11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Those of you seasoned moms on the BYC, I need some advice please! I am, of course, going to bring this question to the pediatrician, but it's a few weeks till my next appointment and I wanted some advice based on real life experience in the meantime. I'll talk to the doctor before acting, so don't be afraid to tell me your experiences!

I have a one month old baby and I've been breastfeeding him since day one. I don't ever want to resort to using baby formula and I've been having pretty good success with breastfeeding. He's been putting on weight and I think he's gained about 4 pounds over the month. I don't have so much milk that I need to use breast pads for leaking, but he seems to be getting enough from me. Some nights though, he will eat for about four hours straight. He gets really frantic and fussy, like he is starving to death even though I've been feeding him almost constantly all night. He finally zonks out around 10:00 p.m. Last night he fed from about 5 till 10, which usually means I have a good night of sleep ahead of me (If there's such a thing as "usually" at one month old) but last night he didn't sleep very well at all. He woke up frequently and was dying to eat each time. Do all babies act this way when they're growing fast?

If this isn't normal behavior, then I will probably have to consider supplementing his diet with something else, but I'm adamantly against formula. The problem is that everything I've read says babies can't have cow's milk before 1 year old. This sounds like total poppycock to me and like propaganda from the anti-dairy crowd. I'd hate to end up with a child who was lactose sensitive because I waited too long to introduce cow's milk! What did you guys supplement your babies' diets with and at what age did you start? My mom says she fed cow's milk thickened with cream of wheat to help her babies sleep better. The current advice is to feed the baby nothing but breastmilk for six months, but older advice was that they could start being supplemented as early as 4 months.

Tell me your breastfeeding stories, please!
NORMAL! Babies go through growth spurts and will eat like they're never going to get another meal. It's at those times that you start trying to find a cow bell for yourself, because that's exactly what you feel like.
Seriously, as long as he is gaining weight, and you're eating enough to continue making enough milk to keep up with his growth spurts, everything should be fine. It's hard when we're breastfeeding because we can't measure how much they're eating, unlike bottle feeding moms. I worried from time to time that mine weren't getting enough to eat, but they were.

I'm about 8-1/2 weeks from joining the cow club with you!

Forgot to add... I don't think I ever supplemented with cereal mixed with breast milk before 4 months, at the very earliest. But my youngest is 8 years old so "they" may have changed that by now.
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In my experience (with breastfeeding BOTH of my children for over a year each), infants often have a fussy period of the day (it was ALWAYS the evening in this house, too), and may be participating in non-nutritive suckling as a soothing method. Check to listen to see if the baby is swallowing frequently (suck, swallow breathe of regular feeding) or every few sucks (generally just to eliminate what your breast has expressed, not out of hunger).

The other option (which I've also experienced) is cluster-feeding. Some kids do it as a method of "tanking up" before long sleeps. Sometimes the sleep just doesn't come (due to belly aches or other reasons).

It's normal. If it's non-nutritive, you may consider trying a pacifier if breastfeeding is firmly established (which it seems to be).
Should have read more carefully.
They will go through growth spurts as the PP said. IT's normal. They need additional milk to grow, and also the increased suckling will increase your supply to keep up with their increasing caloric needs.

It's exhausting, but normal (again). If it's going on all the time...see my previous post.
Ditto to all this- and be very careful about supplementing with anything at all. It really can wreck havoc with nursing.
I nursed both my kids for 8 to 12 months so I was pretty sensitive to being used as a pacifier (non-nutritive sucking referred to by the earlier poster). Some parents engaging in "attachment parenting" are ok with this. You might be ok with this. Either way it's normal - if it's cluster feeding or non-nutritive sucking as long as he's happy and you're happy why not? My only caution would be that if you are going to do this long term - this may get a lot less "cute" when you've got a wriggling 8-12 month old or someone big enough to lift up your shirt and take what they want. Those "bottles" do belong to you after all
Congratulations on doing well your first time and having a successful first month - it only gets easier from there for the most part.
Really good advice so far, and I just wanted to add my experiences.

Babies do go through increased feeding times during growth spurts, and it's perfectly normal. If your baby is gaining weight then you really shouldn't worry. Each one of my kids struggled with putting on weight in the beginning (because I had a breast reduction many years before and truly didn't produce enough) and the doctors don't suggest supplementing witah formula (or donated breast milk) until the baby isn't gaining weight.

You should consider your diet and if that is affecting baby at all. Did you eat anything that could be making baby gassy? Things along those lines.

Cow's milk proteins are structurally different than human milk and it is much harder for a baby to digest.

As far as allergies are concerned, the longer you wait to introduce any new food, the less likely an allergy to that food will develop (generally speaking). So if you were to introduce a new food now it would actually increase the baby's chances of being allergic to that. It takes time for baby's digestive tract to fully develop, and the antibodies in mom's milk is excellent and perfect for that. There should be plenty of information available at the La Leche League website ( I think).

I experienced the non-nutritive suckling too, and it was hard for me to know the difference, especially with my first, and the more they do it, the more they get used to it and expect it. I really felt like a human cow and/or pacifier at times.

Just know that you are doing the best for your baby, and this "phase" will pass.

Best wishes!
Thanks everyone! I guess part of my concern was with how aggravated he has been since around last night. It's like he's really ticked off at me! And this comes on the heels of a very scary thing that happened the other day. I was walking with him in a Snugli carrier and I lost my footing and tripped! I landed on my hands and knees and his head didn't touch the ground as far as I could tell, but it was sooo scary! I called the pediatrician of course, and they calmed me down saying that if he didn't hit his head I shouldn't worry. I checked him all over and he was so scared and upset with me. And now he's acting all fussy and like he's starving to death, so I'm imagining that he's just really ticked off at me for falling down. I know it's in my imagination and my husband reassured me 100 times that I'm not the world's worst mom.

Anyway, I'm very happy with breastfeeding. It was a big struggle for the first few weeks, but now I've gotten more used to it and he's gotten better at latching on, so we're getting to the point where we're working well together. But after a whole night of feeding, I still feel pretty over-used. Also, if he gets a burp stuck in his belly or feels gassy down below, he starts arching his head back while he's nursing, or twisting his head around, basically giving me the ol' purple nurple! It can be pretty irritating to "the ladies." Even when the breast is right in front of him and available and I'm trying to get him to latch on, he'll give a really good wail or two acting like I'm mistreating him and not feeding him, and he turns red from his frustration. I think last night and today he was just really gassy.

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