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Thread: Frustrated... need advice/encouragement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    15

    Default Frustrated... need advice/encouragement

    Hi - I'm new on here. I have an 8 week old daughter that I've been exclusively BFing since she was born, and a 17 month old daughter (not BFing). I'm having some difficulty with her, and I'm not sure what to do so I'm hoping for some advice and encouragement from those who might have BTDT or even just have suggestions.

    I started out with a major oversupply. YDD was gaining 3+oz a day the first couple weeks, which wasn't good for her because she has a fairly moderate case of reflux as well as larygomalacia (floppy windpipe). She was gaining like this even though she'd soak a burp cloth at every feeding with her spit up.

    At her doctor's advice (pro BF) and also a LC's advice, we switched to nursing on one side per feeding. YDD seemed content with this, but she was still in her newborn period of sleeping a lot, so I'm not sure if she was really content or just really sleepy. She could go up to 4 hours between feedings, even nursing on one side only.

    Fast-forward to today. We are still doing one-sided feedings. She latches on, nurses for about 10-15 minutes, and comes off on her own and seems content. Even if I offer her the other side, she's not interested. I'll play with her for 15-20 minutes or so, and then she starts to get fussy and act hungry. If I put her back on the same breast that she nursed on before, she gets upset, pulls off and screams. So then I end up putting her on the other, and she nurses for 10-15 minutes until she pulls off on her own, and generally falls asleep - sometimes she'll have another 15-20 minute alert play time before wanting to eat again, and then sleeping.

    Then, at about 4pm, she starts this cycle of eat (awake an alert while eating), doze for 10 min, eat, doze, repeat until 9pm. She sleeps from 9-10:15ish, then wakes up acting starved. After that feeding she'll sleep for up to 5 hours, where she nurses on one side, and goes back to sleep for another 5 hours.

    Now... I'm not complaining about night sleep... I'll take 5 hour stretches. And I also am aware of cluster feeding (though I didn't think it would be 5 hours of cluster feeding, straight) and would mostly be ok with it if I didn't have ODD that I'd like to spend some time with.

    My main frustration/worry is that we only get such short periods of awake happy/play time. I feel like she's getting enough - I can't get her to eat more when she comes off on her own... but apparently she's not because she's hungry such a short time later. I don't think this is a growth spurt, because it's been happening for the last 4 weeks. She's still gaining quite well (about 1/2lb a week), and beyond her eating this often, I'm still able to pump about 10-12 extra oz a day (generally during that second 5 hour stretch and then after feedings during her naps during the day).

    It's been recommended to me that we use a pacifier, but in the 10 different brands we've tried, she'll only suck on the Soothie, and even then it's about 5 sucks before she spits it out and cries, acting hungry again.

    I'm just really frustrated... I can't really go anywhere because she's hungry every 20 minutes (2-3 times during a single grocery trip... come on!) during the day, and in the evenings when DH could possibly take her, she's cluster feeding until she falls asleep.

    My ODD was similar to this (not quite as bad). We switched her to formula around 11 weeks old because between her and my food allergies/intolerances, there was just about nothing left for me to eat while I was nursing. The switch to formula was like night and day - all the sudden I had a little girl who was awake and happy for 1-2 hours. We could go places - if she did get hungry I could just give her a bottle and then we'd have another couple hours to get stuff done. She stopped hating her carseat (I'm guessing she was hungry when she was in it, so she'd scream the whole time... even if I'd just fed her)

    I really don't WANT to switch to formula - BFing is so much easier/less work. And nighttimes are perfect! I just wonder if it's even good for her to be constantly hungry like that. We don't have a lot of time to interact/do developmental stuff because she's only happy for 20 min at a time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,562

    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    It's really normal for babies to want to nurse all the time. Nursing is not only about food, it's about comfort. I know it's hard, but it is normal...

    What do her stools look like? Since you clearly have oversupply, I'm wondering if she might be getting too much foremilk.

    What would a grocery store trip look like if you carried her instead of leaving her in her carseat? Maybe she wants to be held?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    15

    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    She has normal stools (1x every 6-7 days). Definitely not a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance - ODD had that, so I know what the stools look like in that situation.

    The grocery trip I mentioned I had her in a wrap. I am completely unable to nurse her in the wrap I have. (Or any carrier - I have 8 different kinds). I'm not sure if she's just not old enough yet or what, but I always end up needing both hands when she's in the wrap as opposed to only needing one if she wasn't.

    While I understand that it's normal for babies to want to nurse all the time, what I don't get is that for everyone I know who has/had a baby... NONE of their babies were like this. I really DO know that all babies are different, I just don't get how what mine does can be normal when no one else has a baby like this that I've ever met.

    And it makes it even worse that the whole cluster feeding thing means I get ZERO time with ODD on weekdays (she's in daycare because I work from home. YDD will be starting daycare soon). I miss spending time with her. I know that's part of having 2 kids, and having them as close in age as mine are, but again... if YDD didn't want to eat every 20 min I'd at least be able to hold ODD or play with her a little bit every night.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    If my two daughters had been reversed, I would be in your situation right now. My first daughter basically cluster nursed 24 hours a day for almost 12 weeks. Part of it was a foremilk/hindmilk issue, and a lot of it was that she just needed to be with me/on me all the time. She did not take long naps and she was not able to be awake for very long. So I sat on the couch and nursed her all the time. My second daughter would nurse and then sleep for several hours, for the first 6 or 8 weeks I think. She didn't start having longer awake periods until close to 10ish weeks... and SCREAMED bloody murder every time she was in the carseat until she was 8 weeks old.

    Is your daughter being treated for the reflux? It's possible that she's eating because the acid is hurting her. That would also explain issues with the car seat.

    I understand that it is hard to want to do things with your older daughter while your younger one has such high needs. I figured out how to nurse in a Mei Tei and my Ergo, I didn't try it until 12 weeks, but I think it would have worked sooner. I still have to use one hand for that, I'm not sure how to do it hands free, but it gets me one hand out and I can take walks, etc. with my 2.5 year old.

    Also, have you considered keeping your older daughter home with you for part of the day instead of sending her to daycare? You can squeeze some time with her in there. We sent our older daughter three days a week for a shorter day while I was out on maternity leave.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    Sometimes reflux babies want to nurse all the time because constant swallowing is the only thing that soothes their burning esophagus. Have you tried any treatments for the reflux?

    As far as the cluster feeding, it is normal. And it's temporary, so while I know you want more time with your older daughter, you WILL get that time, probably in just a month or so. (P.S. I had one of those too. None of my friends - except one - had to nurse their babies nonstop every evening. But you're not alone!)


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    15

    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    She is on medication for the reflux, and seems to be doing much better than she was initially.

    ODD was home with me at first, but now that I've started working again, I can't have her home with me and YDD and still get work done. It's ok with YDD because she usually gives me about 4 hours of naps during the day - so I get the most of my work done then. She's usually not awake until about 9:30 either, so I can work from the time ODD leaves for daycare until 9:30. When YDD is awake, I've figured out how to wedge the boppy in my office chair so I can feed her and still work, but there's no way I could do that with ODD around (besides... she's obsessed with my computer )

    If it's only going to last for 4 more weeks, I can probably handle it...!

    One thing I didn't mention - If I pump, give DH the milk and he gives her the bottle, she usually doesn't take all of it (and it takes her forEVER to drink what she does drink) and then she's content for about an hour. Even that would be better (the hour), but the pumping takes up the time I gain from her being happy for longer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    You know, it is just so hard to know. It sounds mostly normal to me. It really took some time for us to get into the swing of having two babies in the house, I think by 5 weeks we were finally past the just surviving point and by 8 weeks we had a fairly decent routine going. I was pretty terrified of having another infant like Lilah was.

    I wonder if you need to try to adjust the reflux med? Or wait for her to grow into your OALD? Perhaps the reason she liked the bottle was because it came out slower than your milk? She'll get used to drinking from the firehose.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kent, OH
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Frustrated... need advice/encouragem

    wow, so much of your thread mirrors my own experience... and makes me think I should try putting LO back on the Zanatac. I do know that the dosing is very weight specific, so I will be asking the Ped. tomorrow at her 4 month well-check how much to now be giving her. She was initially getting .6ml twice a day, but she only weighed like 9-10 #, and she's now over 13#. I am with you... praying and hoping that this too shall pass. I enjoy spending so much time with her, but wish I didn't feel like just the milk machine. Plus, she has torticollis and was a month preemie so I'm anxious to get her awake more and working on developmental milestones.... hard to do when all she wants to do is nurse and sleep
    It's got to be tough with 2 LO's... this is why my DD will be a spoiled only child. I hope it gets better for you all soon!!

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