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Breastfeeding- hunger cues... at a loss!

(14 Posts)
Luckystar1 Sun 06-Nov-16 14:27:32

Dd is 13 weeks ebf. I have absolutely no idea when she is hungry at all. I am almost constantly offering her the breast and when she feeds 'properly' she gulps down for about 2-3 mins, feeds at a lesser rate for about another 5 mins and that's it.

My concerns are:

1) how do I know when she's actually hungry?!

2) she feeds like clockwork every 2 hours (or sooner) at night. (This is killing me as I have a just turned 2 year old DS who I fed for 16 months, I could never read his hunger cues either and went down exactly the same road with him... I can't do it again, I need more sleep), but often goes longer (sometimes 3 hours when I finally crack and feed her but she hasn't 'asked' for it) in the day so I'm at a complete loss

3) the feeds are so short she isn't getting the fatty milk hence the frequent waking at night

She went through a 5 day period of sleeping 6 hours straight at night, that ended over 4 weeks ago...

I know I'm going to get people saying it's normal etc, but I feel there is an issue (a minor one) that is causing short feeds and the constant feeding at night.

Can anyone help??

Ps. She has about 10 wet nappies a day, about 5 dirty nappies (normal colour), she doesn't cluster feed as a rule but even when she has for an hour or 2 it has made no difference to night waking. She has had a bottle of expressed milk at 10pm, no difference. She does spit up very frequently. Not concerned by weight gain and she's a very happy little baby.

Luckystar1 Sun 06-Nov-16 16:12:59


Andromache77 Sun 06-Nov-16 18:40:37

Mine cried for a feed and when she didn't immediately get it increased the pitch of her cry. I won't say it was unmistakeable, you just learn to recognise your baby's call, I don't how else to describe it. But if your baby is gaining weight at the proper rate, I wouldn't worry too much. Sleep deprivation is awful but it goes with the territory, I'm afraid. Mine woke up as often if not more. Sorry if this is very helpful.

Andromache77 Sun 06-Nov-16 18:41:06

Not very helpful, of course.

Luckystar1 Sun 06-Nov-16 18:48:23

Ah see I've never 'let' her cry for a feed (she doesn't have the opportunity with me constantly offering!!!)

Hmm yes, I keep hearing it goes with the territory but I have a lot of friends in RL with babies the same age as both of mine, and none of them have ever fed quite this frequently, it seems we just all congregate on mn nursing our woes!!!

TheChineseChicken Sun 06-Nov-16 19:00:21

How often do you offer the breast during the day? If too often you may be perpetuating her 'snacking' if she's not very hungry. At that age she could well go 2.5 - 3 hours between feeds so you could try stretching out how often you offer to her. Or try waiting for her to get fussy for a few days so you can identify a pattern?

TheChineseChicken Sun 06-Nov-16 19:01:50

BTW beyond the first few weeks my DD hasn't really displayed hunger cues - so it's waiting for her to get fussy or offering randomly!

GoofyTheHero Sun 06-Nov-16 19:03:49

It sounds like if you left longer between feeds she would take a proper feed rather than snacking.
I've had 2 snackers (DD2 fed hourly overnight until about 20 weeks and I also had 20 month DD1 who didn't sleep through the night either, it was a killer).
Have you ever tried leaving her to cry for a feed to see if it had any impact on length of feed?

Luckystar1 Sun 06-Nov-16 19:20:54

Chinese I've never actually timed it, but once with my DS my husband counted I tried to feed him 13 times in an hour.... I don't know why I do it, I can't actually bear the thought of them crying for food! It makes me feel like I've starved them (it's all the fault of those stupid nct things that tell you about early cues and that crying is 'too late'!!)

2.5-3 hours?! Ok I'll try that tomorrow. I had started a little 'routine' of feeding every 3 hours roughly, but I started 2 days before the clocks changed so it went tits up almost immediately and I was back to a million times a day....

daisydalrymple Sun 06-Nov-16 19:37:28

Some babies are more efficient feeders, and what you describe could totally be ok for her. The 2-3 mins gulping may well be the foremilk, then the slower 5 mins the hind milk. It may be if you're comparing her at night and she's slower / takes longer that she's suckling more for comfort / building up supply.

Perhaps tomorrow you could start by waiting at least 2 hours between feeds before offering again, to at least get to where you are at night, then work on lengthening the gap by 5 mins or so over the next few days until you reach a pattern you feel suits her. But obviously continue offering earlier than that if she genuinely seems hungry. (Bearing in mind a lot of babies still cluster feed during the evening in the early months. )

Luckystar1 Sun 06-Nov-16 19:45:19

Thank you Daisy I'll do that. She very,very rarely cluster feeds (and if she does it's a few very short feeds before sleeping. She has always been efficient, but I do think I've been encouraging snacking by my constant offering!

I think I just need to change my own mindset.

It's lucky she is literally the most beautiful baby ever born grin

TheChineseChicken Sun 06-Nov-16 20:53:23

I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn't pick up on any hunger cues, especially when DD got to the age when her hands were permanently in her mouth.

Let us know how you get on stretching feeds out a bit. Your boobs will be grateful for the break if nothing else wink

TheChineseChicken Sun 06-Nov-16 20:54:25

They make them beautiful for a reason!

daisydalrymple Sun 06-Nov-16 21:18:36

I hope it settles down for you. (I'm on my third night feeder, so I feel your pain!) I think it's instinct in us, that when we're feeding through the night we automatically offer frequently through the day to try and break that cycle and fill their tummies before the night shift starts!

re the days, I think I used to feed, then pop out for a walk - shops / park etc to try and encourage the gap, so hopefully as pp says, she'll be hungrier to take a bigger feed.

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