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Thread: Nibble Nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    74

    Unhappy Nibble Nursing

    My baby never gets full when she nurses. She'll nurse for 5 minutes before always falling asleep. I try to keep her awake, but she does not nurse very efficiently when she is half asleep. If I let her continue, she just nibbles lightly until a let down occurs. Once she takes a few gulps, she is back at nibbling until the next let down...or until she falls asleep completely. If I don't take the nipple out, this sometimes goes on for an hour! Even worse, she now expects to be nursed to sleep every time she wakes up at night. I think this is due to the fact that since she was born, she would always wake up hungry from not nursing long enough before. So I would always nurse her when she woke up...and of coarse, it would just put her right back to sleep. She has gotten used to using nursing as a way of comfort...a little bit too much. To ensure that she was getting enough milk, I had to start pumping milk and giving it to her with bottles during the day...in which she never falls asleep. How can I break this nasty habbit?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Hi Kim

    How old is your baby? It sounds like you're a little frustrated with some of her nursing habits.

    It's perfectly normal for babies, even older babies and toddlers, to nurse for comfort and to nurse to sleep. Some people consider this a "bad habit" but most mothers find that their children outgrow it on their own when they are ready.

    However, you seem concerned that she is doing more "comfort sucking" than actual eating. I would strongly suggest that you stop using a bottle for several days to see if that helps the problem. Artificial nipples cause the baby to suckle differently, and sometimes it causes the baby to be less efficient at the breast.

    When you do nurse her, there are a few things you can do to help keep her awake:

    Put her skin to skin with you
    sing/talk to her
    rub her head/feet/hands
    switch sides when she falls asleep.

    Some mothers also find that breast compression can help the baby start actively nursing again. Hold your breast with the thumb on one side and the four fingers on the other side. When baby stops actively nursing, gently squeeze your breast. When baby starts nursing again, release. Repeat, rotating your hand around the breast as needed, until it doesn't cause her to start suckling again.

    Depending on the age of your baby, falling asleep at the breast is very common. If she is very new, you may have to work to keep her awake for feedings for a while until she comes out of that "newborn sleepy stage".

    Hang in there!
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Thanks for the tips! My little one is about 3 months old. I just thought that she would have grown out of the sleepy newborn stage by now. I tried talking to her last night and that seemed to work well! I am back to work now, so it will be hard for her to give up the bottle for a few days. But I'll give it a try on a weekend and see what happens!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Oh, I didn't realize you were working Of course then you may have to give her some bottles during the day.

    Some of the nursing you describe sounds very much like comfort sucking. You also mentioned night nursing--do you find that she wakes more in the night now that you are back at work? Some babies will do a "reverse cycle" where they eat more when Mom is home and less while she is at work. Consequently, a lot of babies eat more during the night.

    At three months old, it's certainly very okay and very normal for her to use the breast as comfort. I think many mothers would tell you that their children did it for longer than three months! Breastfeeding is not just for nutrition--we have an amazing capability to feed, comfort, and soothe our children with breastfeeding!

    Hugs
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    LactoJen,
    I'm glad to hear that nursing for comfort is normal and more than just for food. I think I was mostly worried that she would never learn to sleep through the night without requiring nursing several times a night. But I'm sure she'll break out of that eventually. She hasn't gotten up more at night since I've been back to work, but she does nurse more in the evening. I noticed that she started consuming one less bottle of expressed milk per day at the babysitters after the first week. Usually Dad ends up giving the extra bottle to her right before I get home. She would usually be full after having a full bottle, but when I get home she wants to nurse. I know she enjoys it from the big smile and excitement she displays. I'm afraid to have her wait till I get home to eat. Since she doesn't get as much milk out as she does the bottle, I'm worried that she won't be getting enough milk. What do you suggest? Do you think that if I tried to nurse her as much as possible when I'm not at work that she would get more efficient at removing milk from the breast?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    I feel that I'm some what going through what you are. My son will nurse a bit more than five mintues at a time. Usually for about 10 maybe 15 mintues. But during that time I always wonder how much he actually is getting cause I never hear him swallowing the milk like I did a couple of weeks ago when my milk was first coming in. I have tried some of things suggested here to keep him awake to nurse but none of it works. Even when he is wide a wake he will not take a full meal in. This only started though about a week ago. Up on till then he was a good nurser wish I could have that back again. Anyone got any ideas how I can get the good nurser who eats initally then here and there nursing.

    Third time mother

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Sheena137,
    I know exactly what you mean! When my daughter was a week old, we saw a lactation consultant. By weighing her before and after a feed, we found that she was getting a little over 1 oz...and this seemed to be filling her up at the time. And she nursed for about 20 minutes. Now at 12 weeks old, with a bottle she'll take about 4 oz. When I pump, I have to pump both sides empty to get 4 oz. And when she nurses for 45 minutes, she still has not emptied one side!!! This is why I am afraid that she will not get enough milk if I give her one less bottle each day. Our lactation consultant told us to feed her a little milk after every other feed from a cup. After that, I noticed that her suckling was not as strong...and it's been that way ever since. I then started her on bottles a week later, and nothing improved...except her bm's and wet diapers. I took the bottles away for a couple of days when I was still on maternity leave. And even then it was the same thing...struggle to keep her awake. And when I try to put her down for a nap, she wakes up still hungry. Sometimes I would nurse her for an hour and she would still be unsatisfied. I decided to just pump during the day and give her strictly bottles up until 6:00 in the evening. This helped me to increase my milk supply. I figured that maybe she was still in that sleepy stage and I just needed to give her time. But I thought things would have gotten better by now. Maybe she just needs more time and practice?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    100

    Smile Re: Nibble Nursing

    Kim9983,

    I remember doing the weigh before and weigh after a feeding with my daughter. It was crazy knowing how much she would eat. She would get 4oz or more just from nursing one side. I'm assuming my son is getting around that much nursing on both sides considering I can hand express abit more than 4oz in 10 minutes. One good news is he seems to be a bit better today about eating more. I'm almost wondering if it had something to do with that he would only nurse one side and yestarday I started getting him to nurse on both sides. I didn't want to end up with two very uneven breasts from one sided nursing. So far today feedings are 3 hours apart once again, but still not seeming to nurse like he used too.

    Just remember if it's hard to nurse during the day before 6 pm, just don't be hard on yourself about it. Any nursing most definately is a benefit to your daughter no matter how little it is. I went away for a day with my oldest son, pumped while I was gone and everything. Came home he would nurse for about a day and said enough. But I was still able to get in about 2 feeds a day. Just before bed and when he woke in the morning. Everyone kept telling me that's better than no breastfeeding. So just keep up the good work and keep on trying if you don't get to exhusted.

    Sheena

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Thanks for the encouragement! I suppose as long as she is getting enough milk and is happy with the amount of breastfeeding she is doing then all is well. I'm going to have to be patient with letting her nurse whenever I'm not at work. I know she enjoys it more than bottle feeding. I love to see her excitement. And I love the bonding time we have. I'm just going to have to learn to put aside the household chores and ask for more help from Dad! And maybe with more practice, things will get better over time. It's just so hard working a full time job and taking care of a baby, house, marriage...!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Nibble Nursing

    Kim
    My DD will be six months on Sat. and she nurses exactly as you explained your DD does. I know it's hard to work and pump and night feed, but hang in there...you'll be amazed at how well you can function on 4 hours sleep

    My DD will eat 2 - 4 oz. bottles while I am work, that's it! She will then wait for me to get home and nurse like she hasn't eaten in a week. Then she will wake every 2 hours at night to nurse. She has done the "reverse" feeding that was mentioned in a previous post. So far we are managing o.k. I went through the same feelings as you about "shouldn't she sleep better/feed more, etc." We went through a really good sleep phase starting at about 4 months, then she got a tooth and we are back to wakeful/comfort night nursing.

    I tried comforting her other ways..ie. having dh go try to help her back to sleep, patting her back, shhhing her...nothing works but the nursing. I am adjusting to it and I want her to get that comfort that she must desperately need. I figure I can sleep when she's two

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