Breastfeeding and VERY Hungry Baby

Updated on March 14, 2011
S.S. asks from Osgood, IN
15 answers

ok I am asking this question for my cousin because she cant find the answer in any of her breastfeeding books. I formula fed my son so I am clueless on the subject. ok her 2.5mnth old has wanted to eat constantly since birth (like every 45 min) but now he won't drink from her breast he wants it out of a bottle. so she is always either pumping or feeding him, plus latley he has been eating so much that she can not produce enough milk to feed him as often as he wants, she is suplmenting with formula but she really wanted to exclusivley breastfeed intill he is at least 6 mnths old. is there anything she can do to stimulate a bigger milk production?

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answers from Minneapolis on

Get him back on the breast. She needs to find an IBCLC (Lactation consultant, a CERTIFIED ONE), and get him back on the breast.

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answers from Provo on

She needs to stop supplementing formula. I did that with my son and my milk went completely away. Pumping constantly is her only way to get it up AND taking herbs that increases milk supply. If you go into a health food store ask the ladies for lactation aids and they can take you straight to them. Fenugreek is a common one. There are others, but they escape me. Get her son to start eating from her more and he will start helping produce more milk. Only a baby can completely empty a breast which will signal more milk production.
If he wont eat from her, get a nipple shield. It's like a bottle nipple but you put it on your breast and it will help get babies eating from mom again. Go to a lactation consultant to. Don't listen if they say supplementing formula is ok. No. . it's not. I'm not anti formula fyi, it just doesn't help milk production what so ever. Just remember the more he eats from you, the more milk you will get.

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answers from Tampa on

She created nipple confusion... and if she truly wants to exclusively breastfeed she needs to cut out all bottles and formula - except for when baby is in another person's care for more than 6 hours.

In order to keep her supply up, she must have her baby nurse and comfort suckle constantly - he's about to have a growth spurt and it's more important than ever to cut out all bottles and formula in order to get on board with this natural biological process called supply and demand.

Bottles create a constant drip of fluid, no sucking is even necessary... so of course babies on bottles will eat more than they really need or want simply because of the automatic flow. When the baby nurses, the flow is exactly as much or little as baby needs and wants - no more.

So besides the elimination completely cold turkey of bottles and formula... she should also pump 30 minutes before a feeding and 30 minutes after - and freeze every ounce she gets. This is the best time to pump and freeze up a stockpile of breastmilk - most women will be unable to pump much past 4 months. She should also be cautioned to NEVER estimate her milk supply with what she can pump. The pump is lucky if it can get 25% out of the breasts, whereas the baby can get 100% of what is in the breasts.

Nutrition wise... eating oatmeal, keeping hydrated, drinking a glass of Guinness or stout can help too. Supplements that are great for upping production are Fenugreek coupled with Blessed Thistle. Fenugreek may work alone but with Blessed Thistle it works wondrously.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Janesville-Beloit on

I agree with the comments below-I would get help to get baby back on the breast asap. The human body is an amazing thing, and most bodies will produce what babies need, if they are nursing. It is normal for breastfed babies to want to eat often, and that will stimulate more milk. Also, speaking from experience, she is going to burn out on constantly pumping and bottle feeding. There is not the lovely reward there of that special bond with baby, and it just starts to feel like more work than it's worth. Plus, bfeeding is supposed to be simple (one of the benefits)! I have had good luck with eating daily oatmeal to bump up my production a little bit. There's lots of yummy ways to eat it, if she's not such a fan of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If she is supplementing, she should look up info on on how to wean off the formula. Supply = demand and she needs to nurse, nurse, nurse. Her baby is probably hitting the 12 week growth spurt. Babies nurse more before they grow a lot, to help increase your supply. She might think he's not being fed enough, but she should go by his output. Some babies drink a lot at one time, some smaller amounts more often, and some comfort nurse a lot. I strongly suspect he's not starving, but trying to increase her supply. Nursing near constantly is NORMAL newborn behavior.

If he's gotten used to a bottle, then she should consider nursing him when he's tired or after she's expressed a little to make let-down faster for him. I think it's that he's (like many humans) expressing the lazy preference. But she can get him back to exclusively breastfeeding to 6 mo. and beyond.

She can (and should) talk to a lactation consultant and/or La Leache League leader. Get some woman-to-woman advice on how to keep nursing.

She can also work on staying hydrated, eat some oatmeal, and try Mother's Milk Tea.

Oh, and since at least 6 mo. is her goal, she should be aware that about every 3 mo. there is a growth spurt and 6 mo. is a big one. That was the height of DD's nursing. Frankly, if she makes it to 6 mo., she should consider to a year because once she gets the kinks worked out, nursing later is a lot easier. Tell her not to fear teeth. That just takes some teaching. My daughter got teeth in early and quick and we worked it out without me feeling like a chew toy.

Tell her to hang in there and get some help. She can do this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

The more formula she uses, the LESS breastmilk her body will make. The body is incredible ... it WILL make the amount of milk the baby takes. Statistically the numbers are VERY low (like less then 1%) of women whose bodies TRULY can't make enough milk to sustain a baby.

She NEEDS to seek the help of a good lactation consultant. It will be worth it in the long run and often insurance will reimburse for lactation visits.

Many moms have trouble getting as much from pumping as they do from baby at the breast. That is VERY normal. The trouble is, her body is still trying to determine how much milk to make....and with baby NOT at the breast, it's having a hard time. Baby needs to be back at the breast. Bottles are EASIER for baby because they don't have to suck as hard. Baby should be evaluated as well to ensure there isn't an issue that is prohibiting him from effectively sucking.

To stimulate milk production, there are things like milk maid tea and of course, beer. A beer followed by a large glass of water before bed will stimulate milk production. Less then 1% of a mothers blood alcohol level is transferred into her milk. So, literally drops. This is according to my International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

In addition, to stimulate milk production, she needs to put baby to the breast OFTEN...even if it's every 45 mins. In early days it is NOT unusual for baby to breastfeed often. They are not efficient at sucking and so aren't getting tons at a time and by giving the bottle, that is not helping him develop the mouth muscles to make his sucking stronger.

One hour with a lactation consultant will most likely do wonders for her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

I worry about proper latching, and if the baby is actually taking in enough milk (how is the baby's growth?). Since breast milk is produced per the demand of the baby, if the baby is feeding a lot, the mother should be making a lot of milk. (Milk doesn't 'run out'; you make more as the baby feeds more.)

If she is feeding the baby mostly formula, and just a little breast milk, she will not produce much milk. I would encourage her to keep pumping and trying to feed the baby until she gets help from one of these sources:
1. I bet a lactation consultant at the hospital will be happy to see her (likely covered by insurance)
2. I believe WIC will have a lactation specialist who would be happy to help.
3. Another resource is La Leche League-google to find your local LLL group and contact person.

Good luck to your cousin. I really hope she finds some good help and continues to breastfeed. It is worth the effort!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Definitely advise her to keep up with the actual breastfeeding rather than pumping. Pumping will help keep things going if you CAN'T be with your baby to feed them, but because a baby can get more from you than a pump you will eventually dry up if all you do is pump. It's true about the bottles. Babies are like anyone else, if they're given the option to be lazy and get it faster, that's what they want!

To help boost milk production, this is what I did: First off, RELAX! It's amazing how stress can actually reduce your milk supply. Secondly, stay hydrated. I drank as much water as I could. They say if you FEEL thirsty, you're already dehydrating. The third thing that helped me was Yogi Tea's Woman's Nursing Support. You can find it in health food stores, Meijer and Kroger. I drank three cups a day, throughout the day, and I saw a huge improvement in my milk production. Many other teas are available and probably work as well, but I like the taste of this one best.

The way you pump and nurse also makes a difference. It can take about two to three days for your body to catch up with an increased demand. When I would get ready for work in the morning, I would pump first while drinking a glass of water and a hot cup of the tea mentioned above. After pumping I would nurse my baby. Nursing the baby after pumping will help tell your body to make a bit more, will empty you more completely and will give the baby the hind milk (the part with more calories and fat that keeps them full!). While at work, I pumped about every two to three hours, drinking more tea in the middle of my shift. I was fortunate that during an 8hr shift I could come home on my lunch and nurse my baby again. Before bed I would usually nurse the baby while drinking yet another cup of tea. I found that a quiet moment nursing and drinking that tea was most relaxing for me.

The lactation advocate at WIC was a huge help to me. When I went to my nursing classes, they told me to nurse for 10-15mins on each side and then to switch. The baby didn't get enough of the fatty hind milk this way and was constantly hungry AND gassy! The lactation advocate advised I nurse on one side until the baby was satisfied, even nursing on the same breast for the next meal. This made for a more satisfied infant and a much less gassy one! The only thing I did a bit different is that I would pump the side that wasn't being fed off of during the first feeding on the first side. This gave me extra milk for when I was at work and kept me from getting too uncomfortable. By the time the baby was ready to change sides, I had more milk on the pumped side.

If this is her first baby, breastfeeding can be difficult. I cried almost constantly with my first baby because I felt like a failure because I couldn't provide her with enough milk to keep from using formula as a supplement. This self-imposed stress and a poor latch on her part made things more difficult than I'd hoped. Later I was able to look back on it as an experience, find something that would help with the next baby (the tea was a life saver for me!) and learn to give myself permission to not be perfect. I've had two more children since then and feel that with each one I've learned something to help with the next child. I hope she has plenty of support and wish her much luck!



answers from Detroit on

Try to get that baby off of the bottle and back on the breast asap!! This will help the best with milk production. If she can exclusively breast feed again for even another month, the nipple confusion he is experiencing may not be an issue then. Good luck to her.



answers from Dayton on

I had a similar issue with my son. He was a very big boy (25 lbs at 5 months) and I could not produce enough milk. I learned too late that increasing my caloric intake would increase my milk supply.

Hope she can stick with it. Tell her I said god luck.


answers from Columbus on

A lot of moms get into this problem, it sounds like her baby hit a growth spurt. It can seem like they just want to eat constantly for a couple days, but it will level out soon. If she's made it 2 months already, her body is obviously producing milk fine.

Also, babies don't have to work as hard to drink from a bottle, it just flows right out. Breastfeeding takes a little more effort, but it's better for their development.

She just needs to trust her body to do what it's meant to do. The more milk she uses, the more milk her body will make. It's awesome that you are going out of your way to support her in this, support is what she needs most right now. Good luck to her!



answers from Columbus on

I had issues producing and it wasn't because I was pumping...I just didn't produce.... there are herbals she can take to help, but the one I took ended up throwing my thyroid out of whack and now I take meds everyday for it (good news cause it was bad to begin with, the herbal just made it easier to diagnos) I think it's there are others. It could be nipple confusion....but she is just trying to feed her baby which I understand - good luck to her!



answers from Columbus on

The more often she nurses or pumps, the more milk her body will produce. Pump about 7-10 minutes on each side every couple of hours. Better yet is to nurse as a baby will stimulate more of a milk let down (and supply) than pumping can. Thr baby may not have a good latch as well. The wic office @your health department should have Lacatation consultantsand she can do a weigh and feed. Msg me with any questions or try la leche league site. Tell her to keep it up though!



answers from Columbus on

She should call La Leche League (they have a website with information on how to contact local leaders). And if she goes to a support group, that is even better because all the other moms and leaders will be full of knowledge! They will totally be able to help her! My only-moderately-educated guess is that she had a fast let down (which may explain the wanting to eat a lot and the current preference for the bottle). I would suggest that she stop supplementing with formula because her supply will continue to drop if she adds more forumula. They will be able to help her figure out why he seems to want to eat all the time and why he wants the bottle over the breast. And they will help her get him back on the breast if that is what she wants.

Best wishes.



answers from Dayton on

I'm in training to be a La Lache League leader and have a few tips. First off being that the baby is only 2.5 months old he might feed that often. Some babies do eat that much with in the first few months or so.

First off the reason he is probably wanting it only from a bottle is the let down rate. It is coming out faster in a bottle than it is out of the breast. This is common in babies who are back and forth with a bottle. The hole in the bottle is bigger which will release more milk at a time/swallow. So when you put a baby to the breast again and the milk isn't released as fast then tend to get fussy and irratable and then push the breast away. This may be what is happening to her son.

Secondly, since she is having to pump since he is refusing the breast. The pump is actually hurting her supply. There is nothing better to increase your supply than your child. No breast pump can simulate the action of your child which can cause your breast to produce more milk. Some women are not able to produce a lot of milk bu pumping. However when they actually breastfeed they realize they have enough milk to feed their child. The more your child eats the more milk will be produced. As long as your child is having wet and poppy diapers in a day then you know that you are feeding your child enough.

Something she might want to try is try hand expressing the milk. If you google it you will find a few videos to show you how to do it. She might also want to grab her breast around the bottom as if she is holding it up and just squeeze gently as if you are trying to squeeze the milk out. This might help some with the slow let down/release.

If she has any more questions I would suggest her checking out her local La Lache League if she is interested in breastfeeding exclusivley. We are always will to help anyone out in need. Hope this helps and good luck to her.

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