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Thread: Demand feeding, how does it work?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    98

    Question Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Hi there, some of you may remember me posting quite a few times a while back re OS/OALD. Well my baby is 8months old now and nursing is going much better! She doesn't generally refuse anymore, although will only nurse when she is ready, if I offer when she doesn't show signs of wanting to feed, then she doesn't tend to take any. She still chokes quite a lot, but will pop on and off quite happily until let down has stopped. I nursed D1 until 2 and half years old with similar problems, she self weaned when D2 was born(sadly for me). I fed D1 on demand but her demand followed a regular pattern each day. By 8 months, she always nursed to sleep and always slept at the same time each day. I nursed one side per feed, if she ever asked to nurse between feeds ie if she was upset or a bit thirsty, I would offer her the side that she last fed on. Because her routine was so predictable, my boobs would always feel ready to feed as nursing approached (until i got pregnant again) but were not bursting. The problem that I am now having with D2 is that her nursing pattern is REALLY unpredictable, she nearly always wants to nurse to sleep but her sleeps are all over the place! I find it really difficult to get her to sleep for longer than 40 mins at a time during the day and she likes to nurse to sleep in the carrier and stay in it for her sleep. If I try to put her down, she immediately wakes up! Because of her short nap times, she tends to nap 3 or 4 times a day and I nurse her on one side only before a nap and the other side at the next nap. She didn't sleep well last night (we co sleep) so this morning I was really tired so decided to try and nurse her in bed before her nap so that I could get some sleep. She usually nurses and naps about half an hour after she finishes her breakfast, but this morning would only nurse briefly and then wanted to play with her sister. About an hour after, she wanted to nurse again, so like I said earlier, I nursed her in bed and I offered her the same side, as she had not nursed that well on it. She nursed really well and we fell asleep and she stayed latched on for about an hour and then came off and continued to sleep for another half an hour. She woke at 11.30am ish, usually she will nurse to sleep again somewhere around this time, but this morning, did not want to nurse then as she obviously wasn't tired and was not really hungry as she had stayed latched till 11am (because of my OS she still seems to get quite a lot of milk even when just comfort sucking). My left boob had therefore not been nursed on since 5.30am ish and she had not had that much off it then. By 1.30pm ish she is still not really interested in nursing as not hungry yet and not tired because of her long sleep, therefore I am getting really full. My 1st child didn't really snack, but always had big feeds. I am struggling to work out which side to offer her at the next feed after she snacks and also struggling to understand how my boobs can possibly adapt to such unpredictablility? I am sure that they are meant to be able to cope as is that not what feeding on demand means? Surely I should be able to go with the demands of my baby? Am I doing something wrong? Should I swap sides next time if she only snacks? I tend not to as i try to let her have a good feed on one side before swapping, thinking that if i swap too often, i will exacerbate my OS and she won't get so much hind milk. I think that my OS is as good as it is going to get. Is what I am experiencing normal? I kind of just can't get my head round how demand feeding works if your baby constantly changes what and when they demand. It seems that everything is ruled by when and how long she sleeps for, for the most part, she will not go to sleep without nursing, so if she isnot hungry when she is due to sleep or if She is hungry but not tired, everything seems to go wrong, she ends up being really tired but not hungry so won't go to sleep. Also if she takes a longer nap and stays latched, she the kind of misses out the next feed and my boobs are ready for that feed. Please tell me that it is not as scientific as it seems as I am getting really confused! One day, she has big feeds, the next day she snacks, thenext day she does half and half, one day she nurses 6 times and the next day 9! How does my supply adapt to that, I just don't understand. Also if I let her sleep in the carrier, she doesn't sleep for long but if I put her down she immediately wakes up. If I nurse her to sleep in bed, she sleeps longer but I can't leave her on the bed alone, if I move her she wakes up, I can't keep leaving my 3 yr old on her own for an hour or two whilst I nap(although i need the sleep). I feel very tied as she won't nurse unless everything is timed exactly right for her, I can't even get to the doctor or the dentist as I can't predict when she will nurse and if I offer before my appointment, she won't take it(which means if ican't nurse for another hour, I end up very full and she ends up tired and hungry). I can't believe that breastfeeding should be this restrictive? Sorry for the long winded post but it is really difficult to explain what I mean not in person. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    When I had one baby and one toddler, I would lock us all in one room in case I fell asleep.

    Can you not NIP? That is way easy early, and when I had two kids, it we t everywhere with them and it was much easier than pumping.

    I used to offer the same side to start a feeding or for snacks. The fat comes off the wall of the milk ducts faster and may fill baby up.

    The sleep isn't related to nursing. Some kids are lousy sleepers. My oldest was like you describe, and TBH, he slept better if we went places. So I went shopping a lot
    Susan
    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!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    45

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Hi, I am a first time mother to a 4 1/2 month old, so not an expert -- just thought I'd share that my baby varies a lot also in how much she eats on different days. It's getting slightly more regular but far from a schedule. I assumed this was due to varying needs/growth spurts as she grows and changes? In the first few months, I would just nurse her before I went somewhere even if she wasn't asking....will yours do this ever? Also, I nurse in public a lot or in the car. I would offer her the breast if I was feeling extremely full/uncomfortable or I would pump. I only ever woke her up to nurse 2 or 3 times when I was severely uncomfortable. My baby also doesn't have a predictable napping schedule and also sometimes struggles with being 'put down' to sleep. Sometimes I try to put her down anyway and accept that she may wake up, and other times I let her sleep on me once in a while. I usually try to get her to nap when she is tired, but if we have several failed attempts, I go on with the day - or sometimes I go on errands because she tends to nap in the car and in public which helps. I found that better than staying home and just spending an afternoon insisting that she nap since I can't make her nap anyway. Just my experience.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2012
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    98

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Yes I NIP a lot with baby in the carrier, but I can't nurse her in the dentist chair. Also I am starting work again and although I am a self employed Personal fitness trainer and she will be nearby, i can't nurse her whilst I am training some people, so there will be an hour at a time when I can't nurse her. I can offer right before and right after but she won't take it unless it is exactly when she wants it. I don't want to pump as worried about increasing supply and her getting nipple preference because of the OS problems. If I offer her the same side at the next feed, she will end up doing 2 feeds on each side because will not take the other side as will get loads on the first side.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    And she will adapt.

    And I have nursed in the dentist chair

    If you still have OS, two feedings off one side will help control it.
    Susan
    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    98

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    I think that my supply is ok as long as she nurses regularly. I don't know how to tell anymore, I always just seem to have unlimited milk which flows very fast no matter what I do, but we cope now. If she misses a feed, I get very full and then she struggles unless she is REALLY hungry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Ohio
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    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    My ds is only 11 weeks, so I'm no expert either, but I totally get where the frustration and confusion comes from. I have OS too, and just when I think I have things under control, he'll nurse like crazy one day and the next day I'm full and uncomfortable! My attitude has just been to go with it and realize the next year or so is going to be unpredictable! I would say just keep offering when you can; I hope our boobs eventually figure things out. And try to put things in perspective...it seems crazy and stressful now, but I bet it'll be so different in a couple months.
    Becky

    Mommy to Owen b. 4/20/12

  8. #8
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Thank you Brogers for understanding, it is so difficult to get across what I mean! Thank you for trying to put a different perspective on it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,607

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Block feeding and coping with OS/OALD is an art, not a science. Don't fret about variable demand frequency or making your blocks "perfect" every time. Biology and babies just don't respond to schedules and perfection. It sounds like you are still struggling with a lot of excess supply, and that has to be so frustrating after 8 months, when many moms are cruising along in the easier stretch of their breastfeeding journey! But you're awesome for continuing to work at this.

    Here's how I imagine you might be able to work things: let's say you need to run to the dentist for an hour. You nurse baby before you leave- if she will nurse. If not, have your husband or other caregiver come with you, and bring her to you to nurse if she needs it. That's how I did things until my kids were around 1, and could eat solids if I wasn't around for an hour or so.

    If she goes a long time without nursing on one breast, don't feel like you must offer it so that you don't mess up your blocks. Just offer her the better-drained breast, and think to yourself "Okay, that full breast is going to go an extra long time without being used. Baby may hate it when she has to nurse from it, but this very long stretch is buying me some degree of reduction in supply and that's all to the good for the future."
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    98

    Default Re: Demand feeding, how does it work?

    Thank you all for your replies. It just gets so confusing. If she spaces out her feeds, then I don't really block feed I just do single side feeding, but when she feeds close together or only snacks for the whole day, it gets confusing. I think how you put it Mommal, about thinking of the fullness helping, Is how I will have to look at it! It is just difficult getting the balance of staying full but not getting too engorged, which is difficult when I never know when the next feed will be. We have come so far, and I am truly not complaining, but I just wish things could be a little easier. She does actually enjoy nursing now and a few months ago, I would have given anything for that!

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