Hi! Lately my almost 4 month old daughter seems to be wanting to eat every hour or so - all day / all night -- when she is with me. She seems to do this for about 24 hours or so. I work full-time & pump, so I am not with her always. She does this every couple weeks, is this a growth spurt or something else? She is big for her age (9lbs 4oz at birth), weight gain is fine, # of wet /soiled diapers per day is fine, etc.
I do nurse side-lying sometimes at night, but nursing every hour @ night still takes a toll on a working mama. Any ideas of why she is doing this or should I just keep doing what I'm doing? When she is nursing she eats like it's her last meal every time, it's definitely not comfort nursing... Is my body not giving her the nutrients she needs?
Thank you for any help.
You milk almost certainly has everything she needs. It would be rare and you would be very malnourished yourself before your milk wouldn't be nutritious enough.
I think she's probably reverse cycling http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling.html and that she ups her nursing every few days when you are together to keep your supply up.
This is normal behavior for an infant. All of mine nursed nearly constantly, in the first six to nine months. First of all, it's the optimal situation, biologically speaking. Frequent feeding is the normal pattern for human lactation. Second of all, nursing is about more than food. Yes, she's eating actively while she's nursing, so it's not "just" comfort nursing, but it is comfort nursing. The breast is home to them. They come to the breast because they're hungry, thirsty, lonely, tired, having trouble sleeping, overstimulated, cuddly, insecure, and for a thousand other reasons.
It can certainly wear you out, especially if you're working all day. But you're doing just exactly the right thing! And I think the suggestion that it's reverse cycling is probably correct--- the pump is not as good at maintaining your supply as she is, and all that frequent night nursing is going to keep you pumping plenty when you need it. And the way you see it reappear every few weeks-- she's alert to when your supply needs a boost, and doing what's needed to keep it up.
FWIW, though, I wouldn't hesitate to introduce a pacifier, to a baby four months old who has good weight gain. I would use it extremely cautiously, and keep a close eye that weight gain doesn't slow. I would use it not to replace feeds-- if she stops feeding frequently at night, you could see a decrease in your supply, if she's not with you all day. But it can help to get you a better stretch of night sleep, especially earlier in the night. I used it this way with my second daughter-- I'd nurse her until she was asleep, and then slipped my nipple out and slipped the paci in, and she'd sleep a bit longer before the next feed. It let me get a three hour stretch from about 9 to midnight, which was FANTASTIC.
i would assume she is doing that to keep your supply up because of working/pumping.. and to make up for the time when you are not together.. i would keep doing what you're doing.. this is what babies are suppose to do .. if you get to a point where you just can't stand it then that might be another issue but for now, i'd try to focus on working with this .. try to learn to sleep through it etc. 4 month olds are known for beign horrible sleepers so it may get better with time..
- Staci, Mommy to Mollie (3/06), Jamie (5/08), Annie (9/10), Bently (2/13), Robin (11/15)... and SURPRISE! (3/18)
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