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Thread: Tell me about blockfeeding!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default Tell me about blockfeeding!

    So...I think I have an oversupply issue. DD is commonly gulping like a mad woman at the beginning of a feeding, and sometimes gets a little flustered later on when the flow seems to have slowed! I've recently had some issues with her spitting up large amounts, when I asked her ped., they asked how much she was feeding, if she was gaining weight (YES! The ped. at her 2 week appt. asked if I was feeding her concrete!), etc. etc. She said it sounds like it might be oversupply and to try to only feed her for a shorter amount of time (I can't bring myself to do that when she's still crying and seeming hungry!). Also, when I pump, which I do after a feeding on the breast DD didn't feed from), I generally get between 3-5 ounces on that one breast.

    Now, my question is this, I'm thinking of block feeding, and I've found DD doesn't spit up as much and she seems full still! But, I'm a little confused by this whole block feeding thing. I understand that for about 3 hours if LO needs to feed, she gets the same breast all those 3 hours. Then, after that, I switch and for those next 3 hours she gets that other breast...?! But...I'm wondering, if she only eats once in a 3 hour period, do I still switch at the next feeding? And at night when she sleeps for long periods of time if it's been more than 3 hours from the last feed, do I switch breasts and then count 3 hours from when I began nursing her on that breast?

    Also, will this cause issues like low supply?

    Any other suggestions / insights?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*ns1 View Post
    So...I think I have an oversupply issue. DD is commonly gulping like a mad woman at the beginning of a feeding, and sometimes gets a little flustered later on when the flow seems to have slowed! I've recently had some issues with her spitting up large amounts, when I asked her ped., they asked how much she was feeding, if she was gaining weight (YES! The ped. at her 2 week appt. asked if I was feeding her concrete!), etc. etc. She said it sounds like it might be oversupply and to try to only feed her for a shorter amount of time (I can't bring myself to do that when she's still crying and seeming hungry!). Also, when I pump, which I do after a feeding on the breast DD didn't feed from), I generally get between 3-5 ounces on that one breast.

    Now, my question is this, I'm thinking of block feeding, and I've found DD doesn't spit up as much and she seems full still! But, I'm a little confused by this whole block feeding thing. I understand that for about 3 hours if LO needs to feed, she gets the same breast all those 3 hours. Then, after that, I switch and for those next 3 hours she gets that other breast...?! But...I'm wondering, if she only eats once in a 3 hour period, do I still switch at the next feeding? And at night when she sleeps for long periods of time if it's been more than 3 hours from the last feed, do I switch breasts and then count 3 hours from when I began nursing her on that breast?

    Also, will this cause issues like low supply?

    Any other suggestions / insights?
    To clarify...If she eats from the left breast at 1:00...then from 1:00-4:00 she will eat from the left breast...
    BUT THEN...
    from 4:00-7:00 will she eat from the right breast? (What if she only eats once during this time...then I'm essentially just alternating as normal between left and right breast...)
    OR...
    from the next time she eats (say 6:00) will she eat from that time +3 hours from the right breast (say 6:00-9:00)?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    652

    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    With my ds we did just semi block feeding. I would only feed on one side each feed. He usually ate every two hours at that time, but if he went longer or slept for a while or what not I still just alternated which side every feeding. Or if he went shorter and needed to eat again in an hour I still just alternated which side at every feed. I it did not lead to undersupply but I have heard that block feeding can. And is there a reason you are pumping after she eats? It seems like that would continue to increase your supply.

    Maybe you have already read this link, but it is helpful http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html
    Ds 9/09 nursed for 20 months

    Dd 12/11 nursing a toddler again

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nsm View Post
    With my ds we did just semi block feeding. I would only feed on one side each feed. He usually ate every two hours at that time, but if he went longer or slept for a while or what not I still just alternated which side every feeding. Or if he went shorter and needed to eat again in an hour I still just alternated which side at every feed. I it did not lead to undersupply but I have heard that block feeding can. And is there a reason you are pumping after she eats? It seems like that would continue to increase your supply.

    Maybe you have already read this link, but it is helpful http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html
    I am returning to work when she's 8 weeks and would like to build up a supply for that and to get her used to bottles before then as well.

    I kind of like the idea of the semi block feeding...it just seems a little...safer!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    I tried block feeding in 2 hour increments, but had the same problem you did, my LO only ate once in that block. I ended up adding an hour, and then another, so I was doing 4-hour blocks. I was trying to get at least 2 feeds per side. My blocks ended up being 8am-noon, noon-4pm, 4pm-8pm, etc. His green poo and painful gas went away after about a week, and after about a month (once my breasts were not rock hard all the time) I went to semi-block feeding, and now I'm able to feed him from both sides and switch normally. I had no issues with undersupply. Hope that helps.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    How old is your baby? "Oversupply" or engorgement can be very common in the two-four weeks when your body tries to figure out how much milk to make for this baby. It can resolve by simply nursing very frequently, positioning differently (nursing uphill) and letting baby nurse only one side per feeding if that is all they want/need. Scheduling feedings, even 'soft scheduling' (thinking, "it's only been an hour, she can't be hunger YET!" and so putting off the next feeding) can increase the issue of oversupply.

    Pumping that frequently will certainly increase your supply. Pumping will create/exacerbate oversupply problems. If you have normal supply or oversupply, by pumping you are telling your body you have more baby then you do, if you know what I mean. You are telling your body to make more milk than your baby needs. Yes of course it is a good idea to build up a stash for your return to work, but how much do you really need? Just enough to give you peace of mind should pumping at work not go great at first. So, maybe enough for 2-3 days? But there is likely no need to have a large amount in the freezer.-I assume you will be pumping at work and that (what you pump each day at work) can be what baby can have the following day. The 'stash' is for emergencies only. If you can not or were not planning to pump at work, that is a different issue entirely.

    Also, how many bottles is baby getting? If baby is getting a bottle instead of nursing, then the next time he nurses, there will possibly be a big buildup of milk in the breast and that will cause/make worse the forceful letdown-firehose effect. Also, bottles introduced at a very young age can possibly cause various nursing issues. Again, depending on the babies age and how long you have before returning to work, you might want to consider backing off on the pumping and/or bottles for just a bit. Some moms introduce bottles before returning to work and some do not. There are pros and cons for to both of these but they are both valid ways to handle it and how readily babies will 'take' to bottles once mom returns to work is extremely individual and difficult to predict.

    Remember that letting your breasts feel full by either block feeding or not nursing frequently will reduce your supply. If you have a tremendous supply that is causing nursing issues, than this of course is a good thing. But if your supply is actually normal, and you are just having typlical early days milk production that SEEMS like oversupply, then artificially reducing your supply can hurt in the long run. Again, many mothers find supply will naturally regulate to some degree if they nurse frequently-when either mom or baby wants to.


    The kellymom article on oversupply linked above is very good, I like that it has methods for handling oversupply besides block feeding. I also like this article and it's simple ideas for approaching block feeding. There is no one size fits all block feeding method and I think this describes well how to individualize your approach. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ggrimacing.pdf

    This article, about what is normal and expected in the early days with a breastfeeding baby, may be helpful as well: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing.html

  7. #7
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    My baby will be 4 weeks old on Monday, so I assume this could just be some overproduction in those early weeks that might work itself out.

    I'm trying to be good about letting the baby eat whenever she seems hungry...but commonly this is only every 2-3 hours.

    I do find that she seems more content when she eats from just one side at a feeding...even if I have to put her on that side again after unlatching. Then a lot of what she seems to do is that "non-nutritive" sucking, which might be where she actually gets a lot of the hindmilk from...when I try to offer the other side often times she gets overloaded with milk quickly and tends to fuss spit up lots almost immediately! Where I'm concerned about doing some sort of block nursing or always switching breasts at a feeding is when she wants to feed shortly after a previous feeding...(usually at night...maybe just a comfort sucking thing...but still). In these instances I feel it might be best to use the "previously used" breast so she gets more of the hindmilk since she's probably already gotten a lot of the foremilk...and if I offer the breast she didn't take last she may not take a lot of it...therefore just getting a lot of foremilk and not getting to the hindmilk...only to have me switch breasts yet again at the next feeding, where again she'll be getting even more foremilk! I guess I'm just kind of playing the switching breasts thing by ear now based on what I feel like she really wants / what is "in" each breast at that moment...but I'm worried doing this is going to be detrimental to my production and may just be kind of stupid altogether...?!

    And, just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply I'm pumping after every feeding! I am only pumping once in the morning after feeding - but when I do that I pump on the opposite breast of the one my DD nursed from!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tell me about blockfeeding!

    Thanks for clarifying about the pumping. OK so once a day is not going to affect things that much.
    Where I'm concerned about doing some sort of block nursing or always switching breasts at a feeding

    OK here is where you lost me, as these are two diametrically opposed nursing strategies that have the precisely opposite result. Switch nursing (nursing both sides per feeding) is meant to increase milk supply, and block nursing is meant to decrease it. If a mom has normal supply, neither of these strategies are necessary. So, I wonder if simply backing off the switch nursing would help the issues that look like oversupply?

    Breastfeeding is just not that complicated. Nurse your baby as you and your baby like. As long as you are nursing frequently overall (AT LEAST 8-12 times per 24 hour day) and not feeling engorged or overfull on a regular basis, your supply should be fine. (That feeling of being engorged or overfull is telling your body to decrease milk production.) (Also, a time will come when you will not feel full between feedings-and this is normal and does NOT mean you have ‘lost your milk.’ This is important to remember!) Unless the forceful letdown is interfering with breastfeeding or your baby’s comfort, it also is not anything you need to worry about. (Spitting up is normal and not a problem for most babies, although certainly not fun for whoever “gets it.”) If you think forceful letdown or oversupply IS causing issues, and you are concerned about doing something that affects your supply, why not try some of the strategies from teh kellymom article for helping baby handle the flow and see if that helps before trying block nursing? You can always try block nursing when/if you feel it is necessary.

    And not to beat the dearly departed horse, but I have seen many nursing issues-including forceful letdown/oversupply- improve when moms nurse more often overall. You do not have to wait until baby is hungry to nurse. You can offer to nurse as often as you like. In fact, by encouraging more ‘cluster nursing’ you may even set the stage for baby to take a longer (say, 4 to 5 hour) break each 24 hour day. If that happens when you want to sleep, so much the better. (No guarantees here, but cluster feeding for a few hours with longer breaks in between is a very common nursing pattern for these early weeks.)

    Is nursing comfortable for you? I don’t just mean, does it not hurt, I mean, is it really comfortable? It should be! Many moms nurse in positions that cause discomfort somewhere in their body-usually, neck, shoulders, back. This can really affect a mom’s contentedness when nursing, as you can imagine. There are lots of ways to improve your comfort when nursing should this be a concern.

    Also, please allow me a moment on my soapbox about “Non nutritive nursing.” This is a huge non-issue. It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine! Breastfed babies nurse for comfort AND nutrition. (And formula fed babies are given a breast substitute-the pacifier, to comfort 'nurse' on.) Whether it is called 'non-nutritive’ or 'nursing for comfort' or ‘letting baby fall asleep at the breast’ or 'using mom as a pacifier'-this is all describing something that is normal and healthy infant behavior! This behavior is normal and expected and even biologically necessary. The only time this idea-of baby nursing for comfort rather than food- is potentially an issue is if milk transfer is not happening at all or enough and baby is consequently not gaining weight or losing weight despite nursing frequently. And even then, the real issue is whatever is causing milk transfer to not happen, not that baby is nursing “for comfort.” In the case of an obviously healthy, well-gaining baby like yours, it is something you need not even think about.

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