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Thread: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Plano, TX
    Posts
    8

    Default Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

    My daughter was born April 4 via c-section and I've been breastfeeding from the beginning with a week of formula supplementation because of jaundice.
    Since this past Sunday she's been what I later found out was cluster feeding.
    She's pretty much attached to me or my breast from around 8am until about 6pm.
    She tends to suck for about 5-10 min, then falls asleep, I switch breasts, and she does the same. The only time she has normal feedings is at night where she'll actually have a full feeding from each breast lasting about 15 min per breast, sometimes longer with the entire feeding lasting from 30min to 1 hr.
    I prepared breakfast this AM with her attached to my breast - not easy. I wasn't able to get lunch for myself until 2 hours after lunch - my husband came home from work early to help me.
    Because of this schedule, I'm not able to eat enough calories each day being alone and having trouble doing ANYTHING.
    Each person I ask gives me a different answer:
    don't supplement because your milk supply will dwindle
    do supplement to give yourself a break
    do allow on demand feedings
    don't pump to skip a feeding to allow my husband to help me get some rest because my supply will dwindle

    All I want to do is to be able to prepare food for myself and to wear something other than a nightgown all day long! I can't even get a shower until my husband comes home from work.

    If she's not attached to a breast (because she's eating or because she's sucking for comfort) she has to be in my arms sleeping. The moment I put her down her eyes open up and she starts crying again - that I'M REALLY HUNGRY cry even though a moment earlier she was sleeping. Then the process starts over again.

    The only positive: we've got a good latch!

    What should I do?

    My next strategy is to pump when I can until I have enough for a full feeding, then I'll start replacing her quick 5 min feeding with a full bottle in hopes that she'll go at least an hour before her next feeding and either stay awake and be happy and content or sleep.

    I don't know for sure if my milk has 'come in' yet - how are you supposed to know? We go to the DR tomorrow to get her weight so we'll know then if the last week worth of breast feeding only has been beneficial or not.

    ANY advice I can get would be appreciated!!! I'm snapping at my husband and every little thing he's doing, even though he's trying his best to help me, is annoying me. At night he's feeling the pressure though when her cluster is ending and she refuses to go to sleep before her first nighttime feeding.

    HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,578

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!


    There is nothing more difficult than the first weeks of breastfeeding. Unfortunately, what is occuring to you right now is extremely normal. I don't think any of us do much of anything but feed and change the baby and try to get some food when we get a chance. Hang in there.
    See if your DH can make some sandwiches for you the night before so all you have to do is grab it out of the fridge the next day for lunch. Also have him get some snacks handy for you. You need them. I keep things handy like oatmeal bars, crackers, etc. so I can just grab them.
    Usually when your milk comes in you will get engorged for several days until that tapers off. You should know when you get engorged - it is usually painful and you'll be hard as a rock.
    As a newborn, all some babies want to do is be at the breast - whether they are eating or just comfort sucking. DD was a big comfort sucker from day one. It was difficult!
    I have to agree with most of the advice given to you. Introducing a bottle at this stage now that you have a good latch could be detrimental to your bf experience. I wouldn't risk nipple confusion.
    So many think bf is easy, but it is a difficult job. I'm sending to you for doing such a great job for your girl! You will get through these first weeks and all of the growth spurts (even if you don't get a shower!). It is trying, but hang in there.
    And as far as snapping at your DH, that happens. You are so exhausted, physically and mentally. I'm sure he understands. Let him help you by getting you some food ready for the next day!
    Hang in there. We understand and some of us are going through the exact same thing with you right now. (DS is in a growth spurt and I'm at my wits end as I type.)
    Our blessings from God!
    Kylee was born September, 2006 - 9 lbs. 12 1/2 oz, 21 inches long.
    Kiefer was born January, 2008 - 6 lbs. 14 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.
    He was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at 12 1/2 months old. Others later discovered.
    And I am even more blessed by being married to my best friend and the most honorable man I've ever known.

    "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." - Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,578

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

    Quote Originally Posted by londonblue2008 View Post
    We go to the DR tomorrow to get her weight so we'll know then if the last week worth of breast feeding only has been beneficial or not.
    Sorry, had to address this comment. Of course it has been beneficial. It is the best gift you can give your daughter, and at times it will be the hardest thing you can do. Be strong!
    Our blessings from God!
    Kylee was born September, 2006 - 9 lbs. 12 1/2 oz, 21 inches long.
    Kiefer was born January, 2008 - 6 lbs. 14 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.
    He was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at 12 1/2 months old. Others later discovered.
    And I am even more blessed by being married to my best friend and the most honorable man I've ever known.

    "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." - Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

    The best advice I can give you is to hang in there! I know it is hard, I know you are tired, and I know that you are frustrated. We have all been there. PLEASE trust me when I say that it does and will get a lot easier!!!! The first few weeks are tough. Your tired, your new to this bf thing and just being a mom in general. You just want to do what is right for your baby and everyone is throwing their two cents at you. It can be frustrating.

    I don't know if your milk has come in or not. Mine didn't hurt, but it did leak alot (that stops also). Have you tried napping with the baby? Try getting into a position where your LO can still bf while you are laying down comfortably. I agree with the snack idea. Have your hubby prepare some food for you so that you can eat.

    Most of all, DON'T SUPPLEMENT! You will regret it later. You have a good latch and are off to a good start. Let nature take it's course and I promise that it will get easier.

    I also want to add that it is completely normal for a breastfed baby to lose a little weight in the first week. My son was jaundice also and he lost a full pound in the first week. Once my milk came in good, he quickly rebounded and gained weight quickly. Just wanted to warn you incase the weight is not what you want it to be when you go to the doctor.

    Good luck! Keep us updated!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,047

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

    Congrats on your new baby!! My DS is four weeks old so I'm right there with you! Sometimes I wish I could take off a breast and lay it in the bassinet with baby, lol. Usually, most babies have a growth spurt around 10 days or so, with another growth spurt around 3 weeks and again at 5-6 weeks. My LO seems to have a growth spurt ever few days, lol. The best piece of advice I can give you is: Embrace your new "schedule" - or lack thereof.

    - buy a nice nightshirt or pj's because you will probably be in it all day
    - shower at night - may as well right? there's no time during the day anyway.
    - try the "laying down" position for breastfeeding. That way you can at least watch tv, or close your eyes for a few minutes.
    - remember that finger foods are your friend! (much easier to grab a hand-full of baby carrots, a granola bar, a yogurt and a bottle of watter than it is to make something)

    The good news is it really does level off. Now that LO is over the 3 week growth spurt, I'm finding him going longer between feedings, and the feedings themselves are lasting longer than 7 minutes, lol. 3 days this week I was able to get dressed! Before noon! Right now, I'm dressed, LO is sleeping (thank goodness), and I'm actually contemplating a morning shower. I also ordered a ring sling yesterday since my LO hates being out of my arms - so I'm hoping that helps as well.

    Hang in there! You're doing a great job! I promise that it will get easier!
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Oh FFS!
    Posts
    10,035

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding - pls help me!

    You are doing a great job mama. I promise you this is true. I can also commiserate on the snapping at DH. My poor DH was so affect by this early on.

    PPs gave you some great advice. Finger foods definitely. Also, set up your usual nursing spot with a glass of water (I used to keep them stashed all over the house because there's nothing like settling down to nurse and suddenly being parched).

    Have you tried a sling? Because your LO is nursing so frequently, it will enable you to have your hands free to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, whatever while she enjoys your closeness while napping or nursing. I would recommend a ringsling at this point for the adjustability and the ease of nursing.

    Another poster recommended showering at night. This seems like your best option as your LO gives you the most time then and your DH is on hand to help out.

    It will get easier. I promise you. My DD is 21months and we are still nursing, and yes I can go to the bathroom alone or make a sandwich alone (5 minutes tops )

    Mama to my little Diva: Miss K (7/15/06)
    And her little sister: Lulu Pie (3/21/09)

    "Don't toush da mango"
    One-handed typer Extraordinaire!
    My body creates, houses, nurtures and nourishes life. That is awesome.
    Kegel Kop says: TIGHTEN UP!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Plano, TX
    Posts
    8

    Talking Cluster Feeding - a follow up

    We got good news from the doctor!! Our little one weighed 6lb 15 oz at birth and 6lb 12oz at her last appt 6 days ago. Now she weighs 7lb 5 oz!! She gained 5 oz more than she needed to and the doctor is very happy and says she's doing well and is very healthy.
    At least I know my milk is sustaining her, has 'come in' since she's gaining weight and I don't have to worry about that anymore.
    I've got a sling and will try it out this weekend and see if we can make it work when she gets clingy and fussy.
    Hopefully she'll get better this week!
    Thanks for the support and advice - I'm sure I'll be back with my next crisis.

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