Help Please Im Going Insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Updated on June 28, 2011
S.P. asks from Tacoma, WA
39 answers

my son just turned 4 months old and for the past 2 weeks he has been crying uncontrollably(not normal). he eats and eats and eats and eats cuz that seems to be the only thing that calms him down. he is mainly breast fed but i have been having to supplement formula because he still is hungry after nursing for 10 mins on each side. so for one feeding he will nurser for 10 mins on each breast and then get 4 oz of formula. he will sleep ok for naps during the day and at night he will only sleep for about an hour, hr and half tops the nurse on and off for hour and then wake up screaming. he then gets a 4oz bottle of formula and gos back to sleep.

Just like clockwork he is wide awake and screaming again an hour later. He just had his 4 month check up on friday and doc said the reason he cries so much is because he is hungry and i need to up the amount of formula that i am giving him. I need some suggestions on what to do. i have a 3yr old at home too, hubby is deployed and im not getting any sleep at all. I just want a 2 or 3 hr nap to rejuvinate(sp?) my body. or atleast more then an hour sleep at a TIME AT NIGHT. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your responses. I am co-sleeping and even with him nursing during the night he is still waking up about every hour to 2 hrs. Also with him nursing for about 10 mins that is because he unlatches himself and then fights. Almost like he isn't getting anything out of the boob when I can still hand express milk from it. I hate using formula because with my daughter I was supplementing her and she just preferred the formula. I don't want this happening with my son. Also I would like to thank the lady who suggested a chiropractor but being military I have to use the resources on base or it comes out of my pocket. It's a crappy situation. I am definately going to be making him another apointment for him to get checked out and start demanding some tests to be done. if he is having reactions to something that I am eating that is going to my milk I need to know. I just wanna be able to nurse my baby and not have problems. Thanks again to you all.

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answers from Richmond on

ok, you are breast feeding thats good, now what you can do is put a little baby ceral in with the formula, that will help, go with a little ceral in the formula for about a week, then slowly start adding other things with it, like small amounts of baby food like blueberries and apples, thats what i did with my daughter, just introduce other things slowly
K. h.

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answers from Tampa on

Feed ONE breast per session - for at least 30 minutes. By offering both breasts for such a short time period - he's only getting the watery foremilk, not the fatty rich nutrient dense hindmilk.

Do not give formula... you are sabotaging your own supply if you give him bottles and formula.

During this time, when he seems to need to eat constantly - it's called cluster feeding during a growth spurt. He NEEDS to suckle often - sometimes 3 times in an hour. This is the baby priming and stimulating your breasts to make more milk for his next stage of nutritional needs.

Co-sleeping at this time would benefit both of you - you do not have to be fully awake to nurse him back to sleep and he doesn't need to cry long enough to wake himself up to make his needs known. You will BOTH have much moire sleep!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Is he indicating that he is finished after 10 mins of nursing? Sometimes babies get bored when the flow slows down before the next let down, so perhaps he is stopping too soon. Also giving a bottle after nursing can make him expect that and then he in turn gives up on nursing sooner, which causes lower supply and then the whole thing gets exacerbated. And even a full baby will continue to take BM or formula from a bottle after a feed so just because he takes 4 oz, doesn't mean he needs 4 oz. Is he having a good nurse when he wakes during the night or just comfort

There isn't breastmilk that's not "rich enough" as someone mentioned. But if the baby isn't fully draining the breast he may be missing out on the fatty hind milk. The fatty milk sticks to the ducts so if he's not nursing long enough he will be getting the carb-rich foremilk but missing out on the fatty stuff and then he'll be hungry sooner.

If you up the formula your supply will go down, which is fine if you are planning to transition away from the breast, but if you want to continue to breastfeed there are things you can do to protect and build supply. You can call a local La Leche League leader for some suggestions.

How is his weight gain? If it's not good, the doc may be right that he is hungry but if he is gaining well, that may not be it. Also 4 mos is a growth spurt time so it just may be an extra long one and he really does need all the extra feeds. I know my DD went through different stages where she'd suddenly be nursing like a newborn again (and driving me insane!). So I nursed more, the supply picked up and when the growth spurt was done she went back to normal.

Have you considered cosleeping? There are ways to do it safely. I think Dr Sears or Dr Jay Gordon have info on their websites. With a baby who nurses all night, it can really be a lifesaver.

It's not time for cereal. It does not help babies sleep better and can be counter productive if it doesn't agree with the baby. Sometimes babies who want to eat all all the time have reflux. They cry because they are uncomfortable and want to drink because it feels better while they are drinking. This can be exacerbated by large meals (just as heartburn is for adults), so frequent smaller nursing sessions can work better.

Sorry, I don't have an easy answer for you and I just threw out a bunch of different possibilities. I know it is so difficult when the baby isn't sleeping well. I hope your sort it out soon.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If he's fed, burped, dry, and not too hot or cold, try cosleeping. If he continues it might be colic,in which case I recommend taking him to a chiropractor. It worked for my baby and about five others I've seen! Many babies at birth have a small spinal misalignment of the atlas (base of skull), not surprisingly after the birth process and squeezing through the birth canal!) if you don't already know a chiropractor I suggest dr. John duppenthaler by the mall or the Long family-it's a dad, son, daughter, etc family of chiropractors with a lot of experience adjusting kids. I agree with no cereal, hang in there!

EDIT: Some chiropractors offer a military discount, since the military's insurance doesn't cover chiropractic! If you need someone beyond a lactation consultant, I suggest Dr. MaryAnn O'Hara in Seattle, I believe she takes TriCare with a referral.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

DO NOT GIVE HIM CEREAL. Sorry to shout, but that is the worst advice! Giving a child cereal in their bottle does not help them stay full longer or sleep through the night. My daughter (she is 2 now) was not a very good sleeper as a newborn. She would nurse for 15-30 min. on one side, then fall asleep, wake up maybe 30 minutes later and want to nurse again. I did not know a lot about breastfeeding back then. I think if I had things would have been easier. ie I would have been able to understand her cues and meet her needs better. I had so many people tell me to give her formula and or put cereal in her bottle. I did not. When she turned 4 months old, I did try offering her cereal (from a spoon) mixed with breastmilk. This actually made her sleeping habits worse! Plus it made her constipated. I never even bothered with infant cereal with my youngest. Once he was old enough and showed interest we went straight to pureed veggies and fruit.

I would recommend allowing him to nurse as long as he wants and as often as he wants. This will up your supply. I co slept with both of mine when they were little and this helped a lot. I was able to nurse them and still get a fair amount of sleep. With the proper safety measures it is ok.

Do you have anyone who could watch them for an hour or two while you get a nap? I did not, so I know how tough that is.

Check out "The Leaky Boob" on Facebook. Great place to go for bf'ing advice and encouragement!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You've gotten some good suggestions, EXCEPT for adding cereal. Unless this is recommended by your doc for reflux, this can actually make a baby hungrier, because the carbohydrates in cereal are digested much faster than the protein and fat in milk or formula. Also, making sure he nurses on each side long enough to get the hind-milk is important.

But it possible, do try co-sleeping, There are studies showing that it is really safe if you're not in certain risk groups, and it does help babies relax and sleep better/longer to have mommy so close. Plus, YOU can doze during nighttime feedings. I co-slept with my breastfeeding daughter for her first two years, and it was a wonderful experience for both of us.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If it is reflux, you could try letting him sleep at night by putting the car seat or carrier in the crib and letting him sleep sort of sitting up. It worked for my daughter when she had a terrible head cold and raising one side of the crib just made her roll sideways to the foot end. Sitting loosely strapped in a car seat is not the most relaxing position perhaps, but that way he will be upright.
I agree with others here that if he is gaining weight normally (staying at the same percentile on his weight and height chart) then he is probably not hungry but just soothing. Crying an hour after feeding and the amount of feeding you describe makes me think it is not hunger. I would get a second opinion. Your own pediatrician's office may have another doctor you can see, or else ask other mom's nearby who they like.
Good luck, sleep deprivation is just the worse. Is there anyone who can take your kids for even an hour or 2 so you can get a nap? We women find it hard to ask for or even accept help, but before you get so tired that you drop your baby, let someone know how incredibly tired you are. I hope you get some sleep soon.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would nurse longer on each side before giving him a bottle. By timing him, you don't really know how much he is getting. Let him go until he unlatches himself or slows down, then go to the bottle. Maybe try one breast at a time, followed by a bottle to fill him all the way up. 10 minutes for a 4 month old really is not long enough at all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I read a few responses, and the most important thing to follow is, DO NOT GIVE HIM CEREAL AND NURSE LONGER!! 10 minutes is not long enough. Nurse on one side until he slows down (however long that is), then burp him and switch. Once he is done and IF he is still acting hungry, offer some formula. My daughter was a hungry girl like that. it seemed like I was always nursing lol. It will get better :)

Thank you for your husbands service and for being his support system. Military spouses rock!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Is he gassy?
I had a heck of a time burping my son and the Mylicon gas drops helped a lot.
I'd burp between switching breasts and again when we were finished.
If he's wetting plenty of diapers and is gaining weight he should be getting enough milk/formula.
Is there a way to check if he has a sensitivity to something you are eating (and coming though in your milk) or what is in the formula? You might be able to eliminate something from your diet or switch formulas and the troubles might go away.
It's also possible he's a colicky kid and will just grow out of it when he's old enough. My Mom says I seemed to cry non stop for the first 6 months of my life no matter what she did and then I was fine. It wouldn't hurt to try some colic remedies.
Since you are so sleep deprived, you need to get a sitter in to watch the kids while you catch a good long nap.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

time for cereal! & an ear check with the dr......please call the doctor.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'd maybe get a second opinion from another doctor and just make sure there is not something medical going on, like reflux like some others have suggested. Maybe he's going through a growth spurt and really needs the extra calories. You could see if he will nurse longer. You can try upping the amount of formula and you could try introducing a little bit of rice cereal or baby oatmeal. We started introducing solids to our daughter at 4 months but they didn't become a regular part of her daily diet until 6 months. Does he maybe just need something to suck on? Do you think a pacifier would help if it's really not anything else?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

It is absolutely not time for cereal! I really, really, really hate that moms still dole out that dated advice. Something more is obviously going on with your little one. Breastfed babies will take to the breast for comfort as well as nutrition and that doesn't always happen at the same time. He is obviously nursing for comfort. He doesn't know how to self-soothe but he sure knows that nursing makes him feel better.

Personally, I'd find a new pediatrician. This one isn't reading your son's cues very well and he clearly isn't supportive of breastfeeding if he's telling you to up the formula. That will end breastfeeding in the long run.

I totally agree that you need to look at reflux. Get an appointment with a new ped, get one of these in the meantime:

I used this for both my babies that had mild reflux. It's also great when they have a little head cold.

Reflux is extremely painful and he is so little and obviously can't tell you what's wrong. But he knows nursing makes him feel better and comforted temporarily.

Also, when you nurse don't time him. Let him nurse for as long as he wants at one breast, then burp and switch to the other breast. That way he gets the hindmilk which is essential. If he acts sleepy at the first breast, stroke his cheek, rubs his feet etc to keep him on track/nursing. But I strongly suspect he's got a bad case of silent reflux.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Growth spurt, teething or both really come to mind when I read this. Try block feeding him. Offer him the same breast a few times in a row fora n hour or 2 before switching to the other one and block feed on that side next for an hour or 2 so he gets more of the hind milk which is what fills them up more because it contains more good fat.
Maybe sit in the bathtub with him and nurse him while sitting in there so you both can relax some.
The more formula you give him the less milk your body think it needs to make which is making this whole cycle of making things worse. Try block feeding and taking away the bottles of formula. Do you have a friend nearby that can come play with your 3 year old for a couple days while you and your baby have some more time at the breast?
Or make it special for your 3 year old. Play movies, pop some popcorn and camp out on the couch. Read books and color. I remember letting my oldest drive his matchbox cars on my legs while I lay down on the couch to get some rest the times his brother would sleep.
It will pass. It's hard right now but it will get better.
Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I was also thinking reflux. If he is four months old and breastfeeding and them eating four oz of formula every hour, then there is no way he is hungry and needs more formula!
It sounds like he is terribly uncomfortable and feeding him soothes his discomfort just enough that he can get a bit of sleep before it wakes him again.
I would insist on checking for reflux and an ear infection.
Also, he should only be eating one side at a time when he breastfeeds, that way he is getting the hindmilk which is higher in fat. Let him nurse all twenty minutes on one side, then switch sides if he still wants to eat. The next time you start on the opposite side.
You could also try co-sleeping if you're not already. You may think you won't get as much sleep, but maybe being snuggled up close will help him sleep better, and then you'll get a longer stretch.
Also, ask a neighbor to watch him in the afternoon sometime, you may think they won't want your fussy baby, but I would guess they do ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

ONLY 10 minutes? I remember my 4 month old was nursing a hour on each side at night (you bet a fell asleep with the kid latched on!) and 30 minutes on each side during the day! I would grow daily to from a size A to a size C or D and be drained to a A again. Nurse longer!

(Laz-e-boy recliners are the best to sleep nurse for me...)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

That's so hard. Ten minutes seems like such a short time for a young baby - my son nursed for 30-40 minutes per side. Your son may be drinking the thin fore-milk but not nursing long enough to get the rich fatty hind-milk that will keep him satisfied longer. If you have a good pump, you could pump for a bottle (and pumping more will increase your supply, if he's not nursing long enough to empty your breast).

I hope you find a solution soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

could also be acid reflux. put him in his carseat once or twice for sleeping and see if it helps... if it does, talk to his dr. for acid reflux meds.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Call a friend or neighbor. Give them the bottles and go take a nap. Do this every couple of days until the baby is over this growth spurt. He needs the formula but you must have rest or you will be in the hospital with exhaustion.



answers from Seattle on

Every baby is different. I'm sorry to the naysayers, but some babies do fill up better with a little bit of cereal. We gave our kids a tiny bit before bed along with nursing and they did just fine. Another thing I did was give a bottle of pumped breastmilk and/or formula before bed. It filled them up. And I pumped for my twins until 8 months and nursed my daughter to 14 months, so it didn't necessarily affect my milk supply.

Also, consider that he might have started kids got fussy around that age and it turned out to be teeth.



answers from Dallas on

My body gave up after 3 months of nursing and I had to go to formula. I felt awful, because I really wanted to nurse exclusively for that first year. I would up the amount of formula and add a little rice cereal to it.



answers from Anchorage on

Well my kids were very efficient at nursing so 10 mins a side really isnt to short for mine... have you looked at what you are eating differently? maybe taking a different vitamin or a new supplement... added coffee into your diet.. etc etc... think about if there is anything you have done differently in the last two weeks... also check your vitamins if you are taking them... Vit B6 can decrease your milk supply if taken in great quanities... i had that problem with one of mine and once i switched to a different vitamin milk was plentiful :)
Hope some of this helps. A screaming baby is no fun :(
And i second the thanks to your Hubby and YOU for serving our country!



answers from Dallas on

I agree that cereal, maybe he is not getting enough from the breast feeding and needs to be on formula and cereal. Have a check up done to make sure everything is well with him medically. Then you do need rest so asked a family member or close nieghbor if they could watch him for a few hours while you nap. You may not want to impose but the rest will do you a world of good. The baby is able to sense your mood and when our bodies are stressed from lack of sleep they simply can function properly. Been there and I know if is difficult, blessings and peace to you and your family



answers from New York on

I know you love breastfeeding, but sounds like he is not getting enough. Up
the formula amount. You need to do what works and if he needs more
formula so you can get more sleep, so be it. Happy, rested Mom equals
happy, rested baby!



answers from Norfolk on

I hope the crying has passed, but I would recommend checking out the base daycare. For deployed spouses, they usually have respite care so you can leave your children at the CDC for a few hours and get some sleep. I remember breastfeeding marathons with my first, he would nurse up to an hour sometimes. Hang in there and hope youre feeling better!



answers from Pittsfield on

Hi S.,

That sounds a LOT like reflux. Does he spit up much? Even if he doesn't, it could be silent reflux.

The 1st website has a volunteer you can talk to that knows a lot about reflux.

Prescription meds will help tremendously, if that's the problem- it takes a few days, but they feel better so they cry much less and sleep better.

Try putting him in his swing or carseat to sleep so he's not laying flat.

The other question that popped into my head is, have you been supplementing w/ formula since birth or did you just start a few days before he got fussy? If you just started recently, maybe a formula switch to lactose-free or Nutramigen would help.

Sorry, you're having such a hard time and are so exhausted. All 4 of my kids had reflux, so I know what that's like. I'd hop on over and give you a hand if I could. Is there anyone who could help for a couple of hours so you can catch a nap?

Hang in there!!!! =o)

Feel free to PM me if you want.



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter was hungry, too. So what I started pumping and storing milk, rather than her latching on. The breast milk takes no time to digest so it goes through their system quicker and makes them hungry.

My pediatrician suggested I mix breast milk with formula when I didn't get enough supply for a feeding. NO HARM DONE. She's thriving. So if you don't want him formula dependent, ask your pediatrician about blending the two.



answers from Los Angeles on

Cereal for sure! It will help fill his lil tummy! But I would check with the Dr as.well, it could definitely be reflux and him wanting to eat because it soothes his throat.



answers from Indianapolis on

First thing that comes to my mind is that for some reason your breast milk isn't "rich", meaning it's only filling him for so long and then he gets hungry. Not sure what can be done or how you could even know if this is happening.

Second thing that comes to my mind is reflux. My twins had it really bad and that is exactly what they would do, act like they were starving an hour after they ate and because they don't know any better they think they're hungry so they think they want to eat again. So please go to your doc and ask them about this. Also, if he's sleeping on his back it will make this worse, put him on his stomach (if your not already) and see what happens. Also time to add cereal. Even though my twins were very premature we started them on cereal around this age.



answers from Seattle on

That is so hard! My daughter was like that and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown! She was sooooo colicky. Also, she would get tired and stop nursing and not get enough. It really ended up effecting my supply and inhad to hit the mother's milk tea and the fenugreek hard around 6 months to up it again. Your body is tired and it is hard for it to keep up. I might suggest pumping after he nurses, especially if you can still hand express when he is done. It can help keep your supply up if baby is too tired to nurse as long as he should. I had to do that with my son because he was in the special care nursery and so tiny he couldn't get enough from me. It really worked. I would nurse him and then give him the bottle of pumped milk. He was just too tired to keep going. By 4 months I didn't have to do that anymore. I know it is the last thing you want to do when you are tired though!
It does sounds like colic though and I hate to say it but my daughter had colic for a long time. I agree that you should check out the food sensitivity thing. He could be allergic to a lot of things, dairy, soy, wheat...
My daughter was very sensative to many foods as a baby and young toddler and had many skin allergies as well. I think that is pretty common with collicky babies. She has grown out of most of it though.



answers from Dallas on

Not sure if this will help, but have you had him checked for tongue tie? If they are even slightly tongue tied, then it really limits their ability to nurse. Although, I'm not sure if the same is true for a bottle.

Is he spitting up at all? If so, could this be reflux?

Does he cry all of the time or just when he is hungry? If he is crying a lot, especially between the hours of 7 pm and 2 am (I think, though my timeframe may be off a bit - doing it from memory) he may be colicky... could be too old for that too though.

Are you stressed at all while nursing? If so, could he be feeling that and stopping after a short time?

I don't want to discourage you from formula feeding as he needs the sustenance if he is not getting it from BM. BUT, careful if this is the first thing that your pedi jumps to as a solution. The attitude towards BF is still that of stigma, even with MANY pedis (there are plenty f posts here to support that). Just be cautious and make the decision that your GUT tells you to make. I depended on my pedi with my 1st DS alot and felt misguided in hindsight on somet hings. Now with #2, I am trusting my gut and letting the pedi add his two cents worth. I feel better about my decisions this go round.

Good luck and that beautiful baby will be fine and you'll make it too. With maybe a few gray hairs but you'll make it! ;-)


answers from Evansville on

You need to get him to nurse longer, because he must not be getting enough to eat. If he falls asleep while nursing, then wake him back up. Also, do you have a family member friend that might be able to come over and allow you to get a nap or an extended nap during the day or even spend the night?
I hope everything works out soon!



answers from Dallas on

This sounds a bit like when my son had silent reflux. Maybe check into that.
Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

He may be having a reaction to your milk. Do you eat dairy? I have noticed that my daughter has mucus in her poop and is really gassy when I have dairy. I have cut it out of my diet and she is doing so much better. She is 11 weeks and is only breast fed. Try cutting out dairy. Our pediatrician said she has seen lots of improvement in her patients when dairy is cut out of the diet. Also, maybe you can see a cranial sacral therapist, they are really good for colicky babies. Good luck to you.



answers from Charlotte on

S., I think I'd find another ped, or try to get in with a pediatric gastroenterologist. Crying an hour after feeding him to the gills, including supplementing, is not normal. His stomach is HURTING him.

If you weren't supplementing, I would wonder if you aren't producing enough milk.

Can you pump? If you can, try pumping to see how much you can get out. I'm not saying that pumping gets out the same amount of milk as nursing - it usually doesn't. BUT... pumping gets that hind milk that is heavier out and mixes with the thinner front milk that is digested very easily. If in that 10 minutes that he is nursing, he is only getting the front milk, it's not holding him.

The other thing you can try is to nurse 20 minutes from one breast. The next nursing, give him the other breast.

For night time, I would SERIOUSLY just give him a bottle and NO breast in hopes that you can get him to sleep longer. You don't have to breast feed at night - you really don't. Give yourself permission to have a CHANCE to rest!

All my best,



answers from Fresno on

Sorry I didn't read through all the responses maybe someone already suggested consulting a lactation consultant. If you really want to breast feed a lactation consultant may be able to help you out. Do you have enough milk? maybe all the stress is affecting your milk supply. A lactation consultant can weigh the baby before and after a feeding to see how much he is getting. If you feed him on demand your milk supply should catch up with his needs. Good luck and I hope you get some rest



answers from Seattle on

If he is sleeping more than two naps and going to bed really early at night I would suggest a couple of these things:

1. keep him more active during the day

2. don't let him go to bed so early at night

3. only let him sleep two naps during the day

I also think he is getting close to the age of teething so he might just be going through that and it might be something that you just have to go through.

He is also at the age of another growth spurt. When my kids went through growth spurts (either physical or mental) they ate and ate and were generally miserable to be around. Growth spurts are also something you just have to go through. They don't last forever....just like teething.

And some babies are more sensitive to these things than others. Eventually it is a blessing, but when they are little and can only cry, it is really hard on mom, especially when you have to go through it alone.

When my kids were toddlers I joined a parent co-op through the Community Colleges in my area. They were very supportive. I know it is summer now, but perhaps you can enroll for the fall quarter at a Community College near you. I recommend them highly.



answers from Washington DC on

He may have reflux which is very uncomfortable and will cause them to scream in pain. Go to a natural food store and get GripeWater. I think I have even seen it at Wegmans but it really helped my little guy when he was that age and in so much pain. Feeding more is probably the opposite of what you should do if it is reflux. Yes they are comforted while nursing but then you just make the problem worse because the belly is full and causes the reflux to occur. Try to keep him upright for as long as possible after nursing.



answers from Seattle on

are you drinking enough water? being exhausted and keeping a 3 yo busy makes it so hard to take care of yourself which could mean you arent drinking anything. one thing my lactation consultant said when i had problems was that i was dehydrated and i couldnt make milk.

also, can you get a babysitter to come over and give the baby a bottle while you get a few hours sleep? it really sounds like you are just too exhausted to keep your strength up.

good luck

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