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new to BF - advice please

(5 Posts)
belindarose Fri 18-Sep-09 20:52:07

My baby is now 4 weeks old. She was completely unable to latch on at the start, so I've been expressing and bottle feeding (apart from 2 days of formula as was made to give it to her in hospital). Great support at local breastfeeding clinic. Through lots of perseverance on baby's part and mine, we've managed to turn a corner and have been able to breastfeed for the last three days! I've breastfed day time feeds and continued with the expressed bottle milk at night time so far - can only feed on one breast at the moment and feel it needs the break!
Anyway, obviously our 'routine' (such as it was, there isn't one really) has changed somewhat. When bottle feeding, she was much more predictable. It took about 20 minutes to feed her and she would then last 3 - 4 hours most of the time, and longer through the night. Sometimes she had more frequent feeds in the early evening. The advice I need for the moment, is how long I should be breastfeeding for, or how to know if she's finished. I'll ask at my clinic on Monday, but was hoping for some advice here for over the weekend. She's very cross and cries when I take her off the breast (to re-latch or empty breast shell from the other side) until a certain point when she seems to come off herself, or not resist coming off, then falls asleep. I'm assuming at the moment that this means she's had enough. The sleep doesn't last long but she seems happy and relaxed. However this can be after any time from 20 minutes to an hour of feeding. In the evenings, and once around lunchtime today, she's wanted feeding very soon after (about an hour from finishing). I have no idea whether all this is normal or not, as our experience has been very different to this so far.
Sorry for the very garbled post! Hope it makes sense to someone.

CMOTdibbler Fri 18-Sep-09 20:57:24

She sounds totally normal - sometimes they want to suckle for longer, sometimes shorter, and sometimes that lasts them 3 hours, sometimes an hour. Just like some days I need 3 snacks between lunch and dinner, and sometimes I manage without grin

Congratulations on persevering and getting this far - you've done a fab job

belindarose Fri 18-Sep-09 21:02:04

Thanks. So do I just wait till she decides she's finished every time? I don't mind doing this, but have got used to 4 weeks of predictability - eg being able to go out half an hour after starting a feed!

greensnail Fri 18-Sep-09 21:07:07

Yes, just be led by her and let her decide when she's had enough. She will get quicker and more predictable over time, but for now you'll just have to go with the flow.

Congratulations on your baby, sounds like you're doing a great job

CHITTYBANGBANG Fri 18-Sep-09 21:21:38

Breastfeeding IS much less predictable - you have to get used to that and looking at the bigger picture e.g. weight gain each week,and checking that what comes out the other end seems normal!
At this age it's almost bound to be more frequent.To give you some idea, my 3 on average would feed every 2-3 hours, but more frequently in the evenings.
The golden rule is to let her feed for as long as she wants to, and yes, sometimes this can be for ages - this is normal! Then, when they've had enough on the first side, you should offer her the other side for as long as she wants. That said I doubt at this age that she will want more than one side -none of mine did, anyway.
All mine used to cluster-feed in the evenings - I guess by this time supplies are diminishing and they have to work hard for it! All 3 of mine would feed every hour or so in the evenings until they went for their longest sleep period.You get used to it, and it's not forever, honest!
Sometimes at other times they may want a feed soon after the last one too. You really just have to "go with the flow"!! I think sometimes they just want a quick drink if they're tired or hot, in which case they just want a few minutes of the more watery, thirst-quenching fore-milk. Or, if the last feed was quite short, then you might expect them to need another one quicker than usual. I used to find that the first feed of the day would need following up fairly quickly with another one. This is because when your breast is very full in the mornings, they really just have a drink of the watery stuff, which doesn't fill them up for long - a bit like a cup of tea before breakfast!
What you're doing sounds fine, so keep it up!
Do you have the NCT breastfeeding line number ? You can call over the weekend, and they're trained breastfeeding counsellors.

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