16 Week Old Not Happy with Just Breast.

Updated on December 13, 2010
H.W. asks from Albany, NY
10 answers

My beautiful 16 week old little girl was exclusively breast fed for the first 3 months, then I returned to work, and we started supplementing with formula every now and then while my husband was watching her, because it was a bit hard for me to keep up a stellar supply of frozen breast milk. I always felt much more relaxed and reassured knowing that they weren't going to run out of milk to give her while I was at work.

I was always aware of the fact that she might end up wanting just formula as it fills her up more than breastmilk. Today is my 3rd day off work (she doesn't have formula when I'm at home) and she is getting cranky on the breast after a little while, and keeps pulling off and then trying to get back on, only to pull herself off again. Which is needless to say, very frustrating for me.

I just gave her 120mls of formula then to try and calm her down, because she was just so cranky and hasn't had a proper sleep all day.

Does anyone think that I should start pumping breast feeds for her so I know how much she is getting? She is still having plenty of wet nappies and today is the first time she's been cranky and playing up on the breast, so she hasn't been losing weight or anything like that.
I know it's not the end of the world if we have to move to formula exclusively. I'll keep breast feeding as long as I'm producing it, but it's more important to me that my baby is happy and eating enough.

Also, she likes to have smaller, frequent feeds. There is no way that she only eats five times a day!

Thank you in advance for your help!

*** If you are too interested in putting people down with your self-rightious opinions, then I have no need for your comment. Make sure you take the time to read my question properly before making any rude assumptions. I want no 'If-you-use-formula/bottles-then-you-are-the-devil' input. SOME mothers have to work and in any case, I love the fact that my daughter can be fed by her father. It has strengthend their bond.
I thought it would be very obvious that I ask this question because I want to make sure that I am feeing my daughter enough and care about nothing more than her health and happiness.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Tulsa on

when my son was doing that my doc told me to pump only and find out how much I was making. I called him a couple of days later he told me to put him on straight formula cause I wasnt making enough milk.

More Answers


answers from Minneapolis on

She has nipple confusion and is frustrated because she has to WORK to get breastmilk out of your breast vs. formula justfalling out of the bottle into her mouth. Your milk is fine, you are likely producing enough. What you pump is no indication of your supply, your baby can nurse up to 2-4oz MORE than any pump can get out!

She's 'lazy' and is frustrated that milk isn't dripping into her mouth. If you want to keep nursing, keep at it. Its absolutely best for her especially now during cold and flu season. But if you give in and give her a bottle, she will continue to fuss and its a slippery rope that will end in bottle feeding only.

Keep nursing her, dont' give in. Your milk is fine, she's just being ornery.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

She could be getting sick. She could be starting to teethe. To successfully breastfed and stick with it for that year+ you really have to be confident in *your* ability to feed baby. Don't automatically doubt yourself or your abilities.
That is the best advice I can give you.

Breastfed babies do all kinds of things that a bottle baby doesn't and that's ok! We moms just have to learn to roll with it and follow their cues.

One thing it could be too-have you gotten your period back yet? With my 1st my supply would dip right before and the first couple of days of my period then would bounce right back. I would have to supplement with my frozen supply or a bit of formula. Fortunately that never happened with my second!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If today is the first day she's been cranky and pulling herself off the breast, the reason may not be related to bottle and formula. She may just be not feeling well or reacting to the change in routine or any number of other things. The crankiness and the breast instead of the bottle with formula may just be coincidental.

I would wait and see before I resorted to pumping or using the bottle more. In the meantime, try to relax. She will pick up on your anxiety and be fussy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First of all, I'd like to call out Pamela and Raven M for that exceptionally rude response. You asked a perfectly reasonable question about a change in your daughter's behavior, and her response might as well have read "well, since you don't care if you daughter drinks battery acid out of a rusty cup all day..."

Good for you for wanting your daughter to have enough to eat. And good for you for recognizing that, for a number of reasons, supplementing breastmilk is much better than letting her go hungry. Would every woman in the world have the option of feeding their children until full.

Now, you're breastmilk supply probably is dropping because you're at work and not nursing her as frequently. Here are a couple of options:

1. Pump more frequently at work so that even if you don't have a frozen supply, you have more fresh available for her to have.

2. Be consistent in which feeds you give her formula, and your body will adjust accordingly. For example, when I returned to work as a teacher, I dropped my mid-morning nursing/pumping and noontime nursing/pumping, because it was just too hard to pump then at work, so I kept that up on the weekends. But I had more than enough milk in the afternoon. Your body really does adjust if you give it a schedule.

3. Check to make sure that it's really that there isn't enough breastmilk and that something like teething isn't what's bothering her. It bothered both of my kids to nurse when they were teething much more than bottle feeding - I think just the suction action is different. Rub a little orajel or give her a little tylenol and see if that changes things.

I wish you luck. Again again, remember, breastfeeding doesn't make you a good mom - good mothering does.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Is she getting stuffed up... runny noses make it hard for them to stay latched since they need to get more air thru their mouth...

Or she's just playing around.... All 4 of my munchkins had days that it seemed like they were just playing around... I would only worry about it if it happens for more than a day or two... If she eats more than "usual" (mine all did also) then she is snacking and probibly getting enough... Watch the diapers to make sure (as you are)....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I would necessarily blame it on preferring formula over breast milk... However I think it is quite possible that she prefers the bottle instead of your breast. It requires different suction efforts to work a breast versus a bottle. She may be finding that nursing takes more effort than the bottle, especially since she is used to a bottle during the week and when you nurse, you see her getting frustrated while on the breast.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

No, I wouldn't pump unless you're going to pump in addition to nursing to increase your milk supply. Pumping to find out how much milk you make isn't accurate as babies usually get more out than a pump. Sometimes people don't respond well to the pump. I nursed my kids for about 2 years each-no formula. I had plenty of milk, but if I'd had to pump for an occasional bottle because I was going to be away from them, it took me several pumping sessions to get enough for one bottle. If you normally never pump, you are not going to get enough now and you'll think you don't make enough milk. By about 4 months the milk supply is regulated. It will be hard to pump any extra over what your baby eats from you.

If she's having plenty of wet diapers, she's getting enough breastmilk. Giving formula when she's being fussy with the breast could backfire on you. As you give her more formula and she nurses less, your milk supply will diminish and you'll give more formula and your milk will decrease more. It's a cycle that could contribute to weaning. Her behavior with the breast is pretty normal, especially since she's used to bottles. She probably doesn't have the patience to wait for your milk to let down. Plus, around 4 months there's a growth spurt. If you're substituting with formula rather than nursing, you definitely won't make enough. If you've introduced solids, she'll be even less interested in nursing cause she'll be full. Around 4 months, babies also turn into distracted nursers as they are more aware of the world around them.

I don't mean this to sound anti-formula. I don't think formula is evil or anything. Breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing and I'm not trying to make you feel bad for using it. It's just that if you're committed to continuing to breastfeed, I'd cut back on the formula and nurse straight from the breast even though she may not be happy with having to work for her milk. It's obviously not the end of the world to move to formula, but I just wanted you to be aware of factors that could lead to weaning from the breast. It's not that you can't make enough milk, but often moms unwittingly do things to decrease their supply and wonder why they "dried up" and they are left feeling inadequate because they "didn't make enough."

I agree with you that the most important thing is a happy well fed baby regardless of how that happens. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It's called nipple confusion... but sounds like you may not care one way or the other. You are probably on the same boat as women who think that synthetic formula is just as good as breastmilk.

So between you creating nipple confusion in your daughter - she's also going thru a growth spurt where she needs to cluster feed, but because you get so flustered so easily and don't allow her to get into the groove of nursing - seems she's not getting the chance she needs to get your breastmilk.

This is the crossroads for you. If you want to nurse your new infant - so she gets the proper source of carbs, proteins, fats, nutrients and antibodies - work on using less bottles and MUCH less formula.

Your infant would be 100% satisfied with your breastmilk if you would allow her to be, but since you returned to work you've been obsessed with amount rather than quality. Get a better pump and pump at work, in your car (there are ways to but breast cups under bra so it becomes hands free), and get into the swing of pumping often while away from baby. Pumping DURING breastfeeding is a great option too.

****Jane M - call me out all you want. She wanted honesty and realistic advice - and that I gave. Breastfeeding may not make you the best Mother - but it definitely makes a huge difference - just ask all the babies who die yearly from formula recalls, formula allergies, over watered formula, or constant diarrhea from the formula. I have NEVER heard of a baby dying from breastmilk. Funny how European, Canadian, Japanese, Australian, and even some 3rd world countries have healthier children (those that offer vaccines) than the majority fed formula babies of America.****

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My baby does this (pulls off, fusses, latches, pulls off, fusses, etc.) when my milk is out or almost out on one side. If that is why she's doing this, pumping will NOT help; as you have found, it will probably decrease your supply. Also, exclusive pumping is a pain in the behind, and I would not choose it unless absolutely necessary!

Put her to the breast as often as possible (if you can do every hour while you're home, do!), as this will both help her get more milk and increase your supply. If supply is the issue (and also to help increase the amount you get while pumping), here are some really effective tricks: take More Milk Plus supplements, drink Mother's Milk tea or Yogi's nursing support tea, eat oatmeal every day, drink a beer (brewer's yeast is good for supply), and make sure you're drinking a lot of water. Since you're having a hard time keeping up with her needs, I'd do as many of these things as possible. I can almost guarantee you'll see improvement.

It's also possible that she has gotten used to the ease of sucking on a bottle. What kind of nipple is she using? A breastfed baby should use only the newborn/slow flow nipple for as long as possible (my lactation consultant said her son used the slow flow until 10 months!). You might also try the BreastFlow bottles, as these make the baby work for the milk in a way that's fairly similar to the breast.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions