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.