Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My Baby Breastfeeds Too Often

Your new baby never seems to stop feeding and people seem to be giving conflicting advice. Some say baby feeds so often because you don't have enough milk - baby is hungry so best to think about topping up...

But consider this. What if, your baby was a human being with feelings, moods, preferences and social needs as well as physiological needs? Think for a moment about when you eat and drink. Is every time simply about nutritional value? No! We sit and eat together, we go out for coffees together. It's often a social part of our lives. Babies are social beings with social needs. Sometimes we just would like a chocolate bar... why? Just because.

Take a piece of paper and give it a couple if headings; 'Time', 'food/drink consumed' and 'Duration'. Now think about a 24 hour period in a normal day according to you. Then note down every single thing that passes your lips, it may look a little like this.

6.45am - Coffee - 3 mins
8am - cereal and fruit juice - 10 mins
10.30am - glass of water - 2 mins
11.30am - muffin & coffee - 10 mins
1.45pm - lunch, sandwich, fruit & soda - 30 mins
3pm - Banana - 5 mins
3.30pm - a chocolate - 30 secs!
4pm - coffee - 3 mins
6pm - dinner, chicken, potatoes and vegetables - 45 mins
8.30pm - Tea or a glass of wine - 15 mins
10.30pm - glass of water - 5 mins

So that was 11 times in a fairly normal day that food or drink was consumed. That was also only in waking hours, so probably in a period of around 16 hours. So why are we so hung up on babies feeding on a 2,3,4 hour schedule? Do we say to ourselves when we fancy a glass of water, "oh no, I won't have that water because I only had lunch a half hour ago". Of course not. Do we decline meeting a friend for a coffee and muffin on the basis that its nutritionally unnecessary? Again, no.

Babies get a little thirsty sometimes and fancy a drink, sometimes they want a little snack, sometimes they want a full 3 course meal. Other times they just want a cuddle with benefits.

Babies haven't read the books. But they do know how they feel. They are uncluttered by dieting, food fads and body image issues, they simply ask for what they feel they want. Is your baby feeding too much?
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  1. Love it. :)

    I'm curious, have you ever written a breast feeding post about Excess Lipase?

  2. Thanks, glad you liked it :)
    I haven't yet, I want to look into it though, doesn't seem to be much out there though about it.

  3. When I started off feeding on demand at hospital and then the Midwives complained that she was feeding too often, "snacking". I totally ignored them. On demand is on demand - right? As a result, I was comfy, baby was comfy and now we have a very relaxed time feeding together at so say 'normal' intervals. Even now, she falls asleep on the breast and wakes up half hour later for more and I don't mind at all. Whenever people see me and my baby they tell me how content we look together and my GP told me I was doing an excellent job! Ignore the "rules" and listen to your baby, when you stress because people tell you too many conflicting theories, go with your own flow and know you're doing OK!

  4. Hi Megan, well said. Great that your GP is supportive too. Babies know intuitively what they need/want. It's a shame that modern culture is drumming this natural rhythm out of mothers.


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