Baby Feeding: My Baby Eats All The Time

December 14, 2007

Do you feel like you are nursing your baby around the clock?!  The moment you put her down in her crib

 set does she start showing feeding cues?  Though you probably feel that your baby's behavior is indicative of a problem, it may be completely normal.

The Early Days-Baby Feeding

Your baby is born with a tiny stomach, about the size of a marble, which can hold around 5 to 10 mls at a feed.  At each feed your baby gets only a tiny amount of milk.  Since your baby easily digests your milk and it's often immediately time for another feed.  Many newborns spend hours feeding, one breast to the next, before finally settling down.  This is normal behavior and ensures a plentiful milk supply when baby is ready for more.

You may want to keep a chart of how often your baby feeds and the number of wet and dirty diapers that he has in 24 hours.  This will help you determine if he is getting enough milk.

Cluster Feeds--Baby Feeding Pattern

Most babies do not eat in a set pattern.  For instance, your baby may eat 12 times in 24 hours but not necessarily every 2 hours as the math would suggest.  Many babies cluster feed; they bunch several feeds into one time period and take longer breaks afterwards. During a cluster feed, your baby will probably eat, take a short break and ask to eat again.  She may do this several times for a few hours.  You will get to know when your baby's feeding clusters occur.

Frequency Days--How Often Your Baby Eats

Just when you think that you know your baby's feeding pattern or schedule, he throws you for a loop with a day of non-stop breastfeeding. Also called growth spurts, many breastfeeding specialists consider frequency days as a baby's way to build up your milk supply.  As soon as you recognize that this is a frequency day, resign yourself to doing nothing but breastfeeding that day.  Make sure to have a good book near you or a movie you've wanted to see.  Keep drinks and snacks handy and order in for dinner.   Besides the regular growth spurts that punctuate your baby's first year, frequency days may occur for other reasons, such as following an illness during which baby breastfed less or when baby is feeling out of sorts and needs extra TLC.  Just follow your baby's cues and you will be giving her all that she needs.

Handling Frequent Baby Feeds

Become comfortable nursing with one hand.  You will feel a lot less tied down to nursing if you can do other things at the same time, like eating, reading, talking on the phone and even working at the computer.

Learn to nurse lying down.  When else do you have a perfect excuse to lie down in the middle of the day?

Feel good about what you are doing.  In the grand scheme of things, the time you spend nursing your baby frequently is really quite short but the benefits will last her a life time!

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