struggling with breastfeeding

by John in Thailand

My wife is struggling with breastfeeding. Our baby girl is one month old. She has gained weight from 3.7 to 4.5 kilograms since birth at our one month check up yesterday. The problem is our baby seems unable to sleep for more than an hour if she isn't being held in my wife's arms and have her breast nipple in her mouth. We have pumped some breast milk and tried to feed her that way and even fed her some bottles of formula. This seems to work better as far as sleep for our baby (and mom)but my wife feels that if she doesnt wake up adn at least pump breast milk every 2 hours then her production will decrease. My wife is crying often know since she feels worn out emotionally from the demand. I've tried to tell her to put the baby down next to us and just let her cry since we fed her well, burped her, her diaper has been changed, and she is fine when she is connected to her nipple. My wife can't last very long when the baby cries and picks her up. This is going to spiral out of control and I care so much for them both. What can I do???

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May 09, 2012
by: Tracy

Hi John

Oh, I feel for you guys, I know what its like, my little girl is now 11 months old and was just as demanding. She now still wakes up three to four times at night to breastfeed.

This is a common thing, but before you know it, it will be over and your life will regain some normalcy soon.

Is your wife still taking her prenatal vitamins? This will help prevent depression, which is also extremely common for mom in the first few months after the baby's birth.

You know, it sounds like you guys are doing great even though you might feel like you are not. Great job so far.

Since you have already introduced a bottle to baby, you can just as well try giving baby a pacifier. This can help during the evenings that she wants to constantly breastfeed. This will give mom a break.

Having baby in the bed with you guys will help your wife with sleep, let her breastfeed and then when she seems to drift off, you can just remove moms nipple and replace it with a pacifier.

Read more on co-sleeping here

Mom does not need to pump through the night necessarily to keep up her breast milk supply. She could pump twice and this should be sufficient. If she feels her milk supply does drop she can drink a cup of herbal tea in the mornings. Here is a recipe that I use. (if your wife is on any meds, first ask your doctor about taking the herbs)

Also another thing that can help baby stay fuller longer is if mom breastfeeds her from only one side with each feeding. This will ensure that baby drinks more of the fattier hindmilk (the milk that is released later on during a feeding). If baby has been very colicky, this could also remedy some of her gas problems (which could be the reason for the constant crying)She should switch breasts with each feeding, making sure to pump the breast that baby does not breastfeed from.

Read more on foremilk /hindmilk imbalance here

Hope this helps
Let me know how things go

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