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Frequent 'snacking' at 3 weeks

(16 Posts)
AnneofIngleside Wed 26-Aug-09 19:40:12

My baby is 3 weeks and I have been breastfeeding on demand. It's going well in that she has been gaining weight, but I'm concerned that she is still feeding very erratically as I was hoping that by now she would do good 20 minute or so feeds then be ok for about 3 hours. Also she is a big baby (9lb11oz at birth) so I thought this would mean she could go for longer between feeds. During the day she will quite often feed hourly for about 10 minutes at a time, refusing to take any more until the next hour. Thankfully at night she usually only needs a couple of feeds so we are very grateful for that - I don't know whether she realises night is different because it's so dark and quiet in our room or whether it's because she's eaten so much during the day! I would like to get her into a routine at some point and sleeping through by about 3 months if possible, and I'm worried that these frequent snacky feeds might become a habit. However for now I have been following the HV advice to just 'go with my baby'. I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience.



PrincessToadstool Wed 26-Aug-09 19:43:21

Hi, congratulations on your baby.

I'm sorry to say it but I think you have some unrealistic ideas, I don't know any baby that has been going 3 hours between feeds at this age. Her tummy is tiny and small amounts are what she needs at this age, and to be honest will probably continue for some time. I don't think my DS went more than 3 hours before he was 6 months old.

sazlocks Wed 26-Aug-09 19:45:40

Congrats on the birth of your LO.
I personally think your expectations of getting a BF baby to sleep through by 3 months are a little unrealistic and you are potentially setting yourself up to feel disappointed when/ if this doesn'e happen.
In addition babies of this age have such tiny tummies that they need to feed often and 3 hours between feeds also seems unrealistic in my opinion.
It sounds as though you are doing great so far and taking the baby's lead and I would just carry on doing that and accept that she will strecth out feeds, sleep through in her own time.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 26-Aug-09 19:46:10


Agree with PrincessToadstool, 3 weeks is still reaally tiny. Good news that your DD is frequently feeding during the day and not so much at night (you really wouldn't want it that way round, trust me). I know it doesn't seem like it will ever settle down in the early days, but it does, and often quite quickly when you look back.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 26-Aug-09 19:47:01

Oh and sleeping through at 3 months? Well it depends what you mean by sleeping through...

fruitstick Wed 26-Aug-09 19:47:17

Congratulations. Perfectly normal behaviour and, as far as I know, the snacking stimulates your milk production so is a positive thing.

My DS fed lots and lots for the first 12 weeks. Is this your first baby? If so, load up the Sky plus, get some DVD box sets in and enjoy.... this stage is over far too quickly.

Don't worry about things becoming a habit as even if it does, they are quick to undo later when your baby is easier to read.

weegiemum Wed 26-Aug-09 19:48:44

Hi there and congrats on your lovely daughter.

I also had a large dd - an ounce bigger than yours! And at 3 weeks there was no way she was going 3 hours between feeds - no way! In fact, the hourly feeds from about lunchtime to bedtime were pretty much standard at that age. There is no such thing as a good routine for a tiny breastfed baby except the routine that baby likes! I tried to put dd1 into a "famous" routine at abotu a month old and the results were horrible - her and I crying our eyes out until we got help to stop doing that!

I also think that sleeping through at 3 months is something you have to think abotu carefully - I'm also not sure that is possible, unless you think "sleeping through" is 11pm - 5am or somesuch. None of my 3 exclusively breastfed kids did a 8-6 or so stretch until after 6 months.

Please don't set yourself up to fail. Enjoy snuggly feeding - in bed if you want, or snuggled on the sofa! And enjoy your baby!

TheCrackFox Wed 26-Aug-09 19:48:55

Well done!!

It is completely normal for a very young baby to feed often and for short periods.

I have formula fed one baby and breastfed another and they both did this. Do not fall for any old wives tales that FF babies sleep better or go for longer between feeds. They don't. You are doing a great job and it does get easier with practice.

foxytocin Wed 26-Aug-09 19:51:54

your health visitor sounds like she knows about breastfeeding and your expectations are too high for a baby. (these HVs are like gold dust)

it doesn't have anything to do with their birth weight. they still have the same job: to build your supply from scratch so that it is robust and you can feed exclusively till 26 wks. (that doesn't mean it is what you ahve to do, btw) They do this by feeding very often in the early days and 3 weeks is still very early days.

many babies never go 3 or 4 hrs between feeds when breastfeeding, sorry. but there are ways for parents to adjust their expectations and ways of doing things which still work out satisfactorily for both in the relationship.

For the meantime learn how to let go of control and enjoy doing so. There is lots this baby can teach you about yourself if you let her.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 26-Aug-09 19:52:29

And it's not just about milk for the baby, it's about being all warm and snuggled up and safe with the person they love best in the world You can't create 'bad habits' with a baby this young (and I spent many an hour fretting over this when my first was born, have been much more relaxed 2nd time round)

DrCosyTiger Wed 26-Aug-09 21:19:02

I agree with everything that's been said. Your experience sounds very typical. I certainly wouldn't try and mess with the frequent daytime feeding as you might then find your LO wakes more at night. My experience is that the frequent feeding did finally settle down and now at 5 months my DD is going 3 hours between feeds in the day and is sleeping for a long stretch at night most nights. But this is a very recent development. Hang on in there - it can be very tough in those first few weeks but it will get easier.

poppy34 Wed 26-Aug-09 21:22:02

Congrats and echo what others have said- three weeks very little so no habits yet and I still don't think there has been a time since the period between three nad five weeks when my dd ate more.

Horton Wed 26-Aug-09 21:28:00

I would venture to suggest that the frequent feeds in the day are precisely what is enabling her to sleep for a reasonably long time at night. She is very sensibly filling up in the daytime and sleeping more at night - well done her, what a lovely clever baby! You sound like you are doing everything right and have a lovely HV - just carry on. Three weeks is tiny. My DD was still feeding hourly in the daytime for much much longer than this. It was the trade off for having stretches of four or five hours at nnight from about eight weeks on. Those stretches of sleep at night are worth every second of the frequent daytime feeds IMO!

AnneofIngleside Thu 27-Aug-09 16:16:28

Thanks everyone, it's reassuring to know this is normal so I will just go with the flow and carry on as we are. She's just been weighed and is over 11lb now so the feeding is obviously paying off.

fruitstick Thu 27-Aug-09 21:03:29

Good luck Anne, sounds like she's doing great.

Just make sure you do plenty of snacking too! Constant breastfeeding needs Brownies grin

browncow10 Tue 29-Sep-09 20:07:54

Can I just add that my DD2 is 3 weeks old and for the last week is sleeping 7 hrs at night and going4 hrs from start of one feed to start of next feed during in the day. With 1 extra feed in morn after such long night. I agree with all the others that a routine at this age is v v unlikely. DD1 was v similar to DD2 with long periods between feeding. And on both occasions I let baby tell me what they want. Both are exclusively BF and DD1 8lbs8, DD2 9lbs4. The 7 hr nightime stint is rarely at the same time. Sometimes 9-4, 12-7, etc. The important thing is let baby tell you. With DD1 I had her sleeping routinely 8hrs at 8wks and 12hrs (7-7) at 12 weeks. All exclusively BF. I realise I am prob v v lucky, but I just wanted you to hear a different perspective from anotehr tried & tested mum.

Either way let baby tell you, relax and i agree with the others enjoy them this young it changes so quickly

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