Hey everyone. Our son is 3 weeks old today and our breastfeeding sessions are always between 40 and 60 minutes long only ending when he falls asleep. I would love for him to eat and be done but he seems to be using the breast for nourishment and as a pacifier. In fact sometime I have to offer him a breast in order to get him to sleep. He isn't doing any productive sucking, just playing around until he falls asleep. How can I stop this?
He is using me as a pacifier
oh those first few weeks are really hard! My guy is 10 months old now and I still remember that feeling of "JUST FINISH UP ALREADY" like it was yesterday.
It got easier when I discovered two things. First, it really really helped to have a distraction - so I watched a lot of movies on DVDs. When the movies ran out a good friend brought me several TV series on DVD too. Man did I watch a lot of DVDs!
Second, I realized that it is normal for such little ones to spend so much time on the breast, and that it gets better as they get older. As long as they are growing well (and not hanging out on the breast all the time because they aren't getting enough milk) then they are actually doing just what they need to do. I read this great note called "The Normal Newborn and Why Breastmilk is Not Food" on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=162106522337&id=195291585574) and felt better with baby on the breast all the time knowing that he was growing his brain, calming his fears and developing into a well adjusted kid with all the time he was spending there. That really helped. "Oh he's not just eating right now, he's growing his brain."
That said, I found that I could encourage optimum milk consumption by doing breast compressions (http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34:4-day-old-after-tongue-tie-release-with-compressions&catid=6:video-clips&Itemid=13). Unlatching and burping (with sometimes a diaper change) the relatching helped too. As did an entire set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs thanks to my good friend!
Good luck and hang in there! Now my guy can have feeds as short as 5 min.
I've been trying to get him to fall asleep other ways; in the sling, on my chest, etc. This morning I finally just handed him to BF and said good luck. He was full, burped and dry and I couldn't handle the taffy pulling pissed off baby anymore (we'd been nursing for over 30 min at that point and he did not want more milk). He fell asleep with daddy (thank goodness).
Wish I had more help for you, but I'm pretty much in the same boat
Babies use the breast as a pacifier. Yes. This is normal. That is what they do. Except the ones who don't. Every baby is different.
I think the suggestion that you distract yourself is a good one, because babies are supposed to want to lounge around with the breast. It's totally normal. I think our calling nursing relationships "breastfeeding" has encouraged an idea that the breast is just for feeding and if the baby isn't hungry and/or actively nursing, the baby shouldn't be there. Nope. The breasts are there for nourishment of the body and the spirit. The nursing relationship feeds the body and makes the baby feel happy, contented, secure in mama's arms. This is as it should be.
Your baby is only 3 weeks old. Your baby is used to being inside you, with you 24/7, warm and well-nourished and safe. Give yourself and your baby a few more weeks, at least, to get used to the transition that is birth. This is all new to both of you! Allow yourself to revel in the nursing relationship, if you can. As the baby gets older, things will change in your nursing relationship, but just enjoy each other for now, if you can.
My new baby does the same thing, and he's 3 mths old now. If I've got nothing going on I tend to just let him suck until he's asleep or gets off by himself. I love it sometimes though, I really do. Especially when he nurses to sleep and just lays there sucking every now and then With that said it can get old, especially since I work part time and don't always have the time to let him do that. So he does take a pacifier when I need him to.
We do a lot of comfort nursing at night too as we co-sleep. So at least I feel good knowing he's getting that on days I have to work. I'm sorry, I may not have given you ideas but just know your baby is still so little and just wants his mama. It will get better as he gets older.
After reading this thread I'm going to try to hang on a little longer, as it seems these little ones need this right now. Glad to know it gets better.. And that I'm not the only one with streaming DVDs! Lol. Watched an entire season of Modern Family in two days . !
He's not using you as a pacifier-- a pacifier is a substitute for you. You are doing just exactly right, to follow baby's cues and let him suckle as long as he seems to want to.
Has he regained birthweight? Is he pooping several times a day? I only ask because a very few babies spend a ton of time at the breast because they aren't getting enough milk-- often mama has plenty, but for one reason or another baby isn't getting it. The sign of that would be poor weight gain and poor diaper output. In that case, I'd recommend learning about breast compressions, and getting the advice of an experienced lactation consultant or La Leche League leader, just to be sure all is well.
But if he's gaining, there's no need to change or stop anything. This is how newborns are. (Except when they aren't, of course. Every child is different. My DD2 for example was a power-nurser from the get-go. My DS once logged 22 1/2 hours out of 24, at five weeks old, on the breast.)
My best advice would be to find a way to distract yourself. Have you tried practicing nursing in a carrier? I learned early on to nurse with baby in an Ergo or Mei Tai, so that I would be able to go about my business. It really helped a LOT. I also would recommend if you haven't already, learning to nurse while lying down, so that you can snooze while baby does his thing.
It goes by so fast! It can really help to try and find a way to frame it differently for yourself, so you can enjoy it while it lasts. Think of it this way-- sitting quietly nursing is a lot less exhausting than endlessly walking the floor with a fussy baby. My first was bottlefed, so we didn't have the option of comfort nursing, and all of the other soothing methods seem to require so much more effort. Breastfeeding was so much easier.