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Thread: constant feedings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt Vernon, NY
    Posts
    6

    Default constant feedings

    my 4 week old for the past two days has been eating almost all day. i know its likely a growth spurt but i can't keep up with him. Its fine if i can space the feedings on each side to 90 minutes (2 hours is much better) but any less than that and there just isn't much there and by 6pm he is unhappy (clawing, crying, pulling away) at the boob and i get nothing when i try and hand express. he also wont sleep unless in my arms during this time and the sleep strechtes are like 15 minutes long. last night i was able to buy some time by swaddling him and giving him a pacifier and shhing him but i had to hold him the entire time and when i tried to switch arms he'd wake up. by 930 after almost feeding him holding him for 8 hours i gave him 2 oz of formula and he settled down and slept through the night. I got up half way through the night and pumped (so now i have my own milk to give him instead of formula). This morning he's been fine...ate and is now napping. things are fine if the feedings are spaced out or if i can give him a bottle to space them out but by the end of the day I am just out. His latch also gets lazy and i know he's over tired which is why i give him a bottle.

    Hes wetting plenty of diapers and things are fine when the feedings are nicely spaced its just what goes on after like 5pm. I am fine with being camped out on the couch with a book and snacks but how long does this go on for and what else can i do?

    I know that your supply can dip in the evenings and i know that keeping him on the breast helps my supply. But is 8+ hours of this ok?

    I should note that i am pumping and doing the occassional formula if i dont have expressed milk at the suggestion of my ped and the lactation consultant at the hospital because he was jaundice, slow at gaining weight and i had supply issues with my first. I should also note that i am doing much better this time nursing than the first time and when i pump i get 3 oz.

    thoughts? suggestions? or just keep doing what i am doing and it will get better?

    THanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    9,439

    Default Re: constant feedings

    Hi, welcome to the forum!

    A newborn baby will typically nurse often, nurse long, cluster nurse, nurse more often some days that others, be fussier in the evenings or at some particular time of day (or night), not want to be put down, prefer being held, sleep very short stretches, etc.

    The way you tell any of this might not be 'ok' is if baby is not gaining normally or not pooping normally, which would usually be at least a few times each day.

    A mom may indeed feel less full or even 'empty' when baby is nursing with great frequency, but there is really not such thing as "nicely spaced" feedings. The full breast sends a signal to the body to make less milk, and an 'empty' btreast sends the signal to make more. So for adequate milk production, it is important that baby nurse as much as baby likes.

    I should note that i am pumping and doing the occassional formula if i dont have expressed milk at the suggestion of my ped and the lactation consultant at the hospital because he was jaundice, slow at gaining weight and i had supply issues with my first. I should also note that i am doing much better this time nursing than the first time and when i pump i get 3 oz.
    but for how long were you supposed to pump and supplement? is baby still jaundiced? Still not gaining normally? Supplementing is potentially harmful to milk production. Even if you supplement with your own milk. It is hard to draw conclusions about anything from what a mom pumps, but your pump output indicates you make plenty of milk. So if baby is still not gaining normally at this point, it is important to understand why so the problem can be fixed. A baby should be able to gain normally by exclusively breastfeeding. Supplements treat the symptom not the underlying issue, if there even is an issue. And they often cause more issues, even if they are needed.

    So I would suggest, if weight gain is normal, to stop supplements (gradually if baby is getting much in supplements) and, when you are able to totally stop supplements, stop pumping. This eliminates the extra work of pumping and bottles.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: constant feedings

    Hey there, mama!

    How is weight gain and diaper output now, mama? You say that weight gain was slow at first. If weight gain is still slow, that could indicate a problem that still needs fixing. But if those two things are on track now, this feeding behavior all sounds very, very normal to me. Frequent feedings, on baby's cue, are pretty much exactly what you want to be doing. Your breasts are always making milk. Even if you feel like you are out of milk at the end of the day, you aren't out of milk, and under normal circumstances you want to just keep nursing your baby as he demands it. It might take baby a little bit longer to get his fill at night, and cluster feeding behavior is very common in these hours, as well! Waiting to "fill up" or artificially spacing feeds is actually the opposite of what you want to be doing if you want to build and maintain a normal milk supply for your baby. It can also be very normal for a newborn to only sleep when held, or only want to sleep while latched on and nursing; think about it, that baby has been inside of you for months and months and is only just now getting used to the outside world. Baby is naturally going to feel safest and most content when held and nursed by mom!

    When you are providing the formula supplements, are you pumping during those feeds? You want to make sure you have breast stimulation every time baby is feeding to simulate baby's demand. Is the pediatrician still pushing for these supplements? How much supplement are you using per day? How many total nursing sessions per day would you say you have? You also mention a lazy latch. Does breastfeeding hurt, or do you have any reason to think baby might not be transferring milk efficiently? If so, have you seen an IBCLC for hands on help?

    Sorry to answer with a ton of other questions, but answers to these will help us to help you best!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt Vernon, NY
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: constant feedings

    Thanks for replying. It was totally a growth spurt thing because by Wednesday he was back to a somewhat normal nursing rhythm and the 8 hours on the couch stopped.

    There was no set time frame on when to stop supplementing but i was rarely doing it anyway. In the 5 weeks since he's been born i didn't even use up a sample sized can of formula. If/when i supplemented it was only 2oz a day and not every day - maybe 2 times a week..

    I only pump in the middle of the night if he sleeps through a feeding and then i have that milk on hand if he needs it during the day since it is essentially a missed meal.

    Anyway, i haven't needed to give him anything extra since the night i posted this original message.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    9,439

    Default Re: constant feedings

    Glad things are feeling more manageable. By the way, if you are feeling full in the middle of the night or any other time, it is perfectly fine to encourage baby to nurse rather than pump if that is easier for you.

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