Feeding all the time
My 9 week old daughter seems to feed all the time during the day and has done ever since she was born. She will only ever go for about 20 minutes awake without wanting another feed; then we will have a play or nap and then she'll signal for another feed straight away as soon as she wakes (no matter how long the nap or when the last feed was). I have had my latch checked by various people and told it is correct and she is gaining weight and developing well. She is 90th percentile so I realise she needs a lot of food, but is this normal and is there anything I can do to get her out of this constant feeding, because it means I cannot do anything without being on demand for more milk?
At night she usually goes about 3 hours before she wakes hungry, sleeping from about 8am - 8pm, so waking 3 or 4 times each night - which is exhausting for me! I have tried waking her early to feed her before she wakes herself but it does not extend her time between feeds.
Is this normal for a 9 week old? And does anyone have any advice about how I can improve my situation please?
Re: Feeding all the time
This is very normal. My son did this until he was about 3 mo. old. At that point, he started going 20 min to an 1 hour between feedings during the day and a little longer at night. Breastmilk is very easy to digest and our infants stomachs are very small, meaning that they take in small amounts, often. It will get easier as your LO gets older. Your doing a great job!! Keep up the great work!!
Re: Feeding all the time
I know you're tired and probably feeling really drained... But the behavior you describe is absolutely normal for such a young baby. The first 3 months outside the womb are often referred to as "the fourth trimester" because the baby is still so underdeveloped (in comparison to the young of other placental mammals), and therefore requires intensive feeding and care. That means you can expect almost non-stop feeding and frequent night-waking.
The best thing you can do about the issues you're having is to roll with the frequent daytime feeding and find a way to maximize your sleep while the night-waking is part of your life. I promise you that your baby will not always feed every 20 minutes. As she gets older, larger, stronger, and more alert, she will be able to get her meals faster (leaving more time in between feedings) and she will also be interested in things other than nursing. Once she discovers what an interesting place the world is, she will spend more time watching it and trying to interact with it, and less time simply hanging out on you.
The level of night-waking you are experiencing is normal and even moderate by some standards- many babies wake far more than yours. Mine did, the little stinkers! :p If you're not co-sleeping and feeding in the side-lying position, I would try doing that, because it can enable you to feed the baby without waking all the way up. During the daytime, I encourage you to nap with your baby, if possible. An hour of sleep here and there can make up for a lot of lost sleep at night. Finally, I would pick up a copy of Elzabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for a realistic look at infant sleep and breastfeeding-friendly, baby-friendly approaches that may encourage longer stretches of nighttime sleep.
Still early days, mama! It's going to get better, I promise. :)