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Thread: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

  1. #1
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    Default How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Wyatt is almost 9 weeks now and for the past 3 weeks he has been eating NON stop (every 30-60 minutes on good days). I REALLY need to get him out of this for my sanity. It seems like as soon as he is done, I go make me some food and by the time I sit down he is crying for more. I know he really doesnt need to eat all this much, I think it is more so for comfort etc. He is gaining weight and everything fine. My question is, since I know that it is mostly for comfort, how do I know when/if he is REALLY hungry? By this age, Noah was nursing every 2-3 hours, so this is really different for me. Everyone in my family says to give him cereal, but I dont think that real hunger is what the problem is. Could I be wrong? I mean, he is just 2 months old? We go for his check up tomorrow and I will talk to the dr more there, but wondering what your thoughts are? I mean, should I gradually just stop feeding him so much and let him CIO? I hate to have him cry, but I dont know what else to do. I mean, I would hold him and comfort him. I am still really trying the binky, but he doesnt want it We have tried different ones and no luck. We are trying the NUK right now, I have heard that is best. He takes bottles fine when we give them to him. I wanted to be able to have DH give him one 1x a day, and was trying to workin in pumping the last couple of weeks. But he just keeps wanting to eat so much, that time wise it is IMPOSSIBLE for me.
    Any tips and or advice is SO appreciated!
    TIA
    Tosha

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    I was going to post a thread of my own along these same lines. Seems we are in a somewhat similar boat. My 4 week old daughter just started a new routine where she seems to want to nurse a lot more and longer than she has before. For most of the first three and half weeks she usually only fed from one breast per feeding. But in the last day or so she has started wanting more, and so i have been putting her on the other breast if she wants it..which is fine and good but when she dozes off to sleep and i go to take her off she just starts fussing up a storm...so i put her back on thinking she wasnt really done but she just goes right back to sleep. They say they cannot really have nipple confusion between the breast and their pacifiers but is that what this behavior is?? Is she using my breast as a pacifier? I feel so guilty giving her the pacifier but sometimes you just have to for your sanity (so i feel your pain of yours not taking one).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    (subject to change at any time, but a loose standard)

    List of general growth spurt times

    3 weeks
    6 weeks
    9 weeks
    12 weeks
    16 weeks
    20 weeks

    ad nauseaum...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Quote Originally Posted by tosha_e_1 View Post
    Everyone in my family says to give him cereal, but I dont think that real hunger is what the problem is. Could I be wrong?
    I mean, should I gradually just stop feeding him so much and let him CIO? I hate to have him cry, but I dont know what else to do. I mean, I would hold him and comfort him.
    Sorry you're feeling so run down.
    That first while is exhausting. In my opinion, I would definitely NOT give him cereal. My mom tried and tried to push cereal on my boy at 2 weeks old because of his crying ... she said he was just plain 'ol hungry.
    You're lo is two months? Probably going through a growth spurt. Maybe this baby responds a lot more to growth spurts than your previous one.
    I used to wonder if I was feeding my boy too much because I honestly fed him every 30 minutes for the first two months, which sounds like what you're going through. And though he would spit up a ton, it seemed like he just wanted more and more. I feared I was giving him too much. All the moms on the forum guaranteed that it is impossible to overfeed when breastfeeding exclusively. I just kept up...and gradually it got better, then he would have a growth spurt, or teeth, or something else and eat like a madman.
    Though those times were sooo hard, they're so hazy now ... now that he's older. It will pass.

    Quote Originally Posted by mj4330 View Post
    Is she using my breast as a pacifier? I feel so guilty giving her the pacifier but sometimes you just have to for your sanity (so i feel your pain of yours not taking one).
    It sounds like she's definitely comfort feeding, which is great so long as it works for YOU. If it's running you down too much, you need to think about an alternative. We introduced the pacifier when Alasdair was 3 weeks old. He liked it, for a while. I remember feeling so guilty. I went to a mom's group at the midwives and busted out the pacifier and said, "I have a confession ... I gave Alasdair a pacifier .. " All of the moms were baffled. nearly all said, "I wish my child would take a pacifier." Anyway---I think there's a social stigma that pacifiers somehow indicate that you are trying to "shut the baby up," which is definitely not the case. Babies need to suck. They have a desire, and innate urge, and pacifiers definitely help out with that. Now, at 6 months, he only bites on it. He hasn't used it for comfort for about 2 months now.
    That said, if you choose to feed on cue (on demand) and comfort nurse, life becomes much easier once you give in to the realization that your child will take advantage (I kind of hate to say that ... not like she's manipulating you or anything) of that offering, which means you're kind of at her beck and call for the first many months.
    I was a disaster during the first three months of my son's life, until I sat back and said: "I choose to co-sleep, breastfeed, feed on cue, comfort feed, etc. Because I choose to do these things, I also choose to devote my entire life to my child. My time will return, for now, it's all about him."
    Well----you obviously need your time, too, but it does pass. I promise. They're only baby babies for a short time...
    I'm already missing it.
    ... mama to alasdair jonas, fifteen days late and (finally) born all natural on june 24, 2007.

    check out my organic baby goods: www.inkpony.etsy.com
    and coming along with using cloth dipes.yay.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Thank you so much for your replies.
    As far as growth spurts go. I am sure that is part of it. But this has been going on for WEEKS now, so I am certain that is not ALL of it. Growth spurts dont last that long. According to the LLL teacher that gave my breastfeeding class . She said a couple of days. Maybe I misunderstood her.
    I am certainly not ready emotionally to give him cereal at any point! Selfish to say that I dont want to because of me! LOL His 0-3 month clothes are starting to get snug, I am in denial and have yet to pull out the next size . Soon though!
    Thanks again for everything

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Actually, my feeling is that they do last that long. Each baby is diffrent. You body would take longer than one day to know that more milk was needed. It would take at least a week ( to be reasonable here). Part of a growth spurt is the baby's constant nursing tells mom's breast to make more milk. Your milk supply is still increasing at this point. I will go into this more later on with articles for you so you can make your own conclusions. I have a crazy baby on my hands here.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Article by Dr. Sears (leading expert on breastfeeding):


    STARTING SOLID FOODS: WHEN? WHAT? AND HOW?

    Ready to open your baby's mouth to a whole new world of textures and tastes? Is baby ready to open her mouth? Get ready for the joys – and the mess – of eating solid foods. When you begin feeding your baby solid foods you want to progress in a way that sets baby up for healthy eating habits. You are not only putting food into your baby's tummy, you are introducing lifelong attitudes about nutrition. Consider for a moment that during the first year or two you will spend more time feeding your baby than in any other interaction. You both might as well enjoy it.
    WHY WAIT? 6 REASONS

    Gone are the days when pressured mothers stuffed globs of cereal into the tight mouths of reluctant six-week-olds. Nowadays parents feed their baby on the timetable that is developmentally and nutritionally correct -- as determined by their baby. Don't be in a rush to start solids. Here are some good reasons for waiting.

    1. Baby's intestines need to mature. The intestines are the body's filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In the early months, this filtering system is immature. Between four and seven months a baby's intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure, meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby's system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it's particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic.

    2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex . In the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes, giving the glob of cereal a fighting chance of making it from the tongue to the tummy. Not only is the mouth-end of baby's digestive tract not ready for early solids, neither is the lower end.

    3. Baby's swallowing mechanism is immature. Another reason not to rush solids is that the tongue and the swallowing mechanisms may not yet be ready to work together. Give a spoonful of food to an infant less than four months, and she will move it around randomly in her mouth, pushing some of it back into the pharynx where it is swallowed, some of it into the large spaces between the cheeks and gums, and some forward between the lips and out onto her chin. Between four and six months of age, most infants develop the ability to move the food from the front of the mouth to the back instead of letting it wallow around in the mouth and get spit out. Prior to four months of age, a baby's swallowing mechanism is designed to work with sucking, but not with chewing.

    4. Baby needs to be able to sit up. In the early months, babies associate feeding with cuddling. Feeding is an intimate interaction, and babies often associate the feeding ritual with falling asleep in arms or at the breast. The change from a soft, warm breast to a cold, hard spoon may not be welcomed with an open mouth. Feeding solid foods is a less intimate and more mechanical way of delivering food. It requires baby to sit up in a highchair – a skill which most babies develop between five and seven months. Holding a breastfed baby in the usual breastfeeding position may not be the best way to start introducing solids, as your baby expects to be breastfed and clicks into a "what's wrong with this picture?" mode of food rejection.

    5. Young infants are not equipped to chew. Teeth seldom appear until six or seven months, giving further evidence that the young infant is designed to suck rather than to chew. In the pre-teething stage, between four and six months, babies tend to drool, and the drool that you are always wiping off baby's face is rich in enzymes, which will help digest the solid foods that are soon to come.

    6. Older babies like to imitate caregivers. Around six months of age, babies like to imitate what they see. They see you spear a veggie and enjoy chewing it. They want to grab a fork and do likewise.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    Another thing to remember about breastfeeding is that you are meeting more than nutrition needs here. You are embracing all of the psychological needs as well. Non-nutritive suckling is important to the well being of your child too.

    Is there a way you could wear your baby in a sling? Sometimes having the warmth of mama near bye is calming and perhaps you could learn to latch baby in a sling. I found it helpful when I needed to move about the house. Hang in there, it gets better.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    I went through this too, my DD is 14 weeks and it lasted until she was 11-12 weeks. My MIL told me to start solids, still does, but I just bit the bullet and fed her when she wanted. It is no fun I know, but it will pass! The only thing that worked sometimes was to use the soothie paci, it is the only one she will take. Also try and cradle hold her and put a paci in her mouth and snuggle while bouncing and walking, this woked sometimes too. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do I know when/if he is really hungry?

    How does your baby nap during the day? I was having a similar but not so severe issue but found the baby was sleepy not hungry but also didn't fall asleep with breastfeeding so confused me for awhile. Now I put DD in a carrier (Bjorn) she falls asleep and feeds after waking up from nap which can be as long as 2hours. She went from eating every 1 to 1 1/2 hours to every 21/2 to 3 hours. Babies this age need to nap on average after 2 hours from waking.

    Diane

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