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Thread: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Question new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Hi ladies! I am a new mom who is (very happily!) EBF. My LO is just about 8 weeks now and BF is going well (lots of wets/dirties and gaining weight) but even though my little boy is getting the milk he needs I still have so many questions! I was hoping you all could help me with a few of my more pressing ones?

    A quick background: My LO was born 8 weeks early (he's "due" this week) and subsequently spent 5 weeks in the NICU. We weren't even really able to attempt BF until about 5 days before he came home. I pumped milk from just post c-section until the day he came home and my supply was very good. (I think?) I usually ended up with 3-5 oz depending on the time of day. We left the hospital using a nipple shield but after almost a week at home stopped using it (!) He has now been home for almost 3 weeks.
    Also i am not pumping anymore.

    Here are my biggest concerns:

    How can I tell when he has emptied the breast? I really have absolutley no idea and no matter how long he eats for I can always get a nice spray going afterwards making me think he hasn't emptied it. This concerns me because how can I be sure he is getting the hindmilk? And what happens if he ISN'T getting any hindmilk? Does only getting foremilk relate to gas issues at all? Also, how do I know WHEN to offer him the other side? Usually he will dwindle his sucking down and sometimes pop off at which time I will offer the other side. Recently he has been taking it, but I will still get that spray out of the first side. (he usually only eats off one side but the last few days has been taking the other for a little while as well)

    How can I tell the difference between when he is really hungry and just wants to suck for comfort? He doesn't seems to give me any very clear cues. pretty much whenever i put him to breast he'll take it at least for a minute. this is becomming an issue for me at night. He seems to feed constantly between 2 am and 6 am. I don't really mind, but would like to be able to tell the difference for the times i would like to opt out and use a pacifier instead.

    It seems to me that in the last week or so his suck is often lazier than it was. Not at every feeding, but at several of them he seems to be sucking less vigorously and also i have to help him with his latch more by pinching my nipple a bit for him.I also can't hear him swallowing as loudly or often. Why would this happen and is it something that will adjust with time? (yes, he uses a pacifier, but has always had one since birth. it was his only comfort while in the NICU, but didn't seems to hinder him learning to latch and suck at all in the first place)

    He spits up...a lOT. Not in the amount, but in the frequency. Is there something i can/should do to help him with this? Sometimes it doesn't faze him but other times I can see him stiffen and get upset right before it happens. He also often gets the hiccups right after he spits up.

    Is it awful to not burp him every time he eats? Sometimes when I feed him laying down (naps and nighttime) I like to just leave him so he stays asleep. It doesn't seems to affect the spitting up.

    I know this was long one! I thank you all for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    Hi ladies! I am a new mom who is (very happily!) EBF. My LO is just about 8 weeks now and BF is going well
    YAY!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    How can I tell when he has emptied the breast?
    The breast will be soft. It is never completely empty, but over time as your body adjust to his demands you will find that it "dribbles" instead of "sprays" at the end of a feeding. From what I understand from your post, you've been feeding him at the breast for 2-3 weeks? If that's the case it might take another couple of weeks for your body to adjust to his schedule. By then you should notice that your breasts will be soft and "squishy" after a feeding. Trust your baby (and yourself). As long as you are feeding on demand, he has lots of wet diapers, and he is gaining - you're doing great!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    And what happens if he ISN'T getting any hindmilk? Does only getting foremilk relate to gas issues at all?
    If he isn't getting any hindmilk you will find that his poops will be green and frothy. I would wait until your body figures out the demand/supply thing first though, before I would try to correct any foremilk/hindmilk imbalances (but if this does turn out to be a problem, block feeding worked for me). And yes, sometimes when babies are only getting foremilk, they can be more gassy.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    Also, how do I know WHEN to offer him the other side? Usually he will dwindle his sucking down and sometimes pop off at which time I will offer the other side. Recently he has been taking it, but I will still get that spray out of the first side. (he usually only eats off one side but the last few days has been taking the other for a little while as well)
    It sounds like you're doing great! My ds2 is four months and still only takes one breast per feeding (with the occasional two-breast feeding)


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    How can I tell the difference between when he is really hungry and just wants to suck for comfort? He doesn't seems to give me any very clear cues. pretty much whenever i put him to breast he'll take it at least for a minute. this is becoming an issue for me at night. He seems to feed constantly between 2 am and 6 am. I don't really mind, but would like to be able to tell the difference for the times i would like to opt out and use a pacifier instead.
    at this stage I would suggest feeding when ever he show any signs of hunger. Encouraging cluster feeds in the evening may help with the constant night feedings.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    He spits up...a lOT. Not in the amount, but in the frequency. Is there something i can/should do to help him with this? Sometimes it doesn't faze him but other times I can see him stiffen and get upset right before it happens. He also often gets the hiccups right after he spits up.
    burp him often. My son is also a spitter (he has reflux) and I find that he does much better when I burp him frequently throughout feedings, as well as feed him on an incline. Also, making sure that he stays "upright" for about 20-30 minutes after nursing helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    Is it awful to not burp him every time he eats? Sometimes when I feed him laying down (naps and nighttime) I like to just leave him so he stays asleep. It doesn't seems to affect the spitting up.
    If it's not affecting the spitting up and he's not having any trouble with gas than I don't see the harm. But if you start to notice that he is having trouble passing gas then I would start burping him. Sometimes gas gets pinned and it's much harder for them to work it out from the bottom than it is for you to work it out from the top


    I've answered the questions that I have knowledge about, and I'm sure that other ladies will also chime in with some great suggestions!

    Good job mama - keep up the good work
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Congratulations on the new baby! Sch.mommy gave you great answers, so I'll try not to be redundant- but please excuse me if I am!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    How can I tell when he has emptied the breast?
    Your breasts are never really empty, as milk is constantly being made even as it is being drained. Since you're so new to nursing, I don't think it's surprising that your supply is still adjusting. If your baby drains the breast very thoroughly, your body will get the signal to make more milk. If he leaves a fair amount of milk behind, your body will get the signal to make a little less. The fact that you can still get "sprays" of milk after nursing makes me think your milk is quite abundant, and it's probably okay to allow your supply to reduce itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    This concerns me because how can I be sure he is getting the hindmilk? And what happens if he ISN'T getting any hindmilk?
    If your baby isn't getting enough hindmilk, you'll notice that his poops are greenish and frothy, and do not contain a lot of solids. He may be gassy, as foremilk contains a lot of lactose that can cause gas. So long as your baby is putting on weight at a good rate, I wouldn't worry too much about foremilk/hindmilk ratios yet. Give your supply a while longer to adjust.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    Also, how do I know WHEN to offer him the other side? Usually he will dwindle his sucking down and sometimes pop off at which time I will offer the other side.
    You're doing just what you should be doing: allowing your baby to release side A before offering side B.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    How can I tell the difference between when he is really hungry and just wants to suck for comfort?
    At this point in your baby's life, there is no such thing as feeding too frequently! As time goes on, I promise you will become better at reading your baby's cues, and he will learn to exhibit them more clearly.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    this is becomming an issue for me at night. He seems to feed constantly between 2 am and 6 am.
    Check out this information on reverse cycling, and hang in there!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    It seems to me that in the last week or so his suck is often lazier than it was. Not at every feeding, but at several of them he seems to be sucking less vigorously and also i have to help him with his latch more by pinching my nipple a bit for him.
    Sounds like he may be sucking for comfort at those lazy-latch, infrequent-swallowing feedings. So long as his weight gain is good, there's no cause for concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    He spits up...a lOT. Not in the amount, but in the frequency. Is there something i can/should do to help him with this?
    Just keep an eye on it. If your baby isn't upset by the spit-ups, I don't think there's much to worry about. But you may want to check out this info on reflux, and see if it rings a bell.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mama-j View Post
    Is it awful to not burp him every time he eats? Sometimes when I feed him laying down (naps and nighttime) I like to just leave him so he stays asleep. It doesn't seems to affect the spitting up.
    Nope, it's not awful not to burp your baby so long as he seems happy as he is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    You've got some great answers so I don't have anything new for you, but just wanted to cheer you on.

    Both of you are still learning about each other. He's learning to nurse (sounds like he's a pro!) and your still learning his cues and what he needs (this takes time, you will get there I promise).

    Your doing great!
    Jessica
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

  5. #5
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    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    i found lots of useful info here! thank you!!!!!

  6. #6
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    May 2008
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    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Hi,
    My DS 2 was also preemie (but not quite as young as yours) and I found he nursed WAY WAY WAY more than my DS 1. It was like a perpetual growth spurt that went on for 6 weeks. In my case I believe my preemie son just needed a whole lot more physical contact and comfort nursing. He also needed to make up for that lost month & half (in your case 2 months). It does settled down into a more manageable routine so hang in there.

    My DS 2 also used a soother (paci) and I found if he was truly hungry he would reject the soother after a minute or two of sucking. If he just wanted to suck he might take it for 15 minutes and doze off. Your LO will definitely let you know when he is truly hungry so don't fret about offering a soother to try and catch some zzzzs.

    My LO was so high needs in those first couple months home that I ended up bringing him into my bed (with appropriate precautions) and that made a huge difference. He slept more soundly beside me, even when not nursing.

    2005 2008

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    11

    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Thanks so much for all of your helpful advice. Unfortunately shortly after my post we noticed some blood in his poop that progessively got worse and had to take him back to the hospital. He's been there for a week now and was back on no feeds. I am SO frustrated. I am now able to give him TINY amounts in a bottle (10 ML now) and hopefully we will be able to nurse again in a couple of days. Just as my body is adjusting to him, the whole balance is thrown off again! In the meantime I'm just keeping at the pumping even though I loathe it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    8,038

    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    Good luck, mama. Keep coming back for support/advice whenever you need!

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  9. #9

    Default Re: new mom...so many questions! (LONG)

    My thoughts are with you. Hang in there and keep up the good work.

    One note on the pacifier and knowing when he is hungry or sucking for comfort:
    I started offering the pacifer before offering the breast. If that didn't pacify her, I knew she was hungry. Once I started doing this I found that I could get another hour of sleep between feedings at night and by 6 weeks she was sleeping from 10pm until 5 or even 6am.

    Good luck

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