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4 week old feeding constantly

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#1 CherrySunday

Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:25 AM

Yep, me again with another dumb feeding question...

DD is 4 weeks old this saturday, and for the last few days, she's been feeding almost constantly. This morning I just let her go to see how long she'd actually feed for, and from one side it was an hour, and the other side another 40 minutes before she fell asleep. I went to put her to bed, but she woke herself up & is grizzling next to me now. This has been happening for all her day feeds (night feeds are about 40 minutes tops before she settles for another 2-3 hours)

As far as I can tell, she is sucking & swallowing for the majority of the time she's on my breast, so I don't think she can possibly be still hungry after 1 hour 40 minutes, can she?

I'm also at a bit of a loss as to how to go about feeding her like this, which side to start with etc.
If she feeds from the left first & it feels empty then I switch her to the right and it DOESN'T feel empty when she comes off, do I start with the right one to drain it first?

One other thing, since she started this, my breasts never feel as full as they did in the last 2 weeks. I used to be able to tell when she'd be about to wake up because they felt full & tingly, but now, they feel a little heavy, but not much. Am I running out of milk?

I have an appointment to see a MCHN for a one on one BF consult next tuesday, but I don't know if we can keep going this way until then, as she doesn't get any sleep during the day and is constantly attached to me.

#2 alphawife

Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:40 AM

You are doing a great job and it all sounds completely normal to me!

In the beginning you have a massive oversupply of milk which is why your breast feel really full in the beginning. After a few weeks things settle down and it's more about supply and demand... your breasts aren't empty, they just produce the milk when baby suckles rather than in advance.

As your baby grows they will need more milk and they way that they get your supply to increase is by feeding for longer and more frequently. This sends the signal that you need to produce more milk to keep up with your baby's appetite. It takes a couple days for your breast to get the message... then more milk will be produced and your baby's feeding schedule will settle down. I can remember some days my son would basically be permanently attached to the boob in the evening. It was tiring but I can assure you will pass.

It's hard work when times are like this but I encourage you to keep up the breastfeeding until things settle down. There is always a temptation to supplement with formula but if you want to keep breastfeeding it's best to avoid doing that. If you replace a feed with formula it sends a signal to your breasts that your baby doesn't want as much milk and this is when your supply will drop. This can lead to a cycle where you give more formula so have less milk and so on. This unfortunately can often mean the end of breastfeeding.

This website has excellent advice.... http://www.kellymom.com/

The Australian Breastfeeding Association also has a lot of info and forums http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/

Good luck.... sounds like you are doing all the right things so keep up the good work.


Forgot to add.... in the beginning long feeds are normal. My son used to feed for 40 mins a side at least. When they get a bit older they become way more efficient and then it becomes more like a 5-10 min feed. You'll get there. original.gif

Edited by alphawife, 22 July 2010 - 10:42 AM.

#3 sjm218

Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:51 AM

My baby did this, and it was a pain, but there is a big positive here. Your baby is all ready differentiating between day and night and the big long day feeds are what she needs to sleep longer through the night.

My DS got longer and longer sleeps at night and once this settled down, he started to get faster at feeding in the day time and more regular. It just takes time to settle down.

It sounds like you are doing a great job, keep it up and just enjoy it as a lovely bonding time. It doesn't last, I now have a very fast feeder and I miss those long and relaxed feeds. Now it is like a race!!

#4 Guest_JazzCat_*

Posted 22 July 2010 - 11:05 AM

Hi, my this post brought back memories! Sounds like you're doing a good job and NOT running out of milk so please don't worry about that. The first few weeks my supply was all over the place, they can go through a little growth spurt at 3-4 weeks and again about 6 wks, this is hard work but great for your supply.

If you start on the left side let her drain that side, then switch to the right. Next feed start on the half full right side, let her drain it and then offer the left. and so on. Second the kellymom website - awesome.

It does get easier, my bub is nearly 4 months and can drain a boob in less than 5 mins. The early weeks are so draining (pardon the pun) but it really does go so fast in hindsight.

Sounds like you're doing a fab job! Keep it up!

#5 Guest_missmeow_*

Posted 22 July 2010 - 04:04 PM

All sounds normal. You are doing really well.  tthumbs.gif

I had this as well and things have settled down for us around the 6 week mark.

#6 PreachersWife

Posted 22 July 2010 - 05:46 PM

Sounds just about right! If she is falling asleep on the breast and then waking as you put her down, you could try keeping her up for 10 -15mins (so about an hour altogether) AFTER she's fed before you put her down. Try a nappy change, or even just a kick on the floor with no nappy to wake her up. Or going outside if its not too cold, or even looking out the window at the trees (my DD loved this).

And you sound like me with my milk! As PP have said, your body has worked out what to do. Its feels wrong now, but in a few weeks it it will be great, no more leaking between feeds and not wearing a breast pad so much! Although it took me about 7 months to feel confident not wearing a pad when I went out in public!

You could try a sling etc. during the day if she is grizzly, that way she feels close to you and you can get a bit more done. But really, the most important thing is you and her, don't worry about dishes etc and just feed her if that's what she needs.

Take care, try not too worry - this too will pass!

(Also, I used to put a hair elastic around my wrist to remember which side to start on next. The LC that I saw used to say that BF was like going out for a meal. The first side is entree and main, and the second is dessert. You have most of your meal on one and then a little (or sometimes nothing at all) on the other.)

#7 swimmingalong

Posted 22 July 2010 - 06:16 PM

All sounds like a normal growth spurt to me

on or around

1 week
3 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks
16 weeks
20 weeks

and a few more after that.

Bub needs to feed/suck more in order to stimulate the breast to make more milk, so that there will be enough after the spurt...

#8 lucky 2

Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:19 PM

As far as I can tell, she is sucking & swallowing for the majority of the time she's on my breast, so I don't think she can possibly be still hungry after 1 hour 40 minutes, can she?

I suspect she is not actually drinking for all of that 1 hr 40min feed, she might be sleeping a lot on your breasts.
I think going to have a bfing consult on Tues is perfect, having someone watch her feed and interpret what she is doing.
In truth she "could" be still hungry after her feed as it is not the length of time but how the bub feeds that is more important. Another bub could feed for 30 mins and drink could more milk than your bub at the long feed, she may be sleeping a lot and perhaps tricking you, she may suck but not swallow (although it is normal for bubs to have a sleepy time on the breast towards the end of the feed but if they go into sleepy mode too quick they can theoretically underfeed and not settle after most feeds).
If she is doing this but still having lots of pale wee and 2-3 or more yellow poo's then she is getting "enough" and is well.
Until the bf assessment you could bf bub and if her eyes are closed and she slows down then try gently squeezing your breast with fingers and thumb (breast compressions) rhythmic about once per second, this helps milk flow and can prompt bub to actually start to drink more, will speed up the feed, make it more efficient. Some newborns need this as they are a bit snoozy on the breast.
Most bubs feeding efficiently/well will complete a feed under or close to an hour.
What I have written is not negating pp's comments about growth spurts and the rest, the compressions and good bfing management will help whatever the other issues are, whether growth spurt, or normal newborn behaviour (ie at 4 weeks crying per 24 hours is increasing and from 3 weeks on bubs that would allow themselves to be "put down" start to refuse to be put down (I call it "cot allergy"!)), so it is probably a mix of all of these things, and things will change with time and help/support.
All the best.

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