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comfort sucking and erratic feeding

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  • comfort sucking and erratic feeding

    Hi! Two questions related to feeding

    Can a baby suddenly "discover" comfort-sucking? could it be related to teething? if the baby is asleep and still sucking but not swallowing, is it okay to gently unlatch them? Last night I was convinced that if I didn't, she'd keep my nipple in her mouth the entire night!! My baby is 12 weeks old.

    Also, she fed like a maniac yesterday, but today she literally fed 4 times! she wasn't interested in eating and even got apoplectic every time I showed her my breast. i was worried she wasn't eating enough - is it possible for babies to overload one day and then not need to eat as much the next?

    Thanks for any advice!

  • #2
    Congratulations on breastfeeding!

    About your questions:
    Can a baby suddenly "discover" comfort-sucking? could it be related to teething? I think they can suddenly discover that nursing is comforting and then decide they like to comfort nurse. That is one nice thing about breastfeeding - you don't have to try to figure out if they need a pacifier or a bottle or what - you can just let them nurse and you're meeting whatever need they have at the moment. Night comfort-sucking can be hard, though, so I understand completely your next question....

    if the baby is asleep and still sucking but not swallowing, is it okay to gently unlatch them? Yes - you can try gently unlatching if they are comfort nursing. If she wakes up and wants to try again, go ahead and let her, but after a few more comfort sucks, you can try again. It may take a few times, but she will probably just go back to sleep. There have been nights where my LO has needed to comfort nurse and she seems to suck all night long. But most of the nights she is just sleeping peacefully and will nurse and fall back asleep without needing to comfort nurse.

    Also, she fed like a maniac yesterday, but today she literally fed 4 times! she wasn't interested in eating and even got apoplectic every time I showed her my breast. i was worried she wasn't eating enough - is it possible for babies to overload one day and then not need to eat as much the next? I would follow her lead when it comes to feeding. They do seem to have hungrier days and then days when they are not so hungry. It is possible that she just got lots of calories on the day she was nursing a lot and then she didn't need as many the following day.


    Again, keep up the GREAT WORK breastfeeding! It is so wonderful that you're giving your daughter the world's BEST, most perfect food.

    - Stephanie

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    • #3
      Making More Milk

      Yay, natural baby-feeding!

      Sometimes, when Baby seems to comfort-suckle, she's just making more milk. Babies have a secret way of knowing just how much food they're going to need for the next day/week/month. It used to bother me, too, until this theory was offered to me. Now, my breasts are quick to adjust to growth spurts and periods of higher food intake. Also, around 3-4 months is a natural time for one or two growth spurts to take place.
      Last edited by LearnWorth; 01-16-2010, 09:11 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kittymouse View Post
        if the baby is asleep and still sucking but not swallowing, is it okay to gently unlatch them? Last night I was convinced that if I didn't, she'd keep my nipple in her mouth the entire night!!

        is it possible for babies to overload one day and then not need to eat as much the next?
        I always have to unlatch my daughter (6 months old) at night/naps. I wait until she only has a little suckle here and there and just pop my finger in the side of her mouth. (If she is gulping, I know she is actually eating; her breathing changes and even the position of her head. I don't unlatch her then because I figure she must be hungry and sleepy!) She will sometimes wiggle when the seal breaks, but if I just keep my breast close to her face, she goes right back to sleep.

        Your daughter may be going through a growth spurt. They put them at 3 and 6 days, weeks, and months, if I remember right, though my daughter never really stuck hard and fast to that schedule. She had days where she would just nurse and then for a few days, a handful of times. As long as she is still producing dirty diapers and you're nursing on demand, I wouldn't worry about it.

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        • #5
          My husband and I go round and round about this topic and I'm looking for ways to meet everyone's needs. My 3 year old daughter rarely finishes her dinner (we serve it on her plate for her) and at times as we are lying down to go to sleep she will say, "I'm hungry." When she does want something to eat at bedtime, we have been offernig her either the rest of her dinner or apples with peanut butter and a glass of water. She will eat some then go to bed. My husband thinks that she should eat her dinner when it is available or at the very least sit quietly at the table while we finish our dinner. She frequently gets up and down from the table, or asks to sit on one of our laps. I don't know how he plans on "making" her finish or sit down until we are done. I stuggled with eating disorders as a young adult and don't want to make food a power struggle. He feels like he is being controlled and that she is capable of sitting queitly at the table when she is just 3 years old. Has anyone gone through this? What do you suggest we do? Thank you!

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          • #6
            SumaN, I personally have no experience with this type of toddler eating behaviour, but I firmly believe that, like other areas of baby-led parenting, children should not be forced to eat. I would just leave her be. She isnt hurting anyone by getting up from the table and as she gets older, she will probably be able to sit still for longer times. You can try to discuss with her that she needs to sit at least for instance 5 min after she's finished her food, and then later try 10 min, and so on but really, is it that much of an issue? Sure, children need to have dinner-table manners but she is still very small and it is probably very bornig for her to sit there quietly. Perhaps make her a box full of 'dinner toys' that she can only play with when she has finished eating, on the condition that she sits close to the table and plays, but it is in her best interests to make dinner time a welcoming, friendly experience for her, one of chatting and bonding with the rest of the household.

            Also remember that little tummies are small, so she may very well be full at dinner time and hungry again when she is supposed to sleep. The snacks are a good idea. She will eventually outgrow this behaviour and you will also be able to guage better how to apply dinner-time discipline as she gets older.

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