Hi everyone, I've been reading the forums for the past 2 weeks, but this is my first post. So far I've made it through a bad latch, cracked nipples, and a small case of mastitis, but I need help with this latest problem.
My 3.5 week old daughter has started cluster feeding for up to 8 hours in the evening. For the past 2 days, she's wanted to nurse from 4pm to midnight. She used to nurse on both sides and then go down for a nap at some point during the day. Now it seems like she just wants to nurse continuously. I know she's probably hitting a growth spurt and that cluster feeding is common, but seriously.... isn't an 8 hour stretch a little bit much for a new mama to handle?
So I have a few questions:
1) Is this long of a stretch of feeding normal? Is there something I could be doing to make her more satisfied after a feeding so that she (and daddy and I) can get some rest? She's literally going back and forth from right to left for the entire 8 hours.
2) Initially during the feeding, her eyes are open and I can hear her swallowing. After about 5-10 minutes, she seems to be sleeping and doing what we call "fake-sucking". I have heard of comfort nursing, but how long should I let that go on? I have tried to break her off and put her down (when it seems like she really is sleeping), but she wakes up crying like I haven't fed her in weeks. Very dramatic. So I guess I'm wondering: should I limit her time on each side? With the fake-sucking she is doing, I feel like she could keep going on one side for hours if I let her. At the same time, I want to make sure she empties my breast as much as possible as to not mess with supply/demand.
3) Is falling asleep at the breast a bad thing? It seems like she doesn't fall asleep unless it's while nursing. Is this a bad habit to get into?
I went out and bought a sling to try and nurse her in... I just can't be confined to the couch for 8 hours a day. I'm going stir crazy!!
I should add, her output is great and her weight went from 6lb 6oz to 7lb 4oz in one week! I think she's well-fed.
Thanks in advance for all the help!!