Childhood Diseases

Question
Posted by: Boni | 2011-03-24

Q.

Baby Sucking

Hi doc, my 3 weeks old son seems to be forever sucking unless asleep. each time he is awake he needs to suck. im breastfeeding and supplementing with 100ml Nan, about 4 times a day. im worried if this is normal. he cant just lie down or settle with sucking. we have even introduced a pacifier as we are worried that he is overfeeding. i have also realised that he has a lot of gas, and sometimes its as if he sucks for comfort. but i feel the gas is due to the ever open mouth. is there anything i could do. thanks.

Expert's Reply

A.

Paediatrician

It seems that your baby is hungry for some reason otherwise he probably would not be sucking like this.Having said this he seems to be getting plenty of formula as well as breast milk so it is hard to explain why he should be hungry. I presume that you are winding him well after his feeds.It would be best to take your baby to be seen at your nearest baby clinic for advice

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1
user comments

C.

Posted by: PUrple | 2011-03-25

Babies also suck for comfort.
Breastfed babies don''t over feed, they just de latch when they have had enough.
If you are giving hte formula by bottle, that will be the cause of hte wind as babies mouth can''t make a perfect seal around the bottle.
If baby is not latched on the breast properly (which causes cracked nipples) then he might also be taking air in from the poor latch.

Giving the formula is going to lower your milk supply as baby is then spending less time at the breast.

If baby is just suckling and you can''t hear the milk glugging down his throat, de latch him and give the dummy then if you don''t want him to comfort suck on you (its quite all right to have a life outside of continual breastfeeding and do things like bathing and dressing yourself). Some babies just do need to suck more than others.
If howeever baby is not yet latching properly (you have cracked nipples) giving a dummy or bottles will worsen the problem.

If your baby is pulling his legs up to his chest a lot this isn''t a sign of wind but perhaps that baby isn''t getting as much milk as he should. giving the formula will worsen the problem.
When feeding, swap baby from breast to breast as soon as you stop hearing the glugging sound.
Express milk for 3 - 5 minutes from each breast immediately after baby has finished feeding (you might not get any milk at first but this helps increase supply) and then give this to baby after the breast feed at the next feed (use a cup or a syringe so as not to worsen latching problems).

These are the signs that baby is getting enough milk:
-feeds 2 - 4 hourly (more often during growth spurts)
-you can see jaw moving and hear sound of milk while baby sucks
-baby is generally happy and content
-baby settles well to sleep between feeds
-baby is putting on between 150g and 400g on average each week (it doesn''t matter whether they are on the 10th percentile, 25th or 50th or 75th - what matters ist hat they stay on their curve).
-baby is having 6-8 wet nappies per day
-baby is having 2 - 5 poo nappies per day (after 6 weeks this might reduce and that is fine, but before 6 weeks they must be stooling a lot. Remember that if you are giving formula they will poo less as formula constipates babies).

It is normal for babies to want to feed really often in teh mornings and evenings - this is called cluster feeding and it goes on until baby is around 12-14 weeks old. This is not colic. A baby with colic screams uncontrollably all day and all night long and just can''t be comforted.

Try to get some help from the la leche league or an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) with the breastfeeding and the comfort sucking.

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