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Thread: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

  1. #1

    Default Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    One of my almost 8 months old twins used to be a very effective nurser since he was born. Then he started to be a difficult nurser since he reached 5-6 months of age. At that time, he would use me as a dummy every now and then. This phase is now over, but I notice that since he turned 7 months it is becoming even more difficult to get him to latch on as he will simply refuse the breast, or will nurse for 2-3 minutes only and then just NOT be interested anymore. Or sometimes he will latch on, suckle a bit, then sit up or look around, latch back on for a second, look around again, then latch on to eventually simply 'swallow' whatever milk comes out from a letdown. Then finished. That'd be it for the next few hours....or couple of minutes...just until he gets bored from playing again or gets frustrated when trying to crawl but gets stuck on his tummy.... then the cycle repeats - latch on, latch off, drink the letdown. Etc. He will only nurse for longer maybe twice a day. But all other nursing sessions are extremely short and really frustrating for me. It's like he constantly changes his mind as to what he wants to do "right now".
    I can see the difference especially when he tandem-nurses with his twin brother. He will be "done" way before his brother and just not want to breastfeed anymore.

    Sometimes he will be happily playing until he sees me - then he would start screaming for me to pick him up...

    At night between around 8pm to midnight he will wake up to nurse every half to 1 hour. Then he will wake up twice between midnight and 4am. And THEN he will sleep through to 8am, wake up all happy, not wanting any milk. Even when I offer him the breast, he will just lightly suckle but not really drink much. Until the cycle described under point 1) starts all over again at 9am...

    Sometimes, he only sleeps if I lie next to him and hold him in my arms (except between 4-8am). I wouldn't mind doing that if I had only him! But his twin brother needs me too...Even when he's swaddled, he will still wake up a few minutes after I leave him.

    Finally, "Nurse before giving solids" is good in theory, but what to do when my boy just refuses to breastfeed and instead screams until he gets some mashed food? Every time I latch him on it's such a struggle and I never know if he's going to drink milk or not. And when he does, he's done in such a short period that I wouldn't know if he emptied the breast or not. It's really chaos with him lately!

    What should I do?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    I should add to the above, that because of these issues I feel that my supply has gone down and that the solid meals have started to replace the breastfeeding meals, which is not ideal, I suppose? I am not sure what to do now, whether I should be worried about my boys' growth (they are rather small due to being born 4 weeks early, and therefore need to catch up), and how to get back to "breastfeeding primarily" and "solids just for fun". Currently I feel that solid meals have become a necessity rather than a supplement and this bothers me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    8 months is a common age for nursing strikes, and even if nothing that extreme is happening, it can be an age babies really change up their nursing patterns.

    Kellymom has a good article with many tips for encouraging the striking baby or reluctant nurser. I will link that. But I think that what you are describing is not so much that baby does not want to nurse, but baby is changing sleep and nursing patterns and nursing quite a bit over night but less during the day? Yes this is frustrating but changes in sleep/nursing patterns are usually a normal developmental thing. For tips on how to handle that with twins, I wonder if the Mothering Multiples book or website will have ideas. For sleep tips in general I suggest the book Sweet Sleep from LLL.

    Can you describe what is happening that makes you think you think your milk production is not adequate? Many moms think this at some point and usually it is a false alarm.

    Finally, "Nurse before giving solids" is good in theory, but what to do when my boy just refuses to breastfeed and instead screams until he gets some mashed food?
    With three kids and myself to feed I never had time to nurse before solids with my youngest. Instead I did not offer her any water with her 'meals' and nursed after, and she always wanted to nurse, I suspect at least in part to quench her thirst. I also avoided purees because of the added water. Breastmilk is exceedingly hydrating and if baby is getting enough of that they need not have water or any other liquid with their solids.

    when he does, he's done in such a short period that I wouldn't know if he emptied the breast or not.
    There is no need for a baby to empty the breast to get enough milk. Is there some particular concern you are having that you think the breast needs to be "emptied?"

    Plus an 8 month old really could get quite a bit of milk in just a few minutes of nursing. They are pros at getting that milk out of the breast by that time! When a baby is a 'fast nurser' for meals at the breast, encouraging comfort nursing at other times is a good way to increase time at the breast.

    http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; November 9th, 2016 at 12:33 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    Hi Maddieb,

    Many many thanks for your advice! I guess it is as you describe a "change in sleep/nursing patterns", i.e. they won't nurse during the day but feed more at night than before. Thanks for the book recommendation, too - I will check out the Mothering Multiples one and see if there are tips for me.


    Can you describe what is happening that makes you think you think your milk production is not adequate?
    Admittedly I have always doubted my milk supply. I have read countless articles (incl. kellymom, LLL books) about this and am still confused as to how to know whether one does not have enough milk?

    Anyway, after writing the above post yesterday, I decided to not spoon-feed my boys for a day (yesterday) and see how they react to that. Instead I gave them sticks of fruits and veggies to chew on and they didn't seem to miss the "baby food" at all. And as expected, they responded by breastfeeding more effectively, so I was happy about that. However, by 8pm, my breasts felt VERY empty, as in really soft and I'm sure there was no milk left in there anymore. However, my bigger twin wanted to nurse (we always nurse before he falls asleep, it's his routine). After a couple of minutes we were able to get 1 milk letdown but after that he still wasn't satisfied, so I actually prepared a bottle of formula (just 120ml) which he completely finished and fell asleep... My other twin also drank an additional 90ml of formula milk, right after nursing. Otherwise they wouldn't settle and go to bed. Well, on the downside, they drank less milk after that from midnight and thus my breasts felt rather full all night long.....


    There is no need for a baby to empty the breast to get enough milk. Is there some particular concern you are having that you think the breast needs to be "emptied?"
    I thought it would gradually decrease supply if they didn't "empty" them...?


    Plus an 8 month old really could get quite a bit of milk in just a few minutes of nursing. They are pros at getting that milk out of the breast by that time! When a baby is a 'fast nurser' for meals at the breast, encouraging comfort nursing at other times is a good way to increase time at the breast.
    I'm just constantly worried about his physical growth - he was born with just 2kg and despite of his 'normal' weight gain so far, is still on the smaller side. I just worry so much that he may stay small (Both me and my husband are tall)...

    With three kids and myself to feed I never had time to nurse before solids with my youngest. Instead I did not offer her any water with her 'meals' and nursed after, and she always wanted to nurse, I suspect at least in part to quench her thirst. I also avoided purees because of the added water. Breastmilk is exceedingly hydrating and if baby is getting enough of that they need not have water or any other liquid with their solids.
    Oh I see.. Now that you mention, indeed my twins would eventually still want to nurse even after a meal...

    So what do you advise me to do? I am at a total loss on how to feed them properly right now... between breastfeeding difficulties, screaming and teething babies, solids vs formula, spoon-feeding vs. baby-led weaning.... I have absolutely no clue what to do, when to feed them what, and especially, I don't know what my babies want when they cry or scream (don't get me wrong, they are super-happy more often than they cry, but still...) I'm in the middle of a huge Bermuda Triangle!

    Please me!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    Ok, the way to tell you have enough milk is if a baby gains normally when only breastfed. If your babies needed/need formula to gain normally despite all efforts to optimize breastfeeding, that would indicate you had/have 'low' milk production. If formula has not been needed or was only needed for a time, that would indicate enough milk. Even if you use formula because you are worried they do not get enough otherwise, or because, like many moms of twins, you use the formula bottle so you can get a "break", is it actually needed for your children to gain normally? Just because they take a bottle when offered does not mean they need it.

    Feeling empty when your child(ren) are 8 months old? 100% normal and not at all a reliable indication of low milk production. If you have read kellymom you must have read this article, but I would suggest read the first section again: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply/ It sounds like you felt "empty" after a day of nursing and then "full" when babies did not nurse much overnight. This is pretty much a universal experience for every nursing mother with a child(ren) anywhere north of about 3 months old.

    I know 'normal' growth is more complicated when a baby was born prematurely and/or very small, and that is not an area I am all that well- versed in. But from what I understand about it, how big someone eventually gets is based entirely on genetics (and that is more complicated than tall parents = tall children.) If there was severe prematurity or something else that caused extreme low birth weight and other health issues, then that may mean your child will not be as tall as he would have been if those things had not happened. But I am pretty sure food intake beyond enough at this point is not going to have any bearing on growth in that case either, except possibly in an unhealthy way. A child would have to be pretty malnourished for it to harm or change his personal growth pattern. You want your child as strong and healthy as he can be, but do not mistake "big" for strong and healthy. Plenty of strong and healthy boys are small. My sons do gymnastics, a sport where being on the quite short side is a definite plus, and those tiny boys are insanely strong. My boys are average height and they wish they were shorter for gym.


    So what do you advise me to do? I am at a total loss on how to feed them properly right now... between breastfeeding difficulties, screaming and teething babies, solids vs formula, spoon-feeding vs. baby-led weaning.... I have absolutely no clue what to do, when to feed them what, and especially, I don't know what my babies want when they cry or scream (don't get me wrong, they are super-happy more often than they cry, but still...) I'm in the middle of a huge Bermuda Triangle!
    You may wish someone could just give you a meal plan, but that is just not how it works! There is not one right way to go about introducing solids, there is the ways that work for you, and that may vary day to day, week to week, and baby to baby. If a baby under a year but old enough to eat solids is not gaining normally at the breast and needs something else to eat, some would say more 'solid' food is better than formula, others would say formula supplements are better, etc. This is just not an area where there are hard and fast rules, and when someone claims there are rules, they are usually wrong. In fact they are usually selling something (and still wrong.)

    My best suggestion would be to read the book My Child Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez, a pediatrician. Despite the title this book is not about getting a child to eat more. He explains what is normal when it comes to food intake and growth, he explains the options for infant feeding and child feeding, he makes sense of growth charts, he has a wonderful section just for the moms who think they do not make enough milk called "crisis at three months." I personally got a great deal of clarity and reassurance from this book and recommend it highly.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    Hey there,

    Thanks again for your great advice! I haven't read the recommended book yet but I have ordered it. So I look forward receiving it!

    Here's an update: So I took your advice and just tried something else: for the past 2 weeks, instead of spoon-feeding baby food, I have been giving them a banana or other very soft-boiled fruits and vegetables and made them eat by themselves. I offer them something 2-3 times a day. I realise that sometimes they eat and sometimes they just want something to teeth on. So when I see that they start playing around with their food I just take it away and give them a cold piece of fruit to chew on instead. And this keeps them quiet for up to an hour! I really like this method because 1) it keeps them busy 2) they actually eat as much and when they feel like it (so no over-feeding) and 3) they went back to nursing more effectively so I really feel good again

    However, now I'm reading about the risk of iron-deficiency in babies: now this is really confusing. On one hand "they" (the internet) say that full-term healthy breastfed babies have enough reserves in the first 6 months, but that by 6 months they would use up all their iron-levels which is why you have to give them supplemental foods like iron-fortified cereals... Prematurely born babies or low-birth-weight babies are especially at risk to develop iron-deficiency. On the other hand, they say that breastmilk contains high amounts of iron, which is actually better absorbed than those irons contained in formula or iron-fortified cereals.
    So if a baby is breastfed past 6 months, why would he be low on iron since breastmilk provides iron? Is it that breastmilk does not provide enough iron after 6 months? In addition, what about my babies: they have been breastfeeding since day 1, but they are not full-term - they were born 4 weeks early (luckily they neither had to go to NICU or special care unit), and they did have low-birth weights (2.0kg resp. 2.4kg). Do you have any idea about this? (Sure, I could ask our paediatrician, but he'll probably advocate solids anyway).

    So now I wonder, do I still have to give them iron-fortified cereals? I'm going to feed them some sweet potato today but not sure if that gives them the right amount of iron?? For sure they are not ready to chew on pieces of meat yet - they will choke on it, unless they are spoon-fed again.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    The age old iron quandary! Here is how I understand it. So yes it is true that breastmilk has less iron in it after about 6 months. Nature made us this way because children are beginning to develop the ability to eat solids at about that time, and will presumably eat solids with iron in them- iron occurs naturally in many foods. Too MUCH iron is not a good thing either, so less iron in breastmilk after a baby would start eating foods possibly high in iron makes sense biologically.

    But yes there are circumstances where low iron is a particular concern, because of some "out of the biologically ordinary" things that sometimes happen in relation to pregnancy and birth that MAY negatively impact a baby's natural iron reserves. I do not know about prematurity or low birth weight (not my area) but all my kids were cesarean births and that usually means blood loss to baby at birth as the cord is clamped 'too soon' and this also MAY lead to low iron later on. But the key is may. Not all babies who had the issue that may cause low iron will actually have low iron. In my personal experience, oldest baby (who was born at 37 weeks) had no low iron issues, but second baby (full term) did, although the numbers were not very low and they rectified naturally even though he was not much for the eating solids. Third baby (also 37 weeks) I asked doctor to not clamp the cord so soon when she was born, and she also had no low iron issues.

    Because it is hard to tell if iron levels are low, babies used to be routinely tested for iron levels at the 9 month well baby appointment. I am not sure this is still happening, but if this is a concern for you, then maybe an option. Or you could offer your babies higher iron foods. Meat is often fine- you can shred cooked chicken to a very soft consistency, and a bit of soft cooked ground beef or turkey that baby grabs with their hands may be fine- Most babies can handle that kind of thing. My babies loved it if I gave them a chicken drumstick- I removed all but a couple bits of meat and removed the splinter bones and cartilage and let them chomp on the bone. Oh they loved it. Eggs are another great source of iron and easy to prepare in a baby friendly way- but I forget if these are still considered a no no under a year? I think yokes are ok but not whites? It probably depends on family history (or lack thereof) to an issue with eggs. Anyway, you can hunt around online for tips on iron rich foods.

    A fascinating point made in My Child Won't Eat about iron- low iron - anemia - may be the cause of a poor appetite. So sometimes when a child will not eat and then is found to have low iron, and mom is being blamed for it because she cannot make baby eat more, in fact the low iron is MAKING baby not want to eat! It is a medical issue, and not a parenting failure, in other words. In cases where iron is low enough to be a problem, baby can be directly supplemented with iron drops.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Coming to 8 months and...*sigh*

    :Ira with everything MaddieB has written this far! I just want to emphasize that meat makes a great food for self-feeding babies. Shredded chicken from a soup, ground beef crumbles, a steak bone with some meat shreds clinging to it- these are all really easy ways to let a baby get some iron without needing to fill him up with cereal. Leafy greens and dried beans and lentils are also iron-rich and are great for self-feeders. Really the only reason to give cereal is that it's cheap!

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