Help! Is this normal?

Christine - posted on 04/25/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )




Hello ladies,

My little girl is 4 weeks today. I had every intent of only breastfeeding, but she tested positive for strep, so we had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days so she could be on an IV. My dr said she needed to be really hydrated, so they said I had to supplement with formula. Now, she has a couple of bottles a day as it doesn't seem she is getting enough from me. She is on me ALL THE TIME. She will feed if I let her for a hour stretch easily. If I take her off, she wants right back on. I figured she'd stop feeding when she was hungry so I let her go until she stops, but the nurses at the hospital said I should only do 15-20 minutes on each side. Is she using me as a pacifier?? I try to pump to give my nips a break and not much comes out. I may get an ounce if I am lucky. I woke up this morning and my breasts were so full, I thought they'd pop and I still only got a couple of ounces during the pump before nothing would come out so I put her on the breast. When nothing comes out during the pumping and I pull the pump away and squeeze my nipple, milk comes out. I knew breastfeeding wasn't going to be easy, I fully expected it to be difficult. But, I want to make sure she is getting enough. Is it normal for her to want to stay on the breast for such a long stretch? Is it possible the pump and my nipples simply aren't compatible??


Rebecca - posted on 04/25/2009




First point - pacifers are replacement for breasts not vice versa

Second Point- Feeding on demand is the best way to maintain supply

Third Point - Randomly switching sides or delatching baby on the clock may cause a hind/foremilk imbalance

Breastfeeding is not difficult if you aren't set up to fail by those that are supposed to support you.

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Angie - posted on 08/11/2013




Hi, what brilliant advice you have been given, definitely let your baby feed as often as she wants, try cutting out the formula too, the more you feed the more milk you will make. It's normal to not get a lot iof milk off with the breast pump, it's usually because you don't get the "let down". You're doing brilliant, there is no time limit for a baby to feed, let her feed as long as she wants, she knows what she's doing and will be increasing your supply and ensuring she gets all the hind milk too. Good luck and best wishes x

Tanith - posted on 08/13/2010




I've always had alot of milk, but I too can't express. No breast pump can match the effectiveness of a baby in stimulating a mother's milk supply and extracting milk. This is partly because mechanical suction cannot duplicate the synchronized acton of the baby's tongue, jaw, and palate, but it is mainly because the mother's emotional response to her baby is an important factor."
It has nothing to do with the capability of your breasts and pump.

As a voluntary lactation consultant, I can tell you that your baby is probably getting enough to eat if she nurses every two or three hours. Is she "filling out" and putting on weight? Growing in length? Active and alert? A "yes" to these questions is an indication that your baby is thriving. A quick, easy way to reassure yourself that your infant is getting enough milk is to check the number of wet diapers. If she has six or more really wet diapers a day, you can be sure she is getting plenty of milk. Frequent bowel movements are also a sign that baby is getting enought to eat. Remember One and one-half pounds a month (680 grams), at least six ounces (170 grams) a week, is considered an average weight gain, although some babies occasionally gain less in some weeks and others gain as much as a pound a week in the early months.

I hope this helped.

Melissa - posted on 08/13/2010




congrats! feed as much as you want! the more you feed the more milk will build. feed feed feed and dont watch the clock. they will become to much at times with the constant feeding but it does get easier. my bf coach told me to feed on demand and dontwatch the clock i do so and my milk supply is great and my baby is happy and healthy (was born 5.03lbs now 2 months later 10.03lbs) enjoy your lil one they grow too fast!

Sarah - posted on 08/13/2010




YES, it is normal and she is hungry if she nurses. 4 weeks is a common growth spurt age and some babies cluster feed for hours, especially at night. It is a stage and it will pass. In 90% of the cases the mother is producing plenty of milk and does NOT need to supplement.

If you want to produce more milk try CUTTING OUT FORMULA all together as it is a vicious cycle that reduces your supply! It will also cause nipple confusion and can lead to a failure in BFing, please think hard about getting rid of those bottles! Breast milk is also SO MUCH BETTER for you baby!

Engorged breasts can be much harder to express milk from and babies are much better at getting the milk to come out than pumps. Try BF more often to avoid engorgement (and again skipping the supplements will help this.)

Good luck and great job for choosing to BF!

Felicity - posted on 04/26/2009




well done for carrying on! as other have said she is at the right age for a growth spurt and it deffinatly sounds as if she is trying to increase your supply. also it is very common for small babies to feed for up tio an hour in one sitting my dd1 did in the early days i only gort about 20 mins off between feeds! but dont worry this stage wont last for ever, normaly at about 6 weeks they start feeding at more regul;ar intervals and for less time, but still maybe 30 - 40 mins.

also dont worry about not being able to get out much when you pump, your baby will get so much more than you can as the hormes that cause your milk to let down are realsed when you put your baby to the breast. as long as your getting plenty of wet nappis and your baby is gaining weight then all is fine.

you are doing a fab job so keep going, it does get easier i promise. xx

[deleted account]

Don't give up! You're on the right track. My son used to nurse for an hour as well if I let him and I did. The doctors also told me that it was too long etc., but I didn't listen. If it's not bothering you, where's the problem? Maybe she is using you as a pacifier but is that so bad right now? She's still very little and probably needs that comfort. My Mother could never pump milk and she had tons of it so maybe you are just one of those women that can't pump. Personally, I don't think giving her the formula was a good idea. Breastmilk gives the baby everything, including hydration. Since the bottle is so much easier to suck, maybe she needs more time at the breast to work at it. I wouldn't sweat it. Give her the extra time and just relax. Stop the pumping unless you really have to and just give yourself a break. Listen to your body and your daughter and do what you feel is right and it will be the best thing for you. Hang in there and good luck!

Rhonda - posted on 04/25/2009




If you do use a pump, make sure you are following the instructions to ensure good let down. Even when you feel engorged, if you are not relaxed enough and using proper pumping technique (especially with a manual pump), you will not probably not get a lot out. I have a manual pump and at first I was using it totally wrong, now that I am back at work and pumping 3-4 times a day, I am using it properly and getting a good amount of milk.

#1 thing to do is not stress out over the situation, your baby knows what she needs and if she is nursing for so long, she's just trying to get what she needs!

Rachel - posted on 04/25/2009




She's at the right age for a growth spurt :) My son used to nurse what seemed like round the clock for a full week during growth spurts! used to make me tired but once the spurt was over, he fed on a more "normal" schedule :) Best thing you can do is not set a time limit--let her tell you when she's done with a breast and then switch her to the other side. Comfort nursing is pretty normal for most babes and will provide some more stimulation to further up your supply

And not all women respond well for the pump--I had tons of milk when feeding from the tap but struggled to get very much with the pump. Babies are much better at getting milk out than pumps :)

Stacey - posted on 04/25/2009




I totally agree with Melanie. Constant nursing means she's trying to increase your milk supply. This happened with my daughter around four weeks, too, and it freaked me out until a friend explained what was happening. Your daughter will cluster feed or constantly nurse again to increase your supply -- during a growth spurt or just because. About pumping, some women's bodies don't respond well to them. I have a lot of milk and let my daughter determine when to switch sides... I don't recommend timing feeds. Just follow your daughter's lead. You're doing great!

Sophia - posted on 04/25/2009




No, she shouldn't need to be on your breast for feeding for that long. I had the same problem with my baby, she would like to be permanently attached to my boob if she could help it.

It's possible that your baby is using you as a human pacificer. Nothing wrong with comfort nursing, but I found in my experience that it confuses her between feeding and comfort nursing and then she doesn't feed efficiently.

The LCs at the hospital had me do something similar, 10 mins per boob at a minimum, then if she is continuing to swallow (the nurses might be able to show you how you can see her swallow), you can continue feeding her, but if she is just suckling, pop her off the breast so she understands that the boob is primarily for feeding.

At a later time when she is older and understands this, there is no problem to comfort nurse her, she will not confuse your boob for a pacifier. I found this worked for me and my baby.

Good luck.


PS. Pumps don't give you a break, but they will help to bring up your milk supply over time. And it's normal when you first start pumping not to produce very much, a pump is not as efficient as a nursing baby. Just drink lots of water, as well there are other foods and products that you could take to help you increase your milk supply.

Carrie - posted on 04/25/2009




okay, several questions... I'll try to make sure I hit all of them :) First, take a deep breath. It sounds like you're doing everything right, just keep nursing.

"the nurses at the hospital said I should only do 15-20 minutes on each side. Is she using me as a pacifier?? " Those nurses should be quiet. Some babies nurse for five minutes, some for an hour. Let your little one tell you when she's done. Especially if your supply was down a little bit from the supplimentation, she's going to spend extra time at the breast to get the supply back up to where she wants it. Just stay hydrated and feed yourself well, and keep nursing. Even if she is using you as a pacifier, All it's going to do it give your supply a little extra boost, which isn't a bad thing :)

I don't think pumping counts as giving you a "break". I always hated pumping a lot worse than nursing and it's not as good at getting the milk out or stimulating your supply. That being said, getting one ounce after she's nursed and nursed and nursed is a pretty good output!

"Is it normal for her to want to stay on the breast for such a long stretch?" Absolutely. My suspicion is that she's in a growth spurt... which means you'd better settle into a comfy chair with the remote control because she's going to be like this all day, or perhaps for several days.

"Is it possible the pump and my nipples simply aren't compatible??" Absolutely. A lot of people need a different size shield than comes with the pump. For the most popular brands you can usually get the different sizes at Target, at least I know my Target carries the larger Medela/Ameda shields.

Lastly, here's a nice link about frequent nursing in the early weeks. Hang in there, you can do it!

Melanie - posted on 04/25/2009




Good for you for continuing to try!'re DD is on the boob constantly and that's probably because she wants to bring up your supply. Until you are confidant that she's getting enough and your supply is up, just get comfy and let her nurse away! You'll get much-needed rest by being basically couch/bed-bound and your DD will get cuddle time with you. Don't fight it, and it should ease up once your supply is up. Who ever told you to cut her off after a given amount of time is unfortunately mistaken. This would be good advice if your supply were established but this is precisely what your baby is trying to do. It might take a few days, and in the meantime try to limit the bottles if you can cause it won't help your supply. If your nipple are in pain invest in the services of a lactation consultant and have your latch checked. It SHOULD NOT HURT. As for pumping, it is not always an indicator of your supply. Yes, it's possible that the pump is not the right fit for you, but most likely that your breasts "know" it's not a baby and won't let down the milk. Pumping is VERY psychological, and there are many techniques to get a good pump. You can find them in other threads, there are too many to re-post here. But your baby is the best pump so as long as you get a good latch, stop watching the clock and surrender to your baby's needs (for now), I just know you'll be successful. Best of luck!!!!!

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