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Thread: Nursing cues

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Default Nursing cues

    My baby is 4 months old. What are signs of being hungry at this age? He sucks on his hands but that's not reliably a sign. He is cranky but that seems related to him fighting naps all day. I offer the breast and he usually takes it at that point.

    If he needs to BF 7-8 times a day (according to nursing moms companion) but doesnt seem hungry that many times in 24 hours, what should I do? He sleeps longer stretches at night and usually his last feeding is around 6:30 or 7. I am confused about nursing cues and how to fit in 7-8 nursing sessions in 12 hours or so when he's awake (usually up by 7:30 am and asleep for the night at 7:30 pm with one over the night nursing session). If he only nurses 5 times, should I pump to keep my supply up?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Every baby is different so its hard to say what his cues are or if they have changed. My son since birth has all ways licked his lips and raised his eye brows to let me know he was hungry. We BF a lot he likes to eat every hour and half to two ours 24 hours a days. He will only nurse five to eight mins before he starts unlatching and relatching. Normally Ill offer one breast for a full 10 mins before I change breasts. He normally repeats the same thing. When I talked to my friend her daughter eats twenty mins on each breast and has longer gaps between feedings. I wouldn't worry about how often your feeding him if he is growing how he should and having a good amount of out dirty diapers. If he is feeding when he wants for as long as he wants and is happy than maybe only 5 is what works for him.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    7-8 times a day-hmmm. Many babies this age nurse way more than that. That would seem to me to be the minimum amount you would want to see a 4 month old ebf baby nursing.

    When you say your baby is awake 12 hours a day, this is due to a really long overnight sleep stretch? 12 hours? That is a REALLY long sleep stretch.

    At this age, sleeping through the night is defined as one 5 hour stretch. Some babies may normally go as long as 8. Many will not even sleep 5. 12 hours at once would concern me, personally. I would be concerned not only about supply and even more concerned about baby getting enough.

    If weight gain is great, it may be fine. All babies are different. But here are some things to think about :

    1) is baby sleeping remotely from you (in another room)
    2) is baby getting a pacifier during the night
    3) Is baby being swaddled overnight?
    4) Is baby getting a 'top off' bottle at night.

    All of these things MAY lead to a baby sleeping longer when they would normally nurse and/or not having their cues during sleep noticed. Babies can and do nurse IN their sleep.

    Also if YOU are feeling very full or engorged, then your body is being told to slow down milk production. Again, this could be fine, maybe you are producing more than you baby needs. But it’s just something to know.

    Rather than pumping , I would first consider nursing baby at least once overnight, (oh OK I see you already do-so, maybe once MORE overnight, and definitely encouraging baby to nurse a little more during the day.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Thanks. Sorry- to clarify I meant by 12 hours that my son typically goes to bed around 7:30p. He always nurses at least once overnight around 3 am. He then goes back to sleep and gets up around 7 or 7:30a. 12 hours with one feeding. So for the rest if the 12 hours I have during the day, I have to fit in 6-7 feedings or feeding every 2 hours. Sometimes he will feed in 2 hours sometimes 3 or 4.

    I think what's confusing is that I am advised to feed on demand but that often does not translate to 6-7 feedings during the 12 hours he's awake. He is much more efficient during the feedings. If I nurse more frequently isn't that not nursing on cue?

    We co sleep (sidecar crib), do not swaddle and he rejects the pacifier.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    When he unlatches a lot, do you take it as a sign he's done? My son seems to do that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Nursing on demand doesn't mean ONLY when baby is obviously hungry. You can offer at any time if he really doesn't want it he won't take it. /if he is poping on and off a lot, be patient, decrease possible distractions. Even at 6 mo old my LO will eat nearly every time I offer even if it has been 30 minutes and he was the one who decided to be done. Heck early today he nursed 4 times in about an hour, teething, he'd get fussy off then fussy on in a cycle.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
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    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Yes no need to wait until baby demands. I prefer to say "on request." But also, fine and good to offer any time you like, and your baby may have particularly subtle clues.

    You may have gangbusters milk production and your baby gets a ton each session I do not know. But nursing more often and/or offering to nurse more often never hurt anything iykwim.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Thanks. He will always take the breast. Always. He is 20 pounds and 4 months.

    He went to bed last night at 7:30p. Got up at 4:30a and ate. Went back to bed and is STILL sleeping. Since I only nurse one breast per session, my R boob hasn't been used since yesterday at 5:30p.

    Is this normal for a baby to sleep this much? He fights naps. Should I wake him up to eat? Obviously he has no weight gain issues.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    When my breasts were achy with milk I woke up the baby to nurse.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nursing cues

    Is this normal for a baby to sleep this much? He fights naps. Should I wake him up to eat? Obviously he has no weight gain issues.
    Infants for sure need lots of sleep, but its not usually all in one big long stretch. As long as weight gain is OK it's not a big problem as far as I can see, and as long as your baby will take the breast when offered then it should be easy to fit in more nursing sessions during the day. but if you would like to encourage more napping,- Are you be any chance trying avoid nursing baby to sleep? Nursing is typically a sure fire way to gentle a baby into sleep for naps or nighttime. If you have time/inclination to lay down with baby and nap together so much the better. Also walking baby down in a sling, car rides, stroller rides, etc. all worked well for me. But my kids had no particular problems napping. Nap times & lenghts certainly did transistion and change, but at this age I do not recall there being any particular pattern. Basically when they were tired, they napped as long as I set the stage, so to speak.

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