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Thread: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

  1. #1
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    Default my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Dear all,

    This is a amazing forum, which has answered most of my queries. I am almost addicted to this forum, just reading other mom's experiences has boosted my conviction to breast feed.

    I am a first-time mom to my little girl who is 3 wks and a day old. we chose on exclusive breastfeeding, following a normal vaginal birth.
    First we had latch on problems for the first two days after birth, luckily i was in the hospital and the nurses and LC helped me resolve that issue.
    But once we got home, we have been having this problem of her falling asleep at my breast within few minutes (sometimes 2-3 mins) of putting her to my breast. My LC suggested that i keep changing breasts every few minutes to avoid her falling asleep. But i had cracked nipples by then, so changing every few minutes meant every few minutes of severe pain.
    Also since she falls asleep, she never feels full. She wakes up as soon as i put her down and starts giving early hunger cues. I am frustrated at not being able to fill my littleone's tummy.

    Is there something i can do (other than changing breasts every few minutes). My niiples have not healed completely. Having her suck on them constantly just aggravates the pain. I also had the LC check for thrush, which she said we both didnt have.
    The other problem is that due to constant feeding, my breasts feel so soft and i never feel them full of milk, so i am worried if my milk supply is low. Or since my breasts are not full, the milk flow is slow. Is that the reason she falls asleep??

    During all her weight checks she gained the required amount of weight. She was 8lbs and 15 oz at birth, lost about a pound in first three days and gained that weight in little less than two weeks. she has the required number of wet and dirty diapers.
    The only problem is she not feeling full. Any suggestions ??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Congratulations! It sounds like you're doing a great job. Fundamentally, if she's gaining weight and her diapers are good, then she's getting enough milk. The falling asleep at the breast thing sounds like it's annoying, and I think we should try to help you figure out why your nipples are cracked/still so sore - so: are you saying that you had nipple damage from a bad latch at first, and it's just still not healed yet? Or is the latch still bad/still causing damage? No matter what the latch LOOKS like, if it hurts, it's not a good latch. It might be worth going back to an IBCLC to help with that. Or trying different positions, especially laid-back positions might help. I personally found I had some nipple soreness in the first few weeks - all that new stimulation - and I used lanolin like it was going out of style. But that quickly passes, and soreness is not the same as pain.

    Frequent feeding is absolutely normal at this age. So is coming off the breast and giving hunger cues. She may well be in her 3 week growth spurt, where she will want to nurse ALL. THE. TIME.

    Soft breasts do not indicate low supply, especially if you're nursing frequently.

    And babies sleep A LOT for the first few months. That in itself isn't something to worry about. Only if she's not getting enough to eat, which from what you say, she is.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Thanks a lot for the reply "Audrey".
    The latch is good now or so i think, because it only hurts when she latches on first, not during or after the feeding (hence hesistant to keep switching between breasts). But it is taking a hell of the time healing.
    I tried giving her some formula, which makes her go without feeding for a stretch of 3 hrs. It doesnt hurt when i feed her after that stretch. It aches only when i dont have breaks between feedings. I am now feeding for 45 mins approx. with a break of 45 min to an hour.
    I tried pumping in between, If i give her the bottle, she guzzles down all that milk and seems contended for like 2 hrs. Its only when i am BFing that she seems hungry all the time.

    Is there anything other than lanolin that will help with the healing part ?? Will try the laid back position too !!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Healing will be faster if you leave some expressed milk on the nipples, and keep your nipples uncovered as much as possible, AT LEAST until they've dried on their own. I've seen others on here recommend a particular cream as well which now I can't remember. Achiness might just be normal as your body adjusts; even now I sometimes get achy when DS is nursing all night long (at 11 months). This should get better for you very quickly, though, and if it doesn't, we need to help you with it.

    Remember that milk is demand & supply, so giving her formula tells your body that it doesn't need quite as much milk. Easier today, WAY harder long term. And also remember that babies have to swallow what comes out of hte bottle, so just becuase she guzzles it down doesn't mean she was hungry. Formula is tougher to digest, which is why she conks out for so long afterward.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Auderey is giving you great feedback. So many moms supplement unnecessarily and it can really, really mess with breastfeeding! Not only can it hurt your supply, bottle feeding can make latch issues worse. If your baby is gaining and pooping appropriately, baby is getting enough! Do not be fooled by the 'baby guzzled a bottle after nursing so baby must have been hungry' idea. No, it does not meant that. Auderey explains this very well in pp. Also fussyness and wanting to nurse pretty much constantly is normal in the early weeks and only may indicate an issue if the weight gain or output is not appropropriate.

    The issue is the pain. It should not be hurting you so much to nurse, even if it is just in the first few moments of nursing. If latch is good, nursing does not hurt, moms can and do nurse basically constantly in the early weeks without pain. Pain indicates something is wrong, most likely with latch. And a poor latch MAY (or may not) mean baby is not able to transfer milk well and that would lead to baby not getting enough at the breast.

    So I suggest that rather than expending your precious energy pumping and supplementing, you instead work on latch. What positions have you tried? Any special latch techniques like the ‘breast sandwich?” etc. If you cannot get this figured out very quickly, I strongly urge you to see an IBCLC if you can. Please make sure it is someone who has the training and experience to HELP YOU WITH LATCH & POSITIONING. (sorry to shout but If I hear one more story on here about someone who saw an LC and got no help with poor latch, I will scream.) Anyway, she should also teach you to be able to tell when baby is getting milk. It’s subtle, but with practice you can learn to hear the sound of baby swallowing and recognize the suck, swallow, breathe pattern of active nursing. If baby is swallowing at the breast, baby is getting milk.


    Also there are other ways to keep baby interested/awake at the breast, like breast compresions, "pumping" babies foot or hand, stroking baby, wiggling babies chin, etc.

    nipple healing ideas: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipplehealing/

    normal nursing newborn behavior: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

    Breast compression: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

    All purpose nipple ointment (is this what you meant, auderey?) http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

    positioning tips-laid back can often help with shallow latch. But try anything that works- http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com

    diaper log-easy way to track output. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...diaper_log.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 26th, 2012 at 02:12 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Hi! Sounds like you're getting great tips and suggestions. But, I think you deserve a pat on the back! I commend your commitment to BF and you came to the right place to be encouraged for that! Nursing a newborn is not easy! But keep up the good work! Hopefully you can get things improved soon.

    Something I did not see mentioned in previous responses is to always go by wet/poopy diapers. What goes in must come out. Also, if she is still suckling at the breast, is latched properly, many times they can dream feed and get a second let down. When milk is actively flowing they rouse a bit to drink it. That has been my experience with my babies. Keep up the good work!
    JEN
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    Dear all,

    Thank you very much for your replies and all the links. Expressing breastmilk and leaving them to dry on has worked, it hurts much less than before and my IBCLC did tell me to keep the breast compressions throughout the feeding and i totally forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me. So i am able to offer both breasts to her frequently I tried the cross-cradle and the football hold. But somehow I prefer the cross cradle mainly because it gives me more control to hold her head closer to my breasts. My little one has this habit of tugging my nipples at times (i am guessing when the letdown is too much for her to handle, she tugs and clamps down, so its difficult for me remove my nipple from her mouth).
    also, maybe she was in a growth spurt, because today she is back to feeding for approx 45 mins, every two hours and the best thing, she looks satisfied after each feeding session

    Thanks again for all your support ! Will keep you all updated about the nipple healing.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    So happy things are looking better aditismum. Sorry if I sounded strident in my post, I really know how discouraging it can get when it hurts to nurse (btdt.) You are doing really great!

    Now that things are looking good, I will suggest one other thing that you can check on with your IBCLC if you like. Switch nursing (making sure baby takes both breasts at a feeding) is a good way to wake a sleepy baby and increase milk supply. The flip side is that if you have normal milk supply, it can actually increase milk supply to the point you have an oversupply. This is not a problem unless it is a problem, but it may cause forceful letdown which sounds like what you describe here:
    My little one has this habit of tugging my nipples at times (i am guessing when the letdown is too much for her to handle, she tugs and clamps down, so its difficult for me remove my nipple from her mouth).
    So just fyi, when you are confident of your milk supply, you may consider trying the typical recommendation that mom allow baby to "finish the first breast first" before switching. Sometimes that means baby will only take one side per feeding, which is fine as long as milk supply is good.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    @lllmeg - Agree with you, I prefer to have her "finish the first breast" before offering her the other. She stays awake if she is feeding after a gap of 2-3 h. her sleeping is a problem when she cluster feeds or is feeding with a break of less than an hour.
    i had another query, i hope somebody can help -- my 3 wk old has a one or two explosive poops a day (this is other than the normal ones she has). By saying explosive poops i mean she passes a lot of gas with the poop and struggles really hard to pass. The consistency of the poop is normal though (yellow and curdy). But she screams and struggles really hard. Is this normal ?? She doesnt struggle as much when she poops but passes no gas with them. Any comments are welcome


    Thanks again for all the support !

  10. #10
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    Default Re: my 3-wk old falls asleep at breast

    just wanted to update that expressing breastmilk on the nipples and letting them air-dry combined with rinsing them in warm saline 2-3 times a day has helped healing a lot !!
    atleast i dont cringe when offering her my breast !

    Also, i found that she was not latching properly on my left breast and been working on that for last few days now.

    Thanks for all your support !

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