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Thread: Really need and would appreciate some advice

  1. #1

    Default Really need and would appreciate some advice

    I'm concerned about the frequency with which my LO is breastfeeding. He's 4 weeks old on Tuesday. I know that it's normal for newborns to feed frequently, and that they will often cluster feed in the evenings or during growth spurts. But he's been like this solidly for the last few weeks. everything I've read talks about feeds every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and between 8-12 feeds in 24 hours. Having spoken to my friends, that also seems to be the norm with their babies at this age. My LO feeds much more than that. To be honest I feel that whenever he is awake, he is screaming for food. At least, putting him on the breast is the only thing that will calm him.

    He is so little that every day is different at the moment but, in general (not always), he has been going 2 to 3 hours at night between feeds. He can have breaks of 2 or 3 hours during the day as well but it more often feels like he is never off my boob! It really is constant. For example he could have 40 minutes on one breast, followed by 40 minutes on the other and then still be rooting for more. He just doesn't seem satisfied at those times and can go 3 to 4 hours where he wants to feed non stop and that can happen at any time of day. Other times he falls asleep quite quickly and although sucking, he isn't swallowing very frequently so I try to do breast compressions. He averages about 14 feeds a day and it could probably be more but I'll go out a walk in the sling or sit him in his bouncer for a bit - not deliberately to try and extend the periods between feeds but because I'm worried he should be doing something beyond just eating and sleeping.

    Today he has taken it to a whole new level. I didn't get any sleep last night and he hasn't stopped feeding since.

    I think I have made the mistake of reading too much online - I feel more confused than ever. There are sites which say really frequent feeding could be caused by problems with latch or tongue tie etc and I'm getting concerned that there is some problem with how our feedings are going - does the duration and frequency of his sessions suggest he is not able to effectively removing milk?

    I have shown various midwives the latch and they say it is fine. One midwife quickly checked for tongue tie and said he didn't have this. I have never had very sore nipples although they can be a bit tender after he has a particularly long feeding session. After an initial drop in birthweight - he's putting on weight really well - most recently 10oz in a week. He has plenty of wet and dirty nappies. I do feel he could take a slightly bigger mouthful than he does sometimes but I can hear him swallowing. I think my letdown is quite fast so he can fuss a bit at the beginning of feeds and very recently he has started making clicking noises at some points. I did discuss going to the breastfeeding clinics with one of the midwives to have the latch checked but she said they weren't really meant for people like me who weren't having any problems and that I had to try to relax.

    The health visitor thinks he's just a really "sucky" baby and has suggested that I use a dummy if he is still rooting after, for example, a 30 min feed. I just don't know how comfortable I feel about that. If he's hungry, I want to feed him. He is only 3 weeks and I don't want to mess up breastfeeding by using a dummy.

    I just hate seeing him crying all the time and I don't know if how he is feeding is normal or if we need help. If he cries, should I always offer the breast or am I just being a rubbish mum and not properly working out what is wrong with him? I just want to do what's best for him and I'd really appreciate any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,606

    Default Re: Really need and would appreciate some advice

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    I think the heart of your difficulties is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*miles.mum View Post
    He is so little
    4 weeks is such a short time. I know it's hard to believe, because in brand-new-mom time, 4 weeks seems like an eternity. But- speaking as someone with 2 kids under my belt- 4 weeks really is a very, very short time. In the last 4 weeks, your baby has had to get used to so many new things- breathing air, nursing, feeling hungry, feeling full, pooping, having gas, wearing clothing and diapers, wild (from his point of view) fluctuations in light, noise, and temperature... His instincts tell him that the only way to cope with these crazy new experiences is to be on mom all. the. time. Baby's instincts tell him that his ONLY 100% certain source of food, comfort, warmth, love is MOM and her breasts, and his instincts tell him to fight to be in her arms and on her breast as much as possible. As some wise mama here once put it, your baby doesn't know that he doesn't live in caveman times. As far as he knows, the moment mom puts him down he's going to get eaten up by a sabretooth tiger- and he can't let that happen!

    Your baby's nursing frequency and duration is normal. Yes, some babies will give you predictable intervals between feedings, and will feed 8-12 times a day. But many will not. My kids fed far more often than 10-12 times a day, and the intervals between feedings varied widely. Sometimes they nursed every 1-2 hours, sometimes it was every 20 minutes, and sometimes they'd take these 3-4 hour naps that just made me nervous, because I would keep coming over to check that they were breathing! When it comes to feeding frequency, engage your patience. Again, your baby is brand-new and everything is going to change over the next few weeks/months.

    Your baby's weight gain is lovely and his latch sounds good. If you're not sore and baby is gaining sufficient weight, there is no reason to suspect a latch issue. Yes, frequent feedings can indicate a problem with milk transfer, but in your case they do not. Really, I promise!

    Fast letdowns and clicking are often associated. When mom's letdown is fast- something which usually happens because she has an abundant or overabundant milk supply- baby struggles to control it. Some babies learn to do so by compressing the nipple (ouch!) and others discover that a quick release of suction will do the job- and that break in suction creates the click. If fast letdowns are causing the baby to become fussy, try nursing in reclined positions. Reclining engages the force of gravity to slow milk flow, making nursing more comfortable for the baby.

    Breastfeeding clinics may be for moms with real problems only- but IRL La Leche League meetings can be perfect for moms in your situation, who need reassurance and fellowship from other moms who can say "It's normal, I've been there, it will pass."
    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

    Default Re: Really need and would appreciate some advice

    Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and I know you're right. Tiredness has taken me over a bit and I've definitely been letting my anxiety on this issue get out of control. I obviously just need to surrender to the present moment more. As long as this is normal and he is getting what he needs, I will try to relax and go with it. I know I need to enjoy this time with him as a little baby because I'll never get it back. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Nashville, TN
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    510

    Default Re: Really need and would appreciate some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*miles.mum View Post
    Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and I know you're right. Tiredness has taken me over a bit and I've definitely been letting my anxiety on this issue get out of control. I obviously just need to surrender to the present moment more. As long as this is normal and he is getting what he needs, I will try to relax and go with it. I know I need to enjoy this time with him as a little baby because I'll never get it back. Thanks again.
    Hi new mommy! Big hugs to you as i was right there with you just 32 weeks ago. You would not believe how much changes in such a short time. I say normal, normal, normal. My daughter nursed constantly for 3 months. I did not use a dummy. I nursed. And nursed some more. It was tiring and I had little opportunity for anything else. I did put her in the carrier and take walks, which got me air, exercise and usually a nap for her. But man oh man, we had many nursing marathons that lasted 3 hours. I read and watched a lot of movies, kept up on email, etc. i tried to sleep when she slept. I remember nights I did not sleep - even nursing didn't seem to help all the crying -but that passes eventually. My kiddo had horrible gas pain until her gut matured a little around 3 mos. I freely asked my husband for help with everything. He cleaned, cooked, took care of our dogs/cats, shopped. He was a total rock star. If the house became a mess i did not care. We tried to fill the fridge with little containers of food that I could eat cold or nuke quick. My favorite was fresh sliced turkey (not lunch meat), sliced veggies, guacamole and a pile of cashews. When I needed to shower I tried to get her to sleep and either DH snuggled w/her or I put her in a little cradle right in front of the shower. My biggest challenge was usually trying to get to the bathroom. I hydrate a lot, even more important when nursing. That's great except for the bathroom trips. I don't even want to think about how many treks I've made to the toilet holding an infant.
    Now at 8.5 months she's more where you think 'normal' might fall for your LO but extreme for some. In other words what the heck is normal? We're all normal for ourselves. I nurse about every 90 min to 2 hours on weekends, and the same weekday mornings and evenings. (Weekdays I work full time and our nanny bottle feeds my milk.) Overnight I nurse a lot. She dreamfeeds and nibbles a ton. If I tried to compare notes I prob nurse more than moms I know where I live, but a lot of them formula feed. I should note our DD also naps on us and we co sleep, and is nearly impossible to leave to sleep in her own, all of which is amazing bonding but also exhausting. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Hang in there. You're doing great and your LO is lucky to have you! If there's one thing I learned being a first time mommy, you are rarely alone in your suffering, but also never more rewarded than with the joy a baby brings.
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

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