Advanced search

how do you know when the baby needs feeding and not just comfort sucking?

(12 Posts)
waytoomuchchocolate Tue 30-Sep-08 18:10:13


have 4 week old, very healthy (as far as i know!) am demand feeding, but just wondering if there are signs to look for when the baby is actually full and just wanting to suckle?

am asking because i'm not sure if i should still be demand feeding every 90 minutes or so, which is sometimes what he seems to want to do, especially through the night - and so am starting to get pretty tired.

is it common sense, i.e if they've just fed for a good long time, they're probably not hungry - or should you always offer the boob and they won't take it if they're not hungry? and is 4 weeks still too young to be worrying about stretching this to a bit longer during the night so that can get a bit more sleep?

thank you for any advice

BabiesEverywhere Tue 30-Sep-08 20:39:48

Yes, demand feeding means offering the breast whenever the baby wants it. Don't worry about why ? TBH it doesn't matter if the baby wants to nurse because they are hungry and/or need comfort.

After all I bet you sometimes have a cup of tea because you fancy it not because you are thirsty.

Four weeks is fat too soon to start trying to extend the time between the feeds, if you did so it is very likely to effect your milk supply.

I understand how tiring demand feeding is, I am currently nursing my 6 weeks old DS and my 2 year old DD.

Have you considered co-sleeping at night ? If you can learn to nurse lying down and have your baby within arms reach at night, this can help you get a lot more rest at night ?

BabiesEverywhere Tue 30-Sep-08 20:40:45

fat far too soon

deaconblue Tue 30-Sep-08 20:51:29

I have a different view. I have bf ds and am now feeding dd (5 months). From about a week old by watching their body language and listening to their cries carefully it was possible to know which cries were for hunger and which for other things such as tiredness. I still bf dd every time she is hungry (which can at times be only 90 mins or as long as 4 hours) but choose not to feed her for comfort as I find my nipples get sore like this.
ime you don't have to comfort feed if you're not comfortable with it, hasn't affected my supply at all - dd is on the 91st centile and is exclusively bf. She started going from 10pm to 5am at about 6 weeks and by 14 weeks was going 7pm to 8am.

phdlife Tue 30-Sep-08 21:00:45

My ds fed every two hours, at least, for the first 5 months or so, and he was always hungry - even long after people like my sister and the HV were telling me he wasn't - sometimes I could hear his tummy rumbling!

He never comfort-sucked until quite recently (he's now 17m), and the clues are: he won't latch properly, so it hurts me, and you can't hear him swallow.

4 weeks is awfully young to be trying to organise your ds. Most things I saw said you are still on a bfing-learning curve until 6 weeks - could you hold out til then? You may find that suddenly he drops into a routine of his own at that age.

BabiesEverywhere Tue 30-Sep-08 21:04:25

SBUE (great name BTW), You posted "[I]choose not to feed her for comfort as I find my nipples get sore like this."
If you have a good latch, your nipples shouldn't get sore how ever long you nurse for.

It is great that limiting feeds has not affected your milk supply but not every mother will be as lucky.

Limiting number of feeds and stretching time between feeds is a method of weaning and with a mother of a newborn like the OP, encouraging this type of feeding pattern could lead to a low milk supply.

The best way to ensure a good milk supply is to have the baby close and respond to ALL feeding cues, regardless if the baby is tired, hungry, lonely etc. Which is what the OP is doing at the moment

waytoomuchchocolate Wed 01-Oct-08 08:26:47

thanks for the advice everyone. am not trying to get ds into a routine, and am ok with the regular feeding, was just wondering about it all and wanting to check i couldn't overfeed! sounds as though all is normal, so will just carry on

madmouse Wed 01-Oct-08 09:37:44

babieseverywhere I agree with SBUE, I never have sore nipples, except when ds is on a mission to comfort suck for ages, then i do get sore. smile

Rare now, he is 8 months and I too know what he is up too and can settle him in other ways.

waytoomuch, as your baby is only four weeks old my answer would be offer whenever asked. I don't think even your baby at the moment knows when s/he is comfort sucking, as mum, breast, comfort and food are all the same thing at this stage smile ie it is warm, smells like home, feels nice and warm in your tummy.

shoedweller Wed 01-Oct-08 09:47:57

I agree with SBUE completely. If you don't respond to cues to sleep - yawning etc by letting them sleep you end up with bad sleep associations which can be very hard to break.

So that you can feel free to ignore me I mixed fed and at 6 weeks decided I was doing something really wrong as somedays baby just snacked cat napped and cried. By the time I tried to sort it out baby could only sleep by suckng my finger and we ended up doing controlled crying which was hard. With dd2 and ds1 I've responded to their cues for sleep and they have been very happy babies.

shoedweller Wed 01-Oct-08 09:49:05

Oh and I know lots of EBF babies who have been fine when put to sleep because they're tired.

BabiesEverywhere Wed 01-Oct-08 15:46:23

LOL, I was so tired when I wrote the post on Tue 30-Sep-08 21:04:25, that I added an uneccessary word 'tired' in my post.

ITA that tired babies need to sleep. My last post should of read...

" regardless if the baby is hungry or lonely etc."

crokky Wed 01-Oct-08 15:50:08

I excl bf both mine for 6 months - I never rationed the boob for either of them. IMO, it doesn't really matter why they want it, if they like it, fine. Unless it is causing you a problem.

Join the discussion

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

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: