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4-week-old awake for 4-6 hours at a time

(20 Posts)
DancingLady Mon 04-Jan-16 14:33:24

yesterday DS woke from nap at 6.30pm and fed for several hours, finally fell asleep at 12ish after formula top-up. this isn't usual, is it? if i try to get him to nap after 90mins-2hrs he'll just keep pecking at me and crying.

he'll only sleep on me or my DH, fave is falling asleep on the boob but then wakes if i move.

i have a 5 yo DD, it's just not practical to feed for houyrs on end. i struggled to bf DD and stopped at 10 days and felt massive feelings of guilt. so i'm bf him, but it's still painful and exhausting and he's still not back to birth weight.

excuse typos!

DangerMouth Mon 04-Jan-16 17:40:04

I know what you mean re guilt. I bf dd1 for 8 months and bf dd2 for a couple of weeks as she had tt and once it was snipped couldn't get her consistently to bf. I ended up expressing and giving her ebm until she was 3 months, now she's ff and I'm happy smile

I have a 5 yo and l found expressing every 2 hours fitted in well enough for everyone (you don't need to sterilise your equipment each session, just wash in warm water) if you'd consider that? Tbh though l couldn't have done it long term so if you really want them to have bm I'd try tp keep bf. Have you had everything checked? (Tt, latch etc?)

FATEdestiny Mon 04-Jan-16 18:40:13

The evening cluster feeding is quite normal for a breastfeeding newborn, up to about 3 months old. It is a way for baby to increase your supply.

Easiest way to deal is to just settle in for the night. Get yourself and baby ready for bed when you put older DC to bed and then get yourself comfy on the sofa and accept that you'll be breastfeeding most of the night, with maybe little short naps in between. Through until you got to bed. Just sit with baby in breastfeeding position and boob out.

It doesn't stay like this forever. She'll soon grow out of it.

DancingLady Tue 05-Jan-16 12:24:45

thanks for replies.

dangermouth i met with a lactation consultant who said Ds had a posterior frenulum, but i don't know if this is a problem, and i'm not sure i want him to have a painful procedure which may have no benefits.

FATE, it's easier when DD is at school, as she gets quite jealous of me spending hours bfing the baby. i don't feel it's fair to her really, esp if it'll continue for another 2 months.

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Jan-16 12:37:31

Its only the evenings where clusterfeeding is usual. Hopefully your DD will be in bed by that, so doesn't need to feel pushed out.

LaurieLemons Tue 05-Jan-16 13:10:00

Have you tried a dummy? My DS was like this, I read that newborns should be sleeping for around 16 hours a day and will struggle to stay awake longer than 2 hours and I remember thinking something was seriously wrong with him.

DangerMouth Tue 05-Jan-16 13:18:51

What would you like to do Dancing? Are you thinking a move to ff or looking for ways to get through the cluster feeding period?

DancingLady Tue 05-Jan-16 13:38:33

FATE no it's really affecting my DD - she's massively acting up at bedtime and isn't asleep til 9.30-10. my DH deals with it, but she's constantly calling for me.

Laurie - yeah i read that too... haven't tried dummy as he's still not back at birth weight, so need him to feed as often as he wants.

Danger - i'm really conflicted. my DD was ff from 10 days and thrived, so it's not that i'm anti-formula. mixed feeding might be the way forward. i do worry that stopping bf will negatively affect my mental health. BUT bf is painful and it's affecting my DD. yesterday she was watching me feed the baby and said, 'i can tell that feeding him is making you sad'.

he won't remember whether he had breast or bottle, but she'll remember that i was consantly attached to the baby. is that too precious? maybe i'm overthinking. ar looking for an excuse to stop bf.

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Jan-16 14:05:08

Lots of parents with more than one child breastfed - I have four. Rather than having a negative effect on your DD, longer term it should be good for her to see her amazing Mum doing this amazing and natural thing for her brother.

But before I go any further, it is also fine to formula feed if you want to. Formula milk is not evil and there is nothing terrible in choosing to feed that way.

I think your mental health ma better deal with your choice to change to formula feeding if you embrace and own your own decision in doing it, rather than framing it with blame and fault.

Saying breastfeeding your DS "affecting my DD" is blaming her for the decision to stop breastfeeding. Rather than you just 'owning' the decision as a choice without assigning any blame or fault.

Likewise saying "bf is painful" is then framing yourself as to blame (why couldn't I do it when others manage). Again, better that it is no ones fault, no one is to blame.

Your future mental health may better cope with your choice is you just decide "I would prefer to formula feed", or "I don't want to breastfeed anymore" without justifying or making excuses. The excuses create the guilt.

Lots of people (your DD included, you will also be proud of yourself) are likely to be very proud of you if you manage to carry on breastfeeding, because it is hard work. BF mothers can be proud because they work through the hard times with feeding in a way formula feeding parents don't have to. There is a martyr element.

Equally no one will think less of you if you decide to formula feed. Formula milk isnt bad or evil. It is easy and covenient and often with a new baby easy and convenient is what you need, no need to be a martyr. It is your choice.

Make it less emotive. Like choosing to dress your child in a sleepsuit or dressing him in 'proper clothes' - this is a choice you make that carries no emotion, you just choose.

So remove the emotion from your choice of feeding and make the decision without creating false excuses that only make you feel guilty and nedlessly like a failure.

Choose to bottle feed. Choose to breast feed. Choose to mix feed. Its all good.

DangerMouth Tue 05-Jan-16 14:08:19

You don't need an excuse to stop, other than you want to. And you can want to for lots of reasons (family time etc).

DangerMouth Tue 05-Jan-16 14:10:14

Wow FATE first time I've been disappointed in one of your posts...

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Jan-16 14:13:04

There's always a first time danger wink

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Jan-16 14:14:48

Wait one moment...

"You don't need an excuse to stop, other than you want to."

My post says exactly the same thing. Just in my usual long-winded manner.

Now apologise for your sarcastic nature you wretch you :-P

DangerMouth Tue 05-Jan-16 14:23:02

Ok l can be slightly sarcastic blush and l apologise for that smile


Lots of people (your DD included, you will also be proud of yourself) are likely to be very proud of you if you manage to carry on breastfeeding, because it is hard work. BF mothers can be proud because they work through the hard times with feeding in a way formula feeding parents don't have to. There is a martyr element

^ this l think isn't very helpful. Being pregnant, giving birth, generally surviving a newborn is something to be proud of. Persevering with something that is making you unhappy because of peer pressure? That's nothing to be proud of. Nor something l'd want my dd to see. Even though dd2 had tt feeding her wasn't painful and it was only the weight loss that picked it up. Dd1 has seen me bf dd2 and now knows breasts are for feeding babies even though dd2 was bf for a few short weeks. Giving the next generation of mother's something positive about this experience is what we should be aiming for.

FATEdestiny Tue 05-Jan-16 14:36:07

I try to be balanced. I don't always succeed.

I have come to an "I cant do this anymore" moment when breastfeeding DC1 before that just needed by best friend to say "You are awesome, of course you can. You want to breastfeed and you know it will be hard. Now let me take baby for an hour while you have a bath". I continued to BF long term

(read the whole post DangerMouth, don't stop there are start judging...)

I have also reached the point where DC3 wasn't just failing to reach birthweight, but was actively losing weight continually. I knew I could breastfeed and I wanted to. I needed a kindly HV to say "You know, it's only food and your baby being healthy is more important than your principles". DC3 was FF from 22 days old.

I have been at both sides of the possible coin where the OP is. On one occasion I needed someone to boost my confidence in BF so I could get through it. In the other occasion I needed to hear FF was OK.


I will not be apologising for saying breastfeeding is great.

I will not be apologising for saying formula feeding is great.

I don't judge either. OP can have support in both possible outcomes.

FifiFerusha Tue 05-Jan-16 22:12:30

I went through this too. My now 5 mo was exactly the same for the first two months and I also have a five year old who hated those feeding sessions. I was also in immense pain while feeding. It was all quite traumatic. My partner was a great help. . . But it DOES end. In honesty at 7 weeks I chose to give a bottle in the evening. I got mastitus and ended up in hospital.Now, My daughter hardly remembers what it was like in the early days and it has not affected her. She even tells me now that she thinks mummy should go and feed DS when she thinks he is hungry.

Also, DS sometimes fed for seven hour sessions. Most of this he was feeding while sleeping I think as he was always a very alert baby outside of these times. So this maybe why he appears to be awake so long. It will get better. .you are doing a great job. .and again don't be afraid of introducing an evening bottle or at the particular time of day that he cluster feeds.I found that just topping up here and there made no difference at times as they just demand the breast again straight after. Good luck x x x x

Ps as FATE said, I really just had to accept that I would be sat feeding for five hours every evening, but the pain got the better of me. However I still mainly bf now.

DancingLady Wed 06-Jan-16 22:57:37

FATE, yes i think there is a martyr element, mainly bc bf is so hard for many women, and persevering is seen as a badge of honour.

today has been better, gave DS bottle of expressed milk as well as a couple of top-ups of formula and lots of bfing. think we'll have to muddle through for a bit.

danger - i don't know if i want to stop, sometimes it's enjoyable but sometimes it's so painful that i just want to throw in the towel.but you're right, i do feel proud of myself for getting through the birth, post-csection recovery, and the first few weeks. one day at a time.

fifi, yes i've been giving a bottle when it's just too painful to feed. expressing today worked well and i got 4oz, and it wasn't painful at all. so i'll try that again. when did it stop being painful for you, if it has stopped?

FifiFerusha Thu 07-Jan-16 20:17:50

The pain stopped at about 7 to 8 weeks. It was like a miraculous change over two weeks. I had badly cracked and red raw nipples from day one until then. So, I understand how hard it is to undergo those cluster feeds and dreading every feed. I fed in tears most days.

I am so glad it got better. However now my DS will only feed in the dark. Oh well different phase, different problem.

That is a lot of milk you expressed. You are lucky! Keep at it. .you are doing great and this will be long forgotten when the next challenge comes along. It is amazing how much you forget in a five year gap isn't it?

How is your DD? X

DancingLady Thu 07-Jan-16 20:41:19

that's reassuring to know, fifi!

i've been topping upwith 2oz of formula a few times yesterday and today, on advice of midwife. he feeds for so long that she reassured me it wouldn't affect my supply.

DD is not good. still has massive tantrums, tears and anxiety at bedtime. we moved her bedroom to top floor before DS was born, she loved her new room, now says she hates it as she's on the floor above us and DS. she's feeling very insecure. we spend hours each night trying to calm her and it's exhausting.

FifiFerusha Fri 08-Jan-16 10:29:11

This is an almighty coincidence. Our DD also has the top floor bedroom and DS is on our floor. She now will not play In her bedroom alone so me, DS and her spent a lot of time in there smile

She was particularly bad in the earlier days with tantrums etc... (But she always has been) And even being very rough with DS. However, she has really come round and absolutely adores him now, as he does her. She has some other issues going on though but that is another story.

My DD has always struggles at bedtimes so I know how difficult it is to juggle that. I think in the early days DP had to put her to bed every night. And yes, that does make things worse sometimes when they don't get mummy time. However, once the cluster feeds stopped and bottle introduced, I tried to make it that DS had a relatively early bedtime(takes time to get to that point). So he went up for bedtime routine at 6' and hopefully asleep by 6.30 to 7( if only it was everyday) and I pushed DDs bedtime to slightly later to about 7.30 or even 8. I figured an extra half an hour up so i could put her to bed sometimes wouldn't matter. Also my DD will not sleep unless me or DP sit with her until she is asleep. .so again, I really do empathise with your situation. You know, I could have written your post three or four months ago. Things get better, and we can't all get it perfect, just do the best we can. .good,luck x x

Ps I know it is cliche but little stories about being a sister helped us. Oh and giving her really 'important' jobs to do to help. Every child is different though so she may not want to focus on being a sister but herself, if that makes sense.

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