Childhood Diseases

Question
Posted by: Anu | 2010-01-26

Q.

Breastfeeding a sleeping baby

my boy is 56 days old and i am breast feeding him. during most of the feeds he sucks for 2 - 5 mins and falls asleep. if i put him in the bed he wakes up immediately and cries for milk. again he falls asleep after sucking for 2-5 mins. bcos of this his frequency of demand increases but his intake is often less. he never asks for my other breast yet. he is also colic. i am not very satisfied with his feeds bcos i feel he has only one or two good complete feeds per day. what could be the problem? could there be any problem with my milk supply? he has quiet a good number of wet diapers and soiled diapers. his weight gain is also normal. can i feed him when he is awake but does not demand for it?

Expert's Reply

A.

Paediatrician

The main thing is that your baby seems to be getting enough milk judging from his good weight gain and regular wet nappies. He must be feeding quite well when he does feed even if he feeds for such a short time.
Perhaps our regular forum members will have some additional advice for you.

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1
user comments

C.

Posted by: Purple | 2010-01-27


Under 6 weeks, you can tell baby is getting enough milk if
-has 6 - 8 wet nappies per day
-2 - 5 soiled nappies per day
-gaining an average of 150g - 400g per week
-is generally happy and content
-sleeps well after a feed
-feeds approximately 2 - 4 hourly

After 6 weeks, its normal for baby to have fewer stools, one every couple of days is normal, also baby gains weight a little more slowly (but not much more slowly)

In the early days babies do fall asleep at the breast. I could never bring myself to do this, so completely demand fed, but what many mothers do is to gently wake baby by gently tickling their face or cheek or softly touching a wet face cloth to their feet or face.

If your feeds are very quick, you might have a very fast flow of milk (does baby sometimes splutter and appear to choke as the milk comes out?). Lie on your back with your head on your pillows and put baby diagonally across your tummy and latch him on like that - gravity will slow your milk flow a little. The feed will take longer but be easier on baby.

Is baby latching well? If you have cracked nipples, the answer is no.
If your latch isn' t great, you will have pain and baby will not be feeding as well as he should.
Sit comfortably, a garden plastic chair is perfect for feeding, put a feeding cushion or two pillows on your lap, put your feet up on a stool or two telephone directories.
Put baby' s tummy against your tummy so his face is facing your breast. Try swallowing with your neck turned and you' ll see why.
Touch your nipple very gently against baby' s lips or just to the side on his cheek and he will open up his mouth wide like a baby bird.
Squish your breast flat like you do when eating a hamburger (thumb between breasts and fingers on the outside) and put as much of the nipple and areola (the brown part around the nipple) into his mouth as you can fit.
Ensure his bottom lip is curled down over his chin, if not, put your pinkie in his mouth, de latch him and try again.
If there is any pain at all, de latch and do again.
(some discomfort is normal, pain is a sign of a problem).
Relax, gaze at baby, read a book, phone your friends or your mother, or catch a bit of a sleep.

Try to always feed baby before he is screaming with hunger otherwise he will not latch well, not settle to feed properly and will take in gullps of air with the crying.
As baby wakes, lift him up and feed him - you can change his nappy after the first breast. Some babies have an aversion to being fed with a dirty nappy - most choose milk over clean nappy. It' s gross and goes against your natural instinct, but baby will be calmer and so will you.

If you have a latching problem, then don' t use dummies or give any bottle feeds until the problem is sorted out.

If baby only wants to feed from one breast that is fine. From around 6 weeks you will be lopsided between feeds, but it is only really you who will notice. At 6 weeks its normal for your breats to feel softer and only start making milk when baby sucks and not in anticipation of a feed.

Never limit baby' s time at the breast - the lenght of the feed is related to how fast the milk flows, not to how much baby is getting.

If your latch is good, then baby will not be taking in any air while feeding, but baby will get wind from digesting the milk. Breastfed babies tend to wake up about ten minutes or so after a feed because of wind, you can gently rub babies back and move him around in your arms and it should come up. If he does a massive burp, he might want some more breast.
If he is pulling his legs up to his tummy, then he needs a bit more milk.

Baby will cluster feed in the evenings and to a lesser extent in the mornings up until around 12 - 14 weeks. During this time you feed and no sooner have you put baby down than he wants another feed. This is quite normal and is baby telling your breasts to make more milk for the next day. It is not colic.
In the evenings it goes on from about 3 - 7pm and in the mornings from about 6 - 8 am.
In the evenings I would feed one breast, then when he woke, bath him, then when he woke again I' d feed the other breast.
In the mornings I just had my tea and breakfast while feeding and only started my day once the cluster feeding was over.

Babies also feed more often during their growth spurts which are at around 3 weeks, 6 - 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 4 months, 6 months (but by then baby is on solids so it' s less noticeable). They might feed every hour and a half to two hours during this time. It goes on for about 4 days to a week and then baby reverts to his or her usual pattern again. They are demanding more milk from your breasts because of their increased need.

Personally, I found that if my baby was particularly fractious, just getting outside helped, whether I held him and we went for a walk, or I put him in the pram, it just helped to be in the fresh air. We even walked in the rain, I just put a cover over the pram and wrapped him up warmly. Don' t know if it helped him cope, but it certainly helped me.

Reply to Purple

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