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Breastfeeding 3 week old... can he be rooting and suckling as a habit rather than need

(22 Posts)
cityangel Thu 21-Aug-08 23:24:05

First time Mum breastfeeding a 3 week old. I'm trying to feed on demand, have had breastfeeding counsellors check my latch is ok and he is putting on weight with wet/poo nappies.

Barely 45 minutes goes by where I am not feeding him except at night where he goes 2-3 hours sleep at a time.

Dh is worried that he's not getting enough sleep and is suckling for comfort. When I pull him off there does seem to be milk in his mouth, I can get milk out of my breasts and during the day the milk makes him sleepy.

In the evenings and at night he is very difficult to settle without mega feeding and swaddling and he seems to have permanent rooting going on.

I have read earlier threads where its not uncommon for babies to feed lots on demand. Any advice on similar experiences or ways to approach this would be great.

kittywise Thu 21-Aug-08 23:29:56

Of course he's sucking for comfort, that's what babies do. It gives them enormous comfort and pleasure!!

Please don't listen to your dh, no matter how well meaning he is. Your baby, if you let him will eat, suck and sleep exactly as much as he needs to. You cannot keep a tired baby awake!!!

Allowing him to suckle when he wants will be doing him a huge service.

Newborns typically cluster feed in the evenings and it can go on for hours, this is perfectly normal, even if it is exhausting for you.

My babies when newborn would feed 1/2 hourly during the day and 2 hourly during the night

good luck, you are doing just fine smile

cityangel Thu 21-Aug-08 23:32:43

thanks kitty, I guess we're just trying to balance out comforting him with trying to get some sleep to preserve my milk supply

LittleBella Thu 21-Aug-08 23:36:12

Comfort and need are the same thing at that age imo.

You're doing fine - this is what v. young babies do, that's why in the old days they had a lying in for nursing mothers, who weren't expected to do anything else but bf, because they knew that's all babies did for the first few weeks. Don't worry, nothing's wrong, he's just behaving exactly as babies do. The gaps between feeds will get longer as he gets bigger.

And don't worry about your supply either - the more he feeds, the more milk you will produce.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 21-Aug-08 23:36:27

Oh, this stage can be so very wearing, but it will pass soon enough and you'll miss it, even if it feels like your entire life at the minute smile

agree with everyhting kittywise is saying.

lots of sucking normal; cluster feeding normal. He is doing his job just fine to stimulate your supply to suit his needs. Best thing to do is just feed him on demand I'm afraid. If you feel it is just for comfort in a few weeks then you can maybe think about introducing a dummy, but it's probably a bit too early for that at this stage. sounds like you are doing a fantastic job smile

there is lots of good advice on kellymom

susiecutiebananas Thu 21-Aug-08 23:38:31

Cityangel, it is perfectly normal Not only do they 'just do it for comfort' but, at that age, they genuinely do want to feed as often as that. I remember having days that early on, where DD seemed to e permanently attached to my boobs.

I started to think I must be doig something wrong, or that she was not getting enough, but talked to a friend with a baby exactly the same age as mine ( both were the same amount of prematurity and in NNU at same time, for same length of time) she was also having many days just the same. We were both glad to know that it was not unique to our DD's , but the norm.

So long as your DS is putting on weight - which you state he is. and having plenty of wet ad dirty nappies, it is not a supply issue or a latch issue. It simply is that he loves br feeding, needs alot and also finds comfort in it.

Keep it up love, it does eventually become longer between feeds. He might also be having a growth spurt. IIRC they do at about the age of your DS. My DD was still feeding 2 hourly during the night until well past 7 months. After weening too, so I felt relieved that it had never been a supply/huger issue!

tiktok Thu 21-Aug-08 23:38:49

cityangel - the amount you sleep has zero to do with your milk supply

Your baby is normal. It is healthy and good that babies feed for comfort. It is excellent for their emotional health and well-being, and responding to him builds the foundations of confidence and self-esteem (because he learns he is loved when his needs are responded to)...and this benefit lasts a lifetime

I agree with the others, feed as much as he wants. He knows better than you, your DP, your mum, MIL, HV, MW, GP, wellmeaning neighbour or anyone else! Comfort/need are indistinguishable. And even if they were, what's comfort one minute will be need the next as their little tummies fill and empty quickly.

Evening feeding frenzies are normal - tedious but normal and they will pass in a few weeks.

Your milk supply is unaffected by tiredness/your diet/your fluid intake etc. It is only affected by the amount of feeding your baby does. More feeding = more milk.

susiecutiebananas Fri 22-Aug-08 00:02:43

I didn't see your second post ,sorry.

Hoe mush sleep you get will not preserve your supply.

If you don't feed him as and when he wants to feed, will effect your supply. So, in short, you must feed him as he askes for it. Its is a physiological process or demand supply not supply and demand. i.e. the more he demands it, the more you will produce for him.

The sooner you are able to accept this is normal, and this is just the way br fed babies feed, the happier you will feel about it. I mean this in the nicest, most positive way btw!)

It can be frustrating for people looking in, such as your DH or family etc. You will most likely hear many comments such as 'he's still hungry' or, 'he's not getting enough is he wants to feed so soon after last feed' and so on... this is just not right. You are doing it perfectly correctly if you continue how you have.. i.e. feeding him when ever he asks for it.

It can be harder for the DH to look on really, as they want whats best for both of you. I think if you can reassure him that what you are doing is best, then he might feel happier too.

Trying to sleep more, purely for the purpose of preserving your milk supply is slightly misguided. wink

It does all settle down in time. It might be a long while, but it really will get better. If i'm honest, I think it's more a case that you adapt to having less sleep, so it just doesn't feel so bad!

susiecutiebananas Fri 22-Aug-08 00:03:24

* how Much sleep * sorry- dodgy keyboard!!! blush

cityangel Fri 22-Aug-08 09:21:54

thanks everyone very reassuring. I guess if ds tummy is emptying quickly then it makes more sense but at the moment its confusing how little sleep he seems to need and how much he seems to eat for the stomach the size of a walnut

kittywise Fri 22-Aug-08 09:36:28

cityangel it is BECAUSE he has such a small tummy that he needs to keep filling it in order to grow. Imagine you had to have your dinners from a teeny tiny plate, how many plates would you need to fill you up.

If you just had the one plate you'd soon become hungry again wouldn't you!?

As they grow and their tummies get bigger they can take in more milk and therefore go for longer between feeds.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 22-Aug-08 09:47:25

Message withdrawn

pudding25 Fri 22-Aug-08 09:57:52

Just wanted to add that from about 4 wks, we gave dd a dummy as she was sucking for comfort. Very cute but I personally, needed to be able to get up and around without having her permanently on me. Also, when we were out and about, I used to panic when she started crying and we werent near home as I thought she was hungry when she just wanted to suck. The dummy helped with all this. But make sure BF is properly established before you introduce one. Also, bear in mind, they can become a hassle - dd is 14 wks now and the dummy seems to just now be disturbing her sleep.
Oh, and ignore me if you are happy to have her on you or comfort all the time anyway as lots of people like that.

Umlellala Fri 22-Aug-08 11:10:17

Hello, another one with a perma-suckler here! Although I will say that (at 5 weeks)he is starting to actually be cuddled and NOT root straight away now, and having periods of quiet awakeness in his bouncer. We sometimes have stretches of an hour or two now shock. At night he sleeps on/with me.

Anyway, it is hard but from experience (with a demand formula fed dd) it does clam down reasonably quickly (although dd was always a snacker...). We did introduce a dummy for dd which helped, but ds won't take one and tbh I am quite pleased (but hope he finds fingers soon!).

Go with it, enjoy the fact that you don't have to think about it for now - just when he cries, whack him on grin and if he is your first, enjoy mumsnet and telly and magazines!!!

PS try to get a sling you can breastfeed in - this has changed my life this time around.

cityangel Sat 23-Aug-08 10:48:25

Umlella which sling worked for you? Thanks everyone HV & MW don't think the rash is thrush and the metanium is clearing it up nicely

kiskidee Sat 23-Aug-08 11:03:08

For a first time sling wearer, get a stretchy wrap. the length of material may feel daunting first and second go but they are forgiving with first timer mistakes.

this is a good leaflet to show how to put a newborn in a wrap then once they wake up and start to root, to adjust the position into a breastfeeding one.

and I am adding this as a bit of eye candy and awwww.

cityangel Sat 23-Aug-08 11:26:39

he is cute shock I shall look into the wrap see if I'm feeling brave as they look simple but I usually get into a right pickle with that sort of thing blush


Not that I needed persuasion that slings are fab, but [swoon] he's divine blush

jammi Sun 24-Aug-08 11:05:24

Message withdrawn

cityangel Mon 25-Aug-08 13:05:50

thanks I have ordered a sing to try and help ith mega evening fuusiness

cityangel Mon 25-Aug-08 13:08:59

I meant to put I ordered a swing

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