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Thread: 4.5 month old snacking eater

  1. #1

    Default 4.5 month old snacking eater

    I have a 4.5 month old who is exclusively breast fed and growing very well.
    He takes bottle when I'm at work (EBM).
    He had been starting to eat a lot more at night, so my pedi suggested I feed him more during the day, so he eats basically every 2 hours. (Play, eat, nap, eat - cycles last from 3-4 hours depending on nap time, play time).

    I am trying to get him to eat more from the breast, but he prefers to snack, eats 5-7 minutes, one side only, then maybe an hour later he is hungry for more, does the same thing. When I offer the second breast, he turns away, or latches then pops off, sometimes he cries, looks like he is hungry, eagerly latches, then pops off and whines. HE spits up with almost every feed and has good burps. This does not help him want to nurse more thought.

    My nanny is giving him approximately 4 ounces before and after nap which takes him about 30 minutes to feed with a slow nipple, he doesn't fuss and usually does not want more than that.

    Not sure what is going on or what to do. I am taking mothers milk plus and drinkin water and feel like my supply is good, I have pretty good let down. Sometimes he coughs because it comes out too soon. Not sure if it is reflux, he doesn't have a problem when he eats in the beginning, and he is thriving well.

    Any advice to try and get him to feed well every 3-4 hours instead of snack? I've tried keeping him off for 3 hours and even then he snacks instead of eats a big meal. I'm going back to a different work schedule which will necessitate me to feed him very well in the morning and then leave for a long time, and I want to make sure this feed goes well!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    dear mafiaqueen,(cute name btw),
    your LO might be less fussy at the breast if you offer only one side for any given 2 hour period. So if he has a 5 minute feed and then looks to nurse again an hour later, offer the same side.
    You probably have an excellent milk supply, your LO is wetting, soiling and gaining weight.
    3 to 4 hours between feeds is not realistic for a breastfed baby at this age.
    every 2-3 hours is closer to what occurs in reality.
    he might be willing to space his nursings out to a two hour stretch between feedings if he gets one side per feeding. that allows him to comfort nurse and suckle deeply rather then struggling to suck, swallow and breath with the initial let down from both breasts.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*esthervegan View Post
    3 to 4 hours between feeds is not realistic for a breastfed baby at this age.
    every 2-3 hours is closer to what occurs in reality.
    Breastmilk digests very quickly and very easily, which implies that it's more natural for babies to eat small amounts more frequently than larger amounts less often.

    My parenting philosophy basically falls along the lines of "watch the baby." I don't subscribe to any of the recommendations like "play, eat, bath, nap" or "eat, TV, play, cry, eat..." or what have you. My LO and I are happier having a more relaxed attitude towards our routine (NOT a schedule, but a routine). Each day is a little different, but follows a similar arc. Some days she wants to "snack" frequently like you described your baby doing, and some days she wants to settle in for long nursing sessions. If I think about it, I'm the same way. Some days I feel like eating less more frequently, and some days it feels good to stuff myself with a giant dinner and fast between meals. I don't see why I should expect any different from my baby.

    The same is true for her play time, when we go for walks, getting chores done, running errands, etc. I watch her energy levels and follow her lead as well as I can. This probably doesn't work for everybody, but I like it for us.

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    As long as weight gain and diaper output is good, then I don't see snacking as a problem. My eight month old will often eat 12-13 times in 24 hours. He was waking all the time between four and five months, but he actually ate less frequently (presumably more at a time as he was gaining a pound every one to two weeks at the time!) back then. Thus, I'm not convinced that eating larger "portions" during the day will help with your sleep situation. My little man started sleeping longer on his own without really changing his eating habits much.

    Is it possible that the coughing at letdown is because of over active letdown? I have OALD and when my son was that age and getting more efficient at nursing, he was capable of filling up on one breast in five minutes (even less sometimes). I was worried about him getting enough at the time, but once after a three minute nursing session he popped off the breast with milk running out of his mouth so I stopped worrying. If it is OALD, then nursing while reclined can help with the coughing.

    I think he will naturally adjust his eating habits when your work schedule changes. When I'm working, my son nurses like a mad man whenever I'm around. When I'm off, he's more interested in playing and will eat just a little then move on to whatever happens to catch his eye. Personally, I wouldn't worry. I really think these things just fall into place if you just let them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    "Snacking" is actually a very healthy, very normal eating pattern for a baby, particularly a young baby like yours. Breastmilk digests quicky, so most babies eat frequently. Fast feedings are also entirely normal at this point, because by 4-5 months most babies have become quite efficient nursers. The fact that your baby generally takes only one breast is also in the range of normal, particularly when you have an abundant supply, and it sounds like you do because your baby is still coughing when your milk let's down.

    Night-waking is very challenging, particularly when you're working. But even so, I don't know that there's anything I would do to try to change his eating pattern at such a young age. I suggest taking a look at Elzabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for tips on getting your baby to sleep more independently and for longer stretches without resorting to harsh cry-it-out or scheduling methods.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    It sounds like your baby is doing fine. I have a snacker (5 mos. old) who sounds a lot like yours.

    Truly blessed by God
    Wife to Will
    First Time Mom to C 2/18/11
    Made it 6 Mos. EBF Now enjoying BLS
    My baby is a year old now!

  7. #7

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    thank you all for your advice! it is nice to know he seems normal! very reassuring.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Wink Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    My son (5 months) sounds exactly like your LO as well! Snacks all day long. Was worried at first because he went from a long nurser...40-60 min every 2-3 hrs! To now 5-10 min every 1-2 hrs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Orange County, CA

    Default Re: 4.5 month old snacking eater

    I have a snacker also! I don't remember DD being as much of a snacker as DS is.

    Proud mama to
    Kaitlyn Ann 12/23/07 - 7 lbs., 15 oz.
    Jackson Thomas 1/16/11 - 9 lbs., 3 oz.

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