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Baby constantly hungry

Hi all, just looking for a bit of advice really.

I have a little boy who was born prematurely 6 weeks early. He's now 11 weeks old/5 weeks adjusted age and whilst he's always been a good feeder, is now constantly hungry.

I breastfeed but use a nipple shield as my nipples are small and because as he was born early he hadn't developed the sucking reflex and the shields helped him to latch initially but now he is dependent on them. As great as they've been (we couldn't have BF without them) they're incredibly messy and unsubtle which means I'm not comfortable feeding in public because we always both end up with milk all over us and my boob needs to be out for a while getting the shield on and off, so I've been expressing to feed him when we go out.

Until last week I had 10 5oz bottles in the freezer as back up and he's gone through them all this week! He's also feeding every 1-2 hours day and night and I'm pretty exhausted. I know my milk supply is good as he's gaining 7oz a week (due to being prem he's weighed weekly) but I feel I can't leave him and have no 'me' time because I'm constantly feeding and have no respite in between feedings to express and leave him with my OH so I can go out with friends etc.

I'm very tempted to supplement with a couple of formula bottles a day just for a break but OH is incredibly against it - I'm just at my wits end and need a bit of a break! It could just be a growth spurt but he's been like this for a week! Does anyone have any advice before I turn to formula? X

3 Replies
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I would say it's a growth spurt (usually every 4 weeks) if you want to BF I'd persist, if you supplement with formula your supply will go down as it is all about supply and demand. newborns also cluster feed, it's exhausting but it's temporary so there is light at the end of the tunnel!! Will he not feed at all without the nipple shields? X

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Thanks for your reply :) How long does a growth spurt tend to last? I'm so tired!

I've just tried him without a shield but my nipples are so small compared to the shield he can't stay on... we've tried a few times and he really tries bless him but I think we're too far down the line with the shields and he doesn't understand any different now sadly. X

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Sounds like cluster feeding due to growth spurt. Tends to last a few days/couple of weeks. It will settle but as embiemomma said if you want to continue bf you need to continue feeding/expressing as your supply needs to build up with his needs.

As re small nipples baby shouldn't only be getting the nipple tip on feeding but also areola/breast. Maybe check if there is a breast clinic at your sure start centre/lactation clinic etc so they could give you tips about it

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