Help! I've taught my baby to be a snacker(20 Posts)
Hello, I'm a first time mum desperately in need of some guidance so would be grateful for any replies!
My ds is 17 weeks and ebf. He has always been a
greedy little piggy good feeder, gaining weight and up in the 90th centile.
Until recently he fed every 2 hours during the day and slept from 7pm-7am with feeds at 12am and 4am. His feeds have always been short but I have a fast let down and presumed he was just being efficient because he was gaining so much weight/producing lots of dirty nappies.
Recently I introduced a bottle (ebm) and can now see that he's only taking about 2-3oz at a time. He no longer seems v interested in food during the day but has started waking every 3 hours during the night. Obviously I'm not expecting him to sleep through but I'm worried he's not getting enough total calories and worried that the majority of them are at night.
My sister says that by feeding him so frequently I have taught him to be a snacker. I feel so stupid because I've always been hopeless at reading his signs and tended to assume he was hungry and offer my boob.
Can anyone tell me how to encourage him to take more feed in one go? Or how to ensure he has proper feeds during the day which might help cut down the number of feeds at night?
OK, first of all, you haven't taught your son to be a "snacker".
You've taught him that you when he is hungry you will feed him.
And that is a very, VERY important thing for him to know.
Some babies just like to feed frequently. There's nothing wrong with that.
In fact, I think it is unusual for babies to only want a few big feeds per day. DD2 was like this, but my other two fed on and off all day.
What he takes from a bottle tells you nothing about how well he is feeding or how much he is taking when he breastfeeds.
If he is gaining weight, then that is telling you what you need to know.
17 weeks old you say? 4 month sleep regression Go on - google it
Breastmilk is designed to be digested quickly, so smaller, frequent feeds are perfectly normal. It's also not just "food", it's hydration (how often do you have a slug of water, or a sip of tea - not every 4 hours I bet!), it's comfort.
Your DS sounds absolutely and completely normal, and please don't doubt yourself for having been a responsive and attentive mother. My motto: If in doubt, get 'em out! 2-hourly feeds won't last forever, be led by your DS, as he grows he'll find his own rhythm and it'll be much easier for you to follow him than to try and encourage him to do anything against his instincts. He can't tell the time, read the measurements on a bottle, or let you know whether it's hunger, thirst or comfort he's nursing for. Best thing you can do is be there for him as you have been doing.
And yes, google 4 month sleep regression. There's a reason so many mothers think their babies need weaning at this point - it's a difficult patch, but "this too shall pass"...
I could have written your op! Aside from the 7-7 only 2 feeds part
My DS is 15 weeks and feeds every 2 hours day and night and always has done pretty much sometimes if we are home all day he will feed every hour
It's exhausting isn't it! he sometimes does a 3 hour stretch at night but not often!
Not much help but wanted to say you're not alone and I don't think it's anything you've done - he's just a big boy who likes his milk
My mum/mil are forever saying that I feed him too often and should make him go longer but I'm learning to ignore their well intentioned but irritating 'helpful' advice
He'll start to go longer at some point I guess <hopeful emoticon>
Besides, he's bound to leave home at some point right?
Thanks everyone, it's great to know I haven't 'ruined' my baby and that his behaviour is normal.
Op wasn't v clear so, just to be sure I've got this right, should I let ds go for as long as he wants between day time feeds? These have recently spaced out but he isn't taking any more volume in one go. So whilst he used to feed little and often, now he's only feeding for 5-10mins every 3 hours or so. If he hasn't fed for awhile I am offering the boob because a) I felt he wasn't getting enough and b) I thought he would make up for it at night. But sounds like I should just trust him to take the lead and only ever feed on demand?
The 4 month sleep regression stuff is
pretty scary really interesting and sounds just like him. They grow up so fast!
Impatient - grrr to well intentioned but unhelpful advice. All my friends formula feed and seem to think I enjoy whipping my boobs out every 5 mins while their textbook babies go for hours and then sink a full 9oz! Hope you get some sleep soon
Sounds just like DS (6 1/2 months) he went though phases of doing all sorts of feeding things. He fed loads, I rarely managed to go anywhere without having to get my boobs out. He's now 4 weeks into eating solids and has finally gone down to four/five feeds a day, which according to EVERYONE in the WORLD, he should have been doing for months.... He still has at least one feed overnight, though he has slept through a couple of times. Sometimes he'll have a bottle and he only has a couple of ounces at a time, I just think that breastfeeding is so different to formula feeding, they approach it in such a different way. It will get better!
Your baby is "textbook" for a breastfed 4 month old!
Don't let anyone make you feel like you (or your baby) are weird.
And feed as often as you feel is right.
"It is impossible for you to tell how much 'volume' he is taking in one feed"
Impossible and (crucially) unnecessary.
You don't need to know this.
It's only people who have to make up feeds that have to worry about volume.
Not your problem
You sound like you're doing fantastic. I just wanted to add that the length of the feeds isn't important, 2 out of my 3 were mega efficient feeders by 4 months and could down both breasts in a matter of minutes! I actually missed the longer feeds! If he is putting weight on and seems satisfied between feeds I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Generally I don't think it's a bad idea to offer a feed every 2 hrs in the daytime - that's certainly what I did with DD2 (found I tended to do more 'offering' with DD2 because I wanted her to feed when it was convenient for mine and DD1's schedule, and it seemed to work well).
Thanks again for the replies.
I just (wrongly) assumed that now he is feeding less often the feeds should be bigger but they feel the same. Just judging it by how vigourously he sucks/how full my boobs are/how long he spends on the boob etc. I was also shocked to see how little ebm he took from the bottle as had always assumed he was scoffing loads.
But I understand what you are all saying about not really being able to tell how much they take and it not really mattering anyway.
So I will stop over-analysing/worrying about what other babies do and just concentrate on doing my best for ds.
He's such a cheerful little chap that between us we must be doing something right!
Your sister couldn't be more wrong - you haven't taught him to be a snacker, he's behaving perfectly normally for a baby of this age. You've done exactly the right thing by offering boob whenever he wants it. It's also very, very common for babies to take less ebm from a bottle than they would from a breast. If he's feeding every couple of hours during the day and every three hours at night he's doing really well. Keep it up!
WOW - your sister really, really does not know much about normal baby feeding and behaviour, does she?
Yet that hasn't stopped her rudely undermining your confidence and making you doubt yourself.
Your baby sounds slap bang in the middle of the normal spectrum
Can I just add that my 16 MONTH old always feeds every 2 - 3 hours day or night if I'm there (and copes just fine if I'm not) - and always has done despite eating solids like a very hungry thing
So glad I've read this.
<bobs off to feed 14 week old DS as its been 2 hours since last feed>
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