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Thread: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    34

    Default Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

    I am the first time mom of a 5 1/2 week old boy. He was 8 lb 13 oz at birth, lost 10% in the hospital, but was back up to 8 lb 14 oz at his 2 week appointment and shot up to 10 lb 13 oz at his 4 week appointment.

    Because of the initial weight loss and the fact that he kept falling asleep while feeding, I initially tried to make sure that he was feeding about 15-20 minutes per breast at first. Over the past few days, a couple of things have happened. One is that it is rare that he does a 20 minute feeding. He seems to be able to drain me more efficiently, and either he falls asleep and will not wake to feed any more (despite tickling, diaper change, wet washcloths, etc.), or he turns away and makes it clear he is done. The other issue is that he now seems to be satisfied with one breast only, which is difficult in the middle of the night when I do NOT have the energy to pump. Sometimes I can get him to wake up and take the second breast, but this is getting increasingly difficult - he just does not seem interested in it.

    He is peeing and pooping normally and seems otherwise happy, though he's also been sleeping a bit more over the past couple of days than in the past. It is like he finally got the memo that many newborns sleep up to 16 hours per day - he was not a big fan of daytime naps up until a couple of days ago. He is still figuring out the spacing between feedings - generally every 2-4 hours and the shorter time does not seem to coincide with a shorter feeding prior to that.

    So, a couple of questions. First, is this change in behavior normal? Do babies get more "efficient" at eating over time? Should I be trying to get him to take the second breast or do I then run the risk of overfeeding him? Is it even possible to overfeed, or will the baby self-regulate? Aside from the obvious engorement issue, am I at any risk of hurting my milk supply if he only eats from a particular breast at every other feeding?

    I would very much appreciate any thoughts or help anyone can provide!

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?



    okay lets see if I can help any.
    Your little one sounds like he is prime for the six week growth spurt. sleeping more, the way he is eating sounds like that is what is going on. It will get better!!! I have read where some babies go up to two weeks with these issues come time of a growth spurt. So his behavior sounds very normal to me.
    As far as the eating from one breast. I have mentioned to many moms that my son nurses from one breast at a time. This is how we have always done it. He never was interested in eating from the other breast. His weight has never suffered (he is 18.5 lbs at 6 months!!!) and my supply has never dwindled. If this is the way things continue for you and your son, your breasts will eventually get the message and your other breast will no longer be engorged when he doesnt nurse. Your body will learn to regulate on a supply and demand basis. So do not worry about losing your supply! It may mean a few nights of engorgment but if will work itself out. If you do you pump at night, you are telling yoru body to keep producing milk at that time and you will remain full.
    I wish you luck and keep up the good work! Congrats on your baby boy!!
    this forum is a great tool for any questions you have, and the ladies are so kind and friendly, so I encourage you to explore the forum and ask any questions you might have!!


    I'm Heather, SAHM to Cooper , born 1/2007
    and Bennett, our precious NICU grad born 8/2009
    and wife to Bill since 10/2003!
    We're young, but we know we can do it!
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  3. #3
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

    Many babies take only one breast per feeding, and before long your body will adapt. My LO is so good at feeding that sometimes when he pops off I tell him that there is no way he can be finished, and then I feel my breast and it sure enough...all gone!!!!

    My DS also gained a lot of weight that first month. Born 8 lbs 2 oz. 2 days later at dr. weighed 8 lbs 3 ounces. 1 month later 10 lbs 15.5 oz. He has slowed down as he has gotten older and gains about a pound a month!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    112

    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

    Yup - babies do get more efficient. This drove me nuts until I figured it out. My LO is 10 weeks old, but he is a premie, so his adjusted age is about 5 1/2 weeks. He used to take about 15 minutes to nurse (and he has always only taken one breast. Very rarely will he take the second), but now he will take anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes, depending on both how hungry he is and how awake he is and therefore how vigorously he is sucking. It can also have to do with how full my breast is when he nurses and how much pressure there is at let-down (I have VERY forceful let-down). For a while I thought he was just refusing to nurse because he would only nurse for a few minutes and then scream and cry when I tried to put him back on. But he was really crying because he was done and didn't want to go back on. He wanted to suck, but he didn't want milk to come out when he sucked. So, don't worry about it. At this point, it is probably okay to just let your baby do whatever he/she wants when it comes to eating. Just keep an eye on those diapers and make sure that there are plenty of wet ones throughout the day. That way you will know your baby is getting enough. And if you are concerned at all, there's nothing wrong with giving your pediatrician a call.
    Last edited by boudicca13; July 13th, 2007 at 05:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    789

    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

    At 3 weeks my son suddenly become super efficient and would eat 5 minutes or less, on only one side, per feeding. I stressed for a while and talked to my IBCLCs but they assured me all was well. As long as the wet/poopy diapers are adequate and he's gaining- I say enjoy it! It's hard to feel comfortable at first, but then you'll be so glad you have a fast nurser!

    Oh, and my son only nursed on one side per feeding from 3 weeks until just recently (he's almost 9 mo.). Now that he's getting bigger I guess he needs more so at least half of his feedings now involve both sides. So no need to pump, just offer that other breast at the next feeding.

    Great job so far!

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?

    I will second what pp's have said. At some point (4-5 weeks, maybe?) Haley started nursing on only one breast at a time, and she can get in a good feeding anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on how hungry she is. At night she is VERY efficient, easily draining a full breast in about 7 minutes. Your supply will regulate itself based on your LO's needs, so there is no need to pump as long as your LO is getting enough to eat. (Pumping can actually increase your supply and cause oversupply which, trust me, is no fun.)

    As far as overfeeding, if your LO takes in too much, it will come right back up! When Haley has a particularly vigorous feed, I often see a teaspoon or so of milk urp right back up. (She also spits up for other reasons, but there are times where it's definitely overeating.) So, yes, your LO might overeat a bit, but it won't do any harm other than adding to your laundy pile!
    I love my kids. I care for them accordingly. What more can I say?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Help - Change in behavior and is it possible to OVERFEED?



    Quote Originally Posted by sbrudolph View Post
    I am the first time mom of a 5 1/2 week old boy. He was 8 lb 13 oz at birth, lost 10% in the hospital, but was back up to 8 lb 14 oz at his 2 week appointment and shot up to 10 lb 13 oz at his 4 week appointment.

    Because of the initial weight loss and the fact that he kept falling asleep while feeding, I initially tried to make sure that he was feeding about 15-20 minutes per breast at first. Over the past few days, a couple of things have happened. One is that it is rare that he does a 20 minute feeding. He seems to be able to drain me more efficiently, and either he falls asleep and will not wake to feed any more (despite tickling, diaper change, wet washcloths, etc.), or he turns away and makes it clear he is done. The other issue is that he now seems to be satisfied with one breast only, which is difficult in the middle of the night when I do NOT have the energy to pump. Sometimes I can get him to wake up and take the second breast, but this is getting increasingly difficult - he just does not seem interested in it.
    It's not neccessary to pump if he doesn't take the other side. If your "unused" breast gets uncomfortably full before he cues to nurse again, you could certainly offer to nurse. If he refuses, you might consider pumping or hand expressing just enough for comfort.

    Quote Originally Posted by sbrudolph View Post
    He is peeing and pooping normally and seems otherwise happy, though he's also been sleeping a bit more over the past couple of days than in the past. It is like he finally got the memo that many newborns sleep up to 16 hours per day - he was not a big fan of daytime naps up until a couple of days ago. He is still figuring out the spacing between feedings - generally every 2-4 hours and the shorter time does not seem to coincide with a shorter feeding prior to that.
    Great! Output is an indicator of intake (what goes in, must come out!).

    Quote Originally Posted by sbrudolph View Post
    So, a couple of questions. First, is this change in behavior normal? Do babies get more "efficient" at eating over time? Should I be trying to get him to take the second breast or do I then run the risk of overfeeding him? Is it even possible to overfeed, or will the baby self-regulate? Aside from the obvious engorement issue, am I at any risk of hurting my milk supply if he only eats from a particular breast at every other feeding?

    Yes! It's absolutely normal for babies to get more efficient with time. As long as his output remains adequate, you can rest assured that he's still getting enough:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/enough.html

    You can let him (and his appetite) lead the way. It's a good idea to offer the other side, but don't be alarmed if he doesn't take it. And if he does take it, don't worry about overfeeding. Babies are able to control their own intake at the breast.

    Your milk production will regulate to your baby's demand. It's perfectly normal for baby this age to take one breast at a feeding, and then the other at the next.

    HTH!

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