May 12, 2010,
W.M. asks from Santa Monica, CA on May 11, 2010
14 Weeks Old Nursing Every Hour - Going Back to Work
I've been nursing my 14 week old on demand which means anywhere from every hour to every 2-3 hours, sometimes 4 hours. He won't take a pacifier so I sometimes feel like he nurses to go to sleep or to soothe which is fine for now but I go back to work in a few weeks and I'm really worried about how his daycare provider will handle him when he fusses (he screams if I don't give him the breast) and also what it will do to my milk supply. If I'm nursing every hour sometimes, then should I be pumping every hour at work as well? Anyone with a similar infant temperament?
So What Happened?™
So I kept feeding on demand (it was either that or listen to my baby scream at me) and returned to work. He gets 3 bottles a day and fusses in between but is managing just fine. I pump 3x a day and output what he takes in the next day. All my worries were for nothing. Thanks for all of your advice though!
S.P. answers from Portland on May 12, 2010
Both my children started needing solids when they were 4 months old. He might just need some cereal mixed up really fine. We gave them a bottle for the first week and then just started adding apples for a week with cereal.
I hope this helps!
C.G. answers from Augusta on May 11, 2010
It is best to feed on demand as this encourages your milk supply. Right now your baby may be in a "growth spurt" stage where they are growing and very hungry- they nurse more frequently to increase your milk supply.
Nursing every 2-3 hours is appropriate for his age. Daycare providers are well versed at taking care of fussy babies so I'm sure he will be fine:)
You may want to schedule regular pumping sessions, at least 2 in an 8 hour day. Many women find that they produce a certain amount "per hour" so whether they pump every hour or every four hours they end up with the same amount of milk at the end of the day.
Breasts do not "empty" and "fill." Milk production is a constant process. You start feeling full at a certain point not because the timer has gone off and the milk has filled the breasts, but because they have gradually gotten full.
One trick is to be sure baby is getting plenty of the fat rich hind milk.
The milk that comes out initially when nursing is more water content and quenches thirst. The milk that comes out after that initial bit is higher in fats. Possibly getting him back on the breast for a couple of minutes after he is done would be enough to hold him a little longer.
Good luck! If you haven't already, check out the website www.kellymom.com
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V.N. answers from Chicago on May 11, 2010
My doctor had not recommended nursing every hour for a few reasons. One it does not give your milk supply enough time to replenish, so the milk is not as filling and hence continues the cycle of the baby wanting to eat every hour. My son was the same way. She said to at least wait a minimum of two hours between feedings and at his age probably three. I would start with two hours. The other reason is that it doesn't teach them to understand being full. And I don't remember the others, sorry.
I would do whatever it took to soothe him. After a day or two he would go a few hours between feedings.
I understand some people feed on demand but this is just my experience and it worked for me.
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L.B. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 11, 2010
I too have to respectfully disagree with Vicky. Keep feeding on demand as that's how you will keep your supply good and healthy. If baby wants to nurse every 15 minutes go ahead and do that. It will encourage your body to continue producing milk. The theories around scheduling feedings pertain to formula fed babies and should never be applied to breastfeeding. Your body will continue to produce milk even if you are nursing 10 minutes after the last session. You can not run out of milk if you're nursing on demand. Your body will always provide for your baby.
Once you start working again you'll probably find baby will eat less during the day and tank up in the evening/overnight and weekends when you are home. Many babies eat just enough to stay alive during the day and want to nurse constantly in the evening and overnight.
Just try to pump at least a couple of times a day. With the pumping you'll probably find the sessions are more productive for you if you feel like you're a little full. It means you'll get more in less time and it won't take as much time out of your day. Your body will adjust, learn your new schedule and provide for the baby when you're home, even on the weekends.
T.K. answers from Portland on May 12, 2010
Hello. My daughter is 4 months. I also nursed her when ever she wanted. She does not like a pacifier either. She also is soothed by nursing. I am lucky that my girlfriend watches her and so I feel like she gets a lot of 1x1 attention. I dont know if your day care provider will be able to do that??? I have been pumping milk at work. I wait until my breasts are full...about every 2 hours. Make sure you drink ALOT of water. No matter what you and your baby will have some adjusting to do. Its so hard to go back to work, but you can do it. It will get easier. I miss my baby all the time but I feel better after pumping at work. Knowing that is for her.
P.L. answers from Portland on May 12, 2010
I breastfeed my daughter on-demand. That's what I love about it. There is no schedule. If she wants it, she gets it. She also nurses for comfort and to get herself to sleep. This is ok too. I learned that when they spit up, many times it's due to excess gas in their tummy...not because they are full. The milk may come up with a burp. I let her have control. There are so many things that go with breatfeeding besides the actually feeding. Many times babies will explore their world with the security of a breast in their mouths. Many times babies will just seem to play or mouth the nipple. It's all part of the experience. Don't stress. Your body will always produce the milk needed. Pump when your breasts feel full at work. And when you are home with your baby, let him have his comfort and breastfeed.
K.M. answers from Milwaukee on May 11, 2010
Sometimes we forget that nursing can take longer then drinking a bottle. Have you tried leaving him at the breast a little longer? You can keep trying a pacifer. You could try to build up your supply and see if that makes a difference or he may just need to nurse that much. With nursing there's no clear answer because there's so much to consider. There have been moms who have been able to pump enough at work and others who have had to use formula while the baby is at daycare and nurse at home. Whatever works for you and the baby. But there's lots to try. A lot of hospitals now have breastfeeding groups or at least lactation consultants you can see for more personal help. Good luck!
D.W. answers from Gainesville on May 11, 2010
I have to respectfully disagree with Vicky. Sometimes baby will cluster feed at around that age and it's for a very specific reason. By feeding so close together they actually get more of the rick hindmilk. You can not dictate to a breastfed baby when they will eat and when you won't feed them. Breastfed babies can eat anywhere from 1.5 hours-3 hours and it's perfectly normal. And you start the time from when baby starts eating. So it can seem like baby is on all the time.
Baby is probably going thru a growth spurt at this age though and by nursing a lot it is signaling your body to make more.
Breastfed babies can also just pacify themselves at the breast with "non-nutrative suckling". Meaning they are just using mom as a pacifier without getting any breastmilk. And that's an ok thing.
I wouldn't worry about the sitter. She doesn't have what you have and baby will not react the same to her as he will to you.
You won't need to pump every hour at work. don't worry. Pump at least twice though. The amazing thing about breastfeeding is our bodies are able to adjust. And put baby to breast often once you are home to help maintain your supply. And know that what you pump and what baby gets are usually 2 very different things. Baby is far more efficient!
J.C. answers from Anchorage on May 12, 2010
I would highly recommend slowly weining him down to fewer breast feedings and start introducing the bottle if you are planning on pumping and providing the daycare with your milk during the day. Otherwise, I cant imagine how rough the transition will be for the poor daycare provider and for your baby. Yikes!