M.C. asks from Everett, WA on April 21, 2007
My Infant Son Is Always Hungry
My son just turned 3 weeks old and we are battling him being hungry all the time. He eats every 2-3 hours and when he eats it will be between 4-6 ozs. Right after we feed him he still acts like he is starving. There was someone that told me that there is a formula that has cereal mixed in with it. Has anybody ever heard of this?
Also I have heard that mixing cereal in a bottle might help babies sleep. Has anybody had any success with this? I just dont know what to do...Does anybody have any other suggestions of something that i can do to curb his appitite so he wont be so hungry and maybe I can get some sleep too.
B.O. answers from Portland on April 24, 2007
This sounds perfectly normal for a 3 week old. His metabolism is high. The first two months of life babies gain an ounce a day, they are growing so fast they need all the nutrients they can get. Please don't give him cereal, you'll make it worse by plugging up his his digestive system with bulk he can't get any nutrients from. Why are you "battling" him being hungry? Just feed him more, that's what babies this age are supposed to do..eat, eat, eat! Also, you should just try to nap when he does, get on his sleep schedule. But I know it's hard with a three year old:)
A.C. answers from Eugene on April 24, 2007
I put cereal in my sons bottle, but not until he was like 4 or 5 months old. I think right now hes still to young to have any cereal, but I could be wrong. I would suggest talking to his peditrician and asking him, because he may even be able to suggest another formula that will help.
J.L. answers from Portland on April 23, 2007
Are you nursing him? I found my son to be a 'barracuda' feeder as described in the 'What to Expect..' book. He ate like there was no tomorrow and every 3 hrs as well. THIS IS NORMAL behaviour. Your other kids might have been different, but to me, the behaviour you are describing is all I know. I would feed my son 4-6 oz. burp him, then feed him another 4-6 oz. Try that. If you find him throwing up, feed him just a little less w/a burp in between.
Please don't give him rice cereal yet. Feeding an infant rice too soon has been linked to early allergies. Yes, the 13lb mark is when my son slept through the night as well. At the rate your son is feeding, you should expect it pretty quick. I found that when I switched to formula, he started sleeping even sounder. He self-weened himself at just 6 mos. I was so brokenhearted!
He may just start teething at around 6 months too. A good cue that he may be ready for a bit of rice cereal then.
In short, don't worry, be encouraged. There is no set way for every child. Sounds like you have a strong personality on your hands as well...! Feed him and feed him and feed him. It will pass and become more normal.
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M.P. answers from Portland on April 23, 2007
I firmly believe that Jillian is right. I would add that at 3 weeks the two of you are still new to each other and nursing. It takes time to get in sync. I believe in feeding babies when they're hungry. Their bodies know more than anyone else.
I sympathize with you. Life is a challenge when one doesn't get enough sleep. If this were happening to me I'd sleep any time the baby and the toddler slept. Your body needs to get built back up too. I'd let housework go. Rest instead. This will only last for a little time. Enjoy your baby. Focus on your baby and you together. Be sure to include the 3 yo when possible. The two of you will work out a routine. 3 weeks is so young and a precious time in your life.
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K.Z. answers from Portland on April 24, 2007
It is totally normal for a newborn to be hungry all the time! Some eat more than others. Some eat fast, some eat slow. It is not a good idea to measure or monitor how much an infant eats though. Just let him dictate what he needs and when he needs it. Most babies that age will eat every 2-3 hours! He will stop when he is full. There is no need to put a baby under 6 mos on a schedule or limit their feedings.
And by all means do NOT even think about giving that baby cereal! He is WAY too young. It can damage his intestines and set him up for food allergies for life. Wait until he is at least 6 mos old before introducing cereal. It does not help them sleep longer. Babies sleep through the night when their brains are chemically ready, you can't influence when they do.
Breastfeeding is great because you're not aware of exactly how many ounces the baby is eating, you just know they are getting what they need and they stop when full. It's easy on your brain, no thinking involved! Just bonding time. If you are not getting much sleep, keep the baby in bed with you and nurse in bed, then you don't have to wake up.
If you are doing formula already, make several bottles so you won't be upset when he finishes off one and wants another. You don't need to measure or monitor unless your doctor thinks something is wrong like a baby is not gaining enough weight.
There is also a growth spurt at 3 weeks I think! Relax and I hope you get to enjoy this stage of life instead of stressing!
T.P. answers from Seattle on April 24, 2007
Don't give him rice. Not yet. He is way too young. His body is not ready for it, all that will happen is he'll get a tummy ache. It's normal for your son to eat every 2-3hours and up to 4-6oz. but maybe he's still crying because he has gas or maybe he just has a tummy ache. My son was very colichy (I'm not sure of that spelling) Gas drops helped alot and they're all natural so it won't hurt him. You should wait until at least 4months for Rice because his body is still developing and it's not ready for man made food... if your giving hom formula, have you tried Enfamil Gentlease? My son has been drinking that for many months and it seems like if I get him something different, even for just one can, he gets cranky like it gives him a tummy ache.
S.O. answers from Portland on April 24, 2007
Always make sure to clear anything new you are going to give your baby with your pediatrition.
My daughter is 7 1/2 months old, and we had the same problem. She wasn't hungry though, she needed to suck, but she wouldn't take a pacifier. I thought she was hungry all the time too, but if I would have kept feeding her, she would have been too full all the time, thrown up a lot, and still would've wanted to suck.
C.H. answers from Portland on April 24, 2007
I would put rice cereal in his bottle before bed time. It will give it some substance and fill him up which will give you both some sleep. I'm not sure how much, maybe a couple teaspoons, just so it will still go through the nipple easily and he not choke on it. It's been a few years since I'd had this experience. My youngest is 11 now, but that's what we did. You night ask your pediatrian about it. They are always changing the rules.
L.C. answers from Portland on April 24, 2007
First off, congrats on your new addition to your family! I am a mom of four kids, the youngest being 15 months. My three previous were great eaters and sleepers-all sleeping through the night around three months. My youngest still does not sleep through the night (only on occasion when we have a sunny day and he runs around outside) he still needs a bottle around midnight. I believe it is because of his size. He is a big boy-over 30 pounds, not obese-taller than most (I am 6'3"). He is a great eater and I know this one will be my future line-backer! In the begining, I tried to solely breast feed my son, but that soon took a toll on my body, mental health, and energy level, so we started to supplement with formula. This seemed to eleviate some of the hunger...but then at about 2 months...the same thing that you described happened to me. My mother said to give him some infant cereal in his bottle. My mom always said that with all of my kids- she said it was common place 'back in the day'. We also started him on baby food earlier than most. Now, there are going to be alot of naysayers out there that will tell you 'no!don't do it!' but talk to your Ped and listen to your heart and you will know what is best. My son is healthy, happy, loves all kinds of foods (my others are picky eaters)...good luck to you!
D.D. answers from Portland on April 23, 2007
The formula you're thinking of is called Enfamil AR.
If this is a new-found hunger, he's probably going through a growth spurt and it will calm down soon, and then he'll start sleeping all the time!
The feeding cereal to a baby before they're ready does not really help them sleep longer. They generally start sleeping through the night when they hit about 13 pounds. I don't know why that's the magic number, but my daughter has got 1 more pound to go! (Can't wait!) Of course, it really depends on your consistency and commitment to letting him sleep all through the night too. If you are getting up to feed him in the nighttime and playing with him and/or not putting him right back into bed, he's going to have problems sleeping at night!
Hopefully this has been at least a little helpful!