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Thread: baby won't nurse long enough

  1. #1

    Default baby won't nurse long enough

    Hi!
    I am new here, just finished posting my very short introduction.
    My baby is 12 weeks old so I am not sure if this is the right place to post, since he will be 3 months old this Sunday.

    My problem is that for the past weeks his behaviour while breastfeeding has changed: he feeds for a very short time (5-7 minutes the first breast, 0-5 minutes the second) and then turns away. If I try to gently turn his face back to the breast he starts to cry. There are times when he will take the bottle, but most of the times he doesn't want to eat anymore and just wants to be left alone (and by this I mean he doesn't want me to hold him in my arms).

    From reading other threads, I understand that every detail is important, so here are our details:

    My son was breastfed ever since we came home from the hospital. There was the occasional formula supplement, especially in the early days, when my milk was not always enough. But now I have enough to feed him during the day and lately I have started to pump and freeze the extra milk. I always double-weigh him so that I know exactly how much he eats. This is why I know he isn't getting as much as he should for his weight and age. He was born at 3.8 kg and is now 6.3 kg. I read that they should eat 150ml/kg/day. This means that my son should be eating around 950 ml daily. Still, he only eats 700-800 ml. He eats 5 times a day, every 4 hours. I have tried offering the breast more frequently, as my doctor suggested, but he just isn't interested and tries to play instead of feeding. He is not sick in any way, nor has he ever been (no fever, no cold, no stuffy nose, no ear pain, no colic even). He is in a good mood throughout the day, very chatty and playful and has been sleeping through the night since 2 weeks (from 10 pm to 6-7 am). This is why we do not cosleep.
    The only time he eats a full meal (180-200 ml) is when he wakes up in the morning. My breasts are usually engorged and sometimes leaky and it doesn't take him too long to feed. So, even though he still follows the same pattern (feeding for 5-7 minutes on the first breast and half the period on the second), he still gets enough milk and I usually get to pump another 100-150 ml after that. I use that milk to supplement whenever necessary throughout the day or freeze it at the end of the day.
    Lately I have started to pump after every feeding, especially when he feeds like a newborn (80-120 ml/session) and there is a lot of milk left in my breasts. Unfortunately, I only have a manual pump, which takes forever to empty my breasts. It is nothing compared to the suction my son provides when he wants to. I would really like him to go back to breastfeeding properly and not be forced to buy a better pump.

    My doctor keeps telling me to stop weighing him, but it is too much stress for me not knowing how much he ate, even though I cannot force him to eat more than he wants and he just gets annoyed and then infuriated if I keep trying to feed him.

    It makes me really angry to see him pull away from the breast and sometimes even smile and coo at me but not wanting to breastfeed. This usually makes me feel stressed at feeding times as most of the sessions end in me giving up and leaving the room while my husband takes the baby to burp him and play with him and/or put him to bed. I know there is no way to stay mad at your own baby and everytime I see his smiling face I forget it all, but then it starts all over again.

    I have read all the articles on nursing strikes, but they keep referring to older babies, most of them already being fed solids and some of them having some sort of health problem (teething, a cold, ear or throat infection etc).

    Every one of your answers will be greatly appreciated. I am sorry about writing in "ml" and "kg", but I don't know the correspondence in "oz" and "lbs".

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    Congratulations on your new LO!!! first off where are you getting that your baby should be taking 150ml/kg/day? I suspect that this amount is for formula fed babies who take more formula as they get bigger. This is becuase formula never changes- it is always the same composition. Breastmilk however changes as you get further post partum so a 12 week old baby and a 5 month old baby take about the same amount of breastmilk. The general rule for breastfed babies is 1 to 1.5 oz per hour (sorry not sure the conversion). I suspect that your LO really is getting full and just doesn't need to nurse any longer. I think that you actually have a little bit of an over supply. these links may help.
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough-milk.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enoughmilk-older.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html
    Jessica

    Moma to DS1-the monkinroanie (3/09) and DS2-the sweet pumpkin (5/12)
    Strong Women- May we have the delight of knowing them, the courage to be them and the privilege of raising them.
    And yes I know my spelling terrible (is that spelled right? )

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    818

    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    1 to 1.5 oz per hour is 29.57 to 44.36 ml per hour. That's all a breastfed baby needs no matter what they weigh
    Melanie

    Mom to
    Matthew born April 2009
    Jonathan born March 2011
    loving and

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Texas
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    375

    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    with previous poster - and that last link is especially good. It really does sound like your baby is getting plenty, which is great news! According to the calculator, baby is taking in just the right amount at 700-800ml - again, great news!

    Are you noticing a significant decrease in wet/dirty diaper output? If not, and your baby's weight gain is normal, I'm going to have to agree with your doctor: stop weighing him. It's going to drive you crazy

    I know how tempting it can be to try and quantify breastfeeding in any way you can - there are just so many unknowns about it. That doesn't bother a lot of women, but it makes others (like me!) nearly cross-eyed with apprehension. I'm very accustomed to being able to measure and assess things, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing things right. Having to simply assume that my baby was getting enough milk was REALLY hard for me during the first several months of nursing. I'll tell you a secret: I used to weigh diapers. Each diaper. Every diaper. I kept estimates of urine output vs. stool output for longer than I'd care to admit ! I didn't feel like my scale (postal scale) was accurate enough to record pre/post feeding weights, otherwise I would have done that, too! It made me feel like I had a little bit more control in a situation that left me feeling helpless and in the dark on a lot of fronts. (The light at the end of this tunnel was that I finally felt better and more confident about our nursing relationship at about 5 months or so...no more worrying)

    If your baby is happy (sounds like he is!) and healthy (sounds like he is!), and he doesn't have any weight gain/diaper output problems, then you're really better off trying to relax and trust that things are going well and as they should. It's not worth getting frustrated with your baby over. Really and truly

    p.s. I read your intro and just wanted to tell you that, if you're not a native speaker, your English is incredibly good!

    ETA: it's also completely normal for babies to decrease the duration of their nursing sessions after the newborn period, because they become more efficient at milk removal. My daughter went from 35 minute nursing sessions to 10 minutes within about a week. Can you guess when I started weighing diapers?
    Last edited by @llli*firefly; May 2nd, 2011 at 07:36 PM.
    Elizabeth, mama to Lillian - 10/03/10


  5. #5

    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    Thank you, Jessica, Melanie and Elisabeth! You were very helpful.

    I did read the thing about 150 ml/kg/day in a child care book, but it was about formula fed babies. Whenever they talked about breastfed babies they kept saying that the main thing to check for is that the baby is content after feeding, so there was nothing more specific than that. But my baby is always happy, even when he doesn't get much out of my breasts (usually at the last feeding of the day, around 9pm).

    There is no LLL in Romania and there is also a growing trend for mothers here to give birth by C-section (elective C-sections are allowed and even encouraged by most doctors) and then feed formula to their children, even though we have 1-2 years paid maternal leave and most women stay at home with their children long enough to breastfeed them. Every excuse to quit breastfeeding is usually welcome. There are also no lactation consultants. The only advice I got from a nurse before leaving the hospital with my newborn was to breastfeed lying on the bed because my breasts are too big to nurse sitting down (size F in Europe, I think it's triple-D in the US, not sure about that). Aside from that, they just told me to offer the breast to the baby and unlatch him if it gets too painful and have him try again until he finds the best position. They also tend to immediately feed the baby formula after birth (the nurses never brought me the baby to breastfeed during the night and I assumed they fed him something from 10pm to 7am).

    Thank you, Elisabeth, for complimenting on my English. Most young Romanians have at least a decent command of the language and this is mainly because the movies shown in theaters and on tv are not dubbed, but instead have subtitles. That and the fact that it is usually taught in schools from the second grade. (Sorry for being so much off-topic with this paragraph).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    You are doing a great job!!! Your baby is eating exactly the right amount. Now put away the scale and try to relax. The best way to determine if baby is getting enough is to keep track of wet diapers. If you are getting 5-6 per day you are doing fine.

    How often are you pumping? If I were you I would stop pumping. It sounds like you may be encouraging your body to produce MORE milk than is needed and while it sounds like that isn't a problem at the moment it could lead to problems eventually.

    You said you use the pumped milk to supplement during the day as needed. What makes you feel supplementation is necessary? To regulate your supply it would be best if you could just put baby back to your breast rather than giving a bottle.

    ETA: I know it's tough not knowing exactly how much baby is eating and not having total control of baby's input, but your body is doing a great job. Trust it to nourish your baby unless there are signs that indicate there is a problem.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  7. #7

    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    I am usually changing his diaper before every feeding, so 5-6 times a day. They are usually quite wet and they would probably be even more so if I could catch all his pee in a diaper. But he usually keeps a "load" for when he is out of the diapers.

    I am pumping whenever I feel my breasts still full after a feeding. Usually every morning after the first feeding and sometimes even after the second.
    I started doing this because I am trying to build up a "stash" in the freezer for a few days next month when I know I won't be home to feed him (I have my highschool reunion) and I will be leaving the baby with my mother.
    What do you mean by future problems if I encourage my body to produce more than it's needed? I think there is still a long way to that.

    What makes me think that supplementations are necessary:
    My baby does not comfort-nurse. He only eats and then unlatches and wants to "chat" or play. He used to fall asleep at the breast when he was less than a month old, but now he usually stays awake for the entire feeding. Whenever he is not getting enough he keeps trying to suck until my nipples are sore. He sometimes gets angry and starts hitting me with his fists. If this goes on for more than 10 minutes I usually wait for a good moment to unlatch and go heat up some milk from the fridge.

    I tried not weighing my baby for an entire day but it drove me crazy trying to figure out if he stopped sucking because he was full, because I didn't burp him long enough for him to realize that he wasn't in fact full or because he just wanted to take a break and then start again.
    I will probably stop weighing him soon enough because he is getting to big to fit inside the scale. He seems to enjoy being weighed and I think he sees it as some sort of ritual before a feeding, just like changing the diaper. There was one time when I didn't want to change his diaper before the feeding because I wanted to take him out for a stroll immediately after and thought it would be better to change him after the feeding. The poor guy wouldn't feed until I changed his diaper. He just stood there and looked at me not sure what to do.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: baby won't nurse long enough

    I don't think you have a problem! You have an efficient nurser who is content after feeding as much as he wants. . Try to stop worrying and feed on demand and enjoy your baby!
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

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