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Thread: Efficient Nurser? When?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    16

    Default Efficient Nurser? When?

    This is my first thread - so hi ladies!

    My LO is 3 1/2 weeks old, we have been using a nipple shield since he was about 8 days old, after having two really rough days getting him to latch. A LC told us in the hospital that he had a high palate, but he was latching fine at the time...then it all went downhill. In a phone conversation with my local LLL Leader, she proposed that he latched better in the beginning based on instinct.

    We got a nipple shield and it's been great; not convenient, but he's nursing and that was my fear.

    He also gets a bottle of breast milk once every other day or so (DH feeds him so I can sleep, or his Grandma will while we both nap).

    I have made mild attempts to wean him from the nipple shield, half way through nursing once or twice a day...but today we've been starting each session without the shield and so far so good.

    My question is this (but thought you may need some background)...he nurses anywhere from 40 min - 90 minutes. Sometimes even 2 hours!

    He has ALL the signs of receiving enough milk, and I don't mean to "complain" about him being a slow eater...but I am terrified to take him out of the house unless he's tanked up beforehand, because I can't realistically nurse him anywhere for an hour! Not to mention, I'm a first time mother, and nursing in public is already an anxiety that I have to work on...

    And this long-winded feeding requirement impedes the idea of a scheduled appointment somewhere, like a Dr. appointment, etc.

    I am on another forum with Mom's who have my same birth month (june 2012)...and some moms are questioning that their babies only feed for 5 - 10 minutes every few hours, but also show signs of receiving enough milk. I'm honestly envious of their babies efficiency.

    Is this something that will come with age, or should I prepare myself that he's always going to be slow? Is there anything I should be concerned about or watching out for with him?

    I read somewhere (don't remember where) that it can be bad for them to take so long to eat because they're burning so many calories spending so much time trying to nurse...

    I am going back to work in 4 1/2 weeks, am trying to pump a little each day to freeze up, and his long winded nursing sessions take a lot of the opportunity away it seems.

    Thanks in advance for your support

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,600

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    Feeding speed varies widely from baby to baby, even when you're talking about brand-new babies. Babies who have trouble transferring milk rapidly- due to things like a poor latch, a high palate, or use of a shield- tend to become efficient nursers much later than those who get their milk easily. But don't lose hope: your baby will eventually take much less time to feed. He's going to grow out of the latch issues, and once you can ditch the shield you'll likely see feeding efficinecy increase a lot.

    It is true that it can be worrisome when a baby takes an extremely long time to eat. This is particularly true for weak, tiny, or premature babies, who may burn so many calories attempting to feed that they negate the calories they take in while nursing. However, this sort of issue is rarely a problem for term babies, and as long as your baby is gaining weight well and wetting/pooping enough, the long feedings are an inconvenience and not a health risk.

    Work on ditching that shield. I am willing to bet that the day you can nurse without it, you're going to see a big decrease in feeding length.
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    This sounds completely normal. Mine did this and longer till nearly 3 months (sorry ) and still has times, not everyday though, that he nurses for and hour or more. He did start getting much more efficient around 3 months and around 4.5/5 months he started feeding in 15 minutes sometimes. Babies not only nurse for food but also to meet their sucking needs in these early months it helps boost your supply.

    The info that you read about taking too long being bad is for bottle feeding not direct nursing. IMO (I could be wrong) even breastfed babies that are given bottles should finish the bottle in 20-30 minutes and have their sucking needs met in other ways.

    Sorry, I'm jealous of fast nursers too. My DS typically still nurses 30 minutes at a time. And as far as the NIP you'll get to a point where you find what your comfortable with and what your not. But I didn't leave the house except for pedi appts alone until after 8 weeks and then I generally nursed in the car. Still do because I find NIP physically uncomfortable rather than embarrassing.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    I know that posters with more experience will come along, just wanted to share mine...

    My LO is 3.5 MO and she used to nurse for 45 min- 1 hr in her first and second months and then every 1.5 h to 2 h between feeds measured from start of each feeding period. Though now is so much better, She nurses for a max of 15-20 mins mostly only 10 mins with a frequency of approx 2 h during daytime, 1 h in the evenings and has close to 3-4 h stretches of sleep in nights, and it does vary day to day. I still have some days when she wants to nurse more often throughout day and night.

    I know that it varies from baby to baby, but from what I have heard and seen, it just gets better as they grow.. and 31/2 weeks is so young...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    Good point mommal about the premies or medically fragile babies.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    This can be completely normal. It does not even necc. mean your baby is inefficient. A baby this age who gets enough on 5-10 minutes is probably dealing with forceful let down and may not ever comfort nurse, which is actually kind of a drag for mom and baby. That short a nursing session is more what you would expect after about 2-4 months of age.

    A baby nurses for both food AND comfort. And in particular a baby under about 6-8 weeks of age needs TONS of comfort. Think about it-baby, three weeks ago never knew hunger and likely barely knew discomfort and was comforted constantly in the womb by your movement, voice, and heartbeat. Outside the womb, a baby gets comfort by nursing and by being in your arms. So a baby may be nursing very actively part of the session, and then less actively for another parts, and this is totally normal and actually desirable.

    A nipple shield certainly could make nursing take longer, so weaning off that may help, as may breast compressions. But this could also be entirely normal

    Don’t worry about going out or making appointments. In all likelihood a different environment may change this behavior. Also there is nothing wrong with cutting a nursing session short if you need to, as long as you generally let baby nurse as frequently and as often as baby wishes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    Thank you for all the support and information! Very helpful.

    Most of yesterday and all day today so far we've been nipple shield free. His latch kind of stinks in the beginning, but I flare out his lips for him or he fixes it himself after a few moments.

    The only "problem" with occasionally ending a nursing session short is, that he's a screamer! LOL

    After a while of active nursing, he usually falls asleep. He'll unlatch himself, and then moments later wake up, cry until/while we re-latch. He'll comfort nurse... Rinse, repeat.

    Is this normal/acceptable?

    I read about waking up baby to "finish", but then also read about comfort nursing/sucking. He spends a decent amount of time initially eating, the rest seems to be just lazing around being comforted, but what do I know? So I am unsure if I should be undressing him and going through all the "waking up baby" motions?

    I realize he's just a brand new baby , we're both figuring this out together! I am just a worrier (big time) and try to research and read a lot, I want to do my best for him and make sure I do things right.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    If baby is gaining while nursing exclusively then all is well. There really is no way to nurse to often or to long. As baby gets older baby will naturally nurse less frequently and less often. If nursing is comfortable for mom, then mom nursing will relax and sooth both mom and baby. If nursing is not comfortable then it is important to try to make it so.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Efficient Nurser? When?

    IIf baby is gaining appropriately while nursing exclusively then all is well. There really is no way to nurse to often or to long. As baby gets older baby will naturally nurse less frequently and less often. If nursing is comfortable for mom, then mom nursing will relax and sooth both mom and baby. If nursing is not comfortable then it is important to try to make it so.

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