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Thread: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    I just nursed LO for an hour. Other than her latest 'thing', which is spitting the nipple out and then taking it again after every ten sucks or so, she ate well and was happy. She was the one to end the session. But, about five minutes after I was done, she started giving us her hungry cry again.

    We gave her formula, because I was so sore from her nursing for that long, and she took down 2.75oz.

    How is this even possible? If this were a one-off thing or even something that had started recently, I would chalk it up to a growth spurt. But this has been going on for a long time: I don't remember the last time I nursed her without having to follow with (a lot of) formula. To put things into perspective, when we do give her formula without any nursing, she takes 6oz. So she's breastfeeding for an hour, and then still taking half what she would have taken from a bottle. What the......? Is my supply not good enough? Is she not nursing right (still)?

    I'm being put under a lot of pressure from my family to just give up breastfeeding and put her on formula. I have to confess that at this point I'm only breastfeeding because I know myself, and I know I'd feel guilty and probably become depressed if I stopped (if you've not had the pleasure of reading some of my other posts, we've already had a lot of problems). But my family keep telling me that "oh, you have the quantity, but you don't have the quality". They have a history of big babies, and also are telling me that big babies like LO (she was 9lbs 9oz at birth) should be treated like much older babies; and LO should probably be starting solids soon (she's not even 3 months until Friday!); or, at the very least, I should just give up breastfeeding because it obviously isn't enough for a baby her size.

    Is there any truth to anything they've said?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    Both my children were larger than yours and I will tell you that what the issue is is not the size of your child but the fact that you are supplementing. Yes she drinks a bottle after nursing, if she doesn't swallow she will choke so she has no choice. Each time you offer her formula you are signaling your body that it doesn't have to make milk, that's not the direction you need to be moving. Nursing for an hour is often very normal, and the 3 month growth spurt is a big one, she is trying to cluster feed and get your production to meet her needs but you have to avoid topping off with formula.

    As for you family, they need to be supportive or hit the road.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    When I gave birth to DS3 he weighed over 11 lbs and my grandma made the comment that "he'll be eating solids within the first month!" Because apparently when she had her kids when to give solids was determined by weight. But this is outmoded now and if your family cannot accept that just ignore their comments. If it helps, though, just remind them that current recommendations for giving solids are quite different than what they were told "back then" and you intend to follow the newer advice.

    And breastfeeding truly is all your baby needs right now. Breastmilk contains more calories than solid baby food anyway. You do need to increase your supply, though, by nursing more and supplementing less.
    Last edited by @llli*pianosinger; October 22nd, 2012 at 10:56 PM.
    ~Sylvia~

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!


    Daughter of God

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    The "nipple dropping" may be due or made worse by the bottle use?
    As far as big babies in general not thriving on breastmilk or needing solids earlier...
    No there is not a shred of truth to that.

    How often do you feed baby? How many times a day?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    It's a myth that large babies need solids earlier or that they can't be sustained on breastmilk alone. My DS was 10 pounds 15 ounces at birth and got to 30 pounds mostly on breastmilk (some solids from 6 months).
    Now, if you had a small baby, people would also be telling you to give solids early. Either way, you can't win.

    It is also not healthy to start solids at 3 months. It is currently recommended by doctors to start no earlier than 6 months for many reasons.

    http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...ds/solids-how/

    Most women have the ability to provide enough milk for twins. However, there are some things that can interfer with building a full milk supply. The more often and the more thoroughly your breasts are emptied, the more the make. Infrequent feedings, poor milk transfer and supplementations can all interfer with the supply and demand process. Milk supply typically reaches it's peak around the 4-6 week mark and stays fairly steady until which time other foods are introduced, then the milk supply gradually decreases. So whatever milk supply you had at 4-6 week, you can expect to maintain as long as you breastfeed enough. If you start giving more formula, your supply will naturally go down.

    It is totally possible for a baby to drain a bottle even if she had a good feeding at the breast. When the bottle teat touches the roof of their mouth, it signals the sucking reflex. They can't help themselves, it's just a reflex. It also requires very little effort to drain a bottle as the milk flows so readily. So before you know, the bottle's down.

    You've worked hard to get to where you're at. The 3 months are the hardest, actually, so if you give up now, you won't get the opportunity to really enjoy what you've worked so hard to achieve.

    Can you find a local LLL group to join? With your family after you to quit, it may help to find some local support.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    Another thing that may be making matters worse is that because she's nursing and getting a full meals worth of formula afterwards is that her stomach may have stretched and now she requires that much to be full. I also nurse and supplement and know how challenging it can be. One key element to balancing bf-ing and supplementing is that i don't ever give my DS more than 3oz at any meal. That way he'll still be hungry within a few hours so my body gets frequent milk-extraction signals. My DS doesn't give us 'I'm full' signals when he's full, he eats until he's in a food coma. At first, my husband and I mistook that as being satisfied, but it was WAY too much. What I did, which may work for you, is I bought a baby scale and weighed DS before and after each nursing session so I knew exactly how much to supplement. I did this for a few days to get an overall picture of how things were going, and now only weigh him once every othrr day or so to make sure he's gaining weight. I think you can rent baby scales. We managed to get our supplements down to about 5oz or so per day from about 10oz+. Also, my DS cries when he finishes a bottle, I'm guessing cuz of the fast flow, but he always calms down within a minute or so. You can do it mama.

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    The "big babies" thing is a total myth. It's an obvious one, when you think about it. First of all, what happened to all the big babies in the millennia before formula? Did they all just die? No, obviously not, or the genes that create big babies would have been bred out of the human race and no-one would be having big babies any more! People say that big babies need formula when they're born because they're so big that they must be hungry. But why would that be true? Wouldn't it be the opposite- that small babies, who don't have a reserve of fat to fall back on, must be the hungry ones, and big babies have a little longer before they need any form of supplement? And then there's the idea that there's no way a mom's milk supply can satisfy a big baby, because mustn't milk be like formula, created in small initial amounts and increasing as time goes on? Well, no. Milk production is often highest in early infancy, and as time goes on adjusts downward to meet demand very precisely.

    It's that last thing that's probably impacting your production at this point. Supplementing with formula tells your body that it doesn't need to be making as much milk as it is. Every time the baby takes a bottle and skips a nursing session, or simply goes longer between nursing sessions because she was "topped up" with formula, your body thinks "Oh, the baby must not be very hungry. Why should I be wasting my precious energy making unnecessary milk? Time to reduce supply!"

    I really think you should see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Nursing for an hour shouldn't leave you so sore that you can't bear to put the baby back to the breast if she's hungry 5 minutes after nursing. Can you tell us more about the soreness you're experiencing? Does your nipple ever look flattened/wedged/creased/shaped like a new lipstick after the baby unlatches? Do you feel a burning pain? Do your nipple blanch (turn white)? A poor latch can leave a mom really sore and also impact baby's ability to transfer milk, leading to very long, very frequent feedings.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    That's how I thought when DJ was born Mommal. He weighed 8'2 when he was born and I knew there were perfectly healthy babies out there that were born at 6lbs. So even though he wouldn't eat AT ALL the 1st 24hours I was like "MEH" I think he can lose about 2lbs before I have to really worry." And I didn't worry. Even though he got down to 7'9 in the hospital. He was still a full pound heavier than me when I was born so .

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    AND 6OZ at one time is way too much. You are overfeeding the baby. For sure.

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Still hungry after nursing, big babies

    Thanks for your help and support, ladies. I figured that what my family have been telling me about big babies was probably wrong, but since they've raised big babies I thought I'd check. Is there any truth to their quality vs quantity thing?

    The thing is, I do wonder if there's slightly more to her eating so much after nursing than just "the bottle's there, I'll take it". We burp her frequently when she's bottle-feeding, which gives her a break. LO has a definite hungry cry, and when we pause that's what she gives us.

    I started writing this just after nursing her (again, for an hour), while she was having a nap. She woke less than twenty minutes later, crying for food again. Just to check, we exhausted everything else (diaper, pacifier, cuddle, gas, sleepiness, etc) first, but she was definitely hungry. I fed her formula, pausing after every ounce and waiting to see if she stops crying (since a PP said her baby will sometimes cry for a minute and then stop). She ate 6oz, and she's still not happy (she doesn't seem hungry, but she's definitely not happy).

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I really think you should see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Nursing for an hour shouldn't leave you so sore that you can't bear to put the baby back to the breast if she's hungry 5 minutes after nursing. Can you tell us more about the soreness you're experiencing? Does your nipple ever look flattened/wedged/creased/shaped like a new lipstick after the baby unlatches? Do you feel a burning pain? Do your nipple blanch (turn white)? A poor latch can leave a mom really sore and also impact baby's ability to transfer milk, leading to very long, very frequent feedings.
    Unfortunately, we've already seen 4 LCs (not sure whether they were IBCLCs or not), and no one was able to help. We've also had five weeks of speech therapy; had her tongue-tie clipped; and both been treated for thrush (LO with a prescription from the paediatrician; me with grapefruit seed extract). The pain is like someone is cutting my nipple off; and yes, sometimes my nipple looks like a new lipstick and turns white after feeding. After the thrush treatment, the pain went away for a few days, but now the pain is back. At this point I don't know how to improve her latch. We've tried different positions; a nipple shield; catching her hunger cues early; feeding her when she's sleepy; gently pulling her chin down; and gently squeezing her cheeks together.
    I'm so lost here.

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