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Thread: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Tips for dealing with a snacker? - UPDATE

    My 8-week-old is a big time snacker... he will only nurse on one side per feeding, and either falls asleep when I burp him or after burping he's just not interested in taking the other side. Then without fail, around 30 min or so later, he wants to eat again.

    Were he my only child, I'd probably just deal with this. However, he's my third and I *need* to be able to do laundry, make meals, spend some time with his sisters, etc.

    Also... he needs more of a nap than 30 minutes (I also could use more than 30 min of sleep in a stretch - especially at night).

    I have tried wearing him - he still wakes up or wants to eat every 30 min. I am not able to nurse while wearing him - I have tried with my two older DDs and also with this one... I'm just completely incapable without ending up with damaged nipples and a pissed-off baby.

    I know breast-fed babies aren't supposed to be on a schedule, but I almost wonder if he needs to be on a schedule (flexible, obviously I'd feed him if he's starving). Something like where I distract him/put him off for 2 hours (start-to-start of feedings) so that maybe he'd actually eat more than just one side?

    Honestly, the only other thing I can think of at this point is to switch to formula so that he's full a bit longer, even though I know that's not a guarantee. His pediatrician suggested doing the Enfamil AR at night to see if he'd sleep longer than 30 min, but I've avoided that so far.
    Last edited by @llli*kemiley; March 5th, 2013 at 03:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    I hate to tell an exhausted mom that the plan she has in mind isn't the answer to her problem. Really. Because sleep deprivation is no joke and when you have other kids to care for suggestions like "nap when the baby naps" are flip, not helpful. But I just do not think that you can expect a schedule to buy you anything but more problems- problems with milk supply, problems with baby's weight gain, problems with trying to parent a screaming baby who doesn't understand why you're holding him off for some artificial time interval.

    Instead of looking for ways to put the baby off, how about exploring potential explanations for his very frequent feeding? For example, is he a very sleepy baby, perhaps the kind of baby who snacks because he can never stay awake for a full feeding? Or is he a hurting baby, using frequent nursing to cope with reflux? Is he a colicky baby? How is nursing going, in general? Is baby's latch generally painless?
    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
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    He stays awake the whole feeding probably 75% of the time, comes off on his own and then shows no interest in more. In fact, even if I get him to latch back on, he gets mad when he starts getting milk - like he just wants to suck, not eat.

    He has reflux for sure, but from all I can tell, it is well under control with meds, positioning during feeding and inclined sleeping. He used to choke, gag, spitup then swallow it, hiccup etc all day long, but no longer does any of those.

    Overall he is pretty happy between times of being hungry. Very smiley, lots of coos and looking around. Even when he is acting hungry, it's not really crying, it's fussing, rooting, sucking, etc.

    No nipple pain, cracks, blisters, etc. his latch looks and feels great. He swallows actively throughout his feeds, even when he appears to be sleeping through them.

    He overflows his diapers after 1.5 hours, so output is good, if not excessive. He has gained 5 lbs since we left the hospital, so more than the average/recommended 1/2 lb a week.

    As far as holding him off, he does take a pacifier great (we have to use it to get him the "empty tummy" 1.5 hrs between feeds twice a day for his meds), and often seems to prefer it to nursing when he is being fussy at the breast, for example as I mentioned above when he gets upset that he's getting milk and just wants to suck. That's why I was thinking of holding him off, I'd never do it if he screamed the whole time :-) I am not a CIO proponent, whether for sleeping or spacing feeds/scheduling.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    So, I broke down and had DH give him one of the Similac nursers from the hospital. dS took 1oz, and I pumped about 4oz. DS proceeded to sleep for FIVE hours.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm definitely all for BFing being best, but I have to wonder... If 1oz of formula over 4oz of BM gets me 5hrs vs 30 min.... There has to be something to be said for the value of my sanity and sleep, right? I mean, how is it that my milk can't sustain DS for longer than 30 min? He is definitely gaining weight, at faster than the average rate even... Yet my milk makes him hungry too fast.

    This makes me so sad, but it really seems like formula (at least part time) is going to give me a happier, more well rested baby, and make me a happier, more well rested mama.

    If I pump every time he gets formula, do you think there is a chance we could someday get back to 100% BM - like maybe when he starts solids?

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    Aw, mama, you really must have been at the end of your rope!

    If you pumped 4 oz in the evening, when most women find that their milk supplies are least abundant, then you have no problem with supply. In fact, I have to wonder if perhaps your supply is overabundant- your baby seems to have a fair number of symptoms which are associated with oversupply and fast letdowns (fast weight gain, acting upset when he just wants to suck but is still getting milk, choking/gagging- though I am not sure if those were taking place in between feeds or during?). If fast letdowns are contributing to the issues you're having, maybe the following experiment would help you figure that out: instead of offering a bottle of formula, try a bottle of breastmilk. You obviously have no problem creating one! If the baby sleeps well after a breastmilk bottle, then you know that the reason he sleeps isn't because formula "sustains him longer"- it's something about the mechanics of bottlefeeding. That being said, formula does digest much slower that breastmilk (that's slower, not better!), and formula-fed babies do tend to go longer between feedings than breastfed ones. They also tend to gain weight slower during infancy, which is why the growth curve for formula-fed babies is so different from the norm. (Breastfed babies being the norm for the human species.)

    I have to admit, this sort of situation is why I HATE those formula gift bags- they exploit those moments of exhaustion, weakness, and self-doubt that we all have. The formula companies don't hand out those bags to prop you up. They give them out to get you hooked. That's my little rant for the day. If you decide that you want to incorporate formula into your baby's diet, then one bottle per day, at the same time of day, during which you pump- that's probably the best way to do it. But I don't think you need to- seriously, try a bottle of breastmilk and see if you get the same or similar result.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    He doesn't have a problem with my letdown any other time of the day but evening. The choking/gagging is during feedings but also between - or was, before reflux meds.

    I have to say, going longer between feedings no matter the time of day is very attractive to me, with the two older girls, housework and going back to work. I doubt daycare will be willing to feed him every 30 min.

    I will try a bottle of BM and see how that goes, but to be honest, my mom gave him a bottle of BM last Saturday, about 5oz, and it was the same thing - 20-30 min later he was up and acting starving.

    It's like my milk has no fat in it or something :-(

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    I bet that if you let your milk sit in the fridge and separate out, you'd see a nice layer of fat on it. Seriously. I know it's really tempting to believe that there's something wrong with your milk- formula companies bank on that! Think about their advertising- all those pictures of peacefully sleeping babies, all the not-so-subtle talk about "good sleep" and "comfort proteins."

    Choking/gagging during feeds is a pretty classic symptom of fast letdowns. Not saying that fast letdowns are the only likely problem, but they could be complicating the reflux picture.

    I totally understand the pressure you're under. Is family or hired help an option for you? I don't think the mother of a 2 month old baby should be doing much, if any, housework. And she definitely needs someone to entertain her older kids and hold the baby for an hour or two a day. Mommy needs a nap, and a shower, and some time to herself! Since your LO will take a paci- right?- how about having dad/grandma hold him in a sling for an hour or so, giving him the paci and watching the older kids?

    One thing about experiments is that you generally need to test multiple times before relying on the answer. You've tried one breastmilk bottle. How about try a few nights in a row and see if anything changes?
    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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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    No family nearby, and DH "doesn't do housework" - he also works 60 hrs a week, so he isn't even sort of willing to help at night.

    Honestly, I don't care much about the pictures of sleeping babies, I just care that mine is sleeping :-)

    He was only up once last night, and barely took one side before he was asleep for the rest of the night. Even this morning, he was super happy when he woke up, and besides wanting to be held while he naps, he has been sleeping now for over an hour.

    I get that breast is best, but holy moly, the difference 1oz of formula made makes me feel like I've been starving the poor little guy, and question if all breast is best for him.

    And believe me, I'm in advertising for a living, so I know all the tricks they use. At this point I am not thinking about the "good stuff" they claim to add, I'm thinking about his well being as well as mine. Definitely not to say I will switch to full FF, just that the bottle before bed is very, very attractive!

  9. #9
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    Hey, if that's what you want to do, you don't need my permission! I can totally understand how incredibly difficult it is to have the weight of house, 3 kids' one of whom is a newborn, and a husband, on top of extreme sleep deprivation. Still, in the interests of achieving the EBF baby, I'd encourage you to keep experimenting with the bottle of breastmilk. Try it a few times and see if it makes a difference.
    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!"

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tips for dealing with a snacker?

    Besides the great advice given to you above, any chance of exploring nursing in a sling? Then you can nurse your lo hands free, and will be able to do other stuff. I think you can do it in a Mei tai too, and other carriers. Youtube has lots of helpful tutorials on these!
    If you lo has fine outputs, I doubt he is really starving when he fusses. Perhaps it's the reflux and the colic acting up. Mine was like that. They do get better when they are older. Mine was like that too. He got better in the 3rd to 4th month. So hang in there, this is a very tiring period but it will pass soon! It won't last forever! Hugs....

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