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Thread: Is a hungry baby able to be distracted and lulled to sleep?

  1. #1

    Default Is a hungry baby able to be distracted and lulled to sleep?

    (Sorry, sounds like that's what I want to happen - it's not )

    3.5 week old LO, still trying to figure this whole BF thing out. I have been trying to read his feeding cues and feed on demand, but not sure how to tell when he wants to eat and when he actually just wants comfort.

    I believe I am having an oversupply/fast letdown issue the past couple of days as he sometimes gags/chokes and displays other behaviors discussed here: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/. Sometimes he will pull off and seem done (or, choke and scream and try to go back on but then pull off), then I'll burp him and he'll start up the cues again. Try to put him back on the breast, and he does not want it - spits it out, pulls away, cries, etc. As soon as I put him up to my shoulder again he'll calm down, but still sort of try to suck on my shoulder. Put him to the breast again, cries. So I will rock him, get up and walk around, soothe him and he will fall asleep.

    I worry that I shouldn't soothe him to sleep like this. Is he still hungry and I'm just distracting him into falling asleep? My instincts say that a truly hungry baby would not be able to fall asleep and would keep crying/fussing until he gets more milk, but I'm not sure. Maybe he has only had half a meal - enough to make his belly not send FEED ME NOW signals, but not enough to truly satiate him.

    FYI, he regained his birth weight by 1 week ped visit, and appears to be gaining still - filling out visibly and clothes that were previously too big now fit. Not sure how to accurately weight him at home. He is generally happy and calm.

    Sorry if this is jumbled. Any insight would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Is a hungry baby able to be distracted and lulled to sle

    If baby is gaining well with normal output, and nursing a minimum of about 10 times a day, baby is getting enough to eat. It is fine in this case to gentle a baby to sleep in a way other than nursing, it is also fine to nurse a baby to sleep, and it is normal for a baby to want to nurse to sleep some times and comfort another way other times.

    Nursing a baby to sleep and for comfort is something babies expect. So even a baby who is getting plenty to eat is likely to cue to nurse more, and this is normal and expected and fine. So called comfort nursing is an import part of breastfeeding, biologically speaking. So there is no reason to worry about if a baby is cuing for hunger or for something else, it is always ok to nurse or offer to nurse. And since frequent nursing is very helpful if there is a situation of fast letdown, this is another reason to nurse frequently. Of course if baby is not wanting to nurse, then comfort baby another way.

    Where it is possible issues may occur is if a baby is given a pacifier or swaddled too much to get to sleep or stay asleep. There is research (in the case of pacifiers) and the suspicion (in the case of swaddling) that such techniques for encouraging sleep may lead to baby not cuing enough and consequently not nursing enough.

    Of course if fast let down is so bad that baby is refusing to nurse, so is not nursing enough, that is a different situation. This would be rare but it can happen.

    With pacifiers, what we know is that what comforts a very young baby is the sucking, sucking itself releases a hormone that calms baby. And so a baby who is sucking and yet not getting anything to eat (as would happen if baby is given a pacifier) may indeed fall asleep despite being hungry.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is a hungry baby able to be distracted and lulled to sle

    Birdie- I am going through exactly what you describe, my baby is 2.5 weeks old now. We had a week and a half of great feelings day and night and then just recently I could see signs that my flow was very strong. Then recently,
    The past three days, more towards evening and midnight feeding, he will seem hungry, latch for a few minutes, cry, push away, latch ,cry. I have swaddled him and then rocked him to sleep. He will then wake up 1-2 hours later for a full feeding. I get worried as it can be up to 4 hours between feelings.

    His weight gain is great and I can see him filling out. He has plenty of wet and poopy diapers.

    Did you find this was just a phase for your little one? And insight on how your situation went would be great.


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