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Thread: Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Austin, TX

    Default Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gain

    Hello! I'm at FTM with an 8 week old son who needs some help.

    During the first 6 days of DS's life, he was exclusively being breast fed. After that, I developed some back problems at my epidural site and lower back. So between that and my C-section incision, I was having problems holding DS to feed him. So most of the day was breast feeding, while night time was formula feeding. Now we are EBF! I am working very hard on pumping to have a stash so hubby can help me when I need to leave the house. So far, I'm barely getting 4 oz, so I seem to be making just enough to satisfy DS and nothing more.

    So here is our problem... From 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM is DS's fussy time. He likes to cluster feed during this time and is difficult to soothe. Sometimes I need to leave the house in the evening. We only have one car and some days I need some mommy time! But I also volunteer part of my time with a dog rescue group as a dog trainer and I just can't take him with me. So since I'm having trouble pumping, hubby will give DS formula. Now here is the problem... We can give DS 4 oz of formula and 30-45 minutes later he will be screaming for more. Its also the same if he gets a 4 oz bottle of breast milk. He just wants to be fed constantly during this time.

    We're concerned about him gaining weight to quickly. When he was 50/50 formula and breast milk fed, he gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks. His doctor expressed slight concern over this. This was between his 3 week and 1 month appointments.

    So my question is... How do we handle this? Should we start "fussy time" with a 5 oz bottle and then only give 2 oz at a time? Give only 3 oz at a time?

    I plan to review this with his doc, but some one has the hiccups and refuses to be put down right now, so I figure this is a good time to ask!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Brussels, Belgium

    Default Re: Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gai

    Hi mama, it's perfectly normal that your LO has evening fussiness during his prime time to tank up before sleeping. I'd recommend thinking about doing babywearing and try taking LO to the dog rescue group in the evening provided it's safe for him. Your baby is biologically programmed to want to be with mama during this time and trying to go against nature will result in some level of disappointment and frustration for all. If that doesn't work, your DH will appreciate babywearing as a way to help his son calm down in the evenings. It will help with fussing no matter what happens with the feeding decisions.

    It's a huge change to have a little person around you all the time, I know. Pretty soon things will change and in a few months you'll realize the things you want to do most are be with this special little person and fit in the rest of your activities around that, rather than the other way around as it may be now. That too is perfectly normal. The love that lasts a lifetime can take time to develop Around 4mos PP with #1 I began feeling that way.

    My DS is exclusively bf and gained a lot quickly but every midwife and pedi here said it's fine as he is regulating his own feeding with breastmilk. So are you now giving more breast milk and less of the other stuff?

    What is your pump? I started out with a single electric pump and was miserable. Are you planning to return to work FT? I updated to a Medela Freestyle (NAYY) within two days of returning to work at 9 mons with DD and never looked back. I just pumped 4oz in 8 minutes for DS last week, and he's also 8 weeks. It's a hands-free dual electric pump and unlike the earlier Pump In Style model the battery pack actually gives a good pump so you can use it without an outlet at work, in the car, etc. A high-quality pump pays for itself since bm is cheaper than artificial milk and you'll have fewer troubles with a sick baby. Think about that when you're up at 4 am with a feverish baby. My DD is 21 mons and has never had an ear infection nor any serious cold, she's still bfing. Furthermore, there's your own health to think of as I lost 1kg per week the first 6 weeks PP because I was exclusively bfing. That pregnancy weight was designed to be delivered t your baby and a baby is so needy it's hard to fit in exercise so the long-term effects of carrying around a little extra on both your health and your internal feelings of happiness deserve to be considered too. And you can use them with #2 as I did

    I'd encourage you and DH to create a bedtime routine for LO so he gets the signals it's sleepy time and starts to feel sleepy. Around the same time every day try doing the same things: for my DD and DS I give them a bath after dinner around 8, then I read a story, tandem nurse DS and DD till DS nods off but I remove the nipple instead of letting him comfort nurse for long periods (which I wish I could do but with 2 under 2 I needed this to have time to get on with the rest), I swaddle DS and then I put DD down for quiet time in her crib, they're both asleep by 8:30. Your nighttime routine could include babywearing because it makes babies drowsy and happy while letting you do some stuff around the hou--your DH might like it because he can soothe the LO while relaxing in front of the TV--my husband does and boy I am happy they're both happy! It's like many of us adults and morning coffee or whatever our morning routines are, if we don't get our morning routine done we might feel cheated and grumpy about it. Babies feel the same way about nightttime. My LOs go down much better and are happier because they know what is happening next and I give them 30 minutes of time together which lets them shift gears to sleepytime rather than an abrupt attempt at 'lights out'. I used to be a no-routine mama and I gotta say, they are famous for a reason. They do work. Develop your own that works for you.

    I'm not familiar with combined breastmilk and artificial milk feeding, so let's let someone else answer your queries on that and remember that 6-8 weeks is the height of the fussies for babies, it's all downhill now. HTH!
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gai

    Excellent advice from the PP. I think that if it is possible to review your commitments and find a way to adapt your schedule to the baby instead of trying the adapt the baby to your schedule, a lot of your issues will go away. You can't really change a baby's behavior, particularly his normal evening cluster feeding behavior, but you can sometimes change what/when/how you arrange your non-baby life. For example, maybe you could bring husband and baby with you to the training sessions, or simply reschedule them for earlier in the day or during the day on the weekend.

    If rearranging your life doesn't work, I suggest trying the following fussy evening strategies:
    - break the bottles down and offer smaller amounts more frequently
    - motion: sometimes rocking, swinging, strolling, etc. will calm a fussy baby
    - holding: closeness, body warmth, and regular breathing can soothe, so have someone wear baby in a sling, perhaps even skin-to-skin
    - fresh air: both my kid's would stop fussing the moment I took them out of doors
    - warm water: a bath in the sink, perhaps even in the tub with a grown-up

    I suggest reviewing the following link on pumping: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html. In particular, check ut what is normal when it comes to pump output.

    A pound a week is normal growth for an exclusively breastfed baby. EBF babies often gain weight extremely quickly in the early weeks/months, and then slow down around 4-6 months as they begin to expend more calories on activities like reaching, rolling, crawling, scooting, etc. However, a pound a week of growth is something to look at when the baby is getting a lot of bottles, because it is so easy to overfeed when using a bottle. I think it's great that you're back to breast milk-only- that really should ease your mind as to whether or not the growth you're seeing is normal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gai

    I have horses, and they need to be worked. I have hpfound a sling very useful. I tuck baby in there, so he gets what he wants, and I keep on working my horses. I even carried one of babies that way at work (I'm a veterinarian).

    That said, IME, this evening cranky period goes away if you roll with it. Give in, let baby just hang at the breast , which will help your supply, and let things work out. The first 12 weeks of baby's life are like a fourth trimester. It's so much for them to adjust to.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Fussy Cluster Feeding and Weight Gai

    Thank you for the suggestions all!

    I do have a Moby, that he loves, and 9 times out of 10, he's with me in it. These particular dog training sessions that I volunteer at twice a week are not safe for him because we deal with dogs that have mild to severe behavioral issues. DS has already attended 2 fundraisers, where he has been the helpful little volunteer in demonstrating "how to introduce your dog to the new baby." If sleeping through the demonstration counts as volunteering! The behavior isn't really what bothers me, it was how much he was eating that I was worried about. After you've taught several puppy training classes with several barking pups and squealing kids, you kinda learn how to ignore the sound and focus on what needs to be done!

    We may try more walks in the evening then... I usually take him on one before my husband gets home, so one after supper might be helpful.

    Again, thanks for the help! This may be my first post, but I've lurked for a while and just reading has helped me so much in figuring everything out!

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