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Thread: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    296

    Default Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeeding

    I've been back at work for about 6 weeks now. My baby is 4 mos old. On a typical day I might bring home 11 or 12 oz from work and then might pump another 2 if I can carve out the time (not always). I've been using a Symphony for the past 2 weeks.

    DH is home with baby. At first, baby was drinking between 1 and 1.5 oz for every hour I was gone. Lately it's shot up to around 2 oz per hour and I'm not keeping up. Yesterday I pumped 11.5 oz and she at 16.5! So I was 5 oz short. I thought it was a growth spurt but this has been going on for the last 2 or 3 weeks.

    I leave pumped milk in 2.5 oz bottles. We use Dr. Brown's widemouth bottles with a "level 1" nipple.

    I've talked to him about overfeeding and he says that when he offers a bottle, he'll see if she wants it, which she doesn't always, and when she does, he watches for her to slow down and then will withdraw the nipple, give her a minute and see if she still seems like she wants more. He says she'll often lunge at the nipple so he is confident that she's really hungry. And that other times she will spit it out and turn her head away and that's how he knows she isn't hungry.

    DH feeds her "on demand" and he seems good at reading her hunger cues when we're together, although, like lots of dads, I sometimes get from him the "here, I think she's hungry" routine when he's holding her and she is fussing and most likely not hungry. And I got home today and asked when she last ate and he said "it was about an hour ago so she's probably hungry now". I think maybe he sees me nursing her frequently during the evenings and thinks that she needs to eat that often when he feeds her during the day from a bottle. He says he is mindful that she doesn't NEED 16 oz during an 8 hour period and that he knows it is hard for me to keep up with her demand, but that she shows signs of hunger and takes the bottle and that is how much she drinks.

    Does it sound like he's overfeeding? What can we do to get her feeding back in sync with my output, or vice versa? I try to nurse as much as possible in the evenings, overnight and before I leave for work but she doesn't seem to drink a ton. When I nurse on the weekends, I can't imagine that she's drinking 16 oz in the 8 hours between 9 and 5, but of course I have no way of knowing.

    Any advice would be great. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeedin

    16 oz does sound like too much. Even a 9 hour day should be about 14 oz. max.

    How good is DH at trying other means of soothing the baby? It sounds a bit like his idea of frequency might be a bit off if he thinks she needs you just an hour after she's eaten already. You might try having him record the feedings (times, how much baby took, whether she seemed satisfied, etc.) and go over it together. You might be able to notice things like whether you might need to increase your bottle size (but not overall daily amount), or that she eats with suspicious frequency before nap times--so maybe alternative soothing methods should be tried then.

    I had a provider ask me for more and when I looked at her schedule, I noticed she waited until the last hour to give the last bottle. I told her she could try that bottle earlier since I only live a mile from her. I only give them the maximum of what he will eat, so they have to figure out how to make it work as well.

    Hunger cues get a little harder to read the closer babies get to teething. 4 months is early for that, but it seems like it is about the age where they are figuring how to get everything and anything into their mouth to try it out. They're not necessarily hungry, they're exploring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeedin

    I think other means of soothing is a good idea. Baths (since at home and its DH not a care giver) worked very well for my son. Also, going for walks or just sitting out in the yard. Running errands. How is she with a pacifier? Not that I'm promoting over use of the paci. I think maybe trying 3 oz bottles is a good idea and see if she lasts any longer. I noticed with mine he would he more overall because he would get hungry sooner and then over eat the second bottle. Just some thoughts.
    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
    Aug 2012
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    296

    Default Re: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeedin

    thanks for both of your replies. I think I will ask him to keep a log, that's a great idea. I think maybe he doesn't do a lot with her, they just kind of sit around, take little walks around the yard but they don't go on errands really or do much else. I find when I'm with baby on the weekends, if we're having a day where we are busy doing things like running errands, I will feel my breasts getting full and look at the clock and realize that it's been 3 hours since she last nursed, and offer her the breast and sure enough she's hungry, but she wasn't fussing or asking to nurse. Whereas if we are sitting around the house all day, she will naturally eat more frequently just because we are both less distracted. DH is going to bring her to my office next week for lunch a few days so that will be an outing (and I can nurse so hopefully she'll take fewer bottles). Maybe I will try to encourage them to go on more errands together. I think one barrier to that is that we are both confused about the logistics of bottle feeding on-the-go. Because usually when we're out I'm there so we just nurse. He takes bottles from the fridge at home and heats them. What would he do when he's out? Maybe I will post a new thread to ask about this.

    Your comment about the pacifier makes me think that maybe he is giving her bottles when she just wants to suck. She won't take a pacifier but she sucks on her hands a lot. I think DH interprets her sucking on her hands as a hunger cue. Sometimes I find it is, but other times she just wants to suck. When we're home, if she's sucking her hands, I will usually offer her a breast just because if she's not hungry and wants to suck, she can refuse it or do non-nutritive sucking and/or have a little snack and that's fine and it's good for my milk supply. But if she wants to suck and DH puts a bottle in her mouth, she's probably not going to be able to resist the urge to suck even if she's not hungry. If she is sucking her fingers and looking hungry to DH, should I ask him to wait until she fusses? Or, say, if she's "looking hungry" but not fussing, only offer bottle if it's been more than a certain amount of time?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeedin

    Well the mild doesn't have to be heated unless she just wont take it cool. This makes it a lot easier to bring the bottles with you. Plus a lot of this is trial and error. The thing that I feel like I've learned the most is that this whole parenting thing is just a series of experiences where we look silly and things don't work out well at all. We learn from it and then try again. We learned a long of things by trial by fire.
    As far as the holding off I think he'll find using the distractions will work nicely. But be a little fussy is ok, specially when they are fighting naps like mine does. He does all this unhappy vocal play before sleeping but with a little time and rocking and singing he falls right to sleep without needing me.
    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Not keeping up with bottles and worried about overfeedin

    As your baby gets older, she can definitely have feedings spaced further apart. As you've noticed yourself, if you're out and about or busy with her, she can go three hours without nursing (which is a quite reasonable schedule for a baby that age - she definitely does not need to be eating on a hourly basis!). I think keeping a log of feedings is a great idea, as is coming up with ideas for your husband to stay busy with her (which he needs to be doing anyway) - in addition to errands, think about going to the park, story time at the public library, babies/kids gym time at the rec center, baby swim at the Y, finger painting, reading to her, tummy time with toys, walks around the neighborhood or at the mall when it gets colder, etc. - everything is new and exciting to the baby, and there are plenty of low-cost ways to entertain her.

    Babies that age will definitely like to suck, and putting her fingers in her mouth is not necessarily a sign that she wants to feed. Hunger cues evolve as the baby gets older. If she is sucking on her fingers but otherwise seems content, she probably just wants to suck on her fingers. If she is fidgety or making plaintive noises, she may be hungry, but if it's only been an hour or two since she last ate, he can try other methods of soothing her - making sure she has a clean diaper, walking around with her, singing to her, rocking her etc. She may also just be tired so many of these methods can help her fall asleep if that's the case.

    If your baby does evolve towards fewer feedings during the day, she may start taking more than 2 or 3 oz at a time. At that age my baby was taking 4-6 oz with each feeding, with three feedings over 9 hours. The good news is that she stabilized at about 16 - 18 oz per day (ie, she's 7 months now, and still having that much total, although at some feedings she'll take 7 oz and at another only 4 - she's also eating solids now). My other two kids also had around that much during the day once they got into their "mature," post-newborn feeding habits.

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