18 answers

10 Week Old Eating Frequently, Falling Asleep While Eating, Not Efficient

Hi, My 10 week old is quite inefficient at breastfeeding. It seems to be getting worse. I can't tell when he's really eating and when he's just comfort sucking--do any of you have tips to tell if they're really eating or not? I can never hear him swallowing. He is on the skinny side, but my doctor isn't worried. Lately, he falls asleep or just comfort sucks for the majority of the feeding time - and when I take him off because I think he's done, he'll cry, so I put him back on, but again he only does a few swallows and then either comfort sucks or falls asleep. I try very hard to keep him awake (cold wash cloth, rubbing him, tapping him, stroking his cheek, etc.). It usually takes about an hour to feed him, but I know he's not eating very much, it just takes that long because of all the breaks he takes, and he's just slow. Any tips to improve this? Also, how can I get him to have his long stretch of not eating later in the night? Right now he usually sleeps/doesn't eat from around 7pm-12am - how can I move this from 12-5am? Also, we went to a breastfeeding clinic today and he only ate 1 1/3 ounces in about 30 minutes (15 on each side). This is alarmingly low since he's supposed to have 27 ounces a day. When we give him a bottle of pumped breast milk, he takes anywhere between 4 and 5.5 ounces. Any suggestions?

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Featured Answers

My first did the same thing...the Dr. also told me not to fret. As long as he's still having wet diapers and such, ya know he's getting what he needs. There were times I would just have him in his diaper as ai fed him which seemed to help some. I also used a blinky (which was a "lifesaver" or should I say "boobsaver") for his comfort sucking. Good Luck!!...hope it helps.

More Answers

To your first question, if he is really eating you will see his jaw muscles working all the way back to his ears - you'll probably even see his ears wiggling. It seems like you have already read about nursing a sleeping baby. I don't have any more tips. About wanting him to sleep well later in the night, I don't know if that's possible. My 13-month-old has always slept the longest right after going to sleep. I could only suggest putting him to bed later, as long as he's still taking a nap at 7 pm. I don't know anything about breastfeeding clinics like that, but maybe it's true that they eat less there. It would make sense that in a new place they would be even less efficient. The only other tip I have is that a La Leche meeting would be helpful. You would get input from several moms. One thing I've learned from listening to others at La Leche is that babies really do have different nursing personalities. I know another mom who had a baby who was also a very slow eater and would take 40 mins to an hour to eat each time.

Oh, I had a thought but I'm not sure if it applies to your situation. I thought you could just consider whether you think your foremilk/hindmilk is balanced. Both ways, your baby would be extra fussy. When my daughter started having short, frequent feedings (at the distracted age), she would only nurse on a single side each time she wanted it for 2 hours then I'd switch for another two hours. That was to make sure she was getting enough hindmilk.

Maybe you can check into a lactation consultant. My second daughter was on the "skinny side" (and at almost 3, still is), but the doctor is not concerned about her at all. One thing I noticed with all three of my kids (who all breastfed and one still is), is that when they were younger, they did fall asleep a lot while they were eating. Sometimes, I had a hard time telling whether they were eating or comfort-sucking because I couldn't hear them swallow, but then I could feel them swallow. As long as your precious little one is gaining weight, I wouldn't worry too much about it. A lactation consultant can figure out how much milk he is actually getting and help you with any concerns you may have. Finding some breastfeeding moms for support (and to share the cute stories that the kids do) is also wonderful. Keep it up- breastfeeding is such an enjoyable and irreplaceable experience. If you can do it, that's great :0)

Hello B., Congratulations on your newborn. I have four children and my first three were very easy when it came to nursing, but #4 wasn't so. I was totally against a pacifier with the kids, but changed my mind with this last one. She wanted to nurse every 1 1/2 hours 24/7 and it was killing me. You didn't say if your little guy was spitting up when he ate, that could be a problem. Try a pacifier when you quit nursing, if he crys, then he will have his comfort suck. Also, to move the bed time, try giving him a bath @ 9 or 10pm, then start your night time routine. Baths seem to wake my kids up for alittle while then the are ready to crash.

Good luck.

The way I can tell if mine is actually eating or just comfort sucking is if he's eating he is taking long pulls like he is sucking from a straw. If he's comfort nibbbling, his mouth clamps down in rapid succession about 4 or 5 times then he stops and waits a second and does it again. Maybe he'll just do better if you pump and give it to him in a bottle.

There is a really great lactation consultant at Bosom Buddies by the park meadows mall. She is sweet and helpful and can help ease your mind. If you are truly worried, go see her and figure out what is going on. It is nice to have a professional opinion and if you really want to breastfeed successfully and be happy with it, it would be in your best interest.

Remember, not all baby's eat the same or nurse the same, just like not all adults eat or nurse the same. Some of us hurry some of us take our time. Little people are no different some require more time and more patience. Enjoy it, before you know it this time will be over and you will miss it so much. Another great way for your baby to get close to you without nursing is wearing your baby in a sling, it was my lifesaver with my girls and I recommend it for my clients. Good luck. If you like, you can email me privately and we can chat some more.

Sarah M., CLD, PPD, LE, CBE

Maybe you just need to change to a bottle.

I have worked through several issues with BF- it is so worth working out the kinks!
Find a network of support!!
Work with a LC to get a plan on how to work towards your goal(s)
Suck training using your finger to develop a stronger latch/suck
Special suck training bottle ($$$$) SNS-is another option
Renting a scale to see how much was eaten to keep a long and see the increase of oz (I saw an increase every 2 or 3 days)
Pumping an extra feeding a day to offer as a supplemental oz or two with each feeding.
Mother's Milk herbs to increase your production

My LO was 3 weeks old would spend 30 min nursing then take an oz or oz and a quarter when a full feeding was an once iand a half. At about 7 weeks I was not needing to pump any more she was able to nurse great.
With getting yeast in the breast after being put on anti-botics the NP and my Dr both asked me if it was worth going through this to keep nursing-HELLO even if I stop today I still have to 'go through' this to clear it up and then try to avoid Mastitis for stopping nursing suddenly.
feel free to email me....

It looks like you have gotten some great advice, and some very bad advice on this question. The bad advice I am reffering to is limiting the time spent nursing or waiting to see if your baby is "really hungry" before you nurse him, both of those ideas are bad for the baby and for you. If you limit the ammount of time you nurse too much and wait between feedings too long then your milk supply will most certainly dwindle, and your baby will feel anxious and hungry and cry more often and not gain weight as well. When it comes to nursing, watch your baby, NOT the clock. I will echo previous advice to talk to a lactation educator or lactation consultant, or LLI, make sure that your baby is latching properly, that may help. I saw that using a sling has been suggested to you already, some moms like to nurse with the baby in the sling, as your little one gets a bit older maybe you can have him nursing in the sling while you are doing other things, the nice thing abou the sling is that it leaves your hands free. Good luck!

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