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Thread: New to this please help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default New to this please help

    My son is 8 weeks old and we have had our fair share of nursing problems. Mainly he had a posterior TT got it clipped and we are still having to use a shield. But Now we are nursing pretty much exclusively minus bottles for church nursery and stuff like that. We are still having to use the a nipple shield but he is nursing well. Right at his 6 week mark he did have a LARGE growth spurt and at more then I thought possible and it lasted a full 5 days. But two days ago he started eating nonstop. He will nurse for about 45min and then 30min later take a 3-4oz bottle of pumped breast milk. And he is doing this every 2.5hrs. I don't want to give him formula but I can't keep this up. I have a 2yo son that needs attention and with this nursing schedule I can't give him much and it breaks my heart. Is this just another growth spurt or is it something I should be worried about? I know that he is getting a good amount of milk from me because I have very fast let downs and I make plenty of milk. Some times he eats so fast I have to pull him off to breath! HELP! What should I do?

    And my other question is, is it even possible to have an 8 week old nursing baby on a schedule? My first son never nursed and my supply dried up early and was on formula so he did well on a very strict schedule. All of this is new to me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: New to this please help

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mrspetitone View Post
    I have a 2yo son that needs attention and with this nursing schedule I can't give him much and it breaks my heart.
    My son is the same age as your LO and my daughter is 3. Until the last couple of weeks he nursed CONSTANTLY. I'm not kidding like sometimes every 45 minutes. TBH there isn't anything you can really do about it (or has been my experience). Rather than fight it, esp. with another LO, I've found it much more helpful to just try to find ways to make it easier to nurse while doing other things. I've found a wrap immensely helpful because I can nurse discretely while out and about (i.e. park, library etc.). Also, nursing doesn't mean you always have to sit on the couch or go to another room. I frequently set up some craft stuff etc. for my DD and just sit at the table nursing DS. Sometimes we read, it really hasn't been too bad. I've just found that if you accept the situation and find ways to work with it, things are much less stressful.

    Also, my understanding is that any type of feeding schedule can damage your supply. Besides no one tells me I can't eat when I want so I figure my kids know best if they need to nurse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    middle of IA

    Default Re: New to this please help

    yes, PP is right: this nursing pattern is entirely normal, and you need to find ways of making it work for you, like nursing in a carrier while you tend to your older child.

    and to maintain your supply, nurse on demand. it WILL get less frequent and easier very quickly as baby gets older. but putting an 8 week old on a schedule is a very good way to dry up your milk ....
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: New to this please help

    Babies will often take a very large bottle even after a good nursing session. Babies love and need to suck, and when they suck on a bottle they must swallow or they're going to choke, because unlike the breast, the bottle delivers the same flow of milk regardless of whether the baby is sucking gently, for comfort, or eagerly, for food. So the fact that your baby will take 3-4 oz (and keep in mind that 2-4 oz is a full feeding!) after nursing is not necessarily any indication of an issue with supply or with baby's hunger.

    Long and frequent feedings are very normal for young infants. But as time goes on, three things tend to happen. First of all, most babies become very efficient feeders by the time they are a few months old. Once a baby is capable of getting a full feeding in 5-10 minutes, nursing becomes less onerous. Second, babies get more interested in the world around them and find ways to meet their sucking needs that don't require the breast (like sucking on their fingers), and when those things happen they tend to spend less time nursing. Third, most babies eventually are capable of going at least 2-3 hours between feedings if necessary, and that plus faster feedings means much less time spent nursing. (And more time spent cleaning the kitchen or washing laundry... Sigh!)

    So nursing will get better, I promise!

    The four things I would encourage you to do at this point are one, to try to wean from the shield, two, to review your birth control choices, three, to throw the idea of a schedule out the window, and four, to experiment with baby-care methods that can free you up for other tasks. Shields are useful tools in that they can get a baby who is having trouble latching to the breast. But they can also lead to longer, slower, more frequent feedings, and it sounds like long, slow, frequent feeds are a source of frustration to you right now.

    It sounds like you currently have no supply problems, but sometimes hormonal birth control- and this includes "safe for breastfeeding" methods like the mini-pill and Mirena- can cause reductions to supply. So if your supply has taken a hit from birth control, and that's why your baby is nursing so much and so frequently, you might want to consider a different method of contraception.

    Schedules, particularly strict schedules, are the enemy of successful breastfeeding. Milk supply = demand, and any time you restrict demand, by spacing out feedings to some artificial interval, you're likely to end up with decreased supply. I promise you that you will run across moms who say that schedules worked for them, and books that sell well by advocating schedules. But remember that milk storage capacity varies widely between moms, and some moms with big capacities are able to maintain a large supply for longer even when demand is restricted. The average mom, however, cannot restrict demand and still maintain a decent supply. Often moms try it and find that it works for a while, but then all of a sudden their baby seems to be starving and frustrated at the breast, and before they know it they are supplementing with formula and then their milk "just dries up"- it's that supply = demand equation coming back to bite them.

    Not only are schedules bad for milk supply, they are also tough on babies. Because you know exactly how much baby ate when using a bottle, you can impose a schedule without fear that baby will not take in enough milk. But you never know how much milk a breastfed baby ate when nursing- it could have been a large feeding or just a snack- so you really need to trust that when the baby asks to nurse, he really does need to nurse. And since breastmilk digests fast and baby tummies are tiny, it's normal for breastfed babies to take in small amounts more often, rather than large amounts less frequently.

    Since strict schedules don't work for breastfed babies, what do you do to keep yourself sane??! First, you remember that this is a very brief stage in your baby's life. He's going to become a faster and more efficient feeder, and will likely space his demand out all by himself, without you needing to do anything. Second, you try to make things easier on yourself during this "fourth trimester" phase- let the house go to heck, rely on frozen food and takeout, and get help with your older child if possible (babysitter, Mother's helper, grandma, etc.). Third, you try to master nursing in a sling, so that you can nurse without being glued to the couch. And fourth- and this one is very optional- you decide how much you want to incorporate bottlefeeding into your life, and if you want to use bottles, pick one time of day during which daddy or some other caregiver offers a bottle while you get away to do something you want or need to do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: New to this please help

    First off, a big kudos you are still nursing despite some pretty intense early days issues!

    I agree with pps re: schedules and suggestions. Breastfeeding IS different than bottle feeding, breastfeeding is negatively affected by scheduling, particularly in the early months, while bottle feeding is not. But even with bottle/formula fed babies, cue feeding is (slowly) becoming the recommendation, as it is being found that cue feeding (smaller, more frequent feedings on cue) has many benefits for both breastfed and bottle fed babies.

    I have a 2yo son that needs attention and with this nursing schedule I can't give him much and it breaks my heart.
    Can you explain why nursing is keeping you from giving your two year old attention? I hear this a lot-but lots of moms nurse and their other kids are not neglected...I am not saying it’s easy, parenting never is, and parenting a toddler while juggling a newborn is really hard. But it’s certainly possible to nurse a baby and pay plenty of attention to siblings. Of course your relationship with your older child has changed (and perhaps, your older child’s behavior has changed) due to the arrival of baby, but that happens no matter how baby is fed.
    I get it that nursing with a shield probably makes nursing more awkward, and you may even need two hands... another reason weaning off the shield asap is a good idea-but are there other barriers?
    Are you unable to nurse in front of your two year old, snuggle him, talk to him, sing to him, read to him, watch a video with him (if you do tv.) Do you have trouble nursing outside while he plays close to you? Have you tries to nurse standing up, even walking? Are you comfortable nursing in public? (or able to nurse in public even if not entirely comfortable?)

    Any friends with toddlers you can go to the park with or visit or have over, who can help you supervise the toddlers while you nurse?

    About the shield-I have seen moms hold the shield on the entire time they nurse. Of course you need both hands while getting it on, but once it is on and baby is actively nursing, can you let go of the shield? Sometimes there is no way around the two handed approach, but sometimes this means mom is not putting it on correctly or it is the wrong size. Besides turning it way inside out while putting it on, so the nipple (hopefully) gets kind of suctioned into the tip, have you tried the 'lanolin glue' trick to get it to stick to you better? That also works for some moms.

    Do you know other nursing moms? It is really helful to have a support group. Any local LLL groups or breastfeeding friendly mommy and me groups you can attend? Typically your 2 year old would be entirely welcome at LLL.

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