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Any advice about 4 week old feeding frequently?

(17 Posts)
neolara Sun 04-Oct-09 16:05:26

My dd is 4 weeks old and bf. She feeds roughly every hour to hour and a half, and often more frequently than that. She occasionally goes for 2 hours and sometimes 2 1/2 hours between feeds. I'm pretty sure it's not a growth spurt as this has seemed to be her pattern of feeding over the last little while.

She feeds for about 10 mins and then falls asleep. If I can manage to wake her up, she then actively refuses to drink any more, but 20 / 30 / 40 / 60 mins later, she is giving all the classic signs of wanting to feed again. So I feed her and the cycle begins again.

I don't have any concerns about her growth. I seem to have lots of milk and while I haven't had her weighed recently, she seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

Do you think she has just got used to snacking? I know she is very little and so will need to feed frequently, but this seems excessive. Partly I think because she is feeding so frequently she might not be getting really hungry so is not then taking a full feed. Do you think she is old enough for me to try to stretch out the feeds a bit?

CoteDAzur Sun 04-Oct-09 16:16:12

Could you be mistaking tiredness for wanting to feed?

During one of these crying spells, what happens if you put her in a pram and push her around for a little while?

GreenMonkies Sun 04-Oct-09 16:19:03

This is totally normal feeding behaviour. Most bf babies feed like this, her tummy is the size of her clenched fist, so combined with the sheer digestibility of breast-milk you can see why she needs to feed so often. Don't worry about her falling asleep at the breast, this is normal too, and contrary to what a lot of people think you don't really need to wake her and make her feed more, you can either leave her on and let her nurse in her sleep (she may still be feeding a bit, even though she appears to be asleep) or if she goes to sleep very deeply and actually detaches then just chill and wait for the next feed.

Don't worry, the feeds will space out soon, there are growth spurts at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and around 18 weeks, and no doubt you'll notice these, but after about 8 weeks her feeding pattern will start to settle a bit and you'll notice she is going longer between feeds.

Hang in there, you're doing a great job. smile

Undercovamutha Sun 04-Oct-09 16:50:11

My DD used to do this, and things got a lot better once I tried my hardest to get her to sleep in between feeds. I know its not everyone's cup of tea, but I followed the baby whisperer EASY routine (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time) and it worked WONDERS! DD started feeding much more effectively and less frequently. Good luck!

HidingFromTheDM Sun 04-Oct-09 16:56:08

I don't want to be the gloom merchant in the group, but have you discussed a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance with your HV? I had something very similar with my DD and my HV discovered I had this imbalance. She suggested feeding exclusively from one breast for a while and pumping the other. Doing this ensured my DD was receiving enough of both. Only had to do it for about a week and the imbalance seemed to sort itself out.

forevermore Mon 05-Oct-09 15:18:57

i didn't want to start a new thread but i am having similar issues. my DD is 5.5 weeks now and for the last week or so has been feeding every hour for 5 min then for a couple of days 2 hourly for 10-20 min now every two hours for 10 mins or lessshock. she is extremley sleepy in fact when i am waking her for feeds today.

could anyone explain why things are so changable at the mo. i have also noticed that her poos have gone from 4-8x over 24 hours to 2-3x every 24 hours.

i am getting seriously worried. she is also fussing at the breast a lot then other times completely calm...feel like i should have started another thread nowhmm

TanteRose Mon 05-Oct-09 15:24:03

why are you worried? Is she not gaining weight? If she is pooing and weeing, then she is fine. Fewer poos mean she is digesting and using more of the nutrition. My DS got to a point that he was only pooing once a week (at about 3 or 4 months old)

You have a growth spurt coming up at 6 weeks - she will need even more milk then.
Oh, and my DD fed every 2 hours, day and night for the first year.

TanteRose Mon 05-Oct-09 15:24:44

Sorry that was to forevermore, not the OP.

tiktok Mon 05-Oct-09 15:58:31

HidingfromtheDM - lots of HVs diagnose 'foremilk hindmilk imbalance' and have this rather complicated remedy for it hmm

Sometimes, and actually very rarely, a mother who massively overproduces has a baby who finds it hard to cope with her generous supply. Feeding on one side only (no need to pump the other, in fact pumping the other is awkward and unnecessary and counter-productive) at a time over a period of a few hours can damp down the supply and reduce the amount of foremilk a baby is getting.

I dont think this is appropriate for the OP - OP, you're describing normal baby behaviour. There is nothing wrong with it. Some babies do it. Some babies don't. Some stop doing it. Some don't. A four week old baby deserves to be fed when she indicates she needs it

forevermore - prob best to start a new thread with more details in it.

HidingFromTheDM Tue 06-Oct-09 12:00:14

Sorry tiktok but as my dd was exactly the same, I did feel it was appropriate to mention it.

pooka Tue 06-Oct-09 12:12:00

Can I possibly barge in and ask a quick question. My ds2 (third child) is 5 weeks old. I have forgotten what I did with other two (though fed them for about 13months each time), but with ds2 am feeding from one breast at one feed, then other breast at next feed. Though I do sometimes repeat the same breast if the last feed was only in the last half hour or so, or very short.

Is this OK? Should I be feeding from both sides at this stage, or is one enough. I wait for ds2 to come off the breast, let him stay feeding for as long as he wants.

Sorry for hijack. blush

tiktok Tue 06-Oct-09 12:25:51

Hiding - fair enough to mention it, of course Also fair enough for me to say your HV was over-complicating stuff...and to suggest things would have got better for you without all the messing about with pumps

pooka you could start a new thread. Basically, feeding from one side at a time is ok, but for some breastfeeding mothers and babies, it's not a good way to start because it halves the stimulation of the breastmilk supply (it being frequency that drives the supply). If all is well and by 5 weeks you'll prob know it is or is not, then no reason to change

pleasechange Tue 06-Oct-09 12:37:19

OP - my DS fed every 2 hours (or more frequently) night and day for the 6 mths that he was exclusively bf. I don't thing that's particularly unusual at all. I think it's more that women aren't aware of this frequency and so are unprepared for it (and indeed that HV's don't have the knowledge to educate them either)

CatIsSleepy Tue 06-Oct-09 12:41:32

dd2 also fed every 2-2 1/2 during the day til she was practically 6 months-sometimes you've just got to go with it!

Builde Tue 06-Oct-09 12:50:12

My dds fed roughly every two hours until they started eating food at 6 months. They did drop some night foods quite quickly.

My youngest one got less comfort from BFing, she was an independent soul and not the hungriest baby, and I often had to help her stop crying by letting her suck on my finger.

It could be your baby wants to suck but doesn't want food. However, I would be very careful to suggest this for a four week old baby because it is important that they feed frequently. Listen to Tiktok's advice...she seems to be a good advisor!

I have a friend who insisted on feeding only every 3 - 4 hours and I was convinced her baby was always hungry. (he was always crying) Once he started at nursery and was given a bottle every 3 hours he was much happier and put on lots of weight. I always thought this was a shame because he could have put on lots of weight earlier by eating the real thing.

Builde Tue 06-Oct-09 12:53:36

On the subject of feeding from one breast. My second dd had a preference for one over the other.

It took us a few weeks to feel comfortable on both sides.

I almost thought about feeding on one side only (I know someone who had only one breast who did this!) but it didn't hurt enough to make it worthwhile giving up.

I also didn't want to look lopsided!

Oh, you mean, feeding from one breast at one feed! Sorry. Well, 5 years ago this is what I was told to do. Feed on one side at one feed, the next at the other. As my first dd got hungrier, I had to use both. My second dd was less hungry and I think I only ever used one.

pooka Tue 06-Oct-09 16:46:38

Thanks for reassurance! Am certain frequrncy not an issue wink

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