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Thread: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

  1. #1

    Default nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Hi All!

    My 10 week old DS is an eater for sure. He pretty much came out wanting to eat and hasn't stopped wanting to eat since. This is great...except for the evenings.

    From about 5pm - 3am EVERY DAY he eats....constantly. At first, he starts off eating for 3 minutes, sleeping for 5 minutes, cooing for 2 minutes, and then crying for 1 minutes (or really as long as it takes for me to pop my breast back in his mouth). After about 2 hours of this, he starts to get frustrated and pulls off my breast and starts hitting it with his little fists like it's a vending machine that stole his money. His little face even looks like "you've got to be kidding me? Where's my delicious beverage I just paid for?" After a few hours of this frustration he just gets super upset.

    From 3am - 7am he usually sleeps. After that he eats every 2-3 hours and sleeps in between. At about noon, he wakes up and is pretty alert for 2 hours, takes an hour or two nap, and then is alert until about 5pm. During those hours I have lots of milk...OALD plus my breast pads get soaked through quickly, plus when he's done eating, I'm usually still leaking. Once it hits 5pm, though, it's like there's nothing. During the 3am - 5pm hours, my breasts are full and heavy...from 5pm - 3am they feel completely deflated (I know that's not necessarily an indication that there's no milk there, but I'm just giving ya'll as full a picture as possible).

    I've pumped after he eats a bit in the evening to encourage production. I've hand expressed just to see if there's anything left. I get very, very little if anything with either of those methods. In the morning, I pump maybe 1-2x a week from a breast just to keep up a supply in my freezer. That's usually only when he eats from one breast, and falls asleep clearly satiated by the one breast. I very easily get 4-5 ounces from the non-taken breast each time in the morning. At night or evening, I'm lucky to get 1 ounce.

    I know that during the first few months my supply is getting established, but this has been going on for over 4 weeks. I feel like this production routine is what is being established, and we are very, very frustrated by it.

    He doesn't get bottles frequently (1-2x a week maybe), and in fact, when he does kind of fusses. He definitely prefers the breast. An LC took a look at my latch and positioning, and they're all good. I'm trying to make sure I'm getting whole grains and drinking lots of water. I talked to my Ped about it (my Ped group is super pro-BFing and really tries to help moms make it a successful experience). She mentioned that since it's been going on for quite some time, that perhaps giving him a smallish amount of formula later at night when he is clearly frustrated at my lack of milk would give us all some peace.

    So...thoughts? How do I more evenly distribute my production, because this is driving both of us a little insane.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Hi mama--how about safe cosleeping?
    http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/safe.html

    Your breasts are getting the signal that there is a lot of demand at night, and are making more milk at that time. Yep, the problem will fix itself.

    Milk production is at its lowest in the late evening. Overnight the milk-making chemicals are released which is why you may wake up with lots of supply. If you pump at that time to prepare an evening bottle, your breasts will get the signal to make more milk in the morning and less in the evening--is that a signal you want? My pedi, a man, recommended morning pumping but we stopped when I realized it was easier to fall asleep on my side with LO nursing. YMMV. You might even want to try once or twice so you can get some rest.

    It may be helpful to realize that babies who nurse all the time at night survived better than those who didn't, because mama means safety.
    http://www.drjen4kids.com/soap%20box/sleep%20stuff.htm
    At the same time, it's a more evolutionarily successful trait for a mother's offspring to have, since alert babies who want to be beside mama survived longer... it works both ways.

    Try not to imagine stuff in LO's head, like he's frustrated, and you're a vending machine. He's just tired, and his instincts tell him to stay CLOSE to mama. It's been a worthwhile instinct for over 10,000 years so a short period after the Industrial Revolution where mamas work in the morning isn't going to change that. Just be patient. Nap during the daytime and resist all temptation to do some housework while LO naps.

    If LO isn't napping well in the daytime, that can cause nighttime sleep problems--how about trying babywearing? With my 14-mo DD and me being 6mos pg, I jus wore her down to sleep this afternoon for her nap. It works brilliantly. If you suspect LO is calorie-loading at night and you want more uninterrupted sleep, then babywearing with LO having access to bfing will bring in more daytime calories.
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  3. #3

    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Have you tried a dummy?? My wee man loves eating and will comfort suck at night on my breasts after he has fed. Although he also hits me when there is nothing left and he is tired . I try him on the other breast at this point and let him eat until he lets go and then i wind him. If he is still grisly at this point then I will try rocking him with his dummy and this usually puts him over. I have found that it is more likely for this to happen when he hasn't really had a good sleep during the day. As for milk supply I'm sorry I can't help you. If I don't have enough milk to satisfy my baby in the evening then I give him a few ounces of expressed milk out of my store in the freezer.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Katharine gave you some good, thorough advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*missandi View Post
    She mentioned that since it's been going on for quite some time, that perhaps giving him a smallish amount of formula later at night when he is clearly frustrated at my lack of milk would give us all some peace.
    I just wanted to comment on this. You do not need to give formula. If you have plenty of milk during part of the day, your body can easily adjust to have it in abundance at other times as well.
    Andrea - mama to Laith 02.20.07 and Sommer 01.21.11
    'Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.' - Noam Chomsky

  5. #5
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    agree with pp's

    This sounds just like me and my baby in the early months. I'm sorry to say that the only thing that "fixed" it was to learn to cosleep and side nurse so I could get some sleep while she nursed. She did grow out of it around 3 months.

    Be really careful if you decide to suppliment with anything at night (breastmilk in a bottle, formula, paci) as the less sucking at the breast your baby does the lower your supply will get at the time of day you suppliment. If you do suppliment make sure to pump to replace the stimulation (although the pump isn't the same) Don't take that as having to pump every time you use a paci though......for some mom's that would be impossible!!
    Mother to the wonderful Teya - born June 21, 2010

    Wife to Pat Sept 13, 2008

    We are and at school

  6. #6
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Yep. It Sounds like clusterfeeding. And the only way to make more is to eat more. So are you side lye nursing? I would NOT give a bottle of formula. It will just get you at least 2 less ques to produce. Take the baby to bed and let him dream feed. It's probably the delatching that waking and causing the constant eat. If you just let him stay latched and pop off when ready, it would proably mean more sleep for everyone.

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Sounds normal to me too. My DD was like that for a while, instead of thinking something is wrong, maybe think that this is normal infant behavior. If you look at it in a different light maybe it wont be so worrisome. And believe me, this pahse will pass and you will be chasing around a crazy toddler wishing for peaceful days of endless nursing!

    As for the formula, skip it. i wonder if your pedi said that becase they felt as if you were looking for an answer I cant imagine a pro BF doc reccomending formula unless there was some severe issues. Have you tried any LLL meetings??

    Hang in there and keep nursing!
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  8. #8
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Everything you say. Absolutely.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*marilyn612 View Post
    This sounds just like me and my baby in the early months. I'm sorry to say that the only thing that "fixed" it was to learn to cosleep and side nurse so I could get some sleep while she nursed. She did grow out of it around 3 months.
    My little one nursed constantly as well - she was just helping my milk supply build up. Once she got through the phase about 3 months also), I really missed our time together. I wish I'd relaxed at the time. It may help to lay down and spend some quality time with a book or your TV. Allow your LO to pop on and off as desired; take advantage of the time you can lay down and relax if you aren't keen on the co-sleeping idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*dara View Post
    I cant imagine a pro BF doc recommending formula unless there was some severe issues. Have you tried any LLL meetings??
    Agreed. Especially right now while the main purpose of this exercise is to build up your night supply. For the same reason I recommend not giving a paci during this time if you haven't already.

    And I know it's exhausting. I remember being in that very same spot, coming to these boards and saying "Argh I can't go pee because she won't stop nursing all the time!" This, too, shall pass.
    Wife to DH February 17, 2004.
    First time mom to my precious baby girl, welcomed to this world August 3, 2009!
    Birth: 6 lbs. 6 oz. and 18.5"
    6 months: 14 lbs. 14.5 oz. and 26"
    1 year: 20 lbs. and 30"

    Woohoo! We made it one year!


    Learn more about us at my blog.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    totally agree with PP. This sounds normal to me.. Baby's clusterfeed and especially during growth spurts.. I love nursing side lying in bed it really helped me get rest on those nights..
    Allie
    Wife to T
    Mother to 4 crazy ones

  10. #10

    Default Re: nursing 5pm - 3am...every day... Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    Yep. It Sounds like clusterfeeding. And the only way to make more is to eat more. So are you side lye nursing? I would NOT give a bottle of formula. It will just get you at least 2 less ques to produce. Take the baby to bed and let him dream feed. It's probably the delatching that waking and causing the constant eat. If you just let him stay latched and pop off when ready, it would proably mean more sleep for everyone.


    Ok, FIRST, thanks everybody!! After this board, a call to my LC, and to my mom (a LLL Leader in the 70's and 80's), I've kind of got the whole thing figured out.

    So, now, I'm quieting my bedroom, leaving only a small lamp on and side lying to nurse at about 9pm. He'll nurse and fall asleep. He stays all cuddled up to me for about an hour while I ooch away. He'll wake up and I'll feed him some more. Then he'll fall asleep and I ooch away (I ooch away or I'm afraid I"ll smother him...he eventually goes into the bassinet which is right next to me...I know cosleeping is great, but I just get zero sleep). He'll stay asleep for a bit and then wake up again. This will all happen one more time, and then he'll stay asleep for 4 hours!!!

    So, no longer are my poor nipples bearing the brunt of constant sucking, nor is my poor DS so incredibly upset. As a bonus, we're both getting more sleep, too!!

    So very happy that I didn't need formula... just a lot of options to figure out what was up.

    So, thanks everybody!

    I'm pretty sure he was just having trouble going to sleep.

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