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3 week old, over tired or cluster feeding?

(24 Posts)
fudgeandollie Thu 16-Apr-15 22:39:08

Hi everyone!

I have a 3 and a half week old baby. She has always been demanding on feeds, I'd say wanting to go no more than an hour between them. I had to give up bf for a few days while I went into hospital for an operation ( couldn't feed her expressed because of the drugs I had to take ) so she went on to formula. So I expressed and threw the milk away and she went onto formula. As soon as I was back out and doctors gave me the all clear I started bf again. I was expressing 28oz in 24 hrs in hospital. Since starting again she has been wanting boob lots at first I thought this was to bring up my supply but now I'm not sure. It's been 5 days and she is still wanting to cluster feed. It starts around 10:30 in the morning and goes on till 7 at night. She comes off boob, cries goes back on and the cycle continues. Barley anything else will console her just boob. Today has been a bad day! She was up every hour in the night and has barley slept since 10:30 this morning. She infact caught one 20 minute nap, and I had to soothe her through that.

As we speak she is still fighting sleep.. I'm In the dark, phone light on low and baby white noise cd on hoping..

Do you think she is over tired or does require all the feeding? She doesn't seem to gulp much when she is latched after the first ten minutes. She's pooing lots today I've had 5 dirty nappies plus wet ones.
She seems overly fussy and at times cries on boob and scratches at me like she's frustrated.

The feeding is getting me down and I'm worried that I'm not reading her signs right or soothing her well enough... This is my first baby.

Thanks for replies in advance !

MrsBojingles Thu 16-Apr-15 23:51:18

My DD cluster fed through the early weeks too, it's such a haze I can't even remember whether she could have been just tired. I think sometimes it's just one of those things that babies do that they will grow out of. Is she gaining weight well?

What have you tried to soothe her to sleep? Pram walk, car journey, singing helped us, also worth trying slings and maybe even a dummy to see if it's a comfort thing (dd wouldn't touch one, but around 8 weeks found her thumb and was so much happier, she stopped around 4 months)

lexyloub Fri 17-Apr-15 05:00:13

Was she more settled on the formula? If so I'd put her back on it or at least a mix of the 2 if it's going to establish a better feeding sleeping pattern. No sleep and feeding hourly is not sustainable long term for either of you.

scratchandsniff Fri 17-Apr-15 05:08:11

Is she suffering with wind? They will often suck for comfort if they have tummy ache. If she's struggling to bring up wind try infacol. If you suspect she's comfort sucking I'd be tempted to introduce a dummy.

PomeralLights Fri 17-Apr-15 05:18:59

Hugs and moral support from me. When did you go into hospital, is it possible that coincided with the two week growth spurt so now she is working doubly hard to up your supply to levels above what it was before?

I went to formula for two days at end of two weeks out of desperation over tt pain. When I started again she fed like mad to up my supply, For the next 3 days my partner did one formula morning feed at 6am ish so I could catch some sleep.

If it's been 5 days you might turn a corner soon with your supply coming up to what she needs. It's possible the expressing wasn't enough to keep your supply boosted.

A baby that young can fall asleep anywhere so wouldn't have thought would be overtired?

rootypig Fri 17-Apr-15 05:38:21

How long since you returned to BF? If it's been a matter of days, hang tight and see how things are in a few more. Though one 20 minute nap is nowhere near enough, she should be asleep more than half the day. So over tiredness must be part of it.

Ideas: put her down for her first nap as soon as 30 minutes after waking, 45 mins to an hour is probably about right. Wake, feed and change, back to sleep! for both of you, ideally grin. Does she sleep better in the bed with you? if so, read up on safe cosleeping and strongly consider it. Double your winding time, and give her plenty of tummy time - the light pressure can help with wind and tummy problems.

At this age, their tiny systems are so sensitive, and things change so quickly.... you don't have to wait long for a new problem to come along it to pass.

gincamelbak Fri 17-Apr-15 05:57:04

DC2 was like this at wk 3. Fed constantly with no break from Thursday to Sunday. I was on my knees with tiredness, couldn't figure out what was going wrong to make hin feed so much. Was having half hour feeds then half hour break the whole time. Couldn't remember DC1 doing it.

Then just as suddenly he stopped and the feeds got a bit more spaced out. He still feeds quite frequently; more than DC1 but was 20 minutes on 1hr off during the day with longer off at night. Now at 10 wks he is about 20 on 2 hrs off apart from cluster feeding 7/8pm till 10pm then sleeping till 5 am. Utterly surprising and with no intervention from me.

Find what works for you. It's still v early days. Hope you are feeling Ok after operation too. If formula works try it, if you want to mix feed then that's totally Ok. If you want to exclusively breast feed then that's totally Ok too, just concentrate on that.

things that I think did help - fennel tea helped his wind.
- flapjacks and porridge: oats helped ramp up my milk supply. A LOT.
- my parents came to stay overnight and looked after DC1 so I could concentrate on feeding DC2.
- DH made sure I ate and did the housework.

It sounds like a growth spurt as well, if so it could be over really soon (I think our wk 3 epic was)

fudgeandollie Fri 17-Apr-15 10:01:29

Hi everyone thanks for all the replies,

we try everything to soothe her, baby carrying, walks in the pram, dark rooms, baby white noise, cradling in our arms, car, havent tried a dummy but have let her suckle at my finger and she just gets wound up and spits it out.
In the end last night at 12:20 am I watched a you tube video on how to swaddle. As in 14 hrs id say she'd only slept just over an hr.

I swaddled her and it seemed to calm her instantly. She is a big figit with her arms and legs and startles in sleep.

Any way she slept through until 3am thank god! my boobs were full by then and she fed fast and fell back asleep after 15 minutes this time not swaddled. Could definatley see the purpose in that breast feed it was all gulping which is unusual for her. Then she woke up at 6am, quick fast feed back asleep at 6:15, up at 7:30 heavy feed and she is still asleep now At 10:00 I have never ever had her have consecutive over two hour sleeps! And she's just done it 3 times... I'm wide awake at the side of her..dont think my body knows what to do!!

She is 3 weeks 4 days today and I went onto ff 8 days ago for 2 and a half days. Have been bf again for 5 and a half.

I must admit I'm quiet relaxed with winding, but I do try. Usually for a minute after a feed but she doesn't really seem to bring that much up just the odd burp.
My mum however is uber keen on winding and she has been helping me during the day. ( me and my sister had colic) hence my mums obsession with wind. I'd say it didn't make that much difference with her when my mum winds her she still got very grumpy. I will get some infacoil on hand to try though.

Maybe it has coincided with a growth spurt it just seems to be going on so long.

Something seems to have changed for the moment... fingers crossed it continues!

I'm recovering well after the op thanks x

fudgeandollie Fri 17-Apr-15 11:37:10

Oh and I will try the putting her down to sleep sooner today in the hope that helps, cluster feeding normally starts in half an hour so ill soon see if she's changed!

qumquat Fri 17-Apr-15 11:43:00

My dd would feed 20 hours out of 24 and I later realised that half the time she was on the boob she was actually asleep, she just never unlatched. So all those hours of me not being able to reach a drink or food while she tortured my nipples (she was also tongue tied) weren't actually necessary. Sob. Could this be happening sometimes with your dd?

rootypig Fri 17-Apr-15 15:23:34

Interesting. I'm in the US (though had DD in UK) and they're religious about swaddling here. I know parents still swaddling 6 month olds shock
It's a good thought!

Hope the sleep continues! sleep begets sleep ime.....

fudgeandollie Fri 17-Apr-15 22:09:46

Well things have been better today but she has still been cluster feeding. I managed to get her to sleep more id say 2 hours today. Qum Quats reply made me think if she is actually feeding though. Like last night she definatley was there was purpose to the feeding lots of swallowing She fed fast and back off to sleep. That's not how she has been feeding in the day When she cluster feeds.
I feel her rhythmically on my nipple in the day but it's not hard and I don't hear the deep swallowing. Only at the start. Does that mean she's just using me as a pacifier? She always moves her mouth every 10-20 seconds so I don't think she is asleep asleep But may be dosing.

Would a dummy be the only option? I have tried one tonight and so far she is sucking it lots and is falling asleep ( for past 20 minutes). I know my mw says there not recommended for under 4 week olds when bf though... so I hope it won't confuse her. For now she seems to be happy and my nipples are happy to be relieved for the time been!

Thoughts welcome smile

fudgeandollie Fri 17-Apr-15 22:14:10

Oh and ideally I want to exclusively breastfeed and would prefer no dummy.. speaking of which she is now spitting it out but does seem to be in a calmer mood..

Guin1 Sat 18-Apr-15 06:41:43

Is there any chance she might have silent reflux (i.e. bringing up milk and stomach acid into the throat/mouth and swallowing it again)? My DD is now 9 weeks old but was cluster feeding like yours at that age, with maybe a bit more sleep. These parts of your op especially sound familiar:
She comes off boob, cries goes back on and the cycle continues. Barley anything else will console her just boob.
She seems overly fussy and at times cries on boob and scratches at me like she's frustrated.

Can you hear her swallowing between feeds or does she cough like she's tasting something unpleasant? After a visit to GP, DD is now on medication (Losec), which has certainly improved things, esp at night.

rootypig Sat 18-Apr-15 19:50:35

Were you separated for a while, OP, due to your op? she might just want comfort and reassurance for a bit.

fudgeandollie Sat 18-Apr-15 23:19:38

I can't say that I have heard her cough or swallow when she's not on the boob. She has barley coughed only when my boobs are uber full and the initial flow I think is a little strong for her But this hasn't happend frequently only a few times.

We were separated for a while but not too long a period. I'd say the longest I went without seeing her was the day of the operation for about 8 hours.

She has slept much more today and has been easier to settle. The only thing I have done differently with her is she has been fed a 5 oz expressed bottle, but her feeding has dropped so maybe it was a long growth spurt? Though she is still hard to settle.. I definatley know now when she is in the unsettled mood and I can also see when she's out of it.. its like a light switch flicks and as fast as that she's a more settled baby. I just wish I knew how to flick the switch! I am been stricter with her now and deattatching her when i think feeding is over think she'd sit on my boob all day sometimes.
I have been contemplating a baby carrier where she can feed/soothe and I can be hands free like in the caboo carrier.

Thanks for all the replies... it helps keep me sane!

acattocatchat Sun 19-Apr-15 19:49:56

Everything you describe is SO normal. Including the part Guin1 has bolded. I think she may be re-driving your supply as a PP suggested as the pump wouldn't remove as much milk as your baby would.

Comfort sucking is also very important for establishing supply. If you want to ebf then letting her hang out on your boob all day is exactly the right course of action. It is exhausting and bewildering but each week will get easier (albeit sometimes it feels like two steps forward one back with growth spurts!)

Get in lots of snacks, box sets/books etc and roll with it.

By the way, massive well done for continuing to bf despite the op and separation.

acattocatchat Sun 19-Apr-15 19:51:04

Oh and a sling is a great idea!

weaselwithin Mon 20-Apr-15 21:16:07

no advice sorry but wanted you to know I posted something very similar last week so you're not alone!!

DD is now 3 weeks 4 days and am in exactly the same boat as you! this past week: 5 days of no sleep at all, 2 good ish nights where I think burping her loads helped, made me think I'd turned a corner, but tonight she's been feeding (ebf) non stop since 1pm, cries if I try to put her down, I'm trying to just roll with it.

finding bf tricky though as I seem to have 2 small cysts on the end of one nipple???

anyway I hope you have some good nights soon and well done for persevering with bf

acattocatchat Mon 20-Apr-15 21:54:06

Weasel look up blebs, that might be what's on your nipple!

fudgeandollie Tue 21-Apr-15 17:02:52

Sorry to hear yiur having similar problems weaselwithin. she was terrible again on Monday awake 10am until 12pm with about 50 minutes of naps max. i have ordered a caboo wrap so I feel more relaxed about her hanging out on my boob and we can get out and enjoy the nice weather! Managed to get her down for more naps today... I'm trying to not be as self conscious about her been grumpy too and what people think etc as I think that is holding me back too.

Today a mixture of dummy, boob and pram have helped her drift off for a quick nap.

She does have a big startle reflux and I've noticed this tends to wake her up.

Guin1 Wed 22-Apr-15 17:07:48

Swaddling should help to stop the startle reflex waking her. Hope things start to get better soon OP!

fudgeandollie Wed 22-Apr-15 18:38:14

I've ordered a new swaddle blanket as my attempts with a blanket miss figit bum seems to get out of! She slept better last night but she really cluster fed 5 - 11 pm .
but has been on and off boob all day again. Managed a 50 minute nap today though which was heavenly!

The bf support worker called and asked if she may have tounge tie but I don't think she does I can't see a tie. She suggested that the latch may be bad but imo she feeds fast at night and us pooing lots.. I weighed her also and she is now 10lb 2oz! So has gained loads of weight since birth.
i'm still inclined to think it's a comfort thing. Awaiting my postal deliverys to see if my new aids will make things easier!

fudgeandollie Thu 04-Jun-15 06:18:59

Thought I would update, pretty much after this I got her to take a dummy more often.. and this changed my life! She uses that for comfort and not me.. we're now at 10 weeks she is bf every 2 hrs in the day.. almost like clockwork and in between if she needs it she sucks her dummy ( this need has vastly reduced ) . The sling has helped lots in that she sleeps for hours in it! And I love the caboo closer.. best £60 I've spent!

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