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Postnatal health

At breaking point, nursing baby for 3h

56 replies

user1490285009 · 10/08/2021 22:30

Hi mamas,

I’m literally crying as I write this. I’ve been nursing my 2 week old for 3h now. I’ve just put her down after she seemed sleepy and now she’s up crying. I’m not only mentally tired/sleepy but I feel physically depleted. I have no more milk to give. And I have no idea when her crying for more milk will end. I’m confused how much milk such a small body can drink up. And I know she’s drink a lot because she’s positing some of it and I can hear her physically gulp it down - well I could around 7-8pm I’m not sure how much milk she got recently.

I am seriously exhausted and overwhelmed.
Is this normal? Or am I misreading her signs as hunger but really there’s something else wrong. Please please please any advice to make it through the night.

OP posts:
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Doyoumind · 10/08/2021 22:37

I don't know about normal but I can tell you I experienced the same. It seemed to be a phase that lasted forever but in reality after a matter of weeks things improved significantly. Is there anyone else there who can look after the baby while you get some rest?

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ladybranstonpickle · 10/08/2021 22:40

Hello,sounds like you are having a very hard time. Do you have a dummy you can offer her? Have you tried swaddling with a muslin? I had this experience with my newborn the first night we were home. Was so hard! Sending hugs.

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Lazypuppy · 10/08/2021 22:42

2nd the dummy, she wont be feeding straight for 3hrs, a lot will just be sucking. Babies have teeny stomachs at that age

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user1490285009 · 10/08/2021 22:44

@Doyoumind unfortunately not much help is available to me, and even when people try she fusses and cries at them and there’s nothing they can do to console her.


@ladybranstonpickle she spits out the dummy

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Findmeatthebeach · 10/08/2021 22:44

As a pp said, do you have a dummy? She could well be comfort sucking. They cluster feed a lot at this age to get your milk supply up but 3 hrs is a long time! I really feel for you

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Nightmanagerfan · 10/08/2021 22:45

It sounds like she’s cluster feeding. Which is completely normal at this age, but also exhausting for you. It often happens during the evening and is a way to get your supply up, even if it feels like she can’t be getting much. I completely remember the overwhelming exhaustion, this too will pass Flowers

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User0ne · 10/08/2021 22:45

I've bf 3 DC (youngest is 4m) and that sounds normal for the first few weeks. They suckle for food and comfort.

None of mine would be put down in the evenings for the first few months (it's not just bf babies) - I bought a sling which made things a bit easier.

Have you heard of the 4th trimester? It's worth looking up as it explains a lot and may help you with your expectations of what your baby will need/want.

It is difficult with a newborn. I always found/find it easier to go with what baby wants as much as possible. If you have a DP get them on tea/dinner duty and holding baby while you go to the loo.

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elvislives2012 · 10/08/2021 22:45

ThanksThanksThanks for you. It's tough. You're not misreading the signs- newborn babies want to be with their mother and cluster feeding is a way of achieving that. She will be wanting to build up fat reserves too.
This phase goes on for a short time but feels like foooooorever
Can you feed lying down? Saved me when I did it. In bed on my side and baby on her side pressed close to your tummy. Low down so she was to reach up with her mouth forcing her to get a good latch. Then you can doze
Do u have help at home?

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Findmeatthebeach · 10/08/2021 22:46

Just seen your response to the dummy, I had to train both mine to take it and it was an absolute godsend. I would just rest my finger on it until the got a good suck and then when it popped out do it again. Obviously not if they were crying.

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BeeandG · 10/08/2021 22:46

Best advice is to leave her for a few minutes to see if she'll settle in her moses basket or get your partner to walk round the house with her. She might just be crying because she didn't want to be put down. Feeding for 3 hours is a long time and you need a break. She could be feeling gassy, holding her upright against your shoulder might help. The exhaustion of those first few weeks is so hard when your eyelids are struggling to stay open.

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HalloHello · 10/08/2021 22:46

Cluster feeding is so hard, but it is normal. Try some skin to skin with her and see if you can rock her to sleep. Putting her down awake is maybe making her want comfort which is provided by your breast at the moment. She is still tiny and has no idea how to live without you yet. Look up 4th trimester

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LifeIsBusy · 10/08/2021 22:48

Totally normal especially in the evenings. Get yourself a good box set and comfortable on the sofa, feed until baby eventually leaves you alone for a nap.

My second cluster fed in the hospital for 6 hours straight. He's now a 14 week old chunk and it's all settled down.

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Starjammer · 10/08/2021 22:48

Cluster feeding - she is building your milk supply (and for comfort too). It's hard work when they're so tiny. Do you have a partner? You need to work as a team this early - it's about survival, so you sleep whenever you can, you take shifts if you have to so each can get some unbroken sleep.

Get yourself comfy on the sofa with everything in range: drinks, snacks, etc., get something good on TV or a good book or podcast and just don't worry about what you should be doing. I got through so many books trapped under a feeding baby in those early weeks!

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Debetswell · 10/08/2021 22:49

My ds spat out his dummy to begin with.
He eventually took it after persevering.

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Starjammer · 10/08/2021 22:50

Oh and don't worry about being up and about during the day or dressed or whatever else. Time of day has no meaning when they are so tiny - whatever time of day, if they are asleep, try to nap yourself.

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LifeIsBusy · 10/08/2021 22:50

Totally normal. Get comfortable on the sofa and switch on the box sets. It really doesn't last!!

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Bunny2021 · 10/08/2021 22:50

I don’t have much advice to offer but this was me in the early hours of this morning. I just wanted to let you know that I’m also going through this and you’re not alone.

Our baby also did similar this afternoon and I found carrying him for a walk around the garden helped. I don’t know if it was just the change of position or what, but holding him close to me and keeping a firm hand on his head meant he suddenly realised how tired he was.

It’s really tough. Also so difficult not to feel like your failing. Do you have any expressed milk you could give in a bottle? That’s what we’ve had to do. We didn’t plan on introducing a bottle for a few weeks but I just couldn’t cope with the constant feeding. We went with a Mam one which is meant to mimic a nipple more and they really have to suck hard to get the milk out - it doesn’t just pour out.

I heard a quote the other day which was something along the lines of “there’s substitutes for breastfeeding but not for the mother’s mental health”. There is no shame or guilt in resorting to other methods to get them fed if that’s what needs to happen.

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spaceghetto · 10/08/2021 22:52

I remember my health visitor said it would only last for 6 months. I cried! It didn't last for that long at all. As others have said, I got a good book, a tray of snacks and just let my ds feed away. I really enjoyed it after a while (and after I let go of any thoughts of a clean house etc). Sending you very best wishes.

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Jellybean100 · 10/08/2021 22:53

Don’t give a dummy. She’s feeding to up your supply. Giving a dummy will therefore effect your supply and make the cluster feeding period longer.
Babies do this when going through a growth spurt. The good news is that it normally lasts 4 hours or so so you’re almost there. Get your partner to make you a cuppa, watch tv or read a book and it’ll soon be over. It’s bloooody exhausting, you have my sympathies. But it’s normal and you’re doing a great job!

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Brown76 · 10/08/2021 22:54

There could be something like tongue tie where baby is not able to effectively get the milk out, but also could be cluster feeding (basically feed after feed for hours in the evening) to stimulate your milk supply in the early weeks. As time goes on milk supply increases and babies should (if no tongue tie) be able to get milk out well. There’s also a lot of comfort from the suckling which is another thing that the baby needs, as well as milk. On top of that sometimes the fussing and crying after a feed is digestive discomfort, wind etc.

Have you got anyone that can rock/cuddle and comfort the baby while you get some sleep? Preferably out of earshot from the crying after you’ve done a feed. Has your baby been checked for tongue tie? I’d suggest one of the breastfeeding helplines in the morning and asking for some support from someone you can talk it through with.

In terms of making it through the night, if you don’t have anyone who can help, I’d say have a light on, listen to the radio or a podcast or tv, get a drink and some food, basically settle in and make yourself comfortable…somehow it feels worse when you’re in a darkened room and desperate to fall asleep, and it’s more bearable if you just keep yourself awake and on shift until the baby falls asleep. The other thing is to try safe co-sleeping. Have a look in the morning if you haven’t already and practice feeding lying on your side.

As your baby grows things will change, but the early weeks are survival mode and see if you can get some help during the day as well so you can get some time to rest.

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yourestandingonmyneck · 10/08/2021 22:54

It's normal, and is soul destroying.

It will partly be for comfort though, so as pop's said, you could try a dummy.

You really just need to survive these days, and that means sleep. Do you have anybody that can take her for a long walk in the pram tomorrow so you can get a few hours sleep?

I know it doesn't seem like it now, but this stage won't last forever.

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Megan2018 · 10/08/2021 22:57

Mine managed 11hrs once, that first 6 weeks is tough. Feeding lying down is key.
Hang in there, it really doesn’t last long and it’s much easier in the long run. You won’t die, even though it feels like it now.
Drink litres and litres of water and eat plenty of snacks. I did nothing apart from feed baby, me and the animals for quite some time.

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EmbarrassingMama · 10/08/2021 22:58

Sounds very normal but very hard OP. Sending you lots of strength and good vibes for this evening.

Have you tried reading Kelly Mom? They have lots of useful online resources and explanations re breastfeeding and cluster feeding etc. It’s not going to change anything but I found it useful to be armed with the info.

This too shall pass. Flowers

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RedMarauder · 10/08/2021 23:02

It's normal and they go through phrases of doing it until they eat solids. They normal grow noticably after such a phrase

I remember having to feed between 6 to 10-11pm even though my DD already had a previous feed just before 5pm. I mixed fed so even though my DD had one bottle in that time so I had a break to eat and use the loo, I still spent hours just sitting, breast feeding and watching TV.

Other mothers I know had to deal with cluster feeding at night/early hours of the morning. So I would wake up to random messages and emails sent at 3am in the morning.

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yikesanotherbooboo · 10/08/2021 23:06

My experience is that this can be normal. My third DC was attached all evening for what felt like forever but was probably only a few weeks. He turned out to be a terrific and efficient breast feeder.
These posts , referring to normal babies , really need to be read by expectant mothers so that they know what to expect .

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