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Comfort sucking

  1. #1
    Star Anise is offline Registered User
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    Comfort sucking

    My 10 week old girl likes to comfort suck on the breast, I can't hold her without her reaching for the nipple. On one hand, I love the fact she wants to be close but also distressing as I can't play with her without her going for the nipple. Any advice?

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    If playing with her in your arms always means she is rooting try games in other positions. Babies often like lying on the floor or bed with you showing them things. Also they like looking over your shoulder. My babies liked action games from an early age. We used to play one called “sit-up, stand-up, sit-down, lie-down” over and over again. Ten weeks is still very young she is unlikely to be entertained at any one thing for very long.

    Remember that comfort sucking is good for babies and helps them to develop. The AAP recommend that all babies have opportunity to comfort suck from a early age.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

  3. #3
    Star Anise is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Sarah, I find your advice invaluable. Is there any advice as to "ideal" sleeping, eating patterns for a 10 week old? And I know that all babies are different. The comfort sucking means that she is on the nipple from 3 pm to 6.00 pm, she goes to sleep to 1.00 am but I have a low milk supply, and is up every 1.5-2 hours throughout the night.

  4. #4
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Dear Star Anise,

    From you little post I feel that you have a number of issues and that it might be better for us to chat on the telephone. If you'd like to my number is 2548-7636. (If I'm out it will go to the answer machine but leave your number {twice if possible} and I'll call back as soon as I'm able.)

    The "ideal" sleeping, eating patterns for your baby is one that suits you and allows the baby to be happy and grow well. For some dyads (mother and baby pair) with will be with schedules and for others it will be a totally flexible changing pattern. You need to take into account your personality (whether you like a planned or flexible life) and what your baby can cope with.

    You baby sounds as those she is cluster feeding in the late afternoon. This is very common behaviour (and doesn’t mean that you don’t have enough milk). You may be interested in an article from kellymon called
    Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings
    ... My baby nurses and fusses all evening! What's wrong?
    http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html

    I like to think of this behaviour as the baby going to a Chinese Banquet. At banquets each dish you are given is quite small but you are given lots and lots of them and at the end of the evening you are fuller than if you’d had a meal at home.

    Rather than having big feeds with big gaps some babies like to have lots of small feeds. Mothers often worry about this because they seem to be spending all the time feeding because they aren’t able to do anything during the breaks.

    Some babies like to eat like this, often wanting to be at, or near, the breast for two to three hours or more. It is so common it has a name, cluster feeding. But it is a behaviour that I know many new mothers worry about. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk – rather that your baby wants to feed this way. When the baby eventually stops and goes to sleep he usually sleeps for quite along time, maybe even four or five hours.

    Another baby behaviour is liking chocolate cake! Imagine that my husband and I are eating dinner. I tell him that we have a chocolate cake for dessert. However, when he finishes his main course he tell me that he is full and doesn’t want any cake. At this point I suggest watching TV! When the first adverts come on he says, “You know maybe I’ll have a piece of that cake after all.”

    This behaviour is very common in babies (as well as husbands). The ‘chocolate cake’ feed is usually just 5 to 10 minutes but sometimes the baby doesn’t just want one slice of cake but the whole thing and you end up feeding for another hour.

    This doesn’t mean that you don’t have enough milk. Just like I had enough food for my husband (after all I had a whole cake when he said he was full) you also have enough milk. It was the baby who changed his mind.

    This analogy is actually very good. Just as chocolate cake is a high fat snack after your meal, any milk that the baby takes after a feed will be higher in fat than the original feed – just like a piece of chocolate cake!

    Most babies don’t feed regularly. They tend to have three patterns during the day. One is regular pattern and they may feed at 8:00, 10:00 and then noon. One is a cluster feeding pattern where they may want lots of feeds during a three or four hour period and the last is an extended sleeping pattern where they sleep for four or five hours. Usually a baby will have all these feeding styles within the day.

    If you find that your baby likes to do lots of cluster feeding in the late afternoon try to move any tasks that you have to do at that time of day to another. One of my babies was like this and it made making dinner almost impossible. For months on end when he was little we’d have a casserole for dinner because I could make it in the morning when he was happier to let me work and just switch the oven on in the afternoon when he needed to be near me so much.

    How your baby feeds in the long term usually depends on how large you breast capacity is. That is how much milk your body can store at any one time.

    If you breast capacity is large then as the baby grows they tend to take less but larger meals. Whereas if your breast capacity is small the baby continues to take lots of smaller meals. The both babies, however, get the same amount of milk during the day.

    e.g.

    11 x 2.5 oz = 27.5 oz

    7 x 4 oz = 28 oz

    A fully breastfed baby drinks between 25 and 30 ozs in every 24 hours. This is true for a one month old and a six month old.

    It is one of the differences between a breastfed and a bottle fed baby. A breastfed baby continues to drink about the same amount but the composition of the milk changes. It changes from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, from the beginning of the day to the end of the day and as the baby grows. Formula milk is always the same and so the only way to get more calories into the baby is to increase the amount of milk the baby is drinking.

    Second babies often feed in small feeds as well. This is because the mother has the first child to look after at the same time and so often gets interrupted when feeding the second baby. Thus the baby quickly learns to feed fast before an interruption comes. But because he is feeding fast needs another feed quite quickly.

    There is nothing medically wrong with the baby continuing to have lots of short feeds. But sometime the mothers find it inconvenient. Other mothers find it much easier to sit down and feed once an hour for 10 minutes than finding time to sit down and feed for 30 to 45 minutes once every three hours.

    One method to try to get the baby to take more milk in each feed is called breast compression.

    Dr. Jack Newman also explains how to do Breast Compression on his web site, http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/newman.shtml

    Breast Compression at http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/15pdf.pdf

    He also has video clips on his web site which can be useful, scroll down until you find them. Compression and Compression Two under the heading Breast Compression.

    Another good technique is Switch Nursing. Switch nursing is changing to the other side when the baby no longer seems interested. Usually when we start feeding the baby is very interested to suck, as the baby slows down we start the breast compression and when the baby slows down with the breast compression we change and get the baby to have the other side. On the other side after the baby starts to slow down we again use the breast compression and when he slows down again swap back to the first side again. We can continue swapping sides as much as we like and for as long as the baby is willing to continue to suck. It is fine to swap sides 8, 9 or 10 times in one feed.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

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