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Constant breast feeding(30 Posts)
DS is a week old today. He took 36hrs to first latch but he’s fed constantly since. In the past 24hrs he’s only been off the breast for 3 hrs. I’m exhausted. I never planned on full time bf but the hospital and post partum midwife really pushed it.
I know he is getting enough as he’s filling plenty of nappies and yesterday he was back at his birth weight. I just feel he is only getting enough by feeding all the time which isn’t sustainable.
I had a complicated birth with a vacuum and then manual removal of retained placenta. I lost 1.2ltrs blood. I’m so aware that I need my body to recover too and I’m unable to do that. I desperately want to be able to provide for DS.
I wondered if anyone has had a similar experience? I think we’re going to give him a bottle shortly for a break but I’m worried that will mess up his latch.
DH is being fab but there is only so much he can do. He’s barely held DS because he just screams when he isn’t being fed.
Hi OP, this all sounds really normal- I lost 3.5l with my first and had to endure some epic cluster feeds to get my supply up! I can highly recommend learning to feed in the side lying position and setting up the bed for safe co-sleeping so you can doze during feeds. I also don't think a bottle here and there of formula while you sleep will mess things up for you at all. Combi feeding can be done successfully if you are interested in keeping it up long term. Also, I get the sense that maybe you feel bf isn't you for you? Sorry if I have misinterpreted! But please don't feel guilty or bad if you decide to swap to formula full time. Do what works best for you! Congratulations on your baby.
Babies breastfeed in order to comfort suck, as well as to feed.
Now that baby is back to birth weight, you could think about introducing a dummy. This allows baby to gain comfort by sucking, but independently away from you so that you get some space.
Completely normal! And it does pass. Your fab baby knows exactly what to do.
I found Kellymom to be a really helpful resource, this might be a good read if your looking to do mixed feeding:
Do not introduce a dummy. Terrible advice for a 1wk old bf baby. OP, congratulations on your baby and sounds like you're doing a great job. Bf babies will go through phases of feeding so often, they'll be getting your supply up. And remember they have tiny tummies and will need to feed frequently. Keep at it, it'll all settle down with time, but worth getting in touch with local bf support if needed
Thank you all for your supportive messages. It’s reassuring to know that it’s normal even if it’s tough. We have given him a bottle but within 20 mins he was crying for the breast again. I think it is partially a comfort thing.
@KatnissK thanks I’ll take a look at that position. Just a small amount of sleep would be great right now. Wow 3.5l! You’re partly right re bf. I never really wanted to but now I feel I’ve come this far I don’t want to stop.
DH just went out to the supermarket and has come back with a load of food with the aim of getting my strength back. Hopefully some extra calories will give me more energy.
As others have said it's completely normal! I also really recommend feeding while laying down safely in bed - real saved my sanity especially as DC3 just wouldn't settle when put down but co slept like a dream. Re the not being able to put them down I used to just strap them into the car seat and go a short drive or out for a walk. Your DH can do this if you feel like you need a break.
You're doing so well to get baby to birth weight so soon!
Definitely try the side lying feeding.
Bf is really hard in the early stages but if you can, try to relax with a pile of snacks and some good TV whilst feeding. We introduced a dummy when DS was 3 weeks old and that was a godsend. DD on the other hand was in no way interested in anything other than the breast. I was totally thrown by how much DS fed and watched the clock all the time. I wish I'd been told before he was born that it was completely normal for them to feed a lot in the early weeks. Congratulations OP
BF is really tough in the early weeks, even if you have a straight forward birth. My DD fortunately was fairly chilled in the mornings, but come late afternoon/evening she was just stuck on the boob constantly for the first 2/3 weeks.
With DD, we used to go up to bed early (as soon as DH got home from work) and get snuggled up in bed with my laptop and watch telly/doze (safely! DH was awake, but meant I could half nod off with DD latched on and propped up, knowing her was keeping an eye). I’d often lie on my side to feed her, and she and I would both doze in and out.
So much easier by the end of the 3rd week. You’ll get there.
He fell asleep in my arms so I chanced the cot - I got 2.5hrs sleep! Back to the back to the breast now but I’m feeling much better. Thanks for the further recommendations too. Seems side feeding is the way forward.
Cluster feeding can be intense, and noone seems to warm you beforehand. Only thing you can do is get comfy, make sure you've got a drink and the TV remotes to hand and just go with it!
I would have them checked for tongue tie - I had a constant feeder (tongue tied) and it’s just not sustainable - do they fall asleep after a couple of minutes on breast and then wake up and start again? Also I ended up with battered and bleeding nipples! After the tongue tie was dealt with feeding became easier and less intense (still need have cluster feeding but was not non-stop)
Totally normal and it does get better OP! I felt like this for about 6 weeks then it started to get better.
Oh and because our baby wasn’t getting enough (although also put weight back on) we did do top up feeds with formula BUT again after tongue tie was dealt with gradually stopped and went back to only breastfeeding - so what I mean to say is formula is fine (obviously) but I was worried switching would be the end of breastfeeding, and that is not the case
I don't think that literally constant feeds are totally normal actually, especially with the initial latch issues, that's two red flags there. I agree with the poster saying you should get him checked for tongue tie. I'd also want a feed observed by an experienced breastfeeding support person, which probably means not a health visitor or midwife. You don't just have to put up with this for however long.
Is your baby feeding all the time (listen for the swallowing) or sucking in their sleep. If babies are consistently feeding for an hour or more, as in every feed for several days/a week then you should get them checked for tongue tie.
At the beginning breast feeding is exhausted but once established it is much easier. I have had one ff baby and one bf baby.
Sounds pretty normal at a week in, but honestly if you need the break do not worry about giving the occasional bottle. I know the advice is to wait 6 weeks to avoid "confusing" the baby, but in my (albeit limited) experience, everyone who's done this has ended up with a complete bottle refuser. With DS we started with DH giving one bottle a day in the evening from birth, to give me a break/let me get a few hours uninterrupted sleep. He continued the same way until nursery at 8 months, which he transitioned to no problem because he already knew how to take milk from a bottle, then stopped with the bottles altogether by a year old. He still has one breastfeed a day at bedtime now he's nearly 18 months. I really don't see any downsides to combination feeding of your baby accepts it and it works for you
I’m sure DS was checked for tongue tie when I was in hospital due to the latch issues. I had put those problems down to the birth complications and being unable to hold him until 2hrs after birth. I’m not in the UK so things are a bit different here. I have a midwife visit on Monday so I’ll be sure to mention this. She has watched me feed and said everything looks good.
I did decide to try pumping earlier to encourage my supply and for DH to feed whilst I rest. I really struggled to get much. I know pumping is less effective but I don’t know if this indicates an issue.
I think we’ll try another bottle tomorrow and take it from there. If I can get another couple of hours sleep tonight I’ll feel better.
Well done you, still at his birth weight one week on for a breastfed baby is excellent... I hope the midwife told you how good that is and how good you are doing. He will be establishing your supply at the moment which is why it is so relentless... honestly it won’t be like this forever.
Order yourself some spatone sachets and have two everyday to get your iron back up after loosing all that blood.
I’m far from an expert and have been on here asking for help with my own bf woes, but from what I’ve read, while cluster feeding is very normal, 21 hours a day of feeding is excessive, and very hard to be sustainable for you!
Is it painful when you feed? I was also told the latch was good due to no dimpling on cheeks etc but daughter had a significant tongue tie, and since getting it fixed it’s improved a lot, although we aren’t there yet. Lactation consultant told me that it’s all very well someone saying it looks good but it’s important how it feels for you. Can you hear baby swallowing when they’re latched on?
I ageee with the poster who says you might need a specialist bf counsellor / expert - my baby was ‘checked’ for tt in hospital and also had a difficult birth so was in hospital for a week (and was getting the latch checked by everyone who came anywhere near me!) but it was missed. A week or so later I had a bf counsellor take a look and then referred me to tongue tie clinic. Not to bang on about it but feeding constantly - I was doing 7 hour stretches - isn’t normal especially when the baby still appears hungry!
Just something for you to rule out. It is so so hard in the beginning (at least I found it hard and stressful) and anything you can do that / any advice or support you can get is so worth it.
So you said he was feeding for 21 hours..... did he fall asleep while feeding? If so did you take him off the breast? Do you know he is crying for a feed or could it be a colic/pain issue?
The don't check properly for tongue tie post natally, I was told my baby didn't have a tongue tie by a doctor on the labour ward but was assessed by an infant feeding expert and he was restricted by over 50% and it was posterior so not easy to see.
I think you are doing amazing. To have baby at birthweight in one week is fantastic because average is birthweight at two weeks.
I don’t want to repeat other posters, so will just add that the breastfeeding is also helping your body recover too. The oxytocin from breastfeeding contracts your uterus back to pre pregnancy size and helps naturally stop the post partum bleeding which you will have a lot of due to the manual placenta procedure. So every bit of breastfeeding is helping you internally heal a bit more.
I would not worry about pumping now. Focus on establishing your supply and healing. Have DH wait on you hand andfoot. Your job is feed baby and heal. His job is nappy’s and feeding and caring for YOU.
Thanks all for more words of encouragement and advice. I have been given a recommendation of a breast feeding consultant so I’ll give her a call on Monday. It sounds like the tongue tie angle is definitely worth investigating.
@Russell19 yes sorry he does fall asleep on the breast but as soon as I put him down he wakes and wants bf straightaway. I can keep him in my arms some of the time but l need him to go down to sleep.
Try and get a sling and research the 4th trimester. Babies are not programmed to be put down alone to sleep at such a young age. Formula feeding won't help you with this, he just wants to be close to you so let him.
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