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DP says I need to stop BF'ing so often - is he right, am I an idiot?..

(51 Posts)
TrippleBerryFairy Thu 10-Sep-09 08:41:55

So basically we both are exhausted from lack of sleep and had a row this morning - DP insists that I am being 'too soft' on our 5 week old and that I should feed him less frequently (currently every 2 hrs at night, which does not let us sleep properly; similar during the day) and that I should let the baby cry for his food a little bit. In his opinion that will help to stretch the time between feeds. He also says the baby will just become fat if I continue like this.

I however think that the very last point about the baby becoming fat is rubbish as first of all he was born low weight and still looks smaller than other babies his age.
I do not believe that letting him cry will help to stretch time between the feeds - if he is hungry, he is hungry and crying is not going to make him less hungry! He actually does not even normally cry as such, just grumbles - should I wait till that becomes a full blown cry?...I don't think so as I really don't want my grumbling sweet baby to develop a habit of crying loudly...

And then, is there such a thing as 'being too soft' when we are talking about a 5 WEEK (not month or year!) old?? He is just a baby, fgs!

But I still can't help but feel that maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am being too soft and give in too easily. It's my first baby and I haven't got a clue. So maybe DP is right. It just makes me so angry- it's easy for him to say 'let him cry'- it is me who will have to listen to the cry and it would make me feel awful. It wouldn't help me/us to sleep better - I can't even bear listening to him grumbling for too long at night and would just be lying there awake listening to his cry feeling a sh... mother!

What do you think I should do and if I am right, how do I convince DP that babies need to be fed soon after they start showing signs they are hungry?...

rubyslippers Thu 10-Sep-09 08:45:37

your husband is being ridiculous!

your baby is 5 weeks old and needs to be fed as often as he needs

this means as often as two hours or more

you cannot be too soft with a 5 week old - frequent feeding helps establish a good milk supply as well

what is the point of letting him cry? Will only upset your DS and disturb you all more

rubyslippers Thu 10-Sep-09 08:46:16

sleep deprivation is the pits but it is part and parcel of having a new born ... it does settle down in time

LauraIngallsWilder Thu 10-Sep-09 08:50:19

I remember that first baby I must be doing everything wrong feeling very very well (ds is 8 now!)

You are not - dh is talking rubbish
If your ds is hungry he is hungry

Though I agree two hourly feeding day and night is not a memory I look back on fondly!

As far as I know breastfed babies never get fat - dont leave baby to cry if he is hungry, that is mean!

Have you got a sling? I found a sling made such a difference - if dd was crying for comfort then she would settle in the sling, if hungry then sling was no good and she made it clear that she was hungry (then she would sleep in the sling)

Your wee baby is only 5 weeks old - very normal for two hourly feeding and harrassed parents

Good luck with it all - it does get easier I promise

MrsTittleMouse Thu 10-Sep-09 08:51:42

You are right. Anything that gets you through the first 6 weeks is fine. It's really common to feel as though you're feeding constantly - I did with both of my two.

DD1 is a toddler now, and is disciplined all the time for being rough with her sister. Just because she needed a lot of food and comfort as a newborn, it doesn't mean that I have decided to be her servant for the rest of her life and let her be a spoilt brat!

I'd cut your DP some slack though, he is probably quite upset to see you so exhausted and overwhelmed and willing to try anything to allow you more rest. He's probably also getting a lot of grief from other older family members who have old-fashioned ideas about babies sleeping through from 6 weeks, which just isn't feasible for a lot of babies. After 6 months might well be another story.

MrsBadger Thu 10-Sep-09 08:51:58

smile congratulations - ds sounds lovely

You are quite right, babies this small definitely need feeding on demand - their tummies are only about the size of their fist so do need refilling regularly!

is he in your room? in a basket by the bed? and DP has gone back to work and you are on matleave?

so really what you need are strategies to help both you and dp get more and/or better quality sleep, not strategies to make ds feed less.
Are you napping in the day when ds naps, or at least having a lie-in after the 6amish feed?

If DP has an early start and/or a nasty commute it may help to have the spare bed made up so he can retreat if it all gets too much without having to have a midnight row about it. It won't be forever so don't worry that it will ruin your marriage etc etc - in fact it may just save it wink.

The other thing that might help is actually taking ds into bed with you (between you and the edge, not you and DP - get a bedguard if you are worried he'll fall out) so you can feed him lying down and even doze off yourself while doing it.

Failing that, one night of 'trying to stretch out the feeds' and the resultant howling will probably be enough to turn DP off the idea for life...

Sparklytwinkletoes Thu 10-Sep-09 08:52:07

2 hourly does seem quite frequent, even for a little one, but I disagree with leaving him to cry.

When he feeds, does he seem to be taking alot, or does he drift off to sleep quite quickly? I was just wondering if you could try things like tickling his feet, stroking his chin etc to keep him awake and try to encourage him to take more on board so that it fills him up for longer? DS was a bugger for falling asleep, MW suggested a damp sponge to wake him up but that just seemed bloody mean and I had to draw the line somewhere!

As Rubyslippers said, he needs to be fed as often as he needs and ultimately, if that is every 2 hours, then that's what it is, but in no time at all, the gaps should start stretching out and this will all be a distant blur smile

Rindercella Thu 10-Sep-09 08:53:29

Really what Ruby said. 5 weeks old is tiny, tiny, tiny and your instinct to feed your DS on demand is the right one.

Unofortunately, sleep deprivation is horrible and can have a big impact on your other relationships. It will get better. Your DS will start to develop his own routine and sleep for longer periods as he gets a little older. I personally found teh first 2 months the worst with DD and then it gradually got easier.

Good luck and congratulations!

Sparklytwinkletoes Thu 10-Sep-09 08:54:31

x-posted with loads of people there! Clearly I'm wrong about the 2 hourly feeding being very frequent, my own memory must have become that distant blur I mentioned!

comewhinewithme Thu 10-Sep-09 08:55:41

Your Dh is talking rubbish I can remember my dsis sat crying because her dp had told her not to pick her 4 week old up all the time when he cried angry happy mummy = happy baby.

Most tiny babies want feeding like this you are not been soft you are doing everything right show your dh some websites like Kellymom or ask the HV or MW to tell him that you need support not stress.

You sound as thoug you are doing a brilliant job congratulations on your new DS .

TrippleBerryFairy Thu 10-Sep-09 09:23:03

Thank you all..
MrsTittleMouse, my DP is more upset about his own sleep deprivation not mine... although he did try not to talk about his tiredness for a few feeks (after I said that at least he can turn on the other side and go back to sleep while I have to nappy change-feed-burp-soothe and repeat that again if needed...and have no choice but do that whereas he has a choice of whether to wake up and help with something or not)
He is quite stubborn as well- while constant night feeding is tiring for him he gets upset when I suggest I go to sleep with the baby in a spare room! He wants to be involved but then it just leads to tiredness and us arguing...That is just frustrating... think I might just start sneaking off to the spare room after first night feed while DP is asleep!

Mrs Badger, yes, he is working, I'm on mat leave and the crib is in our bedroom... DP does start early and his job is quite far so commuting is nasty... As I said, he wants to be involved but in my opinion him suffering in the same bedroom for the sake of 'being involved' does not make sense to me - at least one of us has to stay sane (and earn money!).

Grrrr...just have to repeat to myself that it soon/one day will get better.

posieparker Thu 10-Sep-09 09:24:55

Every two hours seems perfectly normal...count yourself lucky it's not morewink

BertieBotts Thu 10-Sep-09 09:29:03

Have you thought about co-sleeping? I know you have to change nappies at night as well when they are tiny but I found co-sleeping helped me relax as I would change him first as quickly as I could and then feed him back to sleep and I didn't have to worry about falling asleep myself.

Alternatively if your DH wants to be involved he could do the nappy changes - but I think it is fair to do them yourself if he has to sleep for work. Maybe get him to do night nappy changes at the weekends? And he can sleep in the spare room during the week. Remind him that you can sleep during the day as well.

sorky Thu 10-Sep-09 09:29:53

The only answer ime is to co-sleep. Baby can feed when he needs to and once you get used to it you will barely wake up.
Unless he's poo'd don't change his nappy either, it wakes everyone up even more.

2hourly feeds is obviously what he needs atm and they go through a growth spurt at 6 weeks so it could be related to that.
It does get better (says Sorky, who still doesn't get any sleep even though dd2 is nearly 7 months hmm)

Pannacotta Thu 10-Sep-09 09:41:10

I also found that co-sleeping made night time easier for everyone, both mine fed every 2 hours when they were small. If you have them in bed you can feed the baby as soon as he stirs and your DP neednt even wake up...

If that doesnt work then why not get DP to sleep in the spare room sometimes if its all too much for him?

TrippleBerryFairy Thu 10-Sep-09 09:50:11

While co sleeping might be an answer I'd rather have DS sleep in his own crib, even if that means I have to wake up. He will have to sleep on his own eventually anyway... He is doing quite well at drifting into sleep on his own at the moment- would like to keep it that way...

mawbroon Thu 10-Sep-09 09:57:14

mozarela - you are absolutely right to feed your baby when he needs it. There is no such thing as too soft with such a tiny one.

You mention in your last line of your OP "soon after they are showing signs that they are hungry" Crying is the last hunger cue, they only do it when the other cues haven't been picked up on. Others to look for including rooting (turning the head), pushing the tongue in and out, cycling with arms and legs. If you are able to offer a feed as soon as you see any of these signs then there might not be any crying at all, and I would second those who suggest co sleeping.

I know others won't agree with me here, but in our case it worked best for DH to sleep in the other room so he wasn't disturbed. He had a commute to work so needed to get some sleep, and I didn't see the point of both of us being sleep deprived.

My DH took a sleeping ds out of my arms at 5 weeks and tried to put him down in his cot "because he needs to learn to be independent" FFS. He changed his mind over the months and years to come as he saw that ds was by far the most content being in close contact with me and my boobs.

Good luck, I hope things get a bit easier for you soon. smile

CantSleepWontSleep Thu 10-Sep-09 10:08:37

there's an excellent article on crying being the last sign of hunger. Just marking this thread so that I can try to find it later for you, when I'm on laptop rather than phone.

TrippleBerryFairy Thu 10-Sep-09 10:13:47

..."because he needs to learn to be independent" ...hahaha! He sounds exactly like my DP...!

TrippleBerryFairy Thu 10-Sep-09 10:15:50

CantSleepWontSleep - would be grateful for the article. Something to show to my DP so he doesn't think I am making stuff up and being unreasonable..

gingerbunny Thu 10-Sep-09 10:17:47

the first few months are so hard,but it will get better.
you are completely right and you're dp hasn't got a clue what he's talking about.
fb babies don't get fat, they are healthy. he's only 5weeks and he has to feed often as he only has a little belly which gets full quickly. letting him cry will only upset you and baby which could have a knock on effect for his feeding and your milk, if you're becoming upset and stressed.
i would suggest that you pack your dp off into the spare room and you stay in your room with your dc. you both need your sleep, but you also need support which dp obviously isn't giving you.
if he goes in the spare room and gets some sleep maybe he'll be more supportive.
you are completely 100% doing the right thing, so please don't listen to your dp.

LeonieSoSleepy Thu 10-Sep-09 10:24:56

Message withdrawn

Mellin Thu 10-Sep-09 10:36:30

Moza, I have a 5 week old as well and he is also feeding every 2 hours at night. You are not alone!

I also have a 3 year old, so DH and I know that this newborn feeding stage does pass, you just have to survive it the best you can. Sleep depreviation caused all sorts of silly rows between DH and I first time around.

Taking DS into the spare room after the first feed could be a good idea, even for a couple of nights a week to help DH get some rest. Then he might cut you some slack and be more gracious on the weekend!

sandcastles Thu 10-Sep-09 11:17:06

Thing is, if you leave him to cry out for his food he will get so agitated that

A] he may not feed properly - too upset, etc
B] You may find your let down is slow or non exsistent due to stress of listening to him cry, therefore he will get even more agitated - viscious cycle!

So I think that letting him cry for his food is counter-productive (not to mention cruel). And how much sleep does your dp think you will all get while your baby is screaming for his food?

When it is dinner time for your dh, tell him that you are making him wait for his food because you are worried he is getting too fat!

BertieBotts Thu 10-Sep-09 11:31:44

Oh one more survival tip - do you have any other new mum friends you can text at 4am just to ask "Are you up too?" Failing that, MN chat section!! I think my laptop has been permanently on since DS was born grin

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