10 week old baby feeding less
Your Baby is Sleeping More and Eating Less. Is It Normal? – Woolino8 Reasons Your Baby is Sleeping More and Eating Less
Throughout the course of your baby’s growth and development, there will be many changes in their sleeping and eating patterns. Any time there is a shift in the routine, it can cause parents to immediately question the cause of change. Most often times there is no need to worry because when it comes to patterns of sleeping and eating, your little one will experience many cycles. In this article, we will explore the eight reasons why your baby is sleeping more and eating less than usual.Your Baby is Experiencing a Growth Spurt.
Growth spurts can occur at different ages, but the most common are 3 weeks to 4 weeks, 7 weeks, 10 weeks, 3 months to 4 months, 6 months, and 18 months. During a growth spurt, it is very likely that your baby will be sleeping more than usual. In fact, most babies will sleep right through their typical feeding schedules.
Don’t be alarmed if your baby is eating less during a growth spurt, and don’t wake her up for feedings as there are important physiological developments taking place during sleep. Your baby will more than make up for those missed meals when she is ready.Your Baby is Teething.
Beginning at 4 months to 6 months of age, eating less can be a sign of teething. If you think your baby’s teeth are coming in, give him a cold washcloth to chew on and ask his doctor about pain relievers.
Oftentimes, teething babies may develop a low-grade fever, accompanied with extra sleep. If your baby has started solid foods, you may also notice a big slowdown in his eating. At this time, solid foods may be too harsh for your little one’s sensitive gums. Try offsetting the lack of solids with additional breastmilk or formula throughout the day.
You will also want to monitor for dehydration. Signs of dehydration include a dry diaper for more than 6 hours, dark urine, and a dry mouth. Call your pediatrician as soon as you notice these symptoms.Your Baby is Overheated.
The temperature of the room, the hot season you may be in, and how you dress your baby are all factors that could be associated with your baby becoming overheated. If overheating is the issue, then the lethargic symptoms will not allow the baby to stay awake long enough to eat more.
It is recommended that a baby’s room be cooler, usually between 65 and 70F degrees. If you don’t have a thermostat you can control, you can leave the windows slightly open or use a fan. Keeping the nursery dark in the summer months can also help cool it down.
When dressing your child for either cold or hot months, make sure your baby is wearing breathable fabrics. Babies cannot regulate their own temperature and can easily become overheated. Woolino baby sleep bags made of 100% natural merino wool and organic cotton are able to keep your baby comfortable in a wide range or room temperatures. Merino wool creates a micro-climate around your baby, which maintains a consistent temperature for them.
As always, try to avoid bumpers, extra blankets, stuffed animals, etc. in the crib. Not only are they unsafe, but they can be stifling when it’s warm.Your Baby is Distracted.
Around 3 months of age, your baby will notice more and more of her surroundings. From your shiny earrings to the background noise of a television, everything is new and interesting to your baby. With so much brain development taking place, even the smallest object or slightest sound can cause your baby to lose focus and stop feeding.
If your baby seems to be easily distracted, look for a quiet place to feed her. You can use a fan or a white noise machine to blur out other sounds. You may also want to try feeding your baby in a sling, with the fabric pulled up and around her, so that she is not exposed to additional sights and noises.Your Baby Wants Solid Food.
You can expect your baby to show an interest in solid foods around 4 months to 6 months of age. This interest can be shown in a number of ways, like refusing a bottle. It may seem as though your little one is all of a sudden uninterested in feeding. In reality, it could just be that he is uninterested in the bottle but VERY interested in your food.
Before introducing solids, your baby should be able to sit up on his own and have control over his neck. Try to start with iron-rich food such as eggs, lentils, pureed meats, or iron-fortified cereals.
Certain foods will cause changes in your child’s sleep habits. As you introduce solids, you may notice that your baby is sleeping more. For more information on how sleep and food are related, refer to “How Certain Food Can Affect Your Child’s Sleep.”
Your Baby Has a Virus.
When your baby has a virus, her overall amount of sleep will increase. Fighting a virus is exhausting, which is why viruses and sleep go hand-in-hand. Let your baby sleep as long as needed. While she is sleeping, her little body will work hard to fight the virus.
A loss of appetite is common with viruses. It’s also typical that with a virus comes a stuffy nose, making breast and bottle feeding more difficult than usual. Let your little one take her time with feedings. It may appear as though she is not hungry, but in actuality, she may be taking “breaks” to accommodate for her extra stuffy nose.
Most viruses will last only a few days, however, if your baby’s sleepiness and lack of appetite seem to last longer than 5-7 days, you should contact your pediatrician as there could be another issue.Your Baby Has Just Been Vaccinated.
It is completely normal if your baby is sleeping more after vaccination. Typically, vaccines will affect your baby similar to the way an illness would. After all, vaccines are effective because they contain weak traces of the viruses they protect against. Your little one will build an immunity to these viruses or infections, but the process can be somewhat draining on their tiny bodies.
For about 24 to 48 hours after a vaccine, your baby will likely be extra sleepy and take longer, more uninterrupted naps. She also may not have much of an appetite. This, too, is perfectly normal.
As your baby begins to enter cycles of sleeping longer and deeper, you will want to be sure she is as comfortable as possible. Dress your baby in lightweight garments, preferably made from all-natural fibers like cotton, linen, or merino wool, which are breathable and absorb perspiration. We suggest Woolino products as they are made with supremely breathable merino wool that has unmatched body temperature regulation properties. This means better, healthier, and safer sleep for your baby.Your Baby Has Low Blood Sugar.
If your baby hardly eats and the excessive sleeping continues, he could have low blood sugar. Signs of low blood sugar may include your baby acting jittery or appearing to be shivering. You can try gently pulling on his arms. If your baby does not pull back, it could be a sign of low blood sugar. If you suspect low blood sugar, contact your pediatrician.When to seek medical attention.
Remember that children will experience many changes in their sleeping and eating habits, and most of the time these changes are perfectly normal. However, if something doesn’t seem quite right, and you are still struggling to find answers, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician or a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant.
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6 Reasons Why Your Baby May Be Sleeping More and Eating Less – Dreamland BabySkip to content
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Is Your Baby Drinking Less Milk or Eating Less and Sleeping More?
By the end of the first week with a new baby, frequent wake ups and feeding around the clock has become your new normal. So when your baby starts sleeping more and eating less, you might feel a bit unsettled about why that’s happening. Though you do want to look out for any warning signs that may point to an illness, there’s likely a good (and normal) reason for your baby’s change in sleeping and eating patterns.
Here we’ll cover the top 6 reasons your baby might be sleeping more and eating less as well as when it’s time to reach out to your pediatrician.6 Common Reasons for a Baby Sleeping More and Eating Less
Typically we expect a baby to sleep less and eat more as they grow in their first year. Overall, this is the pattern you will notice. However, there will be times that your baby appears to be needing more sleep and taking in less breastmilk or formula.
More often than not there is a clear reason for this change that’s all part of normal baby development. With that said, we always want to remind you that if you ever feel concerned or have doubts, to reach out to your baby’s doctor. They'll give you the best advice and do a weight check to ensure all is well with your little one.
Are you looking for a better swaddle for your baby? Check out our weighted sleep swaddle as seen on Shark Tank.Following are the most common reasons (outside of sickness) that your 1 month old or 2 month old baby may be eating less and sleeping more.
1.) Your baby just went through a growth spurt.
In our article, “How Growth Spurts Affect Babies,” we discussed how fast periods of growth generally follow a noticeably large appetite from your baby. When you start to see your baby eating more, you may assume that pattern is here to stay. Instead, your baby may guzzle breastmilk or a formula for a few days, and then simply revert back to the calorie needs she had just a few days prior - as if nothing ever happened.
Indeed, something did happen - and you’ll likely notice when you try snapping up her onesie and it’s suddenly too small.
So when you make those big bottles for your baby and they now only finish half, you may wonder what’s up. The truth is that growth spurts don’t last long. As your baby passes through one you’ll likely notice them eat a bit less while sleeping more. Growing is hard work after all! This is a completely normal pattern that you’ll likely see at various times throughout your baby’s first year.
2.) Your baby is teething.
One of the biggest culprits for an extra sleepy baby who doesn’t want to eat as much is teething. If you haven’t noticed any growth spurt signs from your baby and they’re acting fussy and irritable, it’s highly likely that your baby is having teething discomfort that’s affecting their normal sleeping and eating habits.
Did you know that teething can start 2 months prior to ever seeing a newly popped tooth? Just because you don’t see a sign of any pearly whites doesn’t mean your baby isn’t teething.
The most tell-tale signs of teething include:
- Excessive drooling
- Rash around the mouth
- Refusing to eat
- Ear pulling and rubbing of the cheeks
- More frequent wake ups or sleeping more
Eating less is very common for teething babies. Sleep, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag. You may have a baby who is uncomfortable and is awake all night, or you may have a baby that sleeps a bit more due to feeling “under the weather.” To help your baby stay on track with their eating, consider making milk pops which will also give them soothing relief. As for sleep, we suggest using a Dreamland Baby Weighted Sack to help your baby get just the right amount of zzzs they need.
It’s important however, that you don’t confuse your baby’s teething with an illness. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, “Teething does not cause fever, diarrhea, diaper rash or runny nose.” So if you see any of these signs, teething is not what is ailing your baby and you should consult a physician right away.
3.) Your baby is experiencing a cognitive leap.
Just as growth spurts can cause your baby’s sleeping and eating patterns to be affected so can those periods of time when your baby goes through a cognitive leap. Though you won’t necessarily see physical growth on the outside, your baby is experiencing mental development, which can be just as exhausting.
This may cause your baby to sleep more and eat less for a few days. You may also find that your baby’s sleep is disrupted even though they’re actually sleeping the same amount - this may look like more wake-ups at night which causes them to take long naps during the day.
The best thing you can do at this time is try to stick to your baby’s routine as much as possible. Though letting them extend their naps a little bit is fine, we suggest focusing on an earlier bedtime instead and helping them relax with a baby massage or using a weighted wearable blanket. This will ensure that they don’t get overtired which can cause more night wake-ups as we discuss here.
4.) Your baby’s sleep patterns are leveling out.
Of course you’ll be able to know if your baby is sleeping more because you can compare it to how many hours they were sleeping in the weeks prior. But there is a possibility that your baby wasn’t getting enough sleep in the first place and is finally on track. It may not be that your baby is sleeping too much at all, but is finally able to connect sleep cycles in a way that makes it seem like they’re snoozing all day long.
Not sure how many hours of sleep your baby should be getting? We have a great chart in our article, “Baby Sleeping Too Much: What’s Normal?” It’s anywhere from 14 - 17 hours in those first few months, and between 12 and 16 hours up to age one is considered typical.
It’s normal to feel a little nervous those first times your baby really starts sleeping in (you’re not at all crazy if you’re peeking in to make sure your baby is still safe and sound). But once you realize it’s because they’re finally sleeping for longer stretches (or even through the night) we know you’ll be singing, “Hallelujah!”
5.) Your baby is getting more nutrients from solid foods.
Though you shouldn’t see much difference in your baby’s appetite when first introducing solid foods, you will likely see a decrease in their liquid calories as they near the age of one. Initially, babies don’t get much nutrition from solid foods and take in very little. This time is more about getting them used to the fact that there is actually more to eating than just breastmilk or formula. But, after 9 months or so, your baby is finally getting the hang of this eating “real food” thing.
By this time they may be eating 3 meals a day plus snacks. They’ll still get the bulk of their calories from their breastmilk or formula, but they will require less. In fact, they may even be starting to self-wean if they suddenly seem disinterested in breastfeeding. Pair this with the fact that your baby is finally sleep trained and sleeping through the night, it will definitely seem like your baby is sleeping more and eating less.
6.) Your baby just had a vaccination.
This one will be easy to pinpoint. If your baby had any vaccinations within the last few days, more sleep and a reduced appetite are normal. The CDC writes, "any vaccine can cause side effects such as tiredness and low grade fever. " As you yourself know, eating just isn't as much fun when you're not feeling well.
In this situation, it’s best to let your baby rest up as needed until they're back to their normal selves. If your baby seems extra irritable and isn't getting the sleep they need, an early bedtime If they're not back on track with their sleeping and eating within a few days, we suggest you reach out to your child's doctor.When Sleeping More and Eating Less Requires a Visit to the Pediatrician
Though your baby’s increased sleep and reduced food intake is likely a normal part of their development, you do want to be cognizant of any symptoms that might require a visit to your baby’s pediatrician.
If you’re ever in doubt, reach out to them! As a new parent, no question is ever a dumb question, and that’s what they’re there for. Worst case scenario, they tell you your baby is just fine and it puts your mama heart at ease.
The following key symptoms have been outlined by WebMD as the times you need to contact your baby’s pediatrician right away:
- A fever above 100. 4 for a baby under 2 months old; an older child with a fever accompanied by irritability, refusal to eat, or constant crying needs to be seen by a doctor. Additionally, a baby with a fever persisting for 3 days or more needs a look from a pediatrician.
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration such as fewer than 6 wet diapers per day in infants, dark urine, or sunken eyes
- Colds or respiratory infections accompanied by fever
- A rash that doesn’t go away in a few days or is accompanied by a fever
- You have trouble waking your child
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Reaching out to your doctor when you feel concerned is ALWAYS best.
Shop Weighted Sleep SacksHow do I know when my baby is having a growth spurt?
Growth spurts can be frustrating for you and your baby. In the first five days after birth, most babies lose about 1/10th of their birth weight. Fast forward to 3 to 6 weeks and most babies will experience another growth spurt. While not all babies have identical growth spurt timelines, all babies do experience growth spurts. Once your baby graduates to the toddler stage, growth should slow down, but don’t take the slow down for granted. Your baby will be walking and talking before you know it. The days of fussing through growth spurts can be exhausting, but enjoy the process.
There are some signs that your baby is experiencing a growth spurt. If you’re concerned about your little one's development it’s always best to contact your healthcare provider. Charting your baby’s growth and development can help you track development. In the event of developmental issues, tracking can help medical providers get ahead of any issues.
Here are some signs that your baby is having a growth spurt:
- Fussiness: Increased hunger, irregular sleep patterns and growing pains can cause fussiness in a baby.
- Changes in your baby’s height and weight: These are brought on by increases in bone, muscle, and fat.
- Changes in appetite: While many babies show an increase in hunger during a growth spurt, others will want to eat less.
- Changes in sleep patterns: The human brain produces the human growth hormone (HGH) during sleep. Therefore, it stands to reason that your baby may sleep more during a growth spurt.
Teething can be exhausting for parents and their baby. Usually around 6 months of age, the teething stage makes its entrance. In some cases teeth can start as early as four months or as late as twelve months.
While the pain of teething can keep some babies awake, others will develop a low-grade fever requiring extra sleep.
They may also resist food as it can irritate their gums. Babies will be most resistant to solid foods so a liquid diet consisting of breast milk and formula is recommended.
Some babies may have no signs of pain or discomfort as a result of teething. If your baby has no side effects, be thankful. Most babies though will have side effects from teething. While some babies may sleep more, others may sleep less. The pain and side effects may cause them to be extra fussy and fight sleep. To calm your baby down, try using Dreamland’s Weighted Swaddle or Blanket.How do I know if my baby is going through a cognitive leap?
Cognitive leaps are said to happen at 10 points within the first 18 months of a baby’s life. During leaps, babies will become more aware and interactive with the world around them. Motor skills will start to develop and your baby will transform into a toddler right in front of your eyes. Human development is truly amazing. It’s important to note that not all babies will develop the same so you should be aware of developmental stages and pay close attention to where your baby is at. Some babies may need extra support to develop at the appropriate pace. If you feel your baby is developing too slow or too fast, consult your medical provider.
A cognitive leap is defined by the following characteristics:
- Unpredictable moods
- An improvement in skills
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in health
- Fussiness during feedings
- Separation anxiety
In terms of feeding, some babies will want to feed more frequently while others are fussy or disinterested during feedings. They may also want to eat smaller meals.
If your baby is being fussy during feedings, try feeding them in an environment that is free of distractions.
Sleep patterns can also change during cognitive leaps. Some babies will be resistant to sleep while others will sleep more. This is especially the case if the baby experiences a cold or cough which are common symptoms of a cognitive leap.
You may also find that your baby is sleeping the same amount or more, but that they are doing so in shorter bursts as they are eager to explore the world around them.
Although it may be challenging, do your best to keep your baby on its regular sleep schedule making small adjustments if necessary.How long does a baby go through a cognitive leap?
Cognitive leaps can be frustrating for parents to deal with. Fortunately, they are only temporary. Some last for just a week, while longer leaps can last up to five weeks.Is sleeping more normal when a baby is sick?
Just like adults sleep more when they are sick, so do babies. The illness may also cause them to lose their appetites, so they don’t eat as much.
If your baby is sick, do your best to aid them in getting to sleep and staying asleep. Sleeping helps the recovery process. You may need to try new things to get your sick baby to sleep, as they may fight going down. A weighted sleep sack or swaddle can calm your baby and help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Dreamland Baby specializes in weighted sleep sacks and swaddles to aid in a full night of sleep. Designed by a mom that once tried everything to get her fussy son to sleep, Dreamland is proven to work.How much sleep is too much for a sick baby?
Too much sleep. . . at one time you probably thought there was no such thing. But, now that you’re a parent you may be questioning everything, especially if your baby is sick.
When a baby is sick, they need sleep to recover. While parents may become concerned if the baby is sleeping excessively, there is typically no cause for alarm.
However, the parent may want to wake the child if they are missing feedings.
Feedings provide hydration which is vital when the child is sick. If the baby is not waking often enough to get the hydration they need, the parent should consider waking them for a feeding.
Final Word on Fluctuating Food and Sleep Patterns
It is normal for your baby's sleep and eating needs to ebb and flow throughout the first year. By the time your baby is one, they will require less sleep as well as less liquid calories. However, there will be times that you'll notice they need more sleep and less food, or vice versa. Paying attention to the signs your baby is giving will help you determine if this is a normal period your child is experiencing or if you'll want to reach out to medical professional for advice.
See our other favorite posts for further reading:
- Weighted Sleep Sack Safety and How It Will Help Your Baby Sleep
- How To Stop Startle & Moro Reflex Without Swaddling
- Baby Napping Close to Bedtime and How to Do It Right
- The Best Wearable Blankets
- How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Without Nursing
- Best Swaddle for Newborns
- Signs It’s Time to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
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- How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep
- How to Wash & Clean Your Dreamland Baby Sleep Sack
- How to Stop the 45-Minute Intruder During Your Baby's Naps
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- Cluster Feeding at Night: Why Babies Do It and How to Manage It
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What is normal breastfeeding? | Interview with Dr.Jacqueline Kent
It can be difficult for new mothers to understand if breastfeeding is going well, so we decided to ask the expert if it is possible to talk about the norms when it comes to breastfeeding.
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Dr Jacqueline Kent, Research Fellow, Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group:
Jacqueline joined the University of Western Australia research group in 1986 and received her PhD in 1999. She is currently researching the biochemical and physiological aspects of breast milk synthesis and release in search of scientific information to help mothers breastfeed longer.
Dr. Jacqueline Kent and her colleagues have been studying breastfeeding for many years. As it turned out, for all mothers and babies, this process occurs in its own way.
What were the most surprising results of your research?
Variety. It turns out that the limits of the norm are extremely wide.
We are used to textbooks that say that an infant should eat 8-12 times a day and gain 150 grams per week. But babies don't read textbooks and do things their own way! Some gain weight more slowly, others very quickly.
We observed infants aged one to six months who were exclusively breastfed. As our studies have shown, on average, a child is breastfed 4 to 13 times a day, and the duration of one feeding varies from 12 minutes to 1 hour. 1
How much milk do breastfed babies usually consume?
According to our research, the volume of milk consumed by baby
ranges from 54 to 234 ml per feeding. 1
Sometimes it seems to the mother that the baby ate well, but when weighed, it turns out that he ate very little milk. And it happens the other way around: the child is distracted, breastfeeds for only a few minutes and still eats 100 ml of milk. Even if the baby is restless, this does not mean at all that he is malnourished.
All babies are different, but they all get the amount of milk they need in one way or another. One needs 500 ml of milk per day, while others eat up to 1356 ml!
By the way, boys on average eat 76 ml more milk per day than girls. The main thing is that you have enough milk, and the baby will decide when and how much he will eat.
Should I offer my baby a second breast?
I advise offering the second breast to the baby after the first has been completely emptied. If he accepts it, then he hasn't finished eating. If not, don't worry. Let the baby decide for himself - only he knows when he is full. According to our research, 30% of babies get enough milk from one breast, 13% eat from two breasts at each feed, and 57% from time to time. 1
How do you know if a baby is getting enough milk?
In my experience, mothers often blame themselves for not producing enough milk. Ask yourself: Is my child growing? Is he putting on weight? Is he cheerful? Is his skin healthy? How often does he get diapers dirty? If the answer is “yes”, then the baby is getting enough milk, no matter if he eats a lot or a little.
What is the most common misconception about breastfeeding?
Mothers usually think that the older the child gets, the more often
he needs to be fed and the more milk he will eat. They are often surprised to learn that between the 4th and 26th weeks, total milk production normally does not change. 2
In the first few months, the baby grows very quickly and his metabolism is accelerated. The milk that the child consumes during this period is almost completely used for growth and maintenance of metabolism.
Between the ages of three and six months, metabolism slows down and growth slows, so the same amount of milk is sufficient for the baby. In other words, the baby does not need to consume more and more milk as they grow older. On the contrary, feedings become shorter and less frequent, but at the same time the child receives the same amount of milk, because he suckles better.
Do studies say anything about the age at which breastfed babies start sleeping through the night?
Most babies need to be fed at night.
A baby's stomach is not large enough to go all night without a feed, and breast milk is digested very quickly. Therefore, it is natural for the baby to wake up at night - and this usually continues for at least the first six months. Feeding at night is normal. When you feed your baby at night, do not even hesitate - all over the world at this moment other mothers of babies of the same age are doing the same. Be patient - it usually only lasts a few months. 1
What worries new mothers the most during the first few weeks of breastfeeding?
The most common concern is whether the baby latch on properly, sucks well, and is full during feeding. Often mothers also worry about sore nipples. The main thing is to find the right position for feeding from the very beginning and ensure that the baby is latching on correctly. Practice shows that this significantly affects the flow of milk and comfort when feeding.
What breastfeeding symptoms should be of concern?
Milk production usually returns to normal levels two weeks after birth. If the child does not begin to gain weight on the fifth or sixth day of life, it's time to sound the alarm. You should contact your doctor to make sure that milk is being produced and that its composition is changing from colostrum to mature breast milk.
What advice would you give to a new breastfeeding mother?
Try to ensure skin-to-skin contact with the baby as soon as possible after delivery. If possible, feed your baby within the first hour of life, or at least breastfeed. As soon as possible, contact a specialist to correct the position and grip of the breast during feeding and thus avoid damage to the nipples.
Feed frequently. Young mothers do not immediately succeed in correctly recognizing the signals that the child gives. Be sure to feed your baby on demand, and not at set intervals. Offer the breast as soon as you notice any signs of hunger - as a rule, the baby suckles better when he is calm. If he cries, it is more difficult for him to take the breast. If you are not sure what the child wants, offer him the breast. He decides whether he wants to eat or not.
To learn more about Dr. Kent's research, download infographic "How to determine the limits of normal when it comes to breastfeeding" or see it below.
1 Kent JC et al. Volume and frequency of breastfeedings and fat content of breast milk throughout the day. Pediatrics . 2006;117(3): e 387-395. - Kent J.S. et al., "Amount and frequency of breastfeeding and fat content of breast milk during the day." Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 2006;117(3):e387-95.
2 Kent JC et al. Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Breastfeeding Medicine . 2013;8(4):401-407. - Kent J.S. et al., Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Brest Med. 2013;8(4):401-407.
Breastfeeding on demand
You can often hear from a nursing mother: "I feed on demand, my baby requires a breast every 3. 5 hours." Or: “I have always fed on demand. In a year, we already had 1 feeding in the evening, and my child calmly refused to breastfeed. Before talking about the demand of the child, it is necessary to find out what modern women mean when they say - "I breastfeed."
Modern mothers consider breastfeeding essential for feeding their baby. Just for feeding. Breast milk is food, the mother supplies the baby with the nutrients necessary for growth and development. When a baby suckles at the breast, he eats. Breastfeeding makes sense only as a process of supplying proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and microelements.
During suckling, the baby receives the nutrients it needs with mother's milk. This is the absolute truth. There is another unconditional truth, which is not given any importance in modern society, it is not taken into account and is not considered. Breastfeeding for a child is communication with the mother. We need to figure out how the child understands feeding on demand? Can he understand anything at all? Is there any difference for him how he is fed, for 15-20 minutes after 3. 5 hours or in some other way?
What is on-demand feeding
On-demand feeding of a newborn baby means putting it on the breast for every squeak or search. Squeak and search movements in newborns, even as early as the second or third day of life, begin to appear much more often than after 3.5 or 2.5 hours. The need for attachments increases rapidly, and by the 10-12th day of life, the need to attach to a child may occur 15-16 or more times a day. Applications vary in duration. The baby can fall asleep and sleep while sucking for, for example, 1.5-2 hours. Can release the breast after 1-2 minutes. And then ask her again. Why does a child need such frequent contact with his mother's breast?
That's why. Being in the mother's belly, in a calm, familiar environment, listening to the noises of the mother's body, being in a warm, cramped, confined space, the baby sucked his fist, fingers, loops of the umbilical cord, swallowed amniotic fluid. Learned to suck and swallow. After birth, experiencing discomfort for any, the most insignificant reason, the baby tries to get rid of it. You can get rid of discomfort by getting into the usual conditions of a comfortable stay. The only place where the baby after birth can feel the sensations familiar to him is in the arms of the mother. The only familiar action is sucking. The only familiar taste and smell is the taste and smell of milk and lube in the areola. Milk and lubricant have an odor and taste similar to the taste and smell of amniotic fluid. Therefore, experiencing discomfort, the baby squeaks, or begins to look for an object to suck with his mouth. Ideally, it is immediately applied to the chest. The baby becomes warm, cramped, he hears the beating of his mother's heart, breathing, grumbling in the intestines, he sucks and feels the familiar taste and smell. If such an action happens constantly, the baby gains confidence, no matter what happens, he will solve all his problems with his mother. The place of comfort is now under the breast, and you can suck on the breast.
This whole process is justified from a biological point of view. A newborn child does not feel the feeling of hunger, this feeling is not formed in him. It will begin to form at about two months of age. How to feed a creature that does not experience hunger ?! How to encourage him to take some action to get food? This can be done only at the expense of some other incentives. This stimulus for the newborn is constant bodily discomfort, thanks to which he wants to suckle all the time! The most intense, frequent and prolonged sucking in infants is observed in the first two or three months of life. It is in these first months that the main weight gain of the baby occurs.
Feeding in the first month
Baby falls asleep with the breast in his mouth, sleeps sucking for a while. Falling asleep deeply, lets go of the chest. After sleeping for a while, he wakes up, and is applied on waking. After sleep, he can stay awake for some time, for example, an hour and a half. During wakefulness, he may feel discomfort 2-3 times, for example, from a completely natural desire to pee, and having called his mother for help, having kissed for a couple of minutes, he will do his deeds. Then he will want to sleep, feel discomfort and, kissing his chest, will again fall asleep sucking. After some time, he will wake up and attach again. Then again a little "walk". And after some time, he will fall asleep at the chest again.
The daytime naps of a one-month-old baby feeding on demand vary in duration and number. There can be 4-6 dreams during the day, and they can last from 5-15 minutes to 2-2.5 sometimes 3 hours. "Around" each dream, the baby is applied to the chest, and applied between dreams several times. At night, the child falls asleep at the breast. Usually in the early morning hours, he begins to fuss and apply. In the morning, he almost never fully wakes up. The baby sleeps, from time to time, sucking on his mother's breast. Waking up in the morning, the baby is again applied to the chest. If you count all the attachments that have happened in a baby of one month of age, then approximately 16-20 attachments are obtained. This is how a newborn human cub behaves if it is given the opportunity to behave in accordance with physiological and psychological needs, which, by the way, are genetically determined. The child of the first months of life does not separate his personality from the personality of the mother and from her breast. Mom and her breasts, and everything connected with them, are the universe of the baby and himself.
In most cases, a modern woman, being afraid to “accustom a child to hands”, strives to limit his requests for sucking. A pacifier and a bottle of tea or water come to her aid in this matter. They, too, can be sucked ... The need for sucking seems to be satisfied. But only the need for communication with the mother during suckling is not satisfied, the peculiar chain of mutual assistance and cooperation between mother and baby is destroyed, the formation of maternal affection and concentration is disrupted. Is the difference in the two actions noticeable to the reader: the baby cried, the mother took him, put him to her chest and started rocking him, or gave him a pacifier and started rocking the stroller, even with the words “Why are you crying, my sun?”
The modern woman who gives a pacifier and pumps a stroller is not a bad person deliberately harming an infant. She is simply in captivity of prejudices regarding the relationship between mother and baby. She does not know how to behave correctly, does not know what to do in accordance with the natural needs of the child. If you tell her what the child really needs, she will exclaim in horror: “What is it, don’t let him get away with?!” Indeed, the child of the first months of life must not be let off the hook. For a woman who does not know how to comfortably carry a baby, and who does not know how to feed him in various positions (sitting, lying, standing and even moving), this can be very difficult. Especially if she is not sure of the correctness of her actions.
An action that should become automatic for the mother of a newborn: when the baby cries or shows other signs of anxiety, put the baby to the breast.
The baby is growing. A fairly stable rhythm of daytime sleep begins to form in him, and a 3-4-month-old baby behaves quite differently from a newborn. Feeding on demand at this age looks something like this...
- At three months, the baby has 10-12 feeds during the day and 2-4 at night. There are frequent applications for a short time, but their number is reduced. There may be a long night break in feedings, about 5 hours, but this is very rare. Much more often the night break is 2.5-3.5 hours. By this age, the baby's body is noticeably rounded.
- At four months, the baby begins to breastfeed noticeably less frequently. The main feedings are associated with sleep: the baby suckles before bedtime, during awakening and during sleep, both daytime and nighttime. In this regard, he has a fairly accurate feeding regimen. And many babies stop breastfeeding when they wake up after daytime sleep, sometimes as early as 2.5-3 months.
- At five months, the baby has 8-10 daytime feedings and 2-3 nighttime feedings, as well as in the fourth month of life, they are organized around dreams - the baby eats when going to bed and some babies suckle when they wake up.
- Feeding regimen changes at six months. The most active sucking shifts to the last 2-3 hours before waking up from a night's sleep. The period of daytime wakefulness can be divided into two periods: in the morning, when the baby sucked during the night is rarely applied to the breast, and in the evening, when attachments become very frequent. In total, there can be 7-10 day applications and 3-4 night applications. At this age, the baby begins a period of acquaintance with new food - pedagogical complementary foods. Sometimes there are attachments associated with the introduction of complementary foods, the baby “washes down” samples of new food with mother's milk. But many children do not want to drink complementary foods. When complementary foods are introduced to an on-demand baby, it is never meant to replace feedings with complementary foods. This is practically impossible, because the main feedings of the baby are associated with sleep, and mother's breakfasts, lunches and dinners, during which the baby gets acquainted with new food, are located between the baby's dreams, during his wakefulness.
- At seven months, the frequency of applications is about the same.
- At eight months, the feeding regimen changes. Since the baby shows high motor activity and is very busy exploring the surrounding space, in the daytime he forgets to breastfeed. In this regard, the number of daily feedings can be reduced to 6-8 times. The baby compensates for the reduction in daytime feedings by increasing the frequency and duration of nighttime feedings up to 6 times.
- In the second half of the year, babies who stopped breastfeeding when waking up after daytime naps again recall this habit. The baby’s daytime sleep in the second half of life, as well as in the region of a year and older, looks something like this: the baby falls asleep sucking, sleeps quietly for a while, for example 1-1.5 hours, then starts tossing and turning, fiddling, worrying, at this moment the mother lies down next to , gives him a breast and the baby can fill up 10-15-30 minutes sucking. Mom may well use this time for her own rest - lie down, read, while the baby sleeps while sucking. I know my mother, a lover of embroidery, who used this time specifically for embroidery ...
- Breastfeeding becomes more frequent at nine to ten months. In the daytime, this is 4-6 full feedings and about the same number of attachments for various reasons. The baby has new reasons for attachment. If, during active actions to master the world, the baby fills a bump or gets scared, he calms down with his mother's breast. There may be situations when you can comfort the baby by sitting next to him and hugging him. At night, 4-6 feedings remain, the baby begins to suckle more actively in the morning between 3 and 8 hours.
- At eleven months, a baby can already have 2-3 complete complementary foods. Initiation to adult food in the mind of a child is not associated with breastfeeding: attachment to the mother's breast is something other than the desire to get enough of the product they like. As a rule, after the baby has eaten, he feels the need to attach himself to the breast. The number of daily feedings remains the same in the child, but the number of short-term attachments increases. There are active mid-morning feedings between 4 and 8 o'clock in the morning.
- At ten or twelve months, the baby, if he is already walking, can sometimes breastfeed every time he comes to his mother, i.e. about every 15-30 minutes. Attachments around dreams and night sucking persist. Therefore, if a mother says that a child suckles once or twice a day, this means that there is no feeding at the request of the child. There are restrictions imposed by the mother, with which the baby has come to terms. He treats breast sucking like food, sucks on a pacifier or a finger to fall asleep or soothe, or falls asleep just like that, without calming down.
- At twelve months, the baby is applied in about the same way.
- At the age of one and a half years, there may already be one daytime nap, so there are fewer attachments associated with sleep. Preserved for morning sucking. The baby is very free with his mother's breasts. Sometimes it happens that he comes up to suck just for pleasure. For example, like this: he comes up, climbs on his knees, looks into his mother’s face, smiles, starts to swarm in his shirt, gets breasts, smiles at his breasts, sucks for 30 seconds and leaves.
As for the number of feedings per day when feeding a child on demand, their number is almost never less than 12. A newborn has 12 or more attachments, mostly they are all associated with dreams. And a child, say 1.5-2 years old, can also have about 12 attachments, only 3-4 are associated with sleep, and the rest are short-term attachments for various reasons. I suggest to all mothers reading this text - do not count the application, do not notice their duration. Breastfeed your baby as often as he asks, when you feel the need to.
Mothers who do not think about breastfeeding without looking at the clock may get the impression that when feeding on demand, the mother can do nothing but feed the baby. This is not true. After the birth of a baby, a mother begins another life, she is called life with a baby. That's all. The child is with the mother, not the mother with the child! Feel the difference! You need to be able to organize your life in a different way, in the first months, of course, the help of loved ones is very necessary. In the tradition of many peoples, it was customary for the first 40 days after childbirth to remove a woman from any housework and household chores, she was engaged only in a child. In some nations, objects that the mother of a newborn touched were considered “unclean”, therefore, they preferred to protect the mother from the rest of the household, allocating her a separate “corner” of the house, where no one bothered her and she did not interfere with anyone. Among the Slavs, such a restrictive custom was called a six-week. By 1.5-2 months, the rhythm of daytime dreams begins to form, and the baby has a kind of “regime”, the mother becomes more free.
For a mother who can't imagine breastfeeding without looking back at the clock, and who is sure that the “right” baby is the baby lying quietly in her crib all the time, feeding on demand will be a complete hassle. It will be much easier for such a mother if she stops looking at the clock and ties the baby to herself with a large scarf or uses a patchwork holder (sling). It will become easier for her if she stops running between the nursery and the kitchen, but takes the baby with her to the kitchen and carries him around the house with her, doing housework, in a box, a cradle, a special chair, if she tries not to put him off often, and pick up as soon as possible, postponing the baby only in case of emergency and not for long.
Breastfeeding is not the same as house arrest. In the conditions of modern society, it is possible to organize the exit of a nursing mother to work from about 6 months of age of the baby. If necessary, you can start working from the age of 4 months, but, of course, it is better not every day of the week and not full time. It is the responsibility of a breastfeeding consultant to help a mother organize her return to work.
Sometimes, when I advise mothers on breastfeeding, I suggest that they forget for a second that they are already living in the 21st century. I propose to return, for example, to the cave and ask what they will do if the child woke up at night, how to calm him down? If you are walking through the forest and trying not to attract the attention of predators, how to make the baby silent? If the child is thirsty, what will you give him? What is the baby used to, for thousands of years of its existence? To the fact that he sleeps on his mother while she wanders through the forest with a digging stick in search of roots, and wakes up when mother stops. Since mom stopped, then there is time to wake up and suck. Therefore, even now the child sleeps well, tied to the mother with a patchwork holder, wakes up when the mother, having done a few household chores, sits in a chair to take care of the baby.
Some mother, reading about the cave, will be offended, saying that she is a civilized creature. But please think. Man, mother's breast and mother's milk have been created by evolution over millions of years. They are made for each other. Baby food has created progress and more recently. The skills of motherhood and breastfeeding have also been lost by our society quite recently. A person is not physiologically adapted to artificial feeding and a pacifier. The mother's breast will not produce enough milk at 6-7 feedings per day. Nature did not know, when creating man as a mammal, that the time would come when the need for breastfeeding would be satisfied by some kind of pacifiers and nipples.
Changes that occur during the formation of the personality of a child who did not have full contact with the mother during prolonged breastfeeding are noted by modern research by psychologists and sociologists. These are changes with a minus sign. It would be better if they were not, these changes.
Breastfeeding is important not only for the baby, it is also important for the mother. During on-demand feeding, the woman's feelings change, a stronger attachment to the baby is formed, the woman becomes more sensitive to the needs of the baby.