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Thread: Is my LO feeding often enough?

  1. #1

    Default Is my LO feeding often enough?

    My LO is 11+ weeks old. I used to wake her every 3 hours till she was 2 months old.
    Since then I've been feeding on demand, and she only takes 5-6 feeds a day. Sleeps through from 9:30pm - 6:30am with no feeds. When she goes 4 hours without a feed during the day, I still wake her up because I think she needs to eat, but otherwise I let her sleep. She's a sleepy baby and sleeps a total of about 17-18 hours a day even now.

    Weight gain is normal - 6lb at birth and 11lb 2oz at 11 weeks. She is happy, active, chatty and seems very satisfied when she's awake and after a feed. She has 1-2 dirty diapers on most days and quite a few wet diapers (at least 8-10 a day).

    I want to ask - at 5-6 feeds a day, is she getting enough? And should her sleepiness be a cause for concern? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is my LO feeding often enough?

    That is low nursing frequency. my personal 'rule' is that after the first two months (when baby should nurse a minimum of 10 times a day) anything less than 8 nursing sessions a 24 hour day and regular (daily) stretches of no nursing for 6 hours or more is likely to cause a problem, either with baby not getting enough and/or mom not being able to maintain normal milk production. But every baby is different of course and I have heard of some that do nurse about 6 times a day and it is ok. However, since it never hurts to encourage baby to nurse more frequently, no reason to not try that.

    Is baby exclusively breastfed? no bottles?
    Are you using a pacifier or swaddling baby?
    Where does baby sleep, in relation to you?
    How does your baby tell you she wants to nurse? Do you ever just offer? If you pick her up when she is sleeping, will she cue to nurse in her sleep at times?
    Does baby decide how long feedings are, end the feedings herself, and will baby nurse to sleep or nurse in her sleep? How long are feedings, typically?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is my LO feeding often enough?

    with all the above. There are certainly some babies who do just fine on 5-6 feedings per day, but the average baby requires at least 8 and many babies require more than that. Since it can't hurt to nurse more than the baby demands, I think it makes sense to continue to cram in 2-3 extra feedings per day, and to avoid using tools that extend sleep stretches and/or time between feedings (e.g. swaddling, pacifiers).
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Is my LO feeding often enough?

    Thanks. I did feel it was low frequency as well. To answer your questions -
    1. She is exclusively breastfed. No bottles so far.
    2. She isn't swaddled and doesn't use a pacifier but she's a thumb-sucker, and I don't seem to be able to do anything about that for now.
    3. She sleeps in her crib which is right next to my bed.
    4. She generally just fusses when she's hungry. She doesn't cry and the rooting has stopped. I just know she's hungry depending on the time of day and her last feed time. If she wakes up earlier than her usual time, I do offer her the breast and she takes it. But she's usually asleep.
    5. She nurses for as long as she wants each time. Since I have an issue with oversupply, she goes on and off the breast during the first 5 minutes and so I burp her every 5-10 minutes during each feed. I am block nursing and she seems to be happier with that. She can't be convinced to take the breast again once she's done. She's the one who decides she's done. Most nursing sessions are 20-40 minutes.
    6. I don't nurse her to sleep during the day, but i do nurse her to sleep at the last feed of the day at 9:30pm. Her next feed is at 6:30am. If I try a dream feed around 11:30, which I've attempted a few times, she's fast asleep and her mouth clamped shut.

    Any suggestions?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is my LO feeding often enough?

    Thanks for your reply. Yeah, I do try to squeeze in extra feedings but if she's sleeping long naps that day, it doesn't seem possible. On days that I can feed extra, I do. And she isn't swaddled, and doesn't use a pacifier. She's a thumb-sucker though and that seems almost impossible to stop at 11 weeks. Any suggestions?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is my LO feeding often enough?

    ok so great that baby sleeps in close proximity to you and no swaddling or pacifiers.

    you have overproduction, which may explain why your baby can gain well while nursing so infrequently, baby probably gets bigger than average feedings each time. The problem is that your body may respond to the infrequent feedings by slowing down production too much.

    I just had a mom at a meeting last week who also had really severe overproduction and also has a baby who is a finger and thumb sucker, and baby was down to nursing 5 times a day. This is her second breastfed baby, and her baby is 4 months old.

    In this case, weight gain had slowed down quite a bit at the 4 month weight check so she and her doctor were concerned. So we talked about how the baby may have gotten used to 'comforting' with the fingers rather than at the breast (often with oversupply baby will not comfort nurse as much) and that encouraging baby to nurse more, particularly for comfort, might help.

    Then I remembered that my daughter (now 8 months) had also been a big finger sucker in the first two-three months. I also had overproduction and forceful letdown. But in my case, I was nursing baby as much as I possibly could even though she was gaining fine, because if I did not, I got terribly engorged and even got mastitis. So I was really motivated to encourage very frequent feedings-even setting an alarm at night for a time! Eventually the finger sucking just stopped on it's own -possibly as my supply regulated and comfort nursing could take hold.

    I would not worry about stopping your baby from thumb sucking, but I would suggest encouraging baby to nurse a bit more often. Comforting at the breast (including nursing to sleep) are normal and even needed- good for baby, good for mom and good for breastfeeding.
    Some babies have very subtle nursing cues that do not involve fussing or crying at all. And many will nurse in thier sleep if given the opportunity.
    Also it is fine to offer to nurse whenever you feel like it as well!
    feeding cues http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

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