21 answers

Still Nursing Every Hour

My 9 week old is still wanting to breastfeed every hour. She usually feeds 10-15 min. on each breast, but she also gets very sleepy. Sometimes, she will only nurse on 1 side and then sleep for 10-15 minutes only to wake up ready to eat on the other breast. I am hoping that she will stretch out her feeding sessions to at least every 2 hours. Let me add that she sleeps well through the night (usually 6-8 hour stretches before waking up for the first time), and that her weight gain is great (born 8 lbs 9 oz., at 2 months she is at 12 lbs 10 oz). Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Take her clothes off when she eats. If she's not so warm and snuggly she'll be more apt to eat before she falls asleep.

I went through the same thing with my little boy, who is now 5 months. Similar to a few others who have responded, I also used the "Baby Wise" approach. It stressed that babies must Eat, Play, and then Nap (always in that order.) Once they get in the habit of falling to sleep while eating, it will be difficult for them to ever finish a meal. And, they will always want to eat before sleeping. It takes some work to break the habit, but it is well worth it. I kept a damp cloth nearby each time I fed my son. When he started dozing, I touched him with the cloth. Also, playing with his ear kept him awake! It really helped me. Good luck.

More Answers

From a mom who nursed both her children (who are adults now) and a grandmother of 3 lovely healthy children whom my daughter and daughter-in-law nursed, let her be. You might want to nudge her to see if she'll waken when she goes to sleep at the breast, but if not, let her be. Hey, you're very lucky--that night sleeping is what's most important. I was told by my kid's pediatrician that breast milk was rich in nutrients, but was much like skim milk when it comes to sticking to their tummies, and they get hungry quicker--thus having to nurse more frequently. As she grows, she'll stretch it out. My son was still nursing every 2-3 hours when he was 3 months old. Have you tried giving her a pacifier to help hold her off a while? She may be needing the comfort of sucking.

Good luck, and God bless.

G. Ashley

I have to disagree with pumping to see if she's getting enough. No brest pump on earth is as efficient as your baby and how much gets pumped into a bottle is not a good indicator of how much milk the baby is getting. Trust me, I sold Medela breast pump products for a while and have used various pumps when my kids were babies.

My son would nod off to sleep after 5 minutes per side. He was a thin baby, but healthy and normal. He didn't nurse incessently though. My daughter on the other hand would nurse for 5 hours straight if I let her.

Sometimes the problem is switching sides too often. If a baby is nursing briefly, she may only be getting foremilk, which as someone else mentioned is kinda like skim milk. Try nursing on one side then switch every two hours. It's possible she'll get more of the richer hindmilk that way and it will satiate her for longer stretches.

S.

Hi E., maybe since your baby is sleeping for such long stretches during the night (unusual for a 9 week old breast fed baby), maybe she is playing "catch up" during the day. I would just be patient, every baby is different with their feeding patterns. Just try to get lots of sleep at night when she does so you have lots of energy during the day to feed her. Some people may say to wake her every 4 hours during the night to feed her to make her possibly go longer during the day, but I wouldn't do that as she will get used to that and you will not get as much nighttime sleep. Best of luck! F. (mom of 6 month old twin girls).

I have breastfed all four of my children so I've been where you are. Something I learned is to make sure that she empties the first breast you put her on before moving on to the other one. The reason for it is that if you stick with the 10-15 minute schedule and insist on changing her over right then instead of when the breast is empty then she isn't getting the hindmilk which is what helps them sleep longer. I agree with everyone else that you need to try to keep her awake longer while she feeds I just wanted to mention the hindmilk because I didn't find out about all of that until my first child was almost 6 months old. I did the 15 minutes on each side and it seemed like she never slept for long stretches. After I started letting her empty one before moving to the other she started sleeping real hours and I felt human again :)

Yikes!! Here's my suggestion...work on getting your baby on a 3 hour feeding schedule. Here's the basic goal:

- feed & wake time for 1 - 1.5 hours
- nap 1.5 - 2 hrs

This cycle would repeat during your "normal" day (i.e. - from the time you start your day until your bedtime). Let's say your first feeding is at 7 a.m. and you want your last feeding to be at 10 p.m., this is what your day would look like:

7am - feed & wake time (keep baby awake)
8 am - nap
10 am - feed & wake time
11am - nap
1pm - feed & wake time
2pm - nap
4pm - feed & wake time
5pm - nap
7pm - feed & wake time
8 pm - last nap
10 pm - last scheduled feeding of day
* during night time, let the baby wake you up to feed.

It may take a while to get here, but it is possible & your life (not to mention your breasts) will be much happier for it :-) This is the babywise approach to scheduling and I used it with all 5 of my children (I breastfed all of them). They all slept through the night no later than week 10 - which was a huge sanity saver for me! You can always check out the book "On Becoming Babywise" by the Ezzos. Best wishes!! J.

Has she been weighed recently to make sure she is on track with her growth? Are you drinking lots of liquids? Is she actually swallowing for the 10-15 minutes on each side? or is she just using you as a pacifier?
I'm guessing she is sleepy because she has to work hard to get enough milk -- and because neither of you is sleeping well. Do you feel like your milk lets down well and that you have enough? I'm certainly not a lactation consultant, but my five children usually only nursed for about 10 minutes total at each feeding. I know that's not what the books say, but I guess my milk comes out fast...and I always have lots. I suggest you try pumping to see how much you get and then give her the bottles of pumped milk (at least for a while). It's not especially convenient, but it will give you both a better idea of how much she is actually getting and how often. Then you can also have someone else give her a bottle for some of the feedings so you can get some rest. (You can pump once you wake up.) I'm sure you need a break. Good luck. Hang in there, and send me a message if you need someone to talk to. I imagine this is a lot rougher on you that you let on.

What you have is a lazy nurser- lol. I have had one myself plus have worked with many women with babies like this. You can teach them to be a faster nurser and in return they will be more efficient and the nursings will spread out.
I do not have time to type stuff out but you (or anyone else who needs help) can call me on my cell ###-###-#### =-)
If I have time to sit in and type I will try and do that. Just take heart you can fix this! ...M.

try rubbing the small of her back or the bottoms of her feet to keep her awake and eating... then perhaps she can "finish her meal" before getting too sleepy and then wont be hungry again for longer periods... congrats on sleeping at night though THAT IS A BONUS!!

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