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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help! I have an insatiable eater

Finn is now 7 days old and is feeding like a trooper - he has an excellent latch and has already regained his birth weight so I have absolutely no complaints on that front. I also love breastfeeding and consider it a privilege and a joy and something really special in bonding with my fabulous boy. The thing is, he is eating A LOT which is manageable during the day but is becoming increasingly draining during the night. Last night he fed hourly and I am snatching a few mins in between feeds to refuel on some crunchy nut cornflakes and to ask for help from you experienced breastfeeders.

I am in a quandary - is this likely to be a relatively short phase? If so, I can cope provided I know there is light (or rather sleep) at the end of the tunnel. However, if the phase is likely to continue for longer then I feel that I will need to do something as at the moment I feel like a wrung out dish rag and have become quite weepy through tiredness.

Should I express during the day so that my partner can give a night time feed? If so, how much should I express and when would be the optimum time for my partner to administer this feed? Should I consider a formula top up at night? If so, how much should I give him and when? Should I consider trying Finn with a dummy to get to sleep as sometimes it feels like he just wants to go on the breast to settle. With all of the above, is this likely to cause nipple confusion?

Thanks for any help that you can give me.

Nicki
 

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Hi Nicki,HI I'm Mable's partner and a lurker on the boards at the moment ( and for a long time) ocassionally I get my finger out and type! Seeing your post written at 5.21 made me smile. I too was up at 5.30 !!

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful Finn. You are doing a marvellous job! its great Finn has taken to the boob so well and that he is feeding well. I fed our little one for 18 months and loved it too. We mixed formula feeds for reasons of weight,diabetes worries and general exhaustion. so I do symphathise.thankfully because he was feeding so often my supply did not seem to be affected. However, it was a risk and one I probably wouldnt take again. We thought he might sleep more with some formula top up and that he would put on more weight. However, i think I would trust my milk supply more next time .It is very tiring and it feels like it will go on forever. However, two years on as things come and go it has become apparent to me that there are many phases they go through and often they just pass through without any effort required on your part except for patience and trust it will work through ok.

I also expressed so that DP could feed at night so that I could get some sleep before the nightmare of the night began! he had very bad reflux so 1) didnt sleep lying down 2) fed all the time -,  possibly hungry and also it soothed his tummy because of the acid reflux. Expressing itself can be draining in terms of time but worth it for a few hours sleep. No advice really on when to give it , sometime in the evening when you can manage to get some sleep in. Monty had baby feeding cup and breast from day one and then  a few weeks in bottle. Feeding cup seemed to go well when he was very small like Finn. every baby is different re; switching between breast and bottle. M. was fine.

There is definately light at the end of the tunnel. Its early days and you are doing really well. expect little sleep and try and get some in the day. It wont go on for too long and for whatever reason ( comfort, hunger, discomfort in his tummy)  he obviously needs it at the moment. We did try a dummy a few weeks in to soothe him and ensure he had big feeds rather than constant snacking.( at night he was on the breast almost every 10 minutes) He took this when he was very young and it did help him establish more of a routine and eat more in one go - however, he wasnt keen on it when he was over a few weeks. Some people are worried about baby's reliance on dummy, however, I wouldn't worry as you can set up good sleep associations later when he has come to terms with being in this very different world. Do what works for you both at the moment.   Sorry not sure this is at all helpful. All I know is it is very tiring, formula wouldnt necessarily make him sleep more - it just gives you a bit more of a break. However, If you can I would continue as you are and try expressing. Easy for me to say, huh? You are doing fantastically! You have all that it takes to keep your baby well fed and happy.

I know other people found it helpful having baby in bed with them. i was too nervous to do that but would certainly consider that next time if it meant he slept more. All these things are shortlived.

Good luck, let us know how its going.

Edith
 

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Hi Nicki,

Huge congratulations on the birth of gorgeous Finn. You are doing fantastically well. I am so happy to offer any breastfeeding help that if you want to call for a chat about anything to do with it PM me for my number. Here is any advice I can offer now:

I am still feeding Alex, he is 8 months old now. When he was born and in hospital he was jaundiced and needed phototherapy and consequently got dehydrated, he had 3 lots of 60mls of formula in hospital and that is the only formula he has had. I totally understand your need to know that you will eventually get some sleep, I remember asking Julies Mum to have Alex for an hour while I went to bed between feeds... I vividly remember thinking that was going to be the only sleep I'd get all day!!!! Alex used to feed hourly for weeks following birth, after about 2 weeks he would go up to three hours in the night between feeds and by ten weeks he slept up to 8 hours in one go during the night. I used to have him by my side of the bed in his crib and get him into bed with me to feed him. The sleep deprivation was hard but was definitely short-lived! When people told me their babies went 4 hours between feeds I thought my milk was not enough for Alex but I trusted my milk supply and the fact that he was born on the 99th centile and has followed it exactly to this day definitely put my mind at rest. It's excellent that Finn is back up to his birth weight already.

The length of time between feeds will fluctuate and one day you'll think it's going in the right direction (I used to be chuffed if Alex made it 2.5 hours between feeds in the day!) and the next it'll be constant feeding again. If you can express I'd definitely recommend it. We were advised by various people to wait until Alex was 6 weeks old to avoid nipple confusion. This was  a bad mistake as by then he point blank refused a bottle and we had a traumatic time trying to get him to take one. We had to send him to the childminder when I went back to work with milk and cups and initially he wouldn't drink at all... very stressful. I recommend expressing a bit after each feed and then getting your DP to give it to him. I have found the Tommee Tippee bottles the best breast-like bottles (Alex will take these now at 8months!). I don't think the timing matters but if you can accumulate a reasonable volume throughout the day and then give it to him before bed you might find he settles better... worth a go.

Sorry if I've rambled. I am so, so happy to have managed to breastfeed Alex. It is immensely rewarding to see them thrive purely on food YOU are producing, not to mention it being so beneficial. PM if you need anything. You are doing so well.

Rach xxxxx
 

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Hi Nicki,
I know that I've already replied to you on the thread on Rainbow Families, but I just wanted to echo a couple of things Edith and Rach said.

Firstly, Edith's comment "However, two years on as things come and go it has become apparent to me that there are many phases they go through and often they just pass through without any effort required on your part except for patience and trust it will work through ok."
This is sooooo true - as first-time mothers we all agonise so much about whether we are doing the "right" thing for our baby, whether that's health-related or parenting-style/ what's seen as PC/non-PC (e.g. use of dummies, co-sleeping etc). The basic fact is that whatever you do, you and your baby will muddle through and come out just fine the other side. The really important thing is not to worry about what anyone else has done/is doing with their baby (although that's not always easy!), and to trust your instincts. Forget parenting manuals - do what feels right!
We gave Toby some formula top-ups early on, via a cup, and I felt pretty guilty about it as I felt that I should be feeding him more myself. What a waste of energy/emotion looking at it with hindsight. It helped him fill up, and gave me and my poor sore nips a break! And it was something that Karen really enjoyed doing. After the first couple of weeks I did start expressing, so he would have EBM via a cup initially, and I think that we introduced a bottle around 3-4 weeks (once he'd got a better latch, which wasn't great early on; it's fab that Finn latches on so well already. Toby's latch was never particularly good, the whole way through our 8 1/2months of BFing). To be honest, I found the expressing a real chore - I seemed to be constantly either feeding or working out when to express so that it wouldn't mean that I was too "empty" for Toby's next feed (he naturally fell into a fairly regular schedule of 3-4hrly feeds after a few weeks). Karen gave Toby the EBM as a late evening feed (10-11pm) before we went to bed. He then usually needed feeding again around 1-2am (and again 3-5am). The idea was that I could go to bed earlier to try and get in a bit more sleep, but it often didn't work out that way, what with all the faffing around sterilising/expressing at 9ish (which I needed to do to "replace" the feed I would otherwise have done or my breasts got too full of milk). Probably I'd be a lot less hung up on expressing next time around, we'd be more likely to do a formula feed at this time of night. So I would recommend doing a supplementary cup/bottle feed that your DP can do (a break for you, a bonding thing for your partner to do, and also gets Finn used to feeding from a cup/bottle as well as from you, v useful in the longer term as Rach said) - up to you whether that's EBM or formula. It depends hugely on a) how easy you find it to express, and b) how you fundamentally feel about EBM vs formula. I was pretty determined to try and solely BF Toby, and persevered with it through all kinds of BFing problems. I'm very glad that I stuck with it (I'm a stubborn bu99er at times), and glad that I fed him for 8 1/2 months before he decided BFing was to finish (which was a huge shock to me - I certainly wasn't ready!). But like with most parenting issues, I'll be a lot more laid-back second time around, and not quite so hung up on sticking to my principles ;)

The other point that I wanted to echo was from Rach about sleeping - or lack of it! I vividly remember praying, praying for a solid 3hr stretch of sleep at night. If I even got one 3hr stretch, I seriously felt that it had been a good night ;D I was lucky that Toby didn't need the constant all-night-snacking type of feeding, but he needed at least 2 feeds a night until about 6 months (plus other non-feeding resettling), and then carried on with one night feed through to 8 months. Try very hard not to compare yourself to other mothers/babies on the feeding/sleeping front - if Finn needs more feeds (day or night) than your friends' babies, it can be quite depressing. I was definitely the one with the "worst deal" on the sleep front in my NCT group from about 2-8 months. I just had to accept that it was what Toby needed, and that nothing I could do would change his feeding/sleeping pattern - he would only change it himself when he was physically ready. Accepting that fact/resigning myself to it made it a lot easier to cope with the sleep deprivation, rather than just constantly feeling cross about the lack of sleep.

Good luck - you & Finn will be fine :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all. Your advice and encouragement has been invaluable  :-*
 
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