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Thread: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Hello....am FTM and in desperate need of advice! Gave birth to my first on Nov 19th...tried to BF once born round the clock but milk hadn't come in and I was super stressed and tired out since it was round the clock "trying" to feed but to no avail and with scabbed + lipstick shaped nipples both sides. Nurses finally said I should supplement with a bit of formula since I hadn't slept for more than 30ish hours and I should really rest.

    Then after first 2-3 days, baby had jaundice and hence had to stay at hospital for an extra day hence, was formula fed for that day. So from 4th day on after discharge, I have been bf'ing her plus supplementing with formula because milk supply seemed low and was advised that I should keep her on supplementing to get rid of her jaundice. Baby was doing really well (in terms of very routine schedule)...feeding every 3/4 hours and sleeping soundly in between with no crying or rooting or any hunger signs. Super peaceful.

    After 1 week of BF and supplementing, and after a health check that indicated low risk of jaundice, I decided to go for EBF. First 2/3 days EBF went relatively well with baby being able to feed every 1/1.5 hours or so. Although each feeding may take up to 1 hour.

    However, starting from 3 days ago (ie. 2 weeks old), she has started to wail or cry inconsolably and is constantly displaying hunger signs. Be it rooting, sticking out her tongue, sucking on her fingers. And I am not exaggerating when I say constant. I feed her all the time, as if she is permanently attached to me. She may nurse for 10-15 mins, stop, wail or unlatch and start screaming, re-latch her, and this continues the whole day. Basically, I cannot tell how long the feeding is and there is no break in between at all. Because I am so exhausted at the end of the day, I have given in to giving her some formula at night so that I can get more sleep. I know it will hurt my supply but I am just soooo tired at the end of the day. And it is so defeating to see her gulp down the formula as if it is a lifeline and I have been starving her.

    I have tried various positions (currently side lying being favorite coz both of us get to rest), her latch seems ok (hear her gulping and swallowing at the beginning usually and not much pain anymore, no disfiguration) but she just continues to display hunger signs all the time. My breasts do leak when she is near or when she unlatches suddenly in the middle of feeding but when I try to pump after a feeding, I get like 0.5/1 oz (total) which makes me really worry that I'm starving my baby. She also hasn't been gaining a lot of weight...about 10/12 oz since low weight.

    Have been poring through the forum and I know that supplementing with formula at night will hurt my supply, pumping is NOT a good indicator of milk supply and even if baby gulps down formula furiously does NOT mean she is necessarily starving. But I am just super worried I'm doing everything wrong, and am starving the baby since she can't sleep during the day now since she is crying for food all the time or whenever she unlatches from feeding at least. I want to wean off the nighttime formula but have been told from ppl around me how I should get more rest which helps my supply more or that I just have low supply.

    What do I do? Super sorry for such a lengthy post but have been so frustrated and feeling so defeated.....

  2. #2

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    I'm new here, but just wanted to say my baby fed similarly to yours in the beginning as well. Every doctor and midwife told me that the best indicator of how well your baby is feeding is how many wet diapers she is outputting. I think you're looking for at least 6 heavy wet diapers a day. If she's outputting that much urine and gaining weight, then you can rest assured she's getting enough milk. Everyone will probably tell you she's "bringing your milk in" then and not to worry as that's what they all told me.

    However, my baby was not gaining weight, and ended up being very dehydrated by 2 weeks when I started mixed feeding. I think my problem is more that I have a very sleepy baby and no one told me that when his eyes are closed while he's feeding that he's not actually feeding for 3 hours straight but is comfort nursing (using my nipples as a pacifier) the majority of the time. No one ever taught me how to wake him up more and, even though I nurse him before every bottle now, he gets most of his nutrition from formula now (at 7 wks old) as I suspect my supply has really tanked. So you may have a sleepy baby or a slow nurser. Just thought I'd throw that out there since your story sounds almost identical to mine, right down to the jaundice and the night feeds with formula. We started with two bottles at night and now give 6 bottles a day and I hate it! I feel stuck, and it's a slippery slope with formula so hopefully someone gives you some real advice so you don't get stuck where I am!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Thanks momormom for sharing! I really don't want to have to start formula feeding her more than what she is getting now (seriously exactly like you, 2 bottles at night!). My baby is seems dehydrated as well but that could well be due to turning on of the heater since it gets rather cold.

    As for diapers, I'm getting about 6-8 wet diapers and about 2-4 stools per day so on that front, it seems to be fine. But everyone around me is telling me that baby is super hungry and not getting enough so getting pressure to supplement and being made to feel guilty for starving my daughter.

    And yes, I have a very very sleepy baby and though she is at breast, she isn't feeding. I try to rouse her with the suggested methods but she doesn't really take bait? So am at my wit's end! Again, thanks momormom....makes me feel a little more encouraged to persevere!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Welcome to the forum!

    Your baby's diaper output and weight gain seem very normal. How are her poops when you EBF? Yellow and seedy, kind of a mustardy or curry color? Or are they thin, watery, or green/greenish-brown? And how does nursing feel overall? Comfortable, or is there stills lot of pain?

    It sounds like the people around you aren't that supportive or knowledgeable about breastfeeding. I think you might do well to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for hands-on help and an evaluation of how well breastfeeding is actually going. I am thinking that might restore a lot of your confidence and also provide you with a tool for dealing with criticism: "Well, my lactation consultant says I am doing everything right!"

    Tips on waking a sleepy baby:
    - Keep baby cool when it is time to nurse. Strip her down to a diaper or onesie when it is time to nurse, and keep a fan blowing in the room where you nurse (not directly on baby).
    - Annoy her. Tickle the soles of her feet or rub against the grain of her hair using your hand or a cool damp washcloth.
    - Dim the lights. New babies may close their eyes in response to bright light.
    - Use breast compressions while nursing to speed milk flow to the baby.
    - Try switch nursing. When suckling slows and baby seems to be falling asleep at the breast, take her off the breast, burp her, change her diaper, and put her on the other breast. Repeat the process as many times as possible, until baby will no longer wake. Switch nursing is excellent for milk supply!
    - Don't let baby go too long without nursing. They to wake her to nurse every 2-3 hours during he day and every 3-4 at night.

    Don't worry too much about the sleepiness. It's a phase that will pass.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Her poops are generally yellow/curry colored...stimes seedy and a bit dry but stimes more explosive and wet. Nursing itself feels ok, not much pain though sore from the constant nursing and a bit itchy at times.

    I have tried rousing her using the various methods but she will suckle/feed(?) for a few bites then stop. But if she unlatches, she will start screaming uncontrollably so I can't go/do anything else but lie around and nurse. She has gotten to a point that she screams even when at breast. She starts pulling off latch, gets frustrated with re-latching and screams when re-latched.

    I have been continuously feeding her for hours on end and have no time to go to the bathroom or have a proper meal. But despite this, she is STILL hungry! What am I doing wrong???

    I'm debating whether to look up for a LC but not sure how available they are in Hong Kong, where I live. Have gotten so much differing advice esp on not feeding baby for more than 40 mins, feeding every hour or two, etc.

    Am so frustrated and feeling like a failure as well as feeling useless that all I do all day is lie around to feed. I also feel guilty for looking forward to nighttime when I supplement with formula so I have a little time to myself. Feel like a horrible mom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Rest assured, with a 2.5 week old baby, feeding constantly is the norm! There's no time or energy to do anything else! I think that if you took a poll, most of the moms on here spent the first several weeks (if not more!) camped out on the couch, in our PJs. Remember, diaper output and weight gain are your best indicators of how you're doing. Young babies fuss and eat a lot, that's just the way they are. And as long as you are feeding on demand, your baby should get enough, and your supply should stay adequate. Limiting the time you spend nursing (ie. after 40 min) is NOT good advice. Hang in there mama, these first weeks are really hard, but it does get better. And being able to breastfeed your baby is one of the best parts about motherhood (so I've found so far, anyway!)

    Not sure where in Hong Kong you are, but this site might be able to help you find a LC http://www.iblce.org/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Don't feel like a horrible mom! Please! Being a mom is hard. Being a first-time mom is really hard. And being the first-time mom of a brand-new baby who is struggling to nurse- that's really, really, REALLY hard! Forgive yourself for looking forward to the supplemental bottles. You can say plenty of bad things about bottles, but bottles never screamed at anyone.

    Based on what you describe, it sounds like nursing is going a lot better than you think. Yellow, loose poops are ideal. Lying around and nursing all day, for hours at a time- very normal for a newborn and a sign that baby likes nursing, which is a good thing after a baby gets bottles from early on. And again, baby's weight gain seems to be in the normal range. Now, there are obviously things that could be improved, which is why I really encourage you to find a LC. There's no substitute for hands-on help!

    Here's what I think needs attention:
    - The soreness. Constant nursing shouldn't cause excessive pain if the baby has a decent latch. Some soreness is normal, but if you're so sore that you want to quit, that's more than usual soreness.
    - The itching. Itchy nipples are a sign of thrush, which is a yeast infection of the breast and the baby's oral cavity. Thrush can cause discomfort for both mom and baby. It could be causing your soreness. This is my go-to link on thrush: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/thrush-resources/
    - The constant feedings. Again, this is normal in a young baby! Particularly during growth spurts- and there's a big one at around 3 weeks. But sometimes when a mom has pain and the baby is feeding literally non-stop, that's a sign that the baby is having difficulty transferring milk. So having a LC take a look is a good idea.

    Anyone who is telling you to limit the baby's time at the breast or feeding frequency should take a long walk off a short pier. I understand you have those in Hong Kong! Now is the time to invest all your energy in getting nursing right, because it only gets harder as time goes on.

    Since you're in Hong Kong, please take a page from traditional Chinese culture and do what Chinese mums were always advised to do during the first month: nothing but nurse the baby and lie around and regain your strength. Don't worry about being "useful"- nursing the baby, getting nursing to go smoothly- that's the most useful thing you can do.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; December 6th, 2012 at 07:34 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Have you tried contacting your local LLL? http://www.llli.org/china.html

    Two good reliable, evidence based resources online are this website and www.kellymom.com. The book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition, 2010) is another good resource.

    I agree with mommal, it could be very helpful to have breastfeeding assessed by someone knowledgeable and reliable, especially with the shaky start you had.

    I don’t know if this is happening in Hong Kong, but I recently heard that in China, there is a problem with traditional 'breast massagers' hanging around hospitals and the like and offering their services as "lactation consultants!" These people are not lactation consultants. They claim their services are needed to bring milk in or some such. If you pay ANYONE for help, make sure they are a board certified LC- IBCLC. Or recommended by someone trustworthy.

    Your local LLL hopefully can steer you to the real thing, or maybe help you themselves.

    Also formula marketing in China has a rep for being VERY underhanded, and publishing in supposedly respectable publications nonsense like 'an angry mother should not breastfeed." So, consider the source of any info you are getting.

    The early days of motherhood typically consist of not doing much besides holding your baby and nursing. But you do need to eat and go to the bathroom! Put baby down in a safe place to do those things if there is no one else there who can hold baby. Do you have help at home?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; December 6th, 2012 at 10:16 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Hello there It's been almost a week, I hope you have hung in there. I felt exactly like you as well, and like no one understood that when I said he is constantly nursing, I meant like *literally* constantly. Like you said, I felt like I couldn't leave him to shower or use the toilet because he would scream and scream until I put him back to the breast. I would sleep while he nursed sitting up in a chair. The fact that he never let me put him down to sleep after breastfeeding but would always go down in his crib to sleep after a formula feed really hurt my confidence. Obviously something wasn't right, though I never did figure out exactly what it was. I can only speculate.

    I also had quite sore nipples in spite of everyone saying his latch seemed perfect. It did go away in time though, and I still suspect something about his latch isn't quite right even though no one can tell me what it is. Makes it hard! They itched a bit, but not any longer so I suspect it was from the stretching. My breasts are quite small and have a somewhat tuberous shape which one midwife mentioned within minutes of my son's birth could be notorious for causing problems breastfeeding, so I thought I'd throw that out there as well.

    My advice, as someone who was sitting exactly where you are a month ago, is to just keep nursing. I know it is literally all the time and you feel like it's never going to end but it must get better in time. I understand it doesn't just "feel" like all you do is nurse like everyone says, that it's literally all you are doing but your baby's output sounds much better than my boy's was, so I do believe it's working for you. If you can see a consultant, I would. I wouldn't be worried about her health unless she starts losing weight or stops gaining. I'm not sure about where you are, but I know my community health centre weighed my son for free whenever I wanted, just to check.

    Anyways, I guess it's just nice to say hi to someone finally who at least understands how bad it can be. I got tired of hearing the same things from everyone who seemed to be quoting from some kind of breastfeeding handbook although none of them had ever suffered any problems breastfeeding themselves. Some didn't even have children!! I always felt a bit bitter towards them as they continued to tell me this was all normal. I wondered if they had heard their own child's ear piercing screams of hunger after a marathon 12 hour nursing session if they'd so quickly pat me on my head and send me on my way. And remember, your mental ability to cope with demands of breastfeeding is just as important as your body's physical ability. If you aren't coping mentally and feel like you can't go on like this without breaking, talk to someone!! Even if it's just your doctor. I don't care what anyone says, literal 24/7 nursing is not normal. That's a fair bit more than the 10-12 feeds a day everyone mentions.

    Oh, and also, it is ok to let your baby cry sometimes. It didn't seem like it for me at 2 weeks, but you have to put her down and take a shower, make a cup of coffee, eat a sandwich. I promise she will love you just as much 10 minutes later when you pick her up again with kisses and gifts of booby milk. I think the first month was hardest not because babies get easier but because we as parents haven't learned all of our little tricks yet. For instance, now if my baby cries after a good feed I know that I can put him in his infant capsule and rock him to sleep which might have saved my life at 2 weeks if I'd known to try it!

    Good luck. This phase is so short, you can make it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: 2.5 weeks old, constantly feeding/hungry..starving her?

    Wanted to bump this up as I'm now at 6 weeks and still I feel like I'm doing everything wrong....

    First diaper out seems more or less normal (5-6 wet ones, 1-2 stool per day)...weight gain is slightly low.. Birth weight 6llb11oz, yesterday's weight 8llb 2.5oz (abt 4-5 oz in the past week)...however am still always nursing though rest in between is a bit better now.

    Yet I feel like I'm not really getting this right and would appreciate any advice to my questions below:
    - how do you know when baby is full/satisfied after a feed? My LO is always willing to take the breast when it is offered, whether to feed, suckle or comfort nurse.
    - how to tell if baby is really hungry and want to nurse? I know I should look for rooting, sucking and my LO does these most of the time so does that mean she is constantly hungry?
    - if baby is full/satisfied, what should they be doing between feedings? Sleep, lie around alert, something else?

    My indicator before was when she started crying which I know is a late sign of hunger but these days, baby is able to space out feedings either she is continuously held by grandma or sleeping in my lap or stimes lying around alert. But if we move her to her crib or daybed, she will start shrieking. Unlike when she takes a bottle of formula, then she is out completely.

    Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks so much in advance! Am feeling a bit getter than 3 weeks ago coz at least I have a little time between feedings now and am almost weaned off the night bottle of formula...yay!

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