My baby is always hungry and uses the breast as a dummy

(27 Posts)
gcarravi Thu 17-Jan-08 09:39:53

I am breast feeding only my 3 weeks old baby, however he seems to be hungry all the time, or at least he asks for more every minute he is awake. If he has not my breast on his mouth, the he screams and cries like crazy. I think he is actually using my breast to confort himself as he hates the dummy and can´t still find his thumb. As a result my nipples are really sore. It is extremely painful. Can anyone tell me how to get my baby used to ask for the breast for feeding purposes only? Many thanks

Tommy Thu 17-Jan-08 09:47:14

If it is painful then perhaps you need to talk to a MW or breastfeeding counsellor to check the latch.

Other than that, I'm afraid the first few weeks of baby's life to tend to be like this! He is using your breast to comfort himself because that it the nicest way to comfort him. Breastfeeding is not just about geting nutrients into a baby.

You are probably tired and it's all new. Hang in there - this phase doesn't last long - it just seems like it at the time smile

northender Thu 17-Jan-08 09:50:40

I haven't got any magic solutions but didn't want this to go unanswered. Firstly you're doing brilliantly to be breastfeeding and there are times when it feels like you're feeding constantly but that does get better. Do you have a breastfeeding group locally. Do you feel your lo is latching on properly? It could be worth someone checking that. There is lots of support out there BfN, Laleche league, NCt all have help lines.

It will get bettersmile

northender Thu 17-Jan-08 09:51:18

Ok so by the time I typed that it was answered!

MegBusset Thu 17-Jan-08 09:54:08

At around three weeks there is a massive growth spurt, your baby needs to be at the breast so often to increase your milk supply to meet your needs. It is tough but if you hang in there and let him feed as much as he wants to, your supply will soon increase and he will start going longer between feeds.


Tommy Thu 17-Jan-08 09:57:47

it also gives you an excellent excuse to sit down with your feet up (or go to bed for a few days with your baby) and do nothing else except feed him.

It will get better - just think about the great start you're giving him

Niecie Thu 17-Jan-08 10:02:36

Congratulations on the birth of your son.

I have to agree with the others - this is pretty normal behaviour in a new born and it doesn't last long. My DS1 was exactly like this and it is very hard work. The painful nipples are awful but that too will pass.

I must admit I resorted to nipple shield which might be worth considering although some people seem to have problems with them. They helped me tremendously the first time round. With DS2 nipple cream did the job and was very soothing.

Do get the latch checked though as others have suggested because there may be something wrong.

Hang on in there and you will get through this. As babies get older they start to be more interested in their surroundings and not require constant feeding but it is very early days for you yet.

It will become enjoyable and easy soon but like every new skill it takes practice both for your and your baby.

tiktok Thu 17-Jan-08 10:17:47

The breast is not just a feeding object, but a wonderful means of comfort, too

If it hurts, your position and attachment need checking out by someone who knows what to look for and how to look for it - hope it gets fixed soon.

batterymum Thu 17-Jan-08 10:30:38

congratulations on your ds. tiny babies need to breastfeed a lot. even when they are not actively transferring milk, they are stimulating your body to make more milk in a time when their weight gain and development is at its fastest. this is how they build your milk supply which will make sure you have an abundant supply for when they turn into a chunky 5 month old.

if your nipples are sore now, it may mean that his attachment is not as good as it could be. have you attended a bf support group, say one run by the nct, babycafe or your local surestart?

how many wet and dirty nappies is our ds having per day? does he seem content between feeds? how many feeds do you think he is having in 24 hrs? (if he has a feed on one side, falls asleep, you put him down and he wakes up screaming 10 mins later asking to feed again, consider that as one feed)

it is hard work early days to feed a tiny newborn and it can be such a shock to many who have never done this before at how much we have to change our daily life to accommodate this wee thing. it gets easier though.

gcarravi Thu 17-Jan-08 11:08:31

Thanks all for your quick responses. It is great knowing that we are not on our own out there......

I did have a chat yesterday with the bf councelor at St Mary's hospital. She said that I might need to practice a bit more the latching in order to get my nipples in shape, however she said that the baby is getting the milk through (also the baby has already put on some weigh) so I guess he is really hungry at all times.

I guess I should try the nipple shield and see how that works. I have been using a cream called "Lansinoh" but I guess it is not working because I dont really have the time that it takes for the nipples to heal as the baby asks for them so often. can you pass the names of any other crwams that may have worked for you?

So is it alright if the baby uses the breast to fall sleep or only to suckle as a dummy instead of for being fed? should I still offer them on those cases or should I try to make the baby to understand that breast equals food? tx again

tiktok Thu 17-Jan-08 11:21:44

Please don't use a nipple shield, at least not without guidance from the breastfeeding counsellor, and not without knowledge of the serious drawbacks of using can check these in the mumsnet archives.

You can't 'make' your baby understand the difference between breastfeeding for food and breastfeeding for comfort - he's only three weeks old and less than a month ago he was inside you, feeding as and when he wanted to, and familiar with your closeness and your taste and sound. To expect him to get used to life on the outside without the comfort of your body when he needs it is asking a lot, IMO!

It is fine for him to feed to sleep and to feed for comfort. Humans have cups of tea or coffee for all sorts of reasons, not just thirst!

You need to have someone look at what you are doing so you can amend the positioning. That's more important than anything, though Lansinoh will speed healing as well, no matter how often he feeds.

kiskidee Thu 17-Jan-08 11:43:29

i am afraid if the breast feeding 'counsellor' at the hospital told you that you needed to get your nipple 'in shape' then it is an alarm bell (to me) that she doesn't know enough about breastfeeding to give you appropriate advice.

please click on the links below (from batterymum, er, me under a silly namechange)
or call the helplines from the breastfeeding charities.

here are their phone numbers:
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 08444 122 949

Breastfeeding Network Supporterline: 0870 900 8787

La Leche League: 0845 120 2918

National Childbirth Trust: 0870 444 8708

alisonEL Thu 17-Jan-08 11:49:06

Having read through all the messages it seems that no one has really been there with a baby that doesn't want to be parted from your boobs. My first child was just exactly like you are describing and I vividly remember spending one sunday with her attatched continually followed by her screaming when she was more than 2 sceconds away from me. I grinned and bore it but by god it was soo tiring and exhausting. I used to sleep with no top on laying on a towel and that sort of helped with the soreness. What no one bothered to tell me was that if I had imposed a bit of routine during those early weeks the baby would have adapted and my life wouldn't have been spent crying in my dressing gown. I have now had my second child and from the word go I fed him 15min each side (sometimes he fell asleep so that was feed over) at a minimum of every 3 hours or leaving him until he wanted feeding again and then put him down to sleep. He is a very contented chuby baby who rarely cries. I have only twice given him bottles of water between feeds when he had a cold. If your baby doesn't feed too well you should maybe think about expressing some milk to give your boobs a rest. Its another one of those really weird things that you will do as a mum! Good luck.

BabiesEverywhere Thu 17-Jan-08 12:07:20

Just to add it is best for babies and your milk supply to feed on demand and not to limit your babies time/frequency on the breast.

Plus breastfed babies don't need water (unless medical advice differs) even in the middle of summer etc.

I remember the sore nipples bit and it does get better. The best bit of advice I was given was the following...

...ALways take the baby off your nipple by inserting your clean little finger between the corner of your babies mouth and your breast. Plus if the baby doesn't latch on right, to take her off and reposition until it does feel comfortable.


muppetisacat Thu 17-Jan-08 12:15:44

Absolutely have been in this situation with all 3 of mine - the most recent being the biggest offender lol... even remember sitting on the loo with him attached!

I can't say i really did anything to limit his feeds... in my heart i didn't really want to DESPITE feeling exhausted and completely taken over. Someone suggested i read a book called Breastfeeding your baby by Sheila Kitzinger - and that really worked for me... helping me understand that breastfeeding was about so much more than just getting milk into your baby... certainly helped me "go with the flow" more which i think i had been resisting up to that point.

congrats on getting this far bfding your lo - you're giving him such a great start! It IS exhausting so you MUST look after yourself - things WILL improve!

tiktok Thu 17-Jan-08 12:44:12

alisonEL - you are wrong when you say no one has been in the position of having baby who did not want to be parted from the breasts...this happened to me, and to many other people, and no one is saying it is necessarily easy or comfortable (esp with soreness).

We are saying it is normal.

Your solution worked for you and your baby, but for some others, it produces an unhappy baby and a dwindling milk supply ....not a good result!

Brangelina Thu 17-Jan-08 12:58:17

Yes, my baby lost weight when I tried limiting her feeding or putting her in a routine and I so regret listening to those people who told me every 3 hrs and only 10 mins per side, because apparently babies get 70% of what they need in the first 5 mins etc. etc. This led me to mix feed for a while which I could have avoided. It works for some babies, for others it doesn't.

I do sympathise with the permanently in a dressing gown not being able to get out of the house, and I used to pee with my baby attached to my boob, so I do understand the difficulty. You just have to ride it through, something that as a new mum I didn't realise and I tried to change. Please let your baby feed as much as she wants, however tiring it is. It won't last forever and you need to give your baby everything it needs now.

magnolia74 Thu 17-Jan-08 12:58:49

gcarravi, Congratulations on your baby smile

Ds1 is now 1 years old and he spent at least the 1st 6 weeks feeding almost non stop, it is hard but it really is normal for your baby to want to be close to his mum smile

I went to a breast feeding counsellor about 6-8 times in the 1st 12 weeks and she frequently watched how I was feeding. It helped me so much and without her help (and the help on here!) I would not have continued.
Ds1 is still breastfeeding on demand at over a year old.

Please go and see a b/f counsellor who can watch how you are latching on and can advise you on positioning ect....

Lanisoh will not harm baby if on your nipples so you can keep re applying. I found applying breast milk to the nipples after feeding and letting my boobs get some air worked well too smile

BITCAT Thu 17-Jan-08 13:04:27

Is your baby wanting to be attached to you all night, if so thats what my 1st baby did, i had to have him in bed with me all night for the 1st 3mths it was draining, but there is light at the end of the tunnel cause it does get easier, my breasts were also very sore i had the my latch checked and it was fine. Mums that breastfeed have a specific smell that babies recognise and this makes them feel comforted, which is why they want mummy all the time. I was advised to put something of mine that i had worn or a washable breast pad that had been used (i know it sounds bad), into cot/moses basket with them, trust me it did the trick for me and i actually managed 4/5 sleep per night and allowed my breasts to heal... YOU'VE NOTHIN TO LOSE, GIVE IT A GO!!!

madness Thu 17-Jan-08 13:05:32

this was my excuse to sit on mumsnet for hours, honestly, all 3 dc in fact wanted to get plugged in for hours, just sucking,snoosing etc.

MegBusset Thu 17-Jan-08 13:05:36

AlisonEL, I was there, trust me! Strict feeding routines at this age can be the death knell of breastfeeding.

eeewahwoowah Thu 17-Jan-08 13:05:38

congratulations on your new baby. my ds is 5 now but i well remember the early weeks of struggling to get used to breastfeeding him. for me it all fell into place at around 10 weeks. i fed on demand and ds would often fall asleep on the breast. l breast fed for two years and looking back it was a magical time, as another poster said breastfeeding is a great opportunity to sit down, relax and bond with your baby. just try to enjoy it as much as possible.

BabiesEverywhere Thu 17-Jan-08 13:18:03

gcarravi, I found a sling a fantastic baby item. I bought my first sling when DD was 3 weeks old, just like your DS, she needed to be held and attached to a breast most of the day.

A sling means you get your hands back for Mumsnetting, going to the loo or making/eating a sandwich whilst nursing.
Great sling site with reviews and shop weblinks etc

A pouch is properly the easiest to get to grips with and will really make a difference.

Who cares if you are in a dressing gown all day. Thinking back I remember being really proud that I was dressed and showered by 5pm !!! (not sure what age DD was at the time) It is normal just enjoy your baby whilst he is tiny

Balthamos Thu 17-Jan-08 13:57:21

We had this too. Lots of well-meaning people kept saying to me 'she's useing you as a dummy' (even family and friends who were very pro-BFing said it).

However, i rationalised it this way...what came first, breasts or dummys? I thought to myself, hmm, well since breasts came first, babies must have an inherent need to suck so why would i deny my little girl that? Babies don't use their mother's breast as a dummy, they are just doing what they are supposed to do!

It was hard though so i sympathise. Sometimes i would cry with frustration because it is hard to get used to having this little baby tied to you (i totally relate to peeing with a baby feeding!), but i kept reminding myself that it is only a short time in my life that i will be doing this. It is a gift of time for my child and as other posters say, it is a great time for you to bond with your baby, and rest! you need that rest!

Get lots of healthy but easy to eat food and drink, lots of books and magazines, a laptop and the tv remote and just let yourself settle into the strange, but wonderful time.

However, I agree with all the other posters that you should check out your latch with someone.

bozette Thu 17-Jan-08 15:30:14

I never thought i'd be saying this but i now remember those days fondly! I too had heinously sore nipples for a long time, with cracks and an almost circumferential ulcer on one side. Nipple shields for me personally stopped me from giving up bf.

It was however a lovely time to watch plenty of rubbish daytime tv, chat on the phone whilst feeding (after the initial toe curling agony of latching on) and generally have a good excuse for being quite lazy.

Ds is now 19 weeks old and still exclusively breastfed. My diet of rubbish tv is sadly over, as it only takes 5 mins to feed and the rest of the time he wants to be entertained, and has an extreme aversion to australian soaps in particular. So enjoy!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now