10 weeks of breastfeeding - does it get any easier?(18 Posts)
My ds is nearly 10 weeks old and exclusively breastfed. I am finding it increasingly difficult and am on the verge of giving up, but would like some advice and support before I make my decision.
I have never had any pain and my latch is fine, it's just the amount of feeding that I can't cope with. Some days he just wants to be on my breast all day and it is starting to drive me mad. At first he was going about 2 hours between feeds, but at about 5 weeks he started getting really unsettled and the only way I could calm him was to put him on the breast. So more and more he was on the breast until I realised it was for most of the day. I couldn't leave the house because he cried.
I spoke to the health visitor who said that he obviously needs to be on that much to keep gaining weight and she said that I need to decide whether I can give up my life to breast feed for a few more months, or go on formula.
I spoke to my GP who said that he wouldn't be eating all that time or else he would be huge, he was just using it for comfort and I should try and wean him off it slowly, by offering it him less and trying to comfort him in other ways.
So I have been trying to fill him up and then not let him eat again for at least an hour, but he is now quite grumpy a lot of the time. I have read other posts where people advise to just chill out on the couch all day and feed, but I can't do that anymore. I'm not enjoying it at all, I need to get out of the house.
I've tried him in a sling but he doesn't like it and cries. I also try to give him a dummy but he is not interested and just spits it out. People always said to me, "it gets easier after 6 weeks", now they say "it settles down at 3 months". I really don't want to go on formula but I don't feel that I can carry on the way I am either.
He is my first baby, but if I had other children I simply would not be able to do it, which make me think there must be a solution.
Does this ring any belles with anyone?
I have to do some work now, but in brief here are some thoughts:
* formula would not necessarily change anything at all
* try again with the sling, maybe a different one - for babies who just want to be close they can be a great help and you can feed while he's there and do other things
* find support from RL mothers at bf support groups and similar - great for friendship, understanding, stopping isolation
my daughter was like this, i gave up at 6 weeks and switched to formula. (i also had a 13 month old DS to deal with) it didnt help
she just cried for milk all day, and got huge on hungry baby milk.
stick with it i wished i hadnt given up because it just made her really over weight.
she calmed down at 5 months when i introduced solids on advice of the gp due to her substantial weight gain.
im not suggesting at all that u wean your 10 week old. just that formula may not be the answer.
perhaps get some advice from a breastfeeding councilor?
shirleycat - It really does get easier. I hated feeling like I couldn't leave the house. My dd was the same and she used to suckle to sleep sometimes it felt like she was constantly feeding/suckling.
She also hated the sling but gradually started to enjoy it (my theory is that she enjoyed it more as her vision developed and she could nosey around). She hated cloth type carriers but was quite happy in the BabyBjorn. This got uncomfortable though and apparently isn't great for babies hips so we moved onto a Beco Butterfly II. She loves it now - gets all excited when she sees it! It saved my life (our pram is for decoration only it seems!). Plus she falls asleep really easily in it so I don't have to stop when I am out and let her suckle.
I seem to recall it clicking into place at around 14 weeks.
Oh and we also saw an osteopath for dd. It made a huge difference to her colic/sleep. I don't remember if it affected her feeding.
She is now 6 months old and finds life way too interesting to feed for very long now. She is growing well and is happy so I guess she's getting enough milk but she feeds very quickly and then gets on with playing/trying to crawl etc. I miss the long feeds now.
I agree with TikTok too - find a nice bf group (Baby Cafe or La Leche League). It will get you out of the house, you'll get a cuppa and be able to chat to other mums while your ds feeds or suckles to his hearts content!
shirleycat - bells ringing here! Our DS was doing normal baby behaviour for the first 5-6weeks, then at 6 weeks, when everybody said it would get easier (HA!), he stopped sleeping and seemed to be feeding, feeding, feeding. The lack of sleep was so bad, I was quite relieved to be able to spend so much of the day sitting down to be honest, but I missed people! The solution for me was to meet up with other new mums from my antenatal class for tea and cake, and we would all sit around chatting and feeding. Can you do this? I also caught up on some good TV that I had missed!
But the good news is that it doesn't last forever. For me, at around 12 weeks I realised that I was feeding the baby for around 10hours per day (a "quick" feed was one that only lasted 45mins). But I also realised that the length of the feeds had become a self-fulfilling prophesy, as I kept popping DS back on the boob if he came off until he had been on for at least 20mins each side. So I started paying attention to his signals, and realised that he would come off and stretch, which was his signal that he had had enough. 45mins became the longest feed, and now, at 19 weeks, we are quite often done and dusted in 15 mins (although sometimes he does get a bit distracted!).
So, it can change at 3 months, although it may take a little longer. But it will settle eventually.
I would also caution against thinking stopping BFing will solve all your problems? I realised that BFing was (and still is) incredibly comforting for my DS. Even when he was only getting 6 hours sleep a day, he was still a smiley, generally very happy baby, which is pretty amazing really. So don't underestimate the fringe benefits of all that special time you are spending with your baby.
My DS is another baby who hated the fabric sling but loves his BabyBjorn - if he's fussing I pop him in that and get on with some chores around the house (it was months before I braved the outside world without my pram!).
Hope some of this helps and that you can find some other mums to spend time with in RL.
IsItMeOr - my use of the sling came out of having to get on with things too. I remember one day dd was asleep in my arms and trying to butter toast with one hand. That was when I tried the Baby Bjorn! Like getting my life back totally. Now dd is big enough to go on my back in the Beco carrier so I sometimes do that, she falls asleep and I can wash-up/vacuum etc. Win/win!
Slightly off the subject but I was out with dd in the sling about a month ago and an elderly man stopped and said "I like that, like a Red Indian carrying her baby. It's how it should be, not in these prams". He then went on to tell me how environmentally friendly I was being for not having a pram (I didn't tell him it was gathering dust in our house).
Lovely that he was so positive - in the same week I had 3 strangers tell me that I wouldn't be able to have dd in the sling much longer and she'd have to just get used to the pram.
dd is 11 weeks and feeds seemingly constantly during the day (though is doing well most nights) I do have another to look after and it can be very draining. I cannot recommend a carrier strongly enough. dd didn't like the sling at all but will sleep and settle in the front pack (I borrowed 4 from friends until I found the one I really liked and was worth investing in) It has made a huge difference to my sanity. Other than that I have also made myself have a large drink of water every couple of hours which has helped a huge amount as I was I think getting somewhat dehydrated.
Frustrating, isn't it, when everyone says "6w", and for you it takes longer. Where's the magic "yay!" that you keep expecting? For me, too, it took up to 3m to get bfing really sortd with each child. Don't worry about future children - because you have no choice ubt get on with looking after them, you find that the baby naturally extends the intervals between feeds, or else you find ways to fit feeds in. I found myself bfing dd in the principal's office at ds1's nursery most mornings!
Have you tried bfing out of doors? You don't have to feed just in so-called feeding rooms - some are nice, though oftn theyr' window-less and nappy-stinky. It would give you the freedom and change of scene that you crave.
Places like Starbucks and Costa are generally most welcoming to bfing mums, and of course the sofas are comfy.
Park benches, if the sun evr comes out again, or at least the rain stops, else shoping-centre benches!
Find out where your local breastfeeeding support groups meet. I would suggest ones run by NCT/BfN/ABM/LLL, rather than NHS, because they tend to have a more socialbe atmosphere, whereas NHS ones tend to be more focused on problem-solving.
I found it a lreal lifesaver to go to some of the se groups, not ncessarily beacus of problms, but for a breastfeeding-frindly social-life.
(Excuse typos - seriously naff keyboard!)
sounds familiar...but it really does get easier. I also tried making him wait longer between feeds to ensure a proper feed rather than a snack, and also tried EVERYTHING to get him to sleep better in the day so he wasnt so tired when feeding. It was little by little but it really did improve and got so much better, I loved it. I guess things were better by 4 months, it was a gradual improvement until then. Maybe go for a big walk when he is grouchy to try to hold off on feeding a bit? But also, 10 weeks still is quite small and you need to keep up your supply so just make the gaps between feeds bigger a little at a time
Ah yes, extending gaps between feeding. My ds cried horribly on the day I stretched the gaps...and then just happily did the longer gaps the next and subsequent days. So it is wirth one horrid day to get an extra 15-30mins between feeds - eventually you get the gaps big enough that you drop an entire feed.
Thanks everyone. My local breast feeding cafe is run by the hv who advised me to go on formula, which is quite bizzare, but also makes me not really want to go back. I might try an nct one, I think there is one close by. I'm going to persist with the slings and hope he begins to like them too.
I am happy to breast feed anywhere at all, luckily, and I have done it in some pretty random places, but I just want it to settle down to less feeds so I can be up and about not having to breast feed everywhere I go - I think my frineds are suspicious about if I've got a real baby, they've only ever seen the back of his head.
Also going to book in for cranial osteopathy. Might be chucking my money away but I figure its worth a try and I'll feel like I'm doing something. You never know.
But all the replys here have given me much more hope that it will get better and I'm going to carry on with it so thank you all. xx
Shirleycat - just make sure you find an osteopath who is trained to treat children. I found some advertising locally who were not on the register here:
Why don't you take your baby out for lots of long walks in pushchair or sling?
The distractions of the outside world may sooth him so that after a few hours he is really hungry.
He could be unsettled because he's got a bit of a bug.
Don't worry about subsequent children; the baby always seems to fit in somehow. Infact, it's probably easier for mother and baby because - if you've got an older one doing a poo on the carpet - you have to leave the baby whether they like it or not.
my ds was like this at that age. he also didn't like a sling, he didn't like feeling constrained I think. what really made a difference to him was a more structured routine (I wasn't convinced by the idea at first but wow what a difference!). I came to the conclusion that part of the problem was he was really tired so he would suck to go off to sleep but then wake up half an hour later because he'd been too sleepy to eat much and was still hungry. but then half an hour wasn't nearly enough sleep so he would suck again and fall asleep again straight away and it was just going round in circles. once I got going with a routine (we did GF but its not for everyone, do whatever works for you) he was transformed from a grumpy wee soul who cried a lot and was constantly feeding to a happy smiley baby who would have proper feeds and proper naps and sleep at night, honestly! we started the routine at about 11 weeks and it worked pretty fast, may be worth a try?
Yes this happened to me too, it made me so miserable
Funnily enough though, as soon as DD hit around the 4 month mark she became hugely distractable and it was then more of a struggle to get her to feed than to stop. Once she was on and settled she would still easily go for 45 mins/ an hour though.
It did get easier but I never found breastfeeding easy or straightforward. I stopped at exactly 6 months as that's the target I'd set myself initially and I didn't feel I could continue past it.
Oh, and to second the feeding out and about thing - I used to go and sit in the Starbucks of my local Borders where you can read all the books and magazines for free. I miss those days now of sitting feeding and reading for hours on end, if I take her there now she just wants to eat the magazines and spill my coffee!
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