How can I get my son full at night? Sometimes he will nurse for 2+ hours.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/16/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

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He is 3 months old. Some nights he will get filled up after an hour, but normally it takes at least 1 1/2 hours. He is getting milk. I can hear him swallow and I have to change diapers at least twice. Sometimes when he doesn't seem to be getting full, I end up supplementing with expressed milk. Last night after 2 1/4 hours and 3 soaked diapers, he took an additional 6 ounces then he nursed for another 20 minutes.



I've tried switching sides more frequently, I've tried keeping him at the same breast to get more hindmilk. I've even tried that f word in case my milk was lacking something. He will not sleep unless he is full and he screams like he is starving.



He is physically very active during the day and his weight and height are right on track.



Help, I keep having thoughts of formula feeding in the evenings. If nothing else, I need some moral support.

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[deleted account]

Sounds like an appetite increas (I've decided to use this term instead of "growth spurt," as I think the term "growth spurt" can be misleading - often there isn't any growth at all!) The cluster feeding doesn't mean he's hungry, it just means he's getting his appetite and his body sorted for some growth or development.

There's absolutely NO guarantee that using formula will fill hjim up and make him want to sleep longer. That myth - "give him a bottle and he'll sleep better" is exactly that - a myth.

Emily - posted on 05/17/2011

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Yes, cluster feeding! It is really normal. I don't think you have a supply problem. You are doing everything right. Formula will not help.. it may even harm by upsetting his tummy. You could try nursing him more frequently during the day to see if he then nurses less at night. Regardless of whether you change anything though, he won't do this forever. It will work itself out in time. :)

Charity - posted on 05/17/2011

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I know how you feel! There is alot of normal cluster feeding around this age for growth spurts. Keep feeding on demand and try to nap during the day with him. It sounds like your production is keeping pace with him, from the wet diapers, etc. My son was the same way for about the first 4 months, fortunatly for me, his major "attached all the time" was usually during the day. Good luck, hang in there.

Kimberly - posted on 05/17/2011

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i have to agree those first three months it felt like constant feeding for me. well they actually i have been told they need to start eating the most 6-8 hours before bed. in order for them to feel full at night. i dont know if that helps. but wow is he a hungry guy lol. hang in there it wont last forever i do know that much for sure lol.

[deleted account]

Has he always been like this?



I think it's probably just the 3-month growth spurt and/or normal cluster feeding at night.



Those growth spurts in the early months are rough. For me, it felt like the first 3.5 months were a constant growth spurt.



I know it's tough, mama -- but hang in there!

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Shanna - posted on 05/22/2011

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My daughter never slept mpore than 3 hours until she was 3 months! She was very active and nursed constantly! Skip the formula and enjoy the time you get with him< before you know it he'll be all grown up!! Hang in there, it'll pass, just like every phase!!

Elizabeth - posted on 05/20/2011

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I wish he was just comfort nursing. He sucks differently when he does that, and when he is tired and just comfort nursing if someone else takes over and I leave the room if he's really upset, he'll have a cry, but he'll calm down. My mom and my hubby have tried to comfort him, thinking that he couldn't possibly be hungry. He cries harder and harder and it is his hungry cry, then it gets mixed with his scared cry. He has a distinct hungry cry (at about 3 weeks old it started to sound like he was saying "hungry) and a distinct tired cry. I thank you for your suggestion though.

[deleted account]

give him very thin rice cereal he can have it now and it sounds like he needs it. As he gets used to it over the next few days thicken it a little.

Cynthia - posted on 05/20/2011

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my idea is that maybe he is getting full but not getting to sleep. maybe try a pacifier and see if you can lay him down after say an hour.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/20/2011

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This has now been going on for 3 weeks. Is that typical of a growth spurt at this age?

Virginia - posted on 05/18/2011

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Also try pineapple juice for supply. I drink 1 to 4 8oz cans a day and it is amazing how quickly it gives me a boost. Your son sound normal! I am not looking forward to the 3-month growth spurt! My son is 10 lbs, 7 oz at 1 month old. I fear he is going to nurse me inside out :)

[deleted account]

I would have loved for my son to cluster feed at night and then sleep 8-10 hours straight -- instead of short, frequent nursing every two hours when I wanted to sleep! Or at least I think I would have. Grass is always greener, huh?

Oh I feel for you -- it's so hard to sit in one position when you're in pain! How do you nurse him? Do you use a nursing pillow? I used to sit on the sofa with a nursing pillow (not a Boppy, but a long body/nursing pillow) wrapped around me; my husband would bring me snacks and drinks, and I'd watch a film or something when my son fell asleep and I couldn't move.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/17/2011

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And BTW, thank you everyone for your input so far. Having the support and helps encourage me and the thought that I have more help in finding a possible solution keeps me going, too. Hopefully something will help or this will pass soon. On the positive side, I weigh 20 pounds less than when I got pregnant and I eat more (after all, I'm eating for two so I need two servings right.)

Elizabeth - posted on 05/17/2011

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Sleeping longer isn't a problem. Once he gets filled up, he will sleep 8-12 hours at night and when he does wake up, he's in no big hurry to eat. My biggest problem is the continuous sitting. I have fibromyalgia so its uncomfortable to stay sitting for such a long period, even a 5 minute break here and there would be better. By giving him a bottle someone else can take over for a while. Because of my breast size it is difficult to nurse laying down (34I) and I broke my 9th rib and dislocated some in the back a month before I had him and they are just now starting to heal and I have a hard time lifting him let alone carrying him while nursing.



I work twice a week and am gone less than 6 hours. The past 3 weeks he has taken around 8 oz per feeding two or three times while I'm gone. I nurse him before I leave and as soon as I get home. I haven't had a before and after nursing weight taken on him recently, but in the past, the measurements have been pretty close to the same amount he takes breastfeeding is pretty close to the same amount he takes when bottle feeding. A typical pumping only produces 1-2 oz. which means I have to pump 16-32 times just to have milk for when I'm gone. (I can normally pump 2 oz. immediately after I have finished nursing him for the night.)

Holly Janelle - posted on 05/17/2011

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Your doing great!!! It definitely sounds like he is hitting his as Kathy would say appetite increase! My little girl is that way all the time every night. She cluster feeds big time at night she is attached to me from 7pm until she wants to sleep around 9-11. If I take her off she starts to scream and freak so I just lay down and leave her latched and switch sides every 30 minutes to keep my milk production up on either side. I'm pretty sure it's just their way of getting our milk supply where they need it. I'm pumping so that I can have a storage just in case so I'm taking fenugreek and blessed thistle together and I have a very healthy milk supply and I drink 8 oz of water at the least for every hour I'm awake and eat oatmeal every morning which naturally also helps keep your supply up. Maybe you could try a couple these things see if it helps you. It sounds like your doing great don't give up!

[deleted account]

You could try some things that supposedly help milk production. Fenugreek?



I've never tried that. I did try drinking nettle tea, but I'm not sure that made any difference. What has helped is oatmeal!

Elizabeth - posted on 05/17/2011

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He has always been a heavy night feeder, but until a couple of weeks ago, at least I would get breaks. He would feed for 30-40 minutes then give me 15-30 minute break, then he would be at it again. This would go on for hours. Now it is one continuous feeding and he cries like he's starved when I take him off to burp him. I'm confined to the nursery during this time because he has problems transitioning from being awake to being asleep, and the light in the other rooms makes it harder. I feel like a milk factory instead of a mom. I used to joke every time I put him to the breast "welcome to Mom's All You Can Eat Buffet, I will be your server today."

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