Teething, Growth Spurt, Supply Issue or all of the above?

Jenni - posted on 10/21/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I'm almost sure about the teething thing... my daughter is 5 1/2 months old and just this week she has been sucking her lips (I remember my son did that when he was cutting teeth). Today I noticed a slight diaper rash as well. She also has a slight cough.
For the last 5 nights she has been suddenly waking for an extra feed. She normally sleeps 12 hours and I have to wake her up for a 9:30pm-10pm feed otherwise she'd sleep right through until the next morning. Now she is waking on her own around 10 pm and again between 3am-5am. From late afternoon until dinner she seems insatiable. I pump after every morning feed and usually get 1/2-2 1/2 ounces and now i'm getting no more than a couple drops. So I'm thinking it could be a growth spurt?
The supply issue I always worry about... I know alot of BFers do but I have more reason to be concerned. She has reflux (although the last month she suddenly seems cured of it). so she wouldn't always get a good feed in. She is an impatient feeder too and l've learned to humm, make faces, make rythemic noises to keep her latched until let-down. But when let-down occurs it only lasts 5 mins and she won't stay latched after. She just latches on and off. When I switch sides she becomes content once let-down occurs and then again... 5 mins and it's done. She still seems hungry after. Sometimes I can manage to get her to stay latched long enough to let down a little more. The only feeds she seems content after is her morning feed, sometimes her 11 am feed and her 9:30pm feed. The afternoon and dinner feeds are the worst! I feel so empty. She seems so unsatisfied with them. I've never been able to pump more than a drop in the afternoon and evening. Sometimes the most she'll get is a few minutes of let down.
However she is gaining weight sufficiently, infact better than sufficiently... I just went to her doctor's on monday and she had gained 1 1/2 lbs for the month. So I don't get it?
Her doctor has been suggesting solids since she was 2 1/2 months old because of her reflux and never seeming satisfied. I told him as long as she is gaining a healthy weight I would like to wait until 6 months. We made it to 5 months 1 week. I just started solids 2 days ago.

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Renae - posted on 10/22/2010

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Reflux usually goes away between 6 and 12 months, it can last as long as 18 months but that is quite rare. It is very common for it to clear up at 6 months, so maybe hers is going away.

Most babies by 5 months only need to feed for 3-6 minutes to get a full feed. More than 10 minutes is very uncommon. This is because they have become very efficient at extracting milk from you and can do it 3 times better and faster than a hospital grade electric pump. So I wouldn't put a lot of emphasis on how long she feeds for, more whether she is still hungry afterwards.

The BF-ing advocates are going to hate me for this, but is she interested in being topped up with formula after her breastfeeds?

She is also at the right age to have a growth spurt. Babies at this age usually start feeding a lot more and have a big jump in weight gain. They are getting ready for the next stage where their feeding will decrease and they will gain very little weight between 7 and 12 months. Some babies gain nothing at all during this time and that is perfectly normal.

Starting solids is unlikely to stop her from waking during the night. Solids usually has no effect on night waking. This is because the amount of nutrition and calories they get from solid food is very little compared to a breastfeed or formula.

I think your instincts are about right... all of the above!

Kristin - posted on 10/21/2010

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The waking at night is most likely teething and she's looking for you to comfort her. Nursing does this.

All of my boys seem(ed) to be able to suck me dry in about 5 to 10 minutes and then just wanted to suck for the sake of sucking. If there is time, I let the baby go ahead and do that. Other times, it just doesn't work for the routine (kindergartner in the house). It sounds a bit like you've got a similar situation there. Anyway, it really does sound like your let-down and flow are just fine when she is feeding, but pumping is different. Keep offering, she knows when she's hungery and just take care of yourself; get enough rest, quality food and water, and continue to take a multivitamin. Your supply will catch up to her demand in a few days.

The teething is going to mess with her latch. The sucking can irritate her gums. I found counter pressure prior to and during a feeding can help with that. Just push on the tender spot. I know, it sounds nuts. But, it works.

I'm curious as to why you are pumping. Is it to mix with her cereal or are you back to work? No matter I suppose, just try to relax and let it happen. You may need to read or have some tea or nurse/pump simulatneously. Find something that works for you and go with it.

Solids are solids and they are just for sampling right now. She will continue to get her nutrion and calories for growth from you. I started both of my older boys (5 and 3 now) when they cut their first tooth/teeth. That happened around 5.5 to 6 months with them.

Your daughter sounds like she is just fine. You are doing wonderfully with her. Hope this helps.

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