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Thread: "Snacking" baby

  1. #1

    Default "Snacking" baby

    My LO is 8 weeks today. He is exclusively on breast milk, mostly by breast. He gets 1 pumped bottle most days, and on the 2 days I work he gets bottles all day.

    He is a snacker. He eats little bits all day long--every hour, sometimes sooner, sometimes up to 2 hours. Even at night he will only go 3 hours, rarely 4, more often 1 1/2 or 2.It's making me crazy and hurting my breasts. At this age, he should be having 3-5 ounces every 3-4 hours, not 1 ounce every hour!I can't seem to make him take more at one time...nor can I stretch it out between feedings without screaming hysteria for an hour or more while he waits. He is gaining like crazy, nearly 1lb per week.

    He does the same whether it's breast days, or mom-at-work bottle days. And he hates/refuses the pacifier.

    He does have reflux, but that is under control. He's no longer eating so often to control reflux pain. (Zantac, chiropractor, gave up dairy, etc.) He naps and sleeps really badly because he's constantly waking up to eat...an ounce...then tired again...

    Anyone know of any sort of book or professional who can get this kid on a better eating/sleeping schedule? My pediatrician and my lactation consultant don't believe in schedules. They both tell me "He should be eating more, less often," but they also tell me, "If he's really crying for food you have to give it to him even if it's only been an hour." Well, that's the problem! There is no way to reconcile those two suggestions!..

    Getting desperate. I've had no sleep in 2 months now, and no down time during the day as he rarely naps more than a half-hour as he always wants to snack again. WHAT do I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    At this age, he should be having 3-5 ounces every 3-4 hours, not 1 ounce every hour!
    Says who? Your baby is only two months old and still has a tiny tummy. Between 1 & 3 ounces would be a perfectly normal intake per nursing session. Also a baby normally comforts at the breast, this is a normal and integral part of breastfeeding. He may take more with a bottle, but that is because babies routinely overfeed with bottles, for many reasons.

    If you had really had no sleep in two months, you would be actually dead rather than just feeling that way, kwim? New motherhood is overwhelming and exhausting no matter how a baby is fed, and having to work as well at this point makes your situation more difficult. But your childs eating habits are entirely normal. You may know other 8 week olds who feed less often, but that does not make what your baby is doing "wrong."

    Prescribed feeding schedules & sleep training have been proven to cause poor weight gain in breastfed babies and low supply in breastfeeding mothers, I suspect that is why your LC and doctor don't believe in them. As far as them telling you that your baby “Should be eating more, less often”-Clearly, your baby has other ideas about it, as many do. I assume weight gain & development are good? So this is normal. A 2 month old is not feeding this frequently for fun. He is doing so because he NEEDS to.

    Not that there is nothing you can do!
    You may be able to increase how much you baby takes at each nursing session by trying breast compressions. See http://www.lowmilksupply.org/compression.shtml You could also try nursing more when you are awake to try to help lengthen sleep times when you are trying to sleep.

    What other comfort measures have you tried? Baby wearing? Rocking, walking baby down, etc? Do you have someone to help you comfort baby when you are just done?

    For mommy survival, I suggest: Short naps are better than no naps. Napping some days is better than napping no days. Going to bed early may mean you get more sleep overall even if baby wakes frequently. Can you give baby to someone else and have a little extra lie-in on non-work days? Do you bedshare? Many moms find that bedsharing helps them get more sleep, and this will also often lengthen baby’s naps. You can check out the askdrsears website or Attachment parenting Interantional for safety tips when bedsharing.

    New moms often try to do too much. Life can be very simple for right now and that is OK. Remember your baby will be this little and needing you this much for only a very, very short time: motherhood is long, but babyhood is short. This will get less intense, all on its own.

    The best book for dealing with sleep issues, in my opinion, is The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. However, again, for a baby this young frequent nursing is normal, often necessary, and even more important if mom is separated from baby and pumping part of the time and baby is having bottles part of the time. Separations can lead to low milk supply and breastfeeding issues and the best way to counteract that is by nursing frequently when mom and baby are together.

    Many moms feel 'done' and perhaps a bit worn out at the breast after, say, a long evening of frequent nursing, but truly sore, painful nipples are not likely to be caused by a normal frequency of nursing. Usual causes are a poor latch, which, if not an issue before, may be happening now due to the introduction of bottles, and also nipples can be made sore by ill-fitting pump flanges, or improperly working pumps. You could troubleshoot your pump and try different positioning or latch techniques. Keep using a nipple cream like purified lanolin if that helps.

    This article gives great tips for bottlefeeding the breastfed baby so as to help avoid many of the pitfalls of bottles: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    Welcome and congratulations to making it to 8 weeks of breastfeeding! If you've gotten this far, I am sure you can reach whatever breastfeeding goal you have in mind for yourself and your baby.

    It sounds like your biggest problem is your expectations about what your baby "should" be doing. I am not sure where you got the idea that your baby should be eating 3-5 oz every 3-4 hours, but it doesn't really matter where you heard it/read it, because it's completely false. It's a very old, very discounted idea about infant feeding based on the eating patterns of formula-fed and rigidly scheduled babies.

    Here's why scheduled feedings do not work:
    1. Infant tummies are tiny. You cannot cram 3-5 oz into a tiny tummy without your baby being willing to ignore his own satiation cues.
    2. Breastmilk digests rapidly, usually in only 90 minutes or so. A baby who cues to be fed after 1-2 hours is hungry.
    3. Breastmilk supply is equal to demand. If you reduce demand by scheduling feedings or trying to stretch the time in between feedings, your body interprets that as a sign of lowered demand and responds by reducing supply.
    4. Breastmilk storage capacity differs greatly between individuals. Moms with high storage capacity can routinely go long periods between nursing sessions without having their supply go down. Moms with average storage capacity or below-average storage capacity cannot go long periods without their bodies reducing supply to a level which is below the infant's needs.
    5. Babies will increase their feeding frequency when an increase in supply is necessary. The frequent demand you are experiencing may be a sign that your baby needs more milk, or is going through a growth spurt.
    6. "Snacking" is a normal and healthy eating pattern for a baby, and is particularly normal for a very young baby like yours. Frequent small meals help blood sugar stay nice and even.

    I am sure that none of that is what you want to hear! But I truly believe that the absolute best thing you can do right now is to adjust your expectations and continue to feed on demand. Don't look for a book or a professional who can "help" you get your baby on a schedule. The only way to do that is for you to ignore your baby's cues and your own intuition about what he needs. However, I do suggest getting a copy of Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for an informative and realistic look at infant sleep patterns, and for suggestions on gentle ways to get your baby sleep longer and more independently. Now is a terrific time to read it because Pantley advocates waiting at least 4 months before trying to change an infant's sleep patterns.

    Finally, can you tell us what you mean when you say the baby is "hurting your breasts"? Even the most frequent eating pattern should not result in pain. If nursing hurts, that suggests that something is going on which may need attention. So let us know:
    - what sort of pain you're experiencing (stabbing, burning, tingling, etc.)
    - when you have pain (before feedings, after feedings, when latching baby on, etc.)
    - anything else you see which you think may be significant (skin changes in the breast, cracks, blisters, redness, plugged ducts, misshapen nipples, etc.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    My baby ate every two hours until he was almost one! I think that's really normal.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    I'd LOVE every 2 hours! It's every 1 hour during the day, every 2 at night!

    First of all, this is NOT my first child. I know as much about breastfeeding as it is possible for a layperson to know.

    "Sleep when the baby sleeps." I do go to bed when the baby goes to bed. That is, at 7:30. Between then and 6:30am, IF I get 4 hours of cumulative sleep, that's a lot. 4 hours of sleep (broken up) for 2 months is significantly unhealthy for anyone, let alone a nursing mother. I'm not dead, but I'm not healthy either, as it's ruining my immune system. The baby naps for 15-30 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day, and I am not physically capable of falling asleep quickly enough to get in a nap in that period.

    "New mothers do too much," well, I cannot afford to quit my job (I work from home) unless I want to starve. I also have another child. I can't stop taking care of her. I do the bare minimum in terms of cleaning and cooking (my husband does almost all of it), there are no social or extra activities, all I do is take care of the two kids, work, and (try) to sleep. There is nothing else I can possibly eliminate, we are down to utter bare bones to try to accomodate my feeding/sleeping schedule.

    My baby perfectly well can eat 4 ounces at a time, and has done it from a bottle periodically when, due to a lucky long stretch of sleep or some other coincidence, he has not been fed for several hours. He has also emptied my breast during the same type of situation, and I know I always have 4-5 ounces in there. So his stomach can easily accommodate it.

    I have been to four different breast-feeding groups. Among the 20 or more babies the age of mine, only 1 was still eating every 2 hours, and none but mine were still eating every hour. Only 1 was only doing a 4-hour stretch at night, and none but mine were doing no more than 2 hours at night (the rest were at 5-7).

    It's hurting my breasts because the constant nursing is giving me massive oversupply. The baby stimulates my breasts but never finishes the milk, then they refill and refill. I get mastitis, and he gets nothing but foremilk. My latch is great, my positioning is great. I am just getting stimulated too often with too little milk taken out each time.

    My baby is gaining 1lb a week, which is far more than average. He has already doubled his birth weight. I'm really not concerned about poor weight gain. He could eat less than half of what he is currently eating and still have more than adequate weight gain.

    For God's sake, I'm not trying to starve or over-schedule the baby. I'd just like him to make it 2 hours between feedings occasionally. We are not all in the privileged position to be able to nurse 24/7 and remain healthy and sane while doing it.

    Breast compressions are not going to be helfpul--I have an oversupply and he has a strong suck, so believe me he gets PLENTY when he wants to. And fast--I have a very rapid let-down. I can pump 10oz. in 5 minutes easily (although I don't right now because I don't want more of an oversupply than I already have.

    Comforting him, yes, I have tried wearing him in various slings, we co-sleep, tried pacifiers, tried rocking, tried swaddling, tried swings. My mother is an early childhood development specialist and we have gone through everything in every repertoire known to man.

    I've read no-cry sleep solution. Dr. Karp. Dr. Sears. Baby Whisperer. You name it, I've read it. It worked with my first child. Not with this one. He eats all the time and almost never sleeps. He is exhausted because he constantly wakes himself to eat...so he can gain another 15oz. each week!

    I can't feed him in my sleep (I know some people can) and he won't eat while in any of the carriers we tried (3 or 4).

    So, given that I have too much milk (not too little), he is gaining too much weight (not too little), he is overstimulating (not understimulating) my breasts, there is no way for me to get more than 3-4 hours of broken sleep a day, I've tried every comfort measure known to man and nothing works but the breast, and I simply cannot survive any longer with feeding him for 20 minutes out of every hour round the clock, does anyone have any helpful suggestions that don't imply that I am being selfish or unrealistic? Because really, I can't keep this up. I'm not sure how anyone but a stay-at-home mom with no other kids and a housekeeper and cook could manage this schedule for any longer than I already have!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    But I doubt the one-hour pattern will last much longer in any event. Once you get out of those fussy early weeks, things tend to regulate themselves. I work and I don't have a nanny either. The first couple months, with sometimes around the clock almost-constant nursing are HARD. But they only last a couple months. It sounds like you're doing what you can to encourage more spaced out feedings, but these things don't happen overnight, you know?

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    My 12 month will sometimes eat just 1 oz at a time, or he will slam down 3-4 oz. He has been bottlefed from birth. So what you are describing is well within the range of normal. Out of all my kids, only one settled into an eat-every-2 or 3-hour pattern. One ate every hour for about 6-7 months, one ate at random times and then here is my fourth, who is a random eater too.

    It does get better. These first few weeks are hard, and especially so when your first baby read the book and settled easily into a routine. But not all babies will.

    I would work on side laying nursing myself. Maybe adjust his reflux meds. All four of mine had that.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting you are being selfish, but maybe trying to help you see that every baby is different and so your experience a second, third, fith or tenth time will be different...so your expectations have to be realistic. What worked for one baby won't work for another. This is why there are so many how-to books, and none work for everyone.

    IME, this will pass. At some point. It's hard getting to that point, but setting everything you can aside will help for the interim.

    ETA: I haven't had a good nights sleep in over 7 years, and for the last year, I have had to pump and bottlefeed, which is exhausting, you just do what you gotta do.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    Mama, we're definitely not trying to imply that you're being selfish! Most of us have been in your shoes or at least in similar shoes- really! And we know how frustrating and exhausting it is. I think we're just trying to say that what you're experiencing, while frustrating and exhausting, can also be entirely normal, particularly with such a young baby.

    A couple of things stand out to me from your posts. First, you mentioned that your baby has reflux but that it's now "under control". I don't know that I'd be so sure about that.. Babies often outgrow their prescribed dose of reflux meds. And frequent nursing and extremely interrupted sleep patterns are just so classic when it comes to reflux.

    The second thing that stands out to me is the oversupply issue. Oversupply is not caused by frequent feedings, or by baby failing to empty the breast. In fact, frequent small feedings are often suggested to moms who need to control oversupply! Oversupply is generally caused either by excessive pumping in addition to nursing or by normal hormonal factors: most women overproduce milk at first, but for some the overproduction lasts longer than for others. Oversupply would explain the extremely fast weight gain, and it also could explain your baby's issues with sleep and with reflux-y behavior. If you have oversupply, you often end up with a baby who takes in too much lactose-rich "foremilk", and the lactose overload can cause baby to have a lot of uncomfortable gas which can make him restless. Oversupply can also cause extremely fast letdowns of milk, which can also make a baby uncomfortable.

    Therefore, I think that if I were in your shoes, I would first go back to the doc and talk about reflux again, and second, I would consider the oversupply issue. If you can share with us a bit more about what'd going on with your supply, we may be able to help you trouble-shoot. For example, are you experiencing any of the following:
    - frequent engorgement or feelings of fullness
    - frequent leaking
    - still able to pump multiple oz with ease (could you still get 10 oz in 5 minutes?)
    - baby seems very gassy
    - baby produces poops which are consistently or frequently green or greenish
    - baby chokes, gags, coughs, splutters, or makes a "clicking" or "clucking" noise while nursing
    - baby frequently pulls off the breast while nursing
    - if baby pulls off the breast, you may see milk squirt or stream from the breast

    ETA: if anything in the oversupply symptom list looks familiar, check out this link: http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; February 26th, 2012 at 09:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    You obviously know your situation and your child better than anyone else. If you are concerned that something is out of the ordinary about your child’s behavior, I would suggest you trust those instincts. If you are not happy with your LC’s or doctors opinions, perhaps you want to seek a second medical opinion.

    Even with the further information given in your second post, most of my original thoughts and suggestions would still be the same, based on my knowledge of breastfeeding and baby behavior, which I think is reasonably extensive but I would certainly not say I know as much about breastfeeding as it is possible for a layperson to know. I gave so many suggestions in the hope some would work for you, not in the expectation that they all would. If not one of my suggestions or the other suggestions here and those in a wide variety of baby care manuals work for you, I am very sorry, and I am sorry you are so frustrated.

    Based on what you wrote in your second post, I have two more thoughts: 1) Maybe your child has food sensitivities or some other medical issue that is causing him to wake and nurse so much. This is very rare, but it happens.

    2) Oversupply: (EDIT: mommal beat me to it Perhaps gastrointestinal discomfort from oversupply induced forceful letdown is causing the frequent waking and comfort nursing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: "Snacking" baby

    I would try block feeding to control the oversupply and see if that helps.
    Mama to five beautiful kids- 9, 8, 3, 2 and currently nursing our new baby girl born 1/20/2013

    "It should not be necessary to tell reasonably intelligent mammals to suckle and not dismember their neonates." ~Susan Blustein

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