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Thread: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full!!!

  1. #1

    Default New Mom Struggling to keep baby full!!!

    Hello All:

    I am a first time mom to a beautiful baby boy who is now 8 days old. I have been struggling with breastfeeding since he was born, but thought things were improving once my milk came in on day 3/4.

    My main concern is that no matter what I do he never seems full after feedings! I will let him go as long as he likes (anywhere from 20min to an hour) and wait until he stops or falls asleep, but after I burp him he seems just as fussy and hungry as before I started nursing him!

    I was becoming so sleep deprived and frustrated that I got out my hand pump and pumped a bottle for him to see how he would react to it; he gulped down all 3 1/2 ounces and seemed so happy/satisfied afterwards, and then went to sleep for 4 hours!

    I'm so frustrated because it seems like he is not getting enough when he actually breastfeeds, and I have no idea why. It is so tempting to switch to pumping and feeding him my breast milk that way, especially because he is so happy and content afterwards, but I don't know if this is practical or a good idea. I really wanted to breastfeed my baby, but don't want him to go hungry!!!

    Any and all advice is so greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,965

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! I can totally understand why you are exhausted and frustrated, and why you're feeling tempted to switch to pumping and bottle-feeding. But believe me, you do NOT want to do that! It might be easier right now, in the newborn period when things are so challenging, but in the long run pumping and bottle-feeding is much, much more difficult than nursing the baby at the breast. We have a lot of mamas here who have exclusively pumped (EP) for one reason or another, and I think most of them would agree that if you can nurse, do, simply because it is so much easier in the long term. I'd be more than happy to explain the specifics of why bottle-feeding is harder if you're interested- the list is long!

    It is absolutely normal for a newborn to want to be at the breast all the time, to feed for very long periods, and to be hungry soon after a feeding, no matter how long the last feeding lasted. It's also normal for a newborn to seem very satisfied and sleepy after a bottle, for the same reason we feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner: when a baby eats from a bottle, he rapidly gets burstingly full and pretty much passes out!

    That being said, sometimes when a baby feeds for long periods and seems hungry soon after feedings, there is something going on that can be tweaked, improving the breastfeeding experience for mom and baby. Here are some questions for you that might help us sort out what is going on:
    - How does nursing feel? Are you in any pain when baby feeds? Are you experiencing any soreness, cracking, or blistering?
    - Is your baby sleepy at the breast, perhaps dozing off shortly after the beginning of a feeding?
    - Is your baby jaundiced at all?
    - Is your baby at all premature?
    - How is your baby's diaper output (number of wets and poops in a 24 hour period)?
    - Has anyone checked your baby for tongue tie?

    Whatever your answers to the above questions are, the best thing you can probably do at this point is to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Your issue is almost certainly fixable, and may be a simple matter of improving your positioning or using some simple tricks to keep him alert at the breast. We'll do our absolute best to help, and you should know that you are not alone in having a tough time with a brand-new baby. Breastfeeding is natural but that doesn't mean it's easy!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Maryland
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    2,552

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    with the PP.

    Babies are often fussy at that age. It is hard for them to be out of the womb after being warm and cozy in there for 9 months. They also have to work for their food a lot more when they nurse, and the bottle is a lot less work. Keep up what you're doing, feed on demand, and step away from the pump. Has your baby been back to be weighed since he was born? Maybe you will feel a bit better if you see that the baby is gaining well.

    Don't switch to pumping though, I had to EP for my older son, and it was not easy at all. I nursed my second son and although he was a fussy baby and he wanted to nurse constantly, things got a lot easier and I'm glad I didn't have to pump much for him.
    Beth

    Exclusively pumped for Lance Oct 07
    Nursed until just before he turned 3 Levi Oct 09

    Do you have extra milk? Consider donating!
    http://www.hmbana.org/:

    "So I was welcomed by the consolations of human milk; but it was not my mother or my nurses who made any decision to fill their breasts, but you who through them gave me infant food, in accordance with your ordinance and the riches which are distributed deep in the natural order." -St Augustine

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    278

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Yeah you really don't want to EP. I know breastfeeding is tough in the beginning but it will get better! I bottle fed three babies, and am nursing the 4th. Breastfeeding is much easier after the first month of so. If you can tough it out the first 4-6 weeks it gets much easier and it a very rewarding experience.

    Pumping sucks. It's not very easy for many moms to maintain adequate milk supply with a pump and it only gets harder as the baby gets older and supply regulates to meet the baby's needs exactly rather than having lots of extra milk. No pump will remove milk as effectively as baby and many mothers have to learn how to letdown for the pump. Whereas it's easy to letdown for the baby. It's a LOT of work! If you work at getting breastfeeding down you'll be working at it a month or two. If you EP it's going to be difficult the whole time. Just my input
    Mama to five beautiful kids- 9, 8, 3, 2 and currently nursing our new baby girl born 1/20/2013


    "It should not be necessary to tell reasonably intelligent mammals to suckle and not dismember their neonates." ~Susan Blustein

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Oh my. PLEASE do not think pumping and bottlefeeding is better. It is NOT. It is a short term gain, long term loss. You spend MORE time pumping. Then you still have to feed the baby. And you have to wash all this stuff. Breastfeeding gets easier. Pumping never takes less time. You HAVE to pump for 120 minutes in 24 hours to get your supply started. And you always have to pump that much, even when you start dropping sessions; they take longer.

    I breastfed my first three children and was always sort of hmm, I wonder why people say they are tired. I know now. I was totally exhausted when I had to start EPing for my fourth child, who could not nurse because of a birth defect. I'm STILL tired, and he's 10 months. I'm procrastinating pumping because I was at work, but I'd rather be playing with my baby...and I still have bottles to wash.

    Go to bed, let baby nurse on demand. This will pass. It will become easier. If you let baby drive. He is just over a week old. NONE of my babies, even the bottlefeed one, were easy at that age, and in fact, it was HARDER when I had to pump. Someone else had to be around to hold the baby as he would cry when I had to put him down to pump. It was horrible. And I didn't have that help. It was really hard. But it won't always be like this for you. Seriously, go to bed, nurse baby laying down and you will feel better.
    Susan
    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Agree with PPs! Just keep up at it! The first 2-3 weeks are the hardest. My DD2 wanted to eat every hour or even more often and constantly seemed hungry. She gained 2 pounds her first 2 weeks of life. I am sure your little one is doing great! Trust me if you push through the next few weeks it will be all that much more worth it! Also don't do bottles too much or he could get nipple confused and then that could cause problems with BFing. Good job mama! Keep it up!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Congratulations on your dear baby boy and give yourself a big hug for persevering with breastfeeding despite having a difficult first few days. Please listen to the pp's who have experience with EP. And these are the success stories, in that these are the heroic moms who were so determined to nourish their babies with their delicious breastmilk despite not being able to nurse, they actually were able to continue to EP past the very eary weeks. This is a very difficult and for some moms, impossible, task. Many moms who try to EP find it is simply too exhausting & difficult or that it is impossible to maintain an appropriate supply. (It is much harder to maintain a milk supply when pumping than when nursing.)

    Also, nursing at the breast itself is beneficial to the baby and the mom, for many many reasons-for example, it allows for normal development of the mouth cavity and jaw. That's the entire lower half of the face. Breastfeeding is about much much more than the milk.

    Mommal asked some really great questions, and from your answers you can figure out if any thing unusual is going on. In general, a newborn baby needing to nurse very frequently and not giving mom much rest time is normal, and it does not matter how or what they are fed, this is an exhausting time. It does get better, and once a mom is over the 'hump' (Usually sometime between two and 6 weeks) many moms find that breastfeeding then begins to make life much much easier for mom. But until then, new moms need help. You are the queen caring for the royal infant and should be treated as such. Who can give you REAL help? (fix your meals, do your errands, change diapers, clean what absolutely must be cleaned?) All a mom in the newborn stage should be worrying about is taking care of her basic personal needs and nursing/snuggling baby while snatching whatever sleep she can. If you do not have supportive friends and family to help you, you could consider hiring a post-partum doula.

    Get support. This community is wonderful, also it can really help to get out of the house and socialize. Does your hospital have a new mommy group, (hopefull a breastfeeding supportive one but really any new mommy group could help) or have you contacted your local La Leche League? LLL meetings are free & trust me, you will find lots of sympathy there. Also, by being around mommies with babies of all ages, you will be able to witness life beyond the first few weeks.

    Good article on what is normal in the early days: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing.html

    Some inspiration: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...tgoodsense.pdf

  8. #8

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Thank you all so very much for your help! I think i took for granted while pregnant that breast feeding would be a natural, easy thing and was not expecting it to be so much work at first! upon talking to my husband about it some more I have realized that a lot of what is stressing me out is the steady flow of visitors into our house to see the baby - I'm always worried about keeping him happy/sociable for everyone just meeting him, and hate to pull him away from his captive audience when I need to feed him.

    In answer to your questions:

    - How does nursing feel? Are you in any pain when baby feeds? Are you experiencing any soreness, cracking, or blistering? painful at first - I didn't get a lot of direction at the hospital and only discovered nipple cream after a few days, but seems to be better now. My nipples are sore/chapped/sometimes bloody/scabby a bit, but after he latched on it does not hurt.I'm not sure that I am getting the most ideal latch, however - my nipples are very large and babys mouth is so small it seems very difficult to get him mouth to cover most of the aerola. He is also very squirmy and always has his little hand waving in the way when I am trying to get him to latch.
    - Is your baby sleepy at the breast, perhaps dozing off shortly after the beginning of a feeding? YES!!! This exactly! He usually stays alert for the first minute or so, then closes his eyes and gradually starts to drift off, and starts sucking less often
    - Is your baby jaundiced at all? he was just a bit when we left the hospital, but checked out okay by the pediatrician on day 4
    - Is your baby at all premature? nope - actually born on his due date! hes a bit on the smaller side - about 6 1/2 pounds now
    - How is your baby's diaper output (number of wets and poops in a 24 hour period)? Very good - at least 6-8 wets and 5-8 poops per 24 hours
    - Has anyone checked your baby for tongue tie? no

    I was considering contacting the hospital he was born at tomorrow morning bc I know that there is a lactation specialist on staff. Unfortunately my little guy was born on Thanksgiving Day and she was gone for the holiday - I'm hoping maybe I might be able to go there and see her since I didn't get a chance before we went home.

    I am still nursing him every 2 hours or so although I have been saving up a few pumped ounces for late at night (my husband will give him 1 or 2 after i nurse him to help the baby fall asleep) - is this ok, or should I avoid pumping at all at this point?

    Thanks Again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,430

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Nipple pain & damgaged nipples is a pretty common & very fixable issue. Nursing should not hurt. Good idea to see an LC if you can. Make sure she can see you for some time-an hour to an hour and a half would be ideal. If she cannot, see if there is a private practice LC in your area or government program (like WIC) if you qualify. SOME (not all, unfortunately) WICs have very good lactation programs.

    Going by output it sounds like baby is getting enough milk. But if you want to try something for getting baby to stay actively nursing at the breast longer, you could try breast compressions. You can also stroke baby, gently squeeze his hand or foot, take baby off and reattach or switch sides, all to jsut sort of wake up the sucking and get baby sucking actively. Baby may appear to stay asleep but still suck. I used to gently jiggle my sons chin when he slowed down.
    Positioning changes may help, both with the sore nipples and the hand flailing. What position do you nurse in the most? Have you tried laid back positioning? http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and video: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

    I am still nursing him every 2 hours or so although I have been saving up a few pumped ounces for late at night (my husband will give him 1 or 2 after i nurse him to help the baby fall asleep) - is this ok, or should I avoid pumping at all at this point?
    The standard answer would be to avoid pumping & bottles at this point. Pumping & bottles is not a benign intervention-there are consequences, and the earlier they are introduced the more likely there will be consequences. So theoretically, pumping and bottles should only be done if the benefits outweight the potential consequences. (Baby is not getting enough milk, (and you tell that by output and weight gain, not baby behavior usually) or mom is ready to throw in the towel entirely without the break.) PS it is fine to let baby fall asleep at the breast. Is he only doing that during the day and not at night when you want him to? Typical, and will likely fix itself in a few weeks.

    But if it's more so dad & baby can bond, consider the ideas here: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

    Also I just want to be sure you are cue nursing-nursing as much as baby wants, as long as that is at least 10-12 times per 24 hour day. That may be MORE than every two hours for parts of the day, it might be very very frequent. But then, usually, mom is rewarded with a slightly longer break -3 to 5 hours-at least once or twice in a (24 hour) day. That is why at LLL we say "nurse at least 10-12 times a (24 hour) day, not 'nurse every such and such amount of hours." Because that is actually how most newborns nurse-it's called cluster nursing. It sounds like a subtle difference but trust me, it makes a huge difference.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; December 4th, 2011 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: New Mom Struggling to keep baby full

    Kick those people out. If they are not coming over to bring you food or clean your house, they CAN wait. Yes, it's exciting when you have a baby and everyone wants to see him, but HIS needs are first. When he needs to eat, you need to feed him, and if there is company, too bad, so sad. They can do some laundry or something while they wait. And you should be resting anyway.

    Nipple trauma is very common and usually goes away with a little hands-on help with an IBCLC or local LLLLeader.

    I would strongly suggest leaving the pump alone right now. Your supply is still getting started. Pumping increases demand, and it can make you produce too much milk, which has its own set of problems.

    I would also suggest avoiding bottles for now. Any sucking that is not done at the breast in these early weeks can be a detriment to your long-term supply. Yes, you are tired...go lay down and side-lay nurse and you will feel a lot better.

    It does get easier. Most moms feel better around 2-8 weeks.
    Susan
    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!

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