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Thread: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

  1. #1

    Default Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    Hello all,

    I have a 4 week old baby boy who has recently been very fussy at night. He is breastfed -I've supplemented expressed breastmilk in a bottle probably 3 times since he's been brought home from NICU. He's had history of jaundice, was in NICU twice within the first two weeks after birth (total of 3-4 days) and was given bottles of ebm there. Now that he's been home for almost two weeks, I've only supplemented with ebm about 3 times. Yesterday I had to do an errand so Mother in law (lives out of town and came to help) watched him and gave him 2-3oz of ebm while I was gone (I was gone for only an hour, and had breastfed him right before leaving!).

    I feed on demand if not every 2 hrs. He usually latches and feeds for 5-10min on each breast, on some days 15min on a breast. Produces wet diapers at each feeding, and poo diapers almost at each feeding. Weight gain is good per pedi. Was born 6.14lbs, and as of yesterday at pedi's office was 9.9lbs.

    The issue:
    Recently, during the evening he'll feed off both breasts averaging 5-10 min each breast, sometimes 10 minutes on one breast alone, then will fall asleep. I would wake him up to feed on second breast, or switch back and forth between breasts when he gets fussy. I'll burp him, change his diaper, etc when he fusses, then place him back on breast which he cries and pushes away...but he still roots and looks for the breast/nipple! This goes one for awhile. Last night it took 3 - 4 hrs for him to actually calm down and sleep, and that was because I supplemented with 1.5oz bottle of expressed breastmilk since I didn't know what to do anymore. Within that 3-4 hrs I was back and forth trying to breastfeed him and calm him down since I was avoiding supplementing with bottle. He would feed until let down, get upset, unlatch and cry. Gave him a break and would repeat process. Letdown would come again and he would be fine, drinking and doze off for 2-3min and then wake up crying. I would try putting him back on breast, he'll latch, suck for few seconds, get mad and cry as if he' not getting enough milk as he wants out of the breast.

    The question:
    Any idea what's going on?! I was thinking he acts like this at night because he doesn't get enough breastmilk as he would like, therefore fusses?

    Side notes:
    I pump when I can, just so I can stock up if I need to be away from LO for sometime. I usually pump after his feeding, and usually at night (I did pump yesterday night, gave him that ebm for him to sleep..could this be the culprit?). I also have been using mother milk tea and lactation cookies so increase supply since I was worried of under supply at beginning, since then I have reduced mothers milk tea and stopped eating cookies, could this drop my supply? Should I continue using lactation supplements?


    Sorry for such a long post! And apologies in advance if what I wrote is confusing!
    Last edited by @llli*namily; August 19th, 2015 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Forgot to add something!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    2-3 oz of milk while you were gone for am hour is definitely over feeding him, especially if you nursed right before you left. Pumping this early could be leading you to over production which leads to over active let down which could explain the detaching. Babies this age are fussy at night, likely due to biology. Back in the cave days, evening and night time were dangerous since predators came out at dusk. The high need to nurse ensured mom would not leave baby vulnerable.

    I would suggest that if baby doesn't latch, he's not hungry and to try again in 15-30 minutes. While waiting, try other soothing techniques like walking, swaying, rocking, singing etc.

    Why are you away from baby? Work, errands? Why can't baby come with you?

    When baby falls asleep do you set him down? Do you bed share? Where does baby nap and spend most of his time? Why do you wake him up if he sleeps after one breast?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    A mother either makes enough milk for her baby to gain normally, or she does not. If she does not, then she has low milk production (unless the problem is the baby does not nurse well enough to transfer milk normally.) If she does, then there is no problem with milk production. There is no such thing as part time low milk production.

    Normal, healthy newborns nurse very frequently day and night because they are biologically compelled to do so. It is important to allow/encourage them to do so. Separations are best avoided or minimized. If mom and baby are separated, then steps have to be taken to make sure there is frequent milk removal and proper, breastfeeding supportive feeding of baby during those times.

    Fussiness is 100% normal, especially when it happens at a particular time of day, and especially if it is in the evenings.

    Unnecessary supplements, even of moms own milk, are very harmful to breastfeeding. Unless you are separated from your baby and cannot nurse, or you baby is not gaining normally, supplements are unnecessary.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 19th, 2015 at 12:41 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*midnightsangel View Post

    Why are you away from baby? Work, errands? Why can't baby come with you?

    When baby falls asleep do you set him down? Do you bed share? Where does baby nap and spend most of his time? Why do you wake him up if he sleeps after one breast?
    I was away for an errand and didn't think he would wake since I just fed him before leaving. I knew max I would be gone was an hour. Most likely will be the last time I will be doing that! MIL is here to help since I have a toddler under 2, but starting next week, it will be just me and my 2 kids. I gave MIL 1 oz just in case he would wake and told her to feed via breastfeeding supportive method (had her watch the video), and yet she said he was still hungry and 'gulped' another 1.5 oz (btw, she's an advocate for formula and bottle feeding despite the pros I've told her about breastfeeding! ).

    I'll set baby down in his crib after maybe 15 min of falling asleep. He'll usually wake up soon after, which I'll put him back on the breast until he falls asleep again and then set him down within 10 min. Sometimes I'll have him in his rocker which he seems to be more content in. I'll wake him up after sleeping on one breast if I think that he didn't get that much out of my breast. For instance he'll have active suckling for 5 minutes, fall asleep with passive suckling and then unlatch - all within maybe 10 minutes, then I'll burp him and switch to other breast.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Fussiness is 100% normal, especially when it happens at a particular time of day, and especially if it is in the evenings.
    Do you know why it is that baby fusses at the breast, but when given the bottle will drink? Is it the uncontrolled milk coming out from the bottle? I just feel that he seems hungry since he shows behaviors of wanting to eat, but wont want the breast, then when given the bottle, he drinks! So fustrating.

    Thanks for the replies!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    Baby doesn't have to work as hard to get milk from the bottle and if it's not given in a specific way, baby can't control the milk like he can at the breast. It's like when we go to our favorite restaurant. We eat a huge meal and we are full and content but then you glimpse the dessert and you can't help yourself. To an observer, it seems like you're really hungry right? But you normally wouldn't eat that way every day. The observer might assume you do eat like that every day and try to offer you the same amount of food every meal, if not more. Your stomach will eventually stretch and you'll get used to it, but that's not a good thing, right? Can you see how bottle feeding can be like that?

    Babies usually like to be held whole they sleep. I know you have a toddler, so have you tried using a sling or carrier? You can have hands fir toddler while baby nurses and naps to his hearts content. This will also take the focus off of his "snacking" and maybe make it less of a problem. If he can latch on and off as he likes while you tend to your other child, he can get your supply to where he wants it and you don't have to bend over backwards to get him full all at once since I imagine it's hard to dedicate an hour or whatever at a time to nursing with your toddler running around!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    Is it the uncontrolled milk coming out from the bottle?
    Maybe, as midnightsangel explains, unlike a bottle, it takes a little effort to get the milk to start flowing out of the breast, by nature's brilliant design. But my point is it does not matter. Fussing is normal. Not wanting to nurse every time it is offered is normal. Acting hungry but then not nursing is normal. Needing to cry and fuss for a bit and then settling down to nursing is normal. These are all 100% normal behaviors as long as they are not interfering with your baby being able to get enough milk, and you tell that by weight gain and output (poops.) As long as your baby is gaining fine, resist the urge to give baby a bottle, and then you will never feel as if the bottle is somehow 'preferred" by your baby. There is no way he actually does not want the breast, as biology compels a baby to nurse. But if you keep giving your baby a bottle when he fusses, you are in danger of inadvertently training your baby to bottle feed and un-training him to breastfeed. This is what is known as nipple confusion, and it destroys breastfeeding.

    If a 4 week old is really unable to nurse well and often enough to gain normally, then that is something to see a lactation consultant about. A bottle will not solve that problem and only worsens the situations.

    To help baby be happier at the breast, be sure to nurse at the earliest cues, in fact, no need to wait for cues. A calm baby takes the breast better. Once baby is already crying, they may become too frantic to latch and nurse well. Also experiment with different nursing positions that may be more comfortable for both of you. It is early days, you are both still trying to figure this whole breastfeeding thing out. So be patient with yourself and baby. This will help you feel less frustrated.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 19th, 2015 at 05:46 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    Thanks for the replies ladies.

    It's been 3 consecutive nights he's been acting like this, and I know it's supposed to be normal, but at night it is just me putting my toddler and infant to sleep (husband in military and is gone for time being). It's so stressful that I think it may interfere with letdown or milk production. Im trying to put my toddler to sleep while having baby latch on and nurse to sleep. My daughter (toddler) has been used to wanting someone sleep next to her, she fidgets with my arm while trying to sleep and accidentally bumps baby, then he starts crying and fussing so my daughter doesn't sleep either and I get upset. It's been taking me 2 hours to put her down-even for a nap when it used to take 20-30min. It literally takes me 3-4 hrs to put baby down to a good sleep (sleeps for 1-2 hrs and wakes for feed) at night, heck even in the day time. Sometimes I just want to give in and give him a bottle because that's what it seems like he wants. Is this considered a high needs baby? It's getting to me mentally and emotionally to a point where I just broke down and cried last night.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Baby wanting more than body can produce at night?

    It is always so very hard when you have a young toddler and a newborn. There is no way that a baby this age can "want" a bottle. However, if a bottle is really the only way to settle your baby, or keep you from going nuts, I am certainly not going to tell you not to do it. Just please, stop thinking your baby can prefer a bottle. Unless a baby cannot nurse normally, there is no way this is can happen. What can happen is that bottle feeding can eventually create situation where baby cannot nurse normally. So just try to keep the bottles as infrequent as you can and, at the same time, do not allow yourself to feel in competition with the bottle. If you give one, it is to help YOU cope. It's a tool, not a replacement. Right?

    For bedtimes, here is what I suggest.
    1) Unless your toddler needs to get up in the morning well rested and alert for something important, which few toddlers do, maybe just move bedtime back later, or in any case, do not stress that your toddler is not getting to bed "on time."
    2) Lay back propped up on some pillows in the bed so you can nurse baby while snuggling your toddler on the other side of you, while reading, singing, telling a story, whatever the bedtime routine is. Another idea is to side lie to nurse your baby while toddler lays on other side of you. There are probably several variations to try.
    3) Look at toddler's nap routines to see if an adjustment there might help.

    Is this considered a high needs baby?
    "High needs" is not a medical term. You can think of your baby as high needs if you like, but there is not reason to think there is anything unusual going on, as this is all entirely normal behavior for a 4 week old baby.

    It's getting to me mentally and emotionally to a point where I just broke down and cried last night.
    I am really sorry. All I can say is again, this is what the newborn period looks like. This is why moms need help during this period, especially if they have other kids to care for. If your husband is away frequently, it may be time to seek help or more help from other family members or friends.

    Again, I am basing what I am saying on the fact your baby is gaining normally and does not appear ill. Sometimes there really are health issues causing unusual behavior in a baby and of course you want to rule anything like that out. But the fact is that normal, healthy, well gaining babies of this age nurse very, very frequently and need to be held most of the time. So that in and of itself does not indicate a problem with breastfeeding or your baby's health.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 21st, 2015 at 06:23 PM.

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