My 8 week old wants to eat ALL the time & has been this way since birth. It's like a continual growth spurt! It's been driving me crazy, always thinking that something must be wrong with my milk composition or supply. My husband watched the baby for 2 hours while I went to the dentist & he ate 8 oz of EBM while I was gone & then wanted to BF as soon as I walked in the door! I have even tried feeding formula & after 4 oz he still acts hungry & will go to the breast. In order to get any sleep I have to sleep right next to him so he can just latch himself on. I've fallen asleep before while he's nursing, woken up 2 hours later & he's STILL nursing! Now I have thrush & all this nursing is really taking its toll on me. It hurts so bad that I'm in tears several times a day! I'm on diflucan now so hopefully the pain will go away soon. But what in the world do I do with my bottomless pit of a son???
Baby wants to eat ALL the time!
Nursing is not just for nutrition, it's for comfort too. The little guy might be wanting to suck for comfort. If you'd like, you could try introducing a pacifier to give yourself a break if you need one. But it will get better. 8 weeks is a hard age. I remember being at my wits end. Your LO will start nursing less often gradually over time. Good luck!!
Human infants are supposed to breastfeed all the time. There are only a couple of things you might be doing "wrong". You may be switching breasts back and forth too often the baby may not feel full and keep eating and eating. You may be nursing any time the baby wimpers. There may be other things you can do that can comfort the baby. You may be rushing in too soon with the breast.
Artificial nipples can cause lots of problems and that's why exclusive breastfeeding is recommended (no bottles of expressed milk). Use of bottles and pacifiers can cause sore nipples and premature weaning. For me it wasn't worth the risk. If I had to go to the dentist my husband would drive me and the baby would sleep in the car seat. If the baby woke and he had to he would drive around while I was in the dentist. I even breastfed during a root canal. Or they would just wait at home and the baby won't starve in 2 hours. I nursed 3 kids all over 2 years with no bottles.
Infants can't control their intake with bottles. They may not be hungry but still suck down a bottle. That's why bottle fed babies tend to be heavier and why obesity can happen in bottle fed babies in infancy. Bottle feeding mothers think they can "feed on demand". If your baby is gaining around a pound a month the first 6 months you have enough milk. Weight gain from 6-12 months can be a little less.
Is he actually taking in milk (i.e. swallowing) all the time when he is nursing? If not, a pacifier might be worth it to give you a bit of a break. I would follow his hunger and nurse him when he wants to be nursed. He will not overfeed from the breast, so I wouldn't worry about him nursing too much. But if he's just chilling and comfort-nursing towards the end of a feeding, don't feel guilty about giving him a pacifier at that time instead if it makes him and you happier. I know pacifiers and bottles can be a problem when establishing breastfeeding, but it sounds like your little guy is doing okay with that. :) There are definitely cases to be made for avoiding them altogether, but personally I am not that hard-core about it (I can't be... I have to go back to work, so she's getting a bottle one way or another), and my daughter gets a pacifier in times when she is crying but refuses to suck at the breast. She seems happier, we're definitely happier with her not crying, and she still nurses fine when she is hungry.
We had this going on, too. I stuck it out until he was 3 months old & I finally gave him a paci 2 weeks ago. It has helped tremendously! We haven't had any latching issues and the paci us the last resort, but he's not nursing constantly like he used to. He actually goes about 1 hour and 15 min between feeds now. I opted for the paci because the frequency of nursing was really taking a toll on me, too... Sometimes we just have to do whatever works to keep everything balanced and if you're getting to the point where you are dreading nursing him, it will effect your bfing relationship and might make you not want to nurse! At least that was where it was heading for me. I would rather have him on a paci once in a while than on formula!
Oh, also, with bottles, it is true that as long as the nipple is in the baby's mouth, it's delivering milk, so they can't control their intake in that way. But that can be somewhat mitigated by giving them breaks from drinking. My husband gives bottles when it's necessary, and he follows the guidelines on Kellymom.com for bottlefeeding a breastfed baby--you watch for signs they want to relinquish the nipple, then remove it and give them a bit of time, and then offer the nipple again and see if they want to go on drinking, repeating this process throughout the feeding. This gives their body time to recognize when they are satiated and don't need more. Then when they are no longer interested in sucking, you respect that they are done rather than making them drink the rest of the bottle. It's a different approach than jamming the bottle in their mouth and making them drink the entire amount.