My 7-week-old wants to nurse ALL the time.

Heidi - posted on 06/04/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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She roots every time I hold her when awake, even if she's just fed. She's gaining weight normally. Her PA says to try to space nursing sessions out every 2-3 hours, but if I deny her the breast when she wants it, she cries. Is there something wrong with feeding more frequently? Should I be attempting to "train" her to eat less often?

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Nicole - posted on 06/04/2009

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This is totally normal. Feeding on demand really is best, my pediatrician is a huge supporter of this. Spaced feedings really is only for formula feeders. I still nurse on demand and my baby is eight months. She still eats every two hours during the day (sometimes more or less). They don't always nurse for hunger- remember, they nurse for thirst too. Your milk adjusts its fat content for baby's needs based on the way they suck- most babies suck differently for comfort, hunger, and thirst.

Minnie - posted on 06/04/2009

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Her PA is wrong. Dead wrong. Scheduling breastfed babies can actually lead to failure to thrive and a reductionin your supply. The hormone prolactin, which is responsible for maintaining an adequate milk supply is dependent on frequent feedings of AT LEAST every two hours.

Human milk digests in 30 minutes to an hour, so it is quite reasonable to expect her to want to nurse at least that frequent. Two to three hour intervals is simply not reasonable for a breastfed newborn. The PA needs to read up and become a bit more educated on the biology of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is an absolutely perfect system, no thought involved. Put baby to your breast whenever she shows signs of wanting to nurse and everything will work. What do you think mothers in traditional cultures do without clocks?

My own seven month old nurses AT LEAST twice an hour, and consider the !Kung San bushpeople of the kalahari desert who nurse their infants averaging four times an hour.

Put your baby to your breast when she wants it. When she roots, sticks out her tongue, fusses, etc. That's how it works. Especially when she's going through a growth spurt, which she is prime for one right now, she may want to nurse every half hour, or be effectively attached to your breast 24/7. That is the normal course of breastfeeding. She is working to increase your supply to meet her needs.

Exactly what is your PA's motive in spacing her feeds and 'training her''?

Allison - posted on 06/04/2009

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There is nothing wrong with eating more frequently than every 2-3 hours. Many babies will cluster feed during the day then go longer at night. I feed on demand and don't worry if they are eating "too much" as breastfed babies won't overeat. I'd rather my baby learn to trust his own body's cues on when to eat and when to stop rather than eat just because it's time to eat, whether he's hungry or not.

Also keep in mind that babies go through growth spurts and will increase their frequency of nursing in order to signal your body to produce more milk. If you prevent that frequent nursing because you're sticking to a schedule, you could jeopardize your milk supply.

Trust that your baby knows what she needs!

Cherie - posted on 06/04/2009

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My first son (now 2) ate ALL THE TIME!! :) But, I found that we would go in streaks. He would nurse for what seemed like all day for a day or two, but then we would go weeks much more spaced out. Then a day or two of all the time again. I found that when I tried to hold him off, it just made it worse and he never seemed satisfied. My second son (10 weeks old) just likes to suck. He would stay attached all day if I would let him, just to suck. So, I have found that if I give him a pacifier when he starts rooting just after eating, it keeps him happy for a while. Also, I try not to hold him in a cradle position b/c that seems to increase the rooting. I have found that letting my kids pick their own feeding schedule as babies is MUCH easier than trying to force them to one that their bodies don't want. They were both very quick to settle into their own regular routines that just seemed to work. Though you may spend a little more time nursing that you want to right now, she will slow down as her body adjusts and it'll be easier on you. Hang in there! :)

Kristen - posted on 06/06/2009

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I agree that the PA is wrong. A baby this young needs to nurse on demand. Eventually she will be able to space her feedings out a little longer, but you really need to take her lead. She is the only one that truly knows what she needs. The first few months are filled with so many growth spurts where they need to nurse more frequently to increase mom's supply. Denying her is only going to hurt the both of you in the end.

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Shea Lynn - posted on 06/07/2013

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I too have a 7 week old and he nurses very frequently but... I find that if it's less than 2 hours and he is crying for something and you're not sure why, it's probably because they are ready to go to sleep. They start getting grumpy right before they want to fall asleep. So put em in a swing and or hold him or her close and put a binky in their mouth and she'll fall asleep

Geralyn - posted on 06/06/2009

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I also agree with the other posters. I went through the same thing with nursing my son. Its all worth it....

Melissa - posted on 06/06/2009

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my daughter nursed for what seamed like 24/7 for her first month! i thought it would never end and almost quit nursing her b/c it was so hard. just keep at it....feed her whenever she wants it even if it's round the clock. it will get better!! she'll eventually get to a point where she can function longer than an hour w/out nursing. you're giving your baby what a lot of women don't. i suggest the my breast friend nursing pillow and a nursing cover for when you are out in public or a sling. keep up the good work!!!

Melissa - posted on 06/05/2009

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Try to give her your finger. Just for a few, then introduce her to her own. I have 4 children and 2/4 learned to comfort themselves with fingers. Pacifiers are useless. I nursed my daughter for a full 8 weeks non stop until things started to improve. She just wants to suck. Feed her as scheduled, let her "suck"as needed. Good luck. It gets better, I promise

Shannon - posted on 06/05/2009

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My son nursed every 2 hours or more until he was about 8 weeks.. then I gave in to a pacifier and he would go about every 3 hours, and I actually was able to move around without him attached all the time. But to answer your question... yes it is very normal to eat that often!!

Natasha - posted on 06/05/2009

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Honestly when breastfeeding, feed your baby as often as they want. It could be for a few reasons .... she could be a hungrier baby which some are or it could be that you produce less milk in one go therefore you should feed her when she wants feeding as then you milk supply will be perfect for your baby but i can tell you that no baby will overfeed. I suggest you demand feed and as she gets older it will become less frequent. Babies also go through a growth spurt at 2 weeks, again at 6 weeks and at various times within their first year so if you baby is crying for food its because she's hungry. The average breastfed baby until they get older, feeds every 1 1/2 / 2 hours but this can greatly vary. It's very tiring but very worth it, you're doing brilliantly :o) It can seem very hard with feeding so often in the first few weeks but your supply, your baby and your body will adjust. Hope this helps. Natasha xxx

Anjelina - posted on 06/05/2009

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I'd let her nurse as much as she wants. She might be going through a growth spurt. I think it's called marathon nursing.

Beata - posted on 06/05/2009

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my daughter used to eat ALL the time at that age....it seems like it wont ever stop....but it will it might be a week or 2 but it will.....shes just going through a grouth sprut. Good luck!

Tamara - posted on 06/04/2009

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No! There is absolutely no need whatsoever to try to "train" her to eat less. She is a growing girl who needs to eat and eat often. Remember, her stomach is the size of her fist and about this time is a couple of growth spurts going back to back. Do you have a sling? If not, I'd get one to wear her in and nurse in the sling. You've not created any kind of monster or any of that nonsense. You're simply feeding her as she needs to be.

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