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What size baby can exclusively bf?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Dear Moms,

I am bfing my DS, just going to be 4 months old tomorrow. He is a really big baby -- almost 10 lbs at birth and 19 lbs already now (and 29" tall), and I am having to bf every 1 to 2 hours to keep him happy, except for his first stretch at night, when he sleeps 4 or 5 hours. I have assumed that the bfing frequency is because he is trying to stimulate the most milk possible. He wants about 24 oz. between 9 am and 5 pm. (I know because sometimes I pump.) I think about 40 oz. total in a 24-hour period.I was hoping to bf exclusively (no other foods) for his first 6 months but now I am questioning whether that will be possible.

My bfing books say "after 6 months milk no longer meets all of a baby's nutritional needs." My questions is: Do they mean caloric needs? Or vitamins and protein and things like that? Because my DS's 19 lbs make him the size of the average 9-month old -- and in addition he is growing faster than any 9-month-old. I just wonder how much longer I will be able to provide him with all the calories he needs. Also, it would be nice not to have to bf quite so frequently -- every 2-3 hours. Would be great. Should I think about supplementing with some rice cereal?

What do you think, webmoms?
post #2 of 45
I want to hear the advice for this one! I know rice cereal would not be something I would start with. I've had friends say it constipated their bebe.
My ds is 10 months old and we started with avocado at 6 months. He loves to eat but also loves to nurse. He's getting the bulk of his calories from breastmilk. I think it's fine and they do get all their nutrients and more from us.
Guru breastfeeding mamas ... I'm all eyes. Will be subbing this
post #3 of 45
As long as he is gaining weight ok, and getting plenty of wet/dirty nappies i wouldn't worry all babies come different shapes and sizes, my dc's all fed around every 1-2hrs at 4mths sometimes more, as for giveing rice cereal it probebly won't make any difference to how often he feeds i tried this and it made no difference. it just sounds to me like your ds really likes his mummy milk
take care

post #4 of 45
I believe breastmilk has more calories per ounce than any other food you could possibly feed - does someone have the data on this?

All I know is, at 11 months, my 23 lb. dd still only plays at eating food - she is a booby baby for sure - and with a mouthfull of teeth, and busy all the time, very energetic and healthy-

post #5 of 45
hi there welcome to MDC.
My baby is very similair to your baby. At 4 mo he was 18 lbs and ate every 1-2 hours. I know what it is like and now at 9 months he nurses every 2-3 hours. THese babes are just big boys. I nursed my son till he was 7 mo before I gave him any solids or cereal. He did just great. It sounds like your baby is doing great too. Right now BM is the very best thing for his growing brain and body. Rice cereal is mostly empty calories and I personally would not give it to him.

"My bfing books say "after 6 months milk no longer meets all of a baby's nutritional needs." Even this statement is not fully true as numerous studies have shown that bf babies can exclusively nurse up to a full year and still be perfectel healthy- even big babies.

Good luck with your baby. Your doing fine.
post #6 of 45
My 10 and 1/2 lb at birth ds was exclusively bf until 6 months and then almost exclusively for several months after that as he didn't really take to solids well for a while.

He grew like a weed and is still a big healthy kid at 3yrs. If your babe is growing, having lots of wet and poopy diapers and is gaining weight, then he is doing fine.

It can be hard to be patient with nursing that often when it seems as if other people's kids may go longer between nursing sessions, but my guy was always a 1-2 hour nurser. He was big and he loved to nurse! It did eventually taper off, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Your milk is the most nutritionally complete thing you can give him right now. As long as you have no true supply issues, then he is getting the best and most concentrated nutrition possible. Nothing you could add would be better than what he is getting. Rice cereal is certainly nutritionally inferior to breastmilk and can actually be counter-productive.

I think the (arbitrary) 6 month mark is more about vitamins etc. than calories, and even that is up for debate. Most babies like to eat some food about 6 months but many a baby has thrived on bm and very little in the way of snacks for many months more than that!

Hang in there!
post #7 of 45
My baby is that exact same way (same size as yours at that age too i do believe) he is just a hippo baby. And still only has bm...with the occasional taste of "real" food
post #8 of 45
Remember, just because your baby looks big on the outside, doesn't mean he's mature on the inside. 4 months is still a bit young to start solids on. The gut isn't fully mature yet and is still suspectible to allergies. Like a pp said, babies come in all shapes and sizes, and babies know how to get more milk out of mommy to fill their needs. If baby is growing and wetting dipes fine, there is nothing to worry about!

I also wanted to mention that women have different breast capacities. Perhaps your baby nurses more because you have a small capacity. It's like...some women's breasts serve a 3 course meal at once, while others serve frequent appetizers. You'll get full either way, it's just at a different rate. It doesn't mean you're not producing enough milk, not at all! Just that you may be producing smaller portions more frequently. Hope that made sense!
post #9 of 45
plenty of mothers here have babies who exclusively, or almost exlusively breastfed for a year or more. the only thing I worried about with dd, who never ate more than a few tablespoons of solid food until after 9 months, was iron, and you can easily get a bloodtest to check on that.
It is important to wait until at least six months to introduce solids, though. Studies show babies who get solids before then are at increased risk of illness including diarrhea and pneumonia.
post #10 of 45
Gah, I sat here Googling for a few minutes but I give up. I was looking for the reference to prove something I remember referring to very often--it's supposedly ok for a baby to get between 50 and 100% of their calories from breastmilk inbetween 6 and 12 months.

And I've also read that breastmilk is the most calorically dense food you can possibly feed a baby (c'mon LLL mamas, I know you guys probably have referrences for those statements--??!). So even if you're supplementing with avocado or something else high-fat, chances are your breastmilk has more calories in it and probably better nutrition too.

I notice you mention "ounces"--I'm guessing you know 'cause you're pumping and giving expressed bottles? If that's the case, it would make sense to me (IMO) to have him nursing very often on top of that, because breastpumps aren't nearly as effective as baby is at stimulating milk production

You could possibly try some mother's milk tea or fenugreek caps to up your milk production.. Also make SURE you are eating a good diet for yourself. All those "expert" books tell you breastfeeding can help you lose weight--yahwell, if you're focusing too much on weight you want to lose and not eating enough calories to make milk, then that's gonna cause problems! I know i was *ravenous* when I was nursing my daughter, especially in that first year of her rapid growth. I didn't lose a whole lot of weight cause I was too busy with nursing and eating!!

I know of at least one mama who exclusively breastfed her two girls, and both of them ended up being around 25lbs at only 4 months old! She allowed them to start solids when they showed interest and both her family history and her ped assured her that some babies are just like that--big eaters in the beginning. Those girls both thinned out once they decided to start solids, and by a year old were quite average-sized, with average appetites (and still nursing as well ) HTH!
post #11 of 45
My bf ds was 7lb 12oz at birth and at 3 1/2mo he's 19lbs. He's not as tall as yours... only 26", he's a chunker! I was the same way, and so was my dad. He was eating around 2oz(very rarely pump) every 2hrs but right before 3mo he mixed things up and now he eats more and doesn't go for a long stretch at night... it's still every 1-2hrs. So you're not alone with a big boy!

I just know Breastmilk is the best! La Leche League says:
"Human milk remains the single most important food in your baby's diet until his first birthday."

Many resources are now saying it's best to wait to introduce solids till 6 mo.
" By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it's particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy"

Good luck and keep up the good work!
post #12 of 45
At 18 months, my daughter was still about 98% breastfed. She would eat a couple crackers a day and that was it besides breastmilk. She was 25lbs!

Keep going strong! Breastmilk changes with the baby and meets his or her needs all the time. It is supposed to be the primary food source until at least 12 months.
post #13 of 45
My dd started out at 7lbs 14oz, and at 4 months was 17 pounds. She nursed every 45 - 90 minutes during the day and about 2 every 2 hours at night. I know she was getting enough breasmilk because she was eating that much and growing. She was exclusively breastfed until 9 months old when she showed interest in solids, and just in the past month has started eating solids for more than just a taste and more for nutrition. (Was 36 lbs @15 mos)

So, yes, big babies are just fine being exclusively breastfed.
Many littler babies nurse that often, too. It doesn't mean they're not getting enough milk either. Some babies just like to nurse a lot!

I know it stinks sometimes to nurse that often. I remember wishing that I could make it through one roadtrip where I didn't have to sit in the back with my boob hanging out the entire time. But they get older and the feedings space out! At 17 months dd only nurses every 3 hours, day and night! A big difference!

post #14 of 45
My first ds was 20lbs at 4 months, and he was exclusively breastfed past one year (he refused solids and would become so angry at eating them would throw up) At on year he was 36lbs he was huge but he was still 36 pounds at 3 and now at 10 he is 56 lbs so he was just a big baby

my 2nd ds was 18lbs at 4 months
my 3rd only 16 lbs at 4 months, but all of them were exclusively breastfed until a minimum of 6 months They nursed often but were just big eaters
post #15 of 45
DD was EBF until about 11.5m. At 12m she was 27lbs.

My supply was fine, I fed on demand (and all through the night), and she was at the top of the charts. There were days I was tired, but I think that had more to do with missing sleep than BF.

I hope this is helpful!
post #16 of 45
Great advice so far!

Also, remember that what you can pump probably DOES NOT equal what baby gets when nursing - baby is far more efficient and effective than a pump and she gets more at the breast while nursing than you can get from pumping. So try not to get all wrapped up in the numbers of ounces.

Read the baby, not the books. Does baby seem interested in and ready for solids? Is he sitting unassisted? Grabbing for your food? Watching your fork go into your mouth and open his mouth wide as you take each bite? Is his pincer grasp good enough to pick up small bites?

These are usually signs that come along sometime after 6 months or so. Watch the baby, and wait until he's ready.

Honestly? I think the books are kind of a bunch of hooey. Who's to say that at 6 months BFIng loses anything? Or that every single baby needs somehing else at that exact age?
post #17 of 45
I also have a frequent nurser - DD will nurse as often as every hour some days, and usually every 2 hours during the day. She's 3 1/2 months old. However, she's tiny (10.5lbs) so I don't think your DS's frequent nursing is necessarily a sign that he needs more to fill him up since he's big. For myself, I'm fairly certain that I have a smaller capacity. The best I have ever gotten pumping is 3oz on one side, which has only happened a small handful of times, and that's after not nursing for 4 hours while I'm at school. My guess is that DD probably takes in about an ounce more than that (when she takes a bottle while I'm gone it's usually 4oz) so I'm going to guess that she eats 2-3oz every 2 hours. Perhaps you also have a smaller capacity and that's why your DS nurses so often?

Anyway, I was mainly posting to let you know that it's totally normal for some babies, big or small, to nurse frequently. =)
post #18 of 45
I think that nursing every 2-3 hours is very, very normal for a 4 month old. As you can tell they are growing and developing quickly at that age and need to eat a lot.
post #19 of 45
I have heard that Starting baby on Rice is not the best idea.


This website is full of info on it.

I would maybe start doing bananas once a day to give your breasts a rest. (my baby didn't agree with the egg yolk recommended) BUT

Also consider that right around 4 months they have some furrious growth spurt and it might subside again soon. Try to hold out longer before introducing solids if you can.
post #20 of 45
My son was 11 lb, 14 oz when he was born. Now, at 5 months old, he weighs 21 lbs. (But, you know, he doesn't look all that big to me--it's the other babies that look tiny )

Anyway, he is EBF and he still nurses every 2-3 hours. And, during the day, if it's been 2 hours, I offer. I try to get him to eat as much as possible during the day so that he doesn't need as much at night (sometimes works, sometimes doesn't, but at least I tried. LOL)
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