Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Breastfeeding Advice ?

So little Abigail is doing great. She's gaining weight, nursing well, etc.

The trouble I'm having is that there is no "off switch."

You know when you get to the sleepy "milk coma", the little baby relaxes when she's full and falls asleep? Abigail doesn't seem to do that. If I get her to sleep, she'll sleep very well 3 to 5 hours straight. However, sometimes if we start nursing it can go on for over 90 minutes. Sometimes at night we can hit a bad patch and she'll want to nurse for almost 3 hours straight.

Has this happened to anyone else? A completely normal nursing pattern, plenty of wet diapers, etc but a kid who either sleeps sounds for hours or wants to snack for hours?


  1. My daughter (now 8 1/2 weeks old) did the 3 straight hours of nursing thing during her first couple of weeks. Quite painful for a first time mama! The lactation consultant told me the three hours nursing stints were my daughter's way of building my supply, but who knows! Eventually she quit, but it was rough for a bit.

    By the way - have enjoyed following your blog for a while. I am also a Secular Carmelite and enjoy reading the thoughts of a fellow sister in Carmel. Congratulations on your growing family - may God bless you all :)

  2. I'm happy to hear that your little one is doing so well! I had a little one like that. He seemed to need, or want, to suckle for hours. He was the one, even though I had previously said that I never would do it, I gave him a pacifier. :o I would nurse on both sides, make sure I was empty, and he was full, and then, if he still wanted to suck, he got a binkie. I'm sure it's not the only solution, but it worked for me!

  3. I do not know about nursing...and know nothing about babies that fall asleep after feeding either.

    But, if she screams in agony after each feeding...that I know something about!

    Hmmm...but, seriously, this is too long of a time at one feeding.

    Is she looking for sucking satisfaction?

    Do you use a pacifer?

  4. Luke did this. I was the Human Pacifier. In fact, just last night, at 16 months old, he had a terrible night and so I put him in bed with me to nurse. I fell asleep to him nursing and woke up to it and I'm pretty sure he never stopped in between. Maybe some babies just like it? And as a baby he would never take a real pacifier instead. He preferred the warm one that had milk in it ;)

  5. My son did this, but he wasn't a great sleeper either. I wished someone had warned me about it. I thought I was going crazy. At least I now know if I ever get to have baby #2.

    She will eventually get into a pattern, and as soon as you get used to it the patten will change!

  6. My little Abigail did this too. Her pediatrician said she was trying to regain back her birth weight and if I wanted a break I could always use formula, which I did maybe twice (I'm super pro-breastfeeding, but I did need that break).

    I'm sure your little Abigail will ease up in the next few weeks.

    Congrats on your little one and God bless!

  7. My first did that - and since she was my first, I just went with it for the most part. I did try a pacifier, but she just wasn't interested! She did ease up after awhile, but we still had bouts of marathon nursing until she was a toddler.

  8. Oh my goodness. I didn't know this could happen.

    It's great that she is such a good nurser so I guess that is the good part.

    I would try a pacifier, I would be desperate for some relief. :)

  9. Yes!!! It's called cluster nursing & in general kids who are more sensitive, intense, & high need do it more often. I've had more than one child who nurses constantly during the night. I chose to co-sleep & none of my kids have ever accepted a pacifier. It is not a problem unless it is causing difficulty for you. A happy mommy is essential for a happy home! So trust your instincts & find a balance that works for you & baby. Enjoy your beautiful addition from God and may He give you joy in the challenges!

  10. Welcome to the world of the high need baby. I suspect that one of the things that's going on is that nursing is a way of shutting out distractions in a busy house, but in general high need babies (and Abigail's high intensity sure is a clue that she may be one of those) are more apt to be intense nursers. My advice would be that as long as she seems to be gaining well that you go with it for awhile. It definitely will get better and in the meantime she's doing a great job calibrating your supply so you'll have loads of milk for her in the coming months. Some babies who nurse like that aren't actually nursing efficiently and they seem to need to nurse that much just to get enough. Of course if that's the case you definitely don't want to stop the marathon nursing until you find out whether her nursing is less efficient than it might be.

    I suspect, however, that it's more the case that this is a real high need, highly sensitive little girl. I got one of those the second time around, my daughter got one the first time around. Dr. Sears family didn't get one until the fourth time around. They make you a better parent, you learn a whole lot more about sacrifice and setting yourself aside than you thought you needed to know. If you meet those needs when they are young, they are actually really very nice as older children and teens (my high intensity nurser was by far my easier teenager).

    What I like to say about high need babies is that they are actually better at communicating what babies need than some of the easier babies are. Besides all that nursing gives a mama who doesn't usually get a chance to just sit down and put her feet up an excuse to do just that. I realize that's tough with Tess the age that she is where she's still needing you pretty intensely as well, but if you can corral some help from your older ones during those marathon nursing sessions you should still be able to survive. Just make sure that you know where Maria is! Nursing time can be story time for the older kids some of the time. Generally speaking cluster nursing is far more apt to happen in the evening when Dad is home anyway. Enjoy these weeks where she sleeps long stretches. My kids both "woke up" after about three weeks and then didn't sleep really long stretches again for quite some time.

    The first couple of months are the hardest with high need babies. Once they get to the point where they can actually do things (like hold their head up or roll over) and can actually engage with people it gets a lot easier. Your big kids are going to get such a kick out of playing peekaboo etc. with her and she'll enjoy them. This time where mama alone is the solution is such a very short season in a baby's life. You'll never be so important to her again, so try to get as much rest as you can and enjoy it.

  11. Thank you!

    I'm feeling more confident that this is just "Abigail's thing." The positive is that she's "off" her Mama more than any other baby we've had, but the negative is that when we're nursing--we're nursing for a long haul.

    I'm going to try to pick up some new pacis at Target today. The ones we came home with from the hospital don't seem to hold any interest for her.

    I can stick some sugar water on the pacis to make her take them, right? They did that for Tess in the NICU, so I'm assuming that's a safe practice.

    Lets hear it for high-needs babies! They are going to go on to change the world!

  12. Wow, you got some great tips here!

    Hope you found a nice pacifer that she likes.

    We tried a few kinds...

    Also, I have read about the self-soothed's an old book, but it was interesting...they said babies learn to self soothe if you stick to it...(trouble with me, I guess I didn't stick to it!!!)

    They will eventually learn to tune out the distractions and find some way of self soothing whether it be sucking on their hands, arm, lying on their side, looking at a light or spot on the wall, etc...I think the commenter above is right...she is "using" your nursing time to unwind and to minimize her environment so it will be more manageble for her.

    We also did this..and we had no other children in the house. That's when we gave up TV and any and all radios, we even kept the lights dim and being that my husband is Italian we practiced talking in softer voices even!

    But, still are high need baby kept on being high need close to 2 years.

    But, yes, she is an easy toddler now and a totally delightful and loving person!


    So, who knows...this high need baby is so HARD but she is going to be one of your sweetest!

    Still, I feel for you BIG TIME and wish you strength and energy as you search and discover just the right combination of ways to soothe her and KEEP YOURSELF FED and SUSTAINED!

    I like the idea of your older ones pitching in!

    My toddler can now give me a leg massage! Which is not that bad actually! She sees her Dad doing it and copies him!

    And, today she turned to me huge that I am at 37 weeks and said, "Mommy I want to give you a hug." And, it was a real hug, too.

    So, ask your older kids to give you a hug, bring you a drink of water, rub your legs a bit.

    Just creating a culture of caring goes so far in making Mommy feel better.

  13. No advice here, just sympathy! My first was like that. When he was a newborn I didn't have enough milk and he was losing weight. People kept offering the "nurse every hour to build up your supply" advice and it was driving me up the wall! I'd reply, "He's STILL nursing an hour later!" My son never once indicated that he was done nursing. I settled into a pattern of nursing him for an hour at each feeding, but he would easily go longer than that if I let him. We ended up having to supplement with formula (because he wasn't gaining weight). He would nurse for an hour, then drink an 8 oz. bottle. So perhaps your baby is just a big eater, like my little guy. At less than two years old, my boy can eat an adult-sized portion of meat!