How can I encourage DS to nurse more? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-21-2003, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 10.5 mo and has never been a constant nurser, but for the past 2 days and nights he just won't nurse enough! My breasts have been full! He normally nurses about every 2 hours during the day and every 2-4 hours during the night but I never wake up even slightly engorged. The past 2 days though, he's been nursing every 3-4 hours and at night when he wakes up I try to nurse him but he just lays his hand on my breast and goes back to sleep. He's recovering from the flu and he's about 95% healthy now. Could that have anything to do with it? But why would he reduce his nursing now that he's better? His normal solid menu for one day includes: 1/4 rice cake, 2 TB yogurt, 1 cracker, and less than 1 ounce of water. I don't think that's filling him up! I try nursing him every hour during the day but he either squirms away or sucks for a few seconds but loses interest before let-down. He has a decent nursing about every 3-4 hours. Is he getting enough? Should I pump to keep my supply up and relieve engorgement or should I let my body adjust to his demand?

Any advice would really be appreciated! I'm starting to feel rejected and nervous that he's not getting enough milk.

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Old 02-21-2003, 03:54 AM
 
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That can be a tough one. I'd usually pump or manually express if I got uncomfortably engorged. I think it's best to let the body adjust. I think that nursing every 3-4 hours during the day at his age is fairly normal. Because he's older, he can take in more. Perhaps he's changing his nursings to less frequently, but same volume. Kids at that age can take a good 8 to 10 ounces in one nursing session. If your DS starts demanding more often, your supply will shoot back up. There are herbs you can use to help with that if you're concerned. In the end, I'm a proponent for letting the body adjust.
Is your DS getting enough? How are his pees? Is he peeing a normal amount? Is he eliminating poo normally? Does he look dehydrated? Is his energy level indicating healthy? If all is well in those areas, he's fine.
Does he seem more interested in solids than nursing? Perhaps he'd rather be eating more and nursing less? Try offering him some ripe pears, bananas or avacado. If he wants to eat more then he will. If he wants to nurse instead of eat, he will. Some babies naturally wean themselves early. My sis weaned at 12 months. Other kids naturally wean as toddlers or preschoolers.
You're lucky he's night weaning himself. Perhaps there's full nights sleep in your near future!
Good luck.

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Old 02-21-2003, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response!

He will pretty much eat whatever I offer him, but not a lot at once. He really does like solids, but I don't offer him a lot because I think it's better for him to nurse more. Is that bad?

I don't want him to wean early! I think I would be heartbroken if he weaned at 12 mo. Is weaning a non-negotiable thing? If I continue to encourage him to nurse would that discourage weaning?

Also, would a nursing necklace help in keeping DS interestd at the breast? I think part of the reason he nurses less is because there are other things he'd rather be doing, but if I had something fun on me maybe he would stay longer?

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Old 02-21-2003, 12:03 PM
 
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I agree that I would try as hard to keep a 10 month old or even an 18 month old nursing as i would with a 6 week old, I really believe that children are supposed to nurse until at least 2 and those that wean very early are usually moving on because it is so easy to get foods that children can/like to eat, or because night nursing is really discouraged, or because nursing is some kind of struggle, or what ever.

But I also think that this age most babies do slow down, and it isn't too hard to wean now (maybe that is why a year is a pretty common time-this is when Dr. Spock reccomends weaning: ) At this age they are just so distracted by everything else. Sitting in moms lap is no fun.

Maybe try nursing somewhere calm and quiet. When I want some one to nurse I usually go lay in bed a read and then the next time thay are looking for me they come in and forget about what they were going to do and think gee I'd like to nurse! I also think they nurse for longer in bed.

I do think that if he is acting well, then every 4 hours is enough. And I don't think that it really means he is weaning many children go for years only nursing once or twice a year! With thier moms thinking the whole time I think he is about to wean.
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Old 02-21-2003, 01:41 PM
 
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It may be the illness makes it uncomfortable to nurse.

If you do a search for the phrase "nursing strike" you may find some good ideas, especially at

http://www.kellymom.com

http://www.lalecheleague.org

and maybe here at mothering.com?

Two ideas I've heard of are cosleeping with your top off temporarily, and bathing together.

While every child is different, I think I personally WOULD encourage a child this young to nurse. I would offer frequently but of course gently (if it is uncomfortable to nurse from the illness hopefully that will pass!) After all the World Health Organization and UNICEF and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend at LEAST two years. Of course you don't want to force it, but I WOULD make extra chances to gently offer. If the child is tired from the illness you can spend a lot of time cuddling and/or in bed together. Nursing or not that would be great for both of you, possibly.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 02-22-2003, 12:07 AM
 
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I wansn't encouraging weaning in any way. My own DD is alomost 19 months and still nurses a lot, 6 times a day anyway. My friend's daughter is 20 months and only nurses once a day. Has been doing that since about a year. It's just that each kid is different. Some want to nurse more than others. I do encourage my DD to eat as many solids as she wants. She has known from before she was a year exactly what she wanted whether it was nursing or solids. I don't think that offering her solids has affected her desire to nurse in the least. I believe that breast milk should be the main source of nutrition for the first year of life. Solids are something new to start learning about. I guess my point is to respect the needs your DS is trying to communicate to you. If he wants a few more solids and fewer nursings that just may be him. If a nursing necklace helps keep him on task, give it a whirl. Just keep loving your DS and doing the very best for him. DON'T wean! He's way too young for that!

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Old 02-23-2003, 03:31 AM
 
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My sons all started going 3-4 hours between nursing by about 6 months. It doesn't mean they're actually weaning, just that they take in more at a time and aren't growing quite as fast as they were at first. I personally was happy when mine night-weaned because I really need my sleep. It does take a few days for your body to adjust to the new schedule though. You may also find that as he gets older and has new experiences he will start nursing more frequently for the comfort. I definitely wouldn't worry about him weaning in the next couple of months just because his schedule is more spaced out. If you really want him to nurse more just offer the breast before solids or instead of. A hungry babe will almost always take the breast if offered, even if they are used to some solids.
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Old 02-23-2003, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

What I decided to try was being more interactive with him during the day...I thought maybe he was a little annoyed with me because I've been busy with housework lately. It seems to have worked so far! Today was MUCH better. I generally carry him around a lot and we co-sleep so I didn't think we didn't have enough bodily contact, but I think I've been distracted lately. So I made it a point yesterday and today to just spend a lot of time playing with him and just paying more attention to him and today we made a lot of progress! He's nursing more during the day and at night (well, tonight anyways) when he woke up and I went in to offer him the breast, he nursed back to sleep instead of thrashing around and falling asleep touching my breast. So I am feeling much better!

I know a lot of babies DS's age don't nurse quite so frequently but I feel like he really needs to nurse a lot because he just doesn't keep the weight on! He doesn't stop moving, even in his sleep, and recently his diapers have been snapping on a smaller setting! Maybe all babies do this and I'm just a nervous first time mom? And also since the nursing decreased rather suddenly I thought that it might be a nursing strike of some sort. So if it was a nursing strike, I've made it through!

Thanks!!!

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Old 02-23-2003, 02:30 PM
 
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Sounds like your mother's intuition kicked in. A few days of relaxed mommy/baby time must be what he needs. Babies this age are so distractable, some quiet time will encourage more eating.

Just wanted to add a word of warning to anyone reading this. if your baby suddenly shortens or lengthens time between feeds, and you start to get engorged, express milk to comfort, or you run the risk of a painful plugged duct.
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