Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Newborn grandson eats eats eats

(98 Posts)
Louisa62 Sat 25-Mar-17 21:47:19

Hello lovely Grans
My daughter is desperately sleep deprived as her baby son eats so much and sleeps so little. He's 15 days old and doing very well but my daughter is frighteningly exhausted. Any ideas? I've suggested fresh air, using a papoose to give comfort instead of food sometimes and ensuring he's warm enough when he's away from her touch. Apparently it's all about 'responsive feeding' now but how can this be sustained? Help!

Ana Sat 25-Mar-17 21:50:58

My advice would be to leave your daughter to deal with her baby herself! Of course she's exhausted, all new mums are.

Louisa62 Sat 25-Mar-17 21:54:11

Thanks Ana. I am standing well back so no concerns there. My daughter has chronic fatigue syndrome which doesn't help her.

Bibbity Sat 25-Mar-17 21:55:36

A newborn stomach is the size of a cherry. It's perfectly normal for frequent feeding.

Please do not under any circumstances make any comment that could sound like this isn't normal.
It is. And right now she could be hormonal, in pain and exhausted. I understand as her mum this must be hard to watch. But right now she needs you to just be supportive. And that means not questioning her at all.
I would be money on the fact she's read up on BF and knows what's going on.
She will have a midwife who she can ask any questions of regarding BF.

Bibbity Sat 25-Mar-17 21:59:56

I hope the picture attaches.

As you can see their stomachs hold very little and BM is digested quickly so they do need refilling quiet often.
Then there's the joys of cluster feeding.
Add colic and the need for comfort feeding and you can easily spend the majority of the day with a baby attached.

Norah Sat 25-Mar-17 22:11:53

Is it possible to be a help to your daughter?

The best I could do to help my exhausted daughters was take lunch and dinner daily, keep their home clean and tidy, do the beds, laundry. Groceries. Just the easy things.

Maybe you could find ways to make your daughter's load lighter?

emmasnan Sat 25-Mar-17 23:40:27

Has she spoken to a breast feeding counsellor, they can be very helpful and reassuring.

paddyann Sat 25-Mar-17 23:48:51

can she express milk and let someone else feed every second feed or so while she grabs some sleep.My son was 12 weeks premature he was a terrible feeder,we constantly tried to get any milk down his throat and eventually the doctor cut a large hole in a teat so the milk flowed better as it was his sucking reflex that was underdeveloped,he weighed 2 and a half pounds at birth at 4 months old he was 8pounds and at a year just under 15 pounds,yet he seemed to always have bottle stuck in his mouth,I couldn't BF ,no milk because of stress.Maybe your new baby has a sucking problem so he isn't taking enough to satisfy him and then needs fed again quickly.I'd get someone to check it out.Hope he settles and does well

ElaineI Sat 25-Mar-17 23:55:54

My daughter is going through the same - 2nd baby 6 weeks old. As others have said the stomach of a baby is tiny and BF babies absorb the milk quickly. Feeding constantly and cluster feeding is how the baby increases the milk supply and it means Mum is mostly a milk machine for the first few weeks. My DGD is gaining about 10ozs to 1lb a week (sorry still think in lbs and ozs) but my DD constantly worries she is not producing enough milk! Her 1st was the same though he was 9 weeks early so had a lot of catching up.
Amelie DGD had a tongue tie which was cut 2 weeks ago which has helped but every time there is a growth spurt it is still constant feeding.
There is an app (if your daughter is tech savvy) about growth spurts. If she can source the nearest breast feeding clinic the midwives/health visitors will check the latch is ok and weigh the baby to check weight gain. Other mums in the same position can help loads - is she signed up with mums net? Also advice from La Leche league and the NCT is good - online or by phoning local support.
DGS who is now 3 settled with swaddling (he was the preemie) and we bought Ewan the Sheep - a cuddly sheep with womb sounds or music, sold in Amazon/Boots etc and he slept with this (still at 3!) There is also My Hummy which is similar and plays womb sounds for an hour. There is a similar app for iPhone and probably android phones too.
My daughter co-sleeps with the baby - though Amelie prefers to sleep on mummy same as her brother.
As Norah says the best you can do is practical things and provide food and drink and possibly keep the iPad/phone charged for her!
Even tonight I have had a message asking why Amelie can't settle in her crib beside mummy and not on her 6 weeks in! Lots of reassurance needed! She is giving your DGS absolutely the best start ever but it is totally exhausting and so worth it in the end. Best wishes.

M0nica Sun 26-Mar-17 09:14:36

My DS was a non-stop feeder. He weighed 9lbs at birth and for the first 3 months put on 1lb a week and he fed and fed and fed.

It was exhausting. All I seemed to do was feed him and sleep. My solution, probably total anathema these days, was to introduce a very small quantity of solids, a couple of teaspoons of very sloppy cereal and milk, at about 2 months before each feed. This took the edge off his appetite for breast milk, although he still seemed to consume gallons!

At night, I picked him up and fed him the moment he started waking. As soon as he stopped feeding I laid him straight back in his cot; no winding, no changing, no cuddles. I did this in the dark, to inhibit waking, that way he never properly woke, ate less and by six weeks slept through the night, which gave me a good nights sleep and some respite as well.

At six months I decided I had to have more in my life than feeding him, recuperating and feeding again and I weaned him onto a bottle.

The irony is, that at 18 months after a 24 hours with a raised temperature, he lost his appetite completely and for the the next 10 years, was a picky eater with a small intake. then puberty struck!

At 45 he is still a big eater (not overweight) and fit and healthy.

Grampie Sun 26-Mar-17 09:37:34

Show the father how to help so mum can get some sleep and the father can bond with his daughter.

cornergran Sun 26-Mar-17 09:39:33

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is fatigue like no other and is relentlesst, so I can understand your worries about the extra exhaustion of new baby, Louisa. I agree, if you are placed geographically to help with practical things and your daughter is happy for you to do that, us Mums must assume of course, that could help. Maybe do some batch cooking for their freezer? Is your daughter worried about the fatigue? If so a chat with a specialist regarding breast feeding with CFS sounds essential. There is good advice here and I know there will be more. Your daughter' general health is important and I can understand your worry as she is dealing with more than breast feeding a tiny one. Best be guided by her, lots of reassurance and unobtrusive help where you can plus maybe gentle encouragement to get support from appropriate sources. Wishing you all well.

IHaveAFabulousDIL Sun 26-Mar-17 09:41:41

Norah has the answer. I know it must be awful for you to watch but it is totally normal. Your Dd will be fine, and this won't be the only thing that worries you. Keep on loving and her and helping where she will let you. It will pass.

Sparklefizz Sun 26-Mar-17 09:42:27

Louisa62 The big consideration here is that your daughter has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so is already in an exhausted state before adding a new baby into the equation. I have CFS myself so I know how that wall of tiredness can hit. Other Grans have suggested giving as much practical help as possible which sounds ideal, and if she could express some milk so that someone else could feed the baby while she slept through, it would help.

whitewave Sun 26-Mar-17 09:45:11

This time next year you will have something else to worry about. All perfectly normal with babies and children. I wouldn't do any more than offer perhaps to take baby out for a stroll in his prom to give your daughter a 5 minute break, I certainly wouldn't give her any cause for concern that there is anything wrong, because there isn't!!

westieyaya Sun 26-Mar-17 09:45:43

My daughter has gone through exactly the same with darling granddaughter, now 8 months. Accepting that things are very different now to 'my day' 40 years ago, I researched everything so that when she felt like it I could discuss pros and cons with her. This has worked really well for us, my next hurdle is helping her come to terms with going back to work in a few weeks, any advice?

Dodgey52 Sun 26-Mar-17 09:48:37

Those first few weeks are exhausting for new mums. Breastfeeding is all about feed, feed, feed. Just support her, if she needs anything offer to do it. Cook a meal, give her a cuddle, tell her she's doing a great job. Dont tell her what to do or how to do it, just keep an eye on her mood and listen to her.

GlamM Sun 26-Mar-17 09:49:23

My DIL had her first son last year. A big boy born 9lbs. He was permanently attached and in the first 2 weeks she collapsed- in order to keep the breast milk coming and give her the rest so so badly needed ( terrible birth huge blood loss stitches etc ) she pumped , I fed him. Result was a baby that was happy full healthy and a mum that was able to recover quickly and get back to feeding sooner for longer. He maintained this feeding pattern allowing daddy +nannies to get involved. When she had to go back to work last year after 9 months off it wasn't a shock to him as he was used to the bottle and having nana be there. I do respect and understand every person is different. See what she needs. as she has chronic fatigue syndrome things are enhanced so a medical back up may be needed. She is blessed to have you care for her and the baby x

trisher Sun 26-Mar-17 09:50:44

Just be there Louisa62. If he's the sort of baby who only sleeps when he is held offer to hold him, doing exactly as she instructs and handing him back when she says. Ask what you can do. My. DIL eventually came to trust me after GC1 because she realised I was only going to do what she wanted. So she could safely hand baby over and go to rest knowing I would wake her if she was needed and not try to keep a crying baby simply to prove something to myself.
It does get better, although it seems at the time you are stuck in a very deep pit.

moobox Sun 26-Mar-17 09:51:03

Mine found going out to socialise during each day helped with the daytime grind. Relaxing with other mums at all these baby activity groups that seem to abound these days meant the baby could just feed all the time while she chatted. That doesnt help at nights though, and CFS might make it harder to leave the house

Greyduster Sun 26-Mar-17 09:56:57

Can only agree with what others have said. New babies are exhausting and new mums worry non stop which makes it even more exhausting. Do the little domestic things if she'll let you (mine was reluctant to let anyone do anything at first but she caved in eventually). Even expressing so that dad can do the odd feed is helpful for both of them. If baby is eating well, that is something to be thankful for.

Madgran77 Sun 26-Mar-17 10:06:34

My son was the same for the first 4 months. I was totally exhausted. I survived. It helped that my mum rang me regularly, came to see us for weekends bearing food and meals to freeze, listened, gave advice only when

crystaltips46 Sun 26-Mar-17 10:07:56

Is she eating a balanced diet and drinking enough? Is she stressed? Both will affect her energy levels and the quality of her milk. Milk comes through slightly watery at first every time they feed then the more nutritional milk comes through. If she is not producing enough of that milk to satisfy him he will want to feed more often. I had this problem when my second child was born as my 2 year old would be disruptive every time I fed the baby which resulted in me becoming tense and the baby not able to feed properly. (I ended up bribing him with treats so I could have peaceful feeding times!) At 2 weeks old I would expect her son to be feeding at least every 2 hours anyway. She needs to do nothing else but attend to her babies needs. Everything else in the home to be done by husband, family and friends.

Jalima Sun 26-Mar-17 10:19:41

Frequent feeding does increase the milk supply and he will be taking larger amounts soon. The suggestion re expressing so someone else can feed him in the night is a good one - I'm not sure but I think it's possible to hire a breast pump.
DS was a very hungry baby and gained weight rapidly.
Is the midwife still visiting or a breastfeeding specialist?
However, you need to reassure her that, if she decides not to continue with breastfeeding, baby will be fine and she must not be bullied into continuing by 'specialists' if she feels unable to do so. It is no good exhausting herself even more if she has chronic fatigue syndrome as it will not be good for her or for the baby.

Do whatever you can to help with cooking, washing etc.

Jalima Sun 26-Mar-17 10:21:37

Yes, crystaltips is right - the baby needs to get to the more satisfying 'hind milk' so needs to be encouraged to take longer feeds.