts as much stimulation as a nursing baby would and again might be affecting your milk supply adversely.

If you are having supply problems, the best thing to encourage your milk supply would be to feed on demand, not try to stretch time between feeds. HTH

I am nursing my 4 month old baby at the moment and I do understand how hard it is. I am nursing him a lot and at times...near constantly...but I know once my milk supply adjusts to his demand then the frequency of feeds will drop off naturally.

Your choice of course But continuing to nurse on demand, is the best way to ensure your milk supply remains responsive to your childs growing needs. There is truly no need to add expressing, bottle cleaning, bottle feeding etc to your busy life with a young baby and your older child.

Maria2007 Sun 04-Jan-09 14:27:53

BabiesEverywhere: thanks for your post. I did nurse on demand for all these months. My baby simply didn't 'demand' during the day (sometimes went for 5 hours between feeds) & demanded A LOT during the night. That led to my supply decreasing, or at least decreasing during the day. It also led to me being exhausted, as I was having to feed my boy every hour or so during the night to keep his weight gain going normally. At some point (a little after 4 months) I tried to change things & started encouraging more feeds in the day, putting DS to the breast as often as I could, & expressing in order to increase my supply during the day & have more satisfying feeds. This has led to a (roughly) 3-hourly feeding routine during the day & less feeds at night (we still have an 11-ish pm feed & another in the middle of the night). We are both (me & the baby) much happier with this routine (if we want to call it that!), it hasn't been forced on the baby nor on me, & I'm actually much less worried about my supply now than I was a month ago. So I don't completely buy it that feeding on demand always leads to great results- in my case, quite the opposite happened...

Maria2007 Sun 04-Jan-09 14:45:37

Also: I find expressing in the day (although annoying) far easier than feeding through the night- I had gotten to a point of feeling exhausted & slightly depressed, & basically not enjoying my baby...

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 18:29:46

I have looked at your past posts in the breast and bottle section and I found the following information about your feeding history.
In his first week you "gave 2 bottles of formula".
You then introduced a daily bottle of expressed milk at 5 weeks
You also mention introducing a daily (?) bottle of formula at 12 weeks.
At 12 weeks he had a nursing strike which you thought was related to use of bottles and started him on formula feeds alongside nursing i.e.
"giving him bottles of EBM (& sometimes adding a bit of formula to fill up the bottle) for morning feeds, which are the ones he most frequently refuses."
You mentioned he was addicted to a dummy (when he was 4 months old)
On this post you mention trying to nurse during the day more and stretch the time
between feeds at night from 4 months.
You are so lucky to have such a good milk supply, that has enabled you to still be breastfeeding at the 6 month mark. As many of the things you mentioned are individually, enough to cause enough damage to a mother's milk supply and in some case force a move to full time formula feeding.

For example.

1. Early use of formula in first week of child’s life
2. Early/regular use of Dummy
3. Early introduction of bottle feeds
4. Regular/Daily formula feeds introduced at 12 weeks
5. Discouraging night feeds
6. Encouraging feeds to stretch toward an every 4 hour schedule

I post this not to critise, far from are very dedicated to continue breastfeeding this long and from reading your posts it seems clear that you are happy with your expressing, mixed feeding along with a schedule and your child is thriving. Well done you

However I am asking you to please avoid misrepresenting your history, as 'proof' that demand feeding doesn't work. As it is clear from your previous posts that you have never 'demand fed' and have been attempting to alter your baby's feeding habits from the beginning. Hence you can not use your experiences to explain your low milk supply.

True demand feeding means offering the breast day and night when the baby shows feeding cues and allowing the baby to stay on the breast as long as he/she requires. No substitute of dummies, bottles, formula or waiting to feed according to the clock.

I just want to stress, I am not critising your choice to feed your baby as you wish, just that you don't advice other mothers to follow in your footsteps. Especially as many of them will not be as lucky as you with their milk supply and may well end up fully formula feeding against their own wishes.


bangandthedirtisgone Sun 04-Jan-09 18:45:40

I don't think Maria is looking for advice babiesverywhere so probably not necessary to trawl all of her previous posts and comment on them hmm

Umlellala Sun 04-Jan-09 18:51:18

Ohhhh, that's a bit sinister BE!

I have been chatting to Maria off-site and think you are being a little harsh - she is just a mum saying what worked for her.

For me ds won't take a dummy or a bottle so has been completely demand fed (though interrupted often by dd). I have had no probs up til now and have found bf v convenient and easy. I agree, expressing would seem like a faff to me rather than just whipping the boobs out. However, MN is a place where people can share what worked for them. I like hearing people share their GF routines too (even if there is no way in hell I'd do it) because it gives you perspective.

Ds seems better already so I think I need to take my own advice that I give people - repeat:IT IS JUST A PHASE !!!! Think I am far too much of a lazy mum to try to work to schedules and things - and should have learnt from first time round never-ending teething/separation anxiety/ill/development hiccups to just go with the flow... I'll revise in a year wink

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 19:21:16

I have not been activally trawling this or any other posters posts. However I do read most of the threads in this section and she seems to have posted on a lot of them.

I only read her past threads to see if I could offer any help on her low milk supply as I was surprised why she was having trouble. I think she sounds like a lovely lady and I have posted a positive post and I assumed my post would be read in the light it was meant.

bangandthedirtisgone Sun 04-Jan-09 19:23:46

Ok, you see positive post, I see stalker.

A simple difference of opinion grin

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 19:26:24

LOL, No stalker. I haven't got time !!!

I also have a demand fed 4 month old baby in the middle of a growth spurt. Why do you think I have time to post on here, I am always NAKing grin

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 19:30:47

<BE wonders how many posts of Maria2007 she has posted on>

Interesting as far as I was aware, I thought I had only 'spoken' to Maria2007 on this thread and one other today. I asked for my other post on the other thread to be deleted as I don't wish to upset her unintentionally.

Off to search my post history

FrannyandZooey Sun 04-Jan-09 19:32:49

i can see what BE is getting at and also think she phrased her post very positively
she was pointing out that maria has not breastfed on demand and that her posts could be misleading to someone who didn't know the full facts
i must agree with her (i am sure this was unintentional maria but the informationm from this thread was confusing i think)

umlellala my ds2 is feeding a lot at night atm as well and i am starting to get irritated (mentally and physically!) by the constant sucking
it was good to read your post and remind myself that sometimes these phases occur for no particular reason - i have been looking for explanations
i know it isn't hunger, but sleep is disturbed this week - who knows why

BabiesEverywhere Sun 04-Jan-09 19:45:01

Thanks Franny

I am quite shocked that my post got such a bad reaction.

However I will take the critism on board...maybe my post would of read better if I had just posted the last section only from "However I am asking you to please avoid misrepresenting your history,..." and deleted the rest. <BE ponders>

FrannyandZooey Sun 04-Jan-09 19:49:13

well it can be such an emotive subject - food! hopefully we can all appreciate that everyone taking time to post in feeding section is giving their time to advise others and try to help them
we all mean well is what i am trying clumsily to say

Maria2007 Sun 04-Jan-09 21:03:09

hi girls, and hi babieseverywhere

First of all, just to say, no offense taken However, I have to admit I felt almost a bit tearful when reading your post, babieseverywhere (although it was clear to me it was meant well)... After all these months of feeding my boy through the night whenever he wanted- which on good nights would be at 7, 11, 1, 4, 7 (or so) and at bad nights even more, I'm pretty sure that I have been feeding him on demand according to any logical definition I can understand & can relate to.

As to your particular points. I will stand by my belief that I fed completely on demand, but perhaps we have different definitions about what 'on demand' means. It doesn't really matter, I'm sure there's no manual of what 'on demand' means or doesn't mean, and the bf police aren't going to come out to get me wink, so here's what 'on demand' meant for me. Or in any case, here's what actually happened, just for the record (for anyone interested, and really sorry to hijack the thread!)

So: Some of what you wrote is true. We gave one cup of formula at hospital, when my DS couldn't latch on for 2 nights. We then gave one bottle of formula at home, when my milk hadn't come in for 3 days or so. After that, no formula at all, and no EBM either until after 6 weeks. We definitely NEVER gave a daily bottle of anything, not EBM and definitely not formula. We were simply too lazy, I found expressing boring & would do it usually once a week when I went out for 2 hours- sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. It never seemed to affect my boy's ability to feed (luckily).

About the formula: I can count on the fingers of one hand the times we gave formula until he was 4 and a half months (quite recently really). Even during his awful nursing strike, I expressed all the time & gave very very little formula, probably once or twice just to fill up bottles because I was panicking I wasn't expressing enough & I didn't want DS to go hungry when he was refusing to nurse. As for introducing bottles of formula at 12 weeks, I really don't know where you got that, it's simply untrue. Not that I have anything against formula on principle, it's just that my expressed milk was mostly enough, & we didn't feel we needed formula. After his nursing strike, DS actually went through a phase of 3-4 weeks where he actually refused ANY bottle at all, so his moods change as you can see!

Through all this, yes, he has been using a dummy. This was to get him 'unstuck' from my breasts, because for the first 6 weeks or so he was using me as a human dummy. Using a dummy has created all sorts of other issues, and I've bitterly regretted introducing it, but not sure what I could have done given my completely inability to sleep or even MOVE with DS needing to suckle constantly in order to go to sleep and stay asleep. That was keeping both him & me awake, so the dummy came as a godsend at the time.

Through all this, the one constant thing was the bf-ing at night. All night, many times a night etc. At 4 & a half months we got some advice & decided to change a few things, simply due to exhaustion. I started giving one bottle of formula (or EBM sometimes) at 11. I'm not exactly happy with that choice, but it has helped in establishing better sleep. Also, I started encouraging feeds in the day (DS never really demanded to feed much in the day). Finally, I started expressing more again to 'up' my supply in the day.

I suppose when reading your post, even though as I said I didn't find it offensive, what hurt more & made me a bit tearful is your description of what I did as 'mixed feeding'. Again, I have to stress I have no problem with mixed feeding per se (and I suppose that's what I'm doing know, with my one bottle of formula most nights). But all these months I struggled & struggled just because bf-ing was important to me, and I never considered that I was mix feeding. I never felt I had a great supply, also, my DS eats very fussily & quickly, & so I've been constantly worried my DS is going hungry, although he's growing very well.

Anyway. That's the sorry tale! I apologize again for hijacking the thread. Just wanted to explain things, because it feels important to me (for some strange reason) to do so... Even perhaps because I want to write things down for me to read, to clarify in my own mind what has been happening. Breastfeeding has never come easily to me- and I still find it hard. But I'm glad I've persevered, because it's been, at the same time, a wonderful experience. I don't even want to think about stopping now, and I hope to continue for much longer.

FrannyandZooey Sun 04-Jan-09 21:24:06

i think writing down a feeding story very useful and hopefully encouraging thing to do
sorry you have had some problems along the way maria, but glad your ds is growing well

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