But seriously folks, I’m not saying that with complete enthusiasm at this point. I still cringe at the idea even though I have already made arrangements with my doula to have it encapsulated after my birth. We were recently speaking about other options besides encapsulation such as eating it raw in smoothies. She advised me that it won’t completely pulverize in the blender and there would still be small chunks to swallow. I was just about yacking on her shoes although there are plenty of people that do this every day. There is the side of me that is intrigued by the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that it can help in postpartum recovery and then the other side of me that is intensely grossed out by it. I just haven’t been exposed to this type of thing for very long. I can easily become hung up on the oddity of it like the time I ate alligator. Couldn’t do it, had to spit it out, I totally freaked myself out.
by Wendy Wisner, IBCLC
“My bubba is 18 weeks old and I think he’s weaning off the boob . He feeds fine during the night, even comfort feeds but during the days it’s becoming increasingly impossible to get anything into him, he feeds for 5 mins (if that) then he’s off and he’s crying at me and doesn’t want to take anymore from me. I’m at such a loss. Do I need to start giving him formula? Do I need to start giving him food?”
Just when you get into a groove with breastfeeding, it has to change, huh? The pattern you describe is actually very common among four month old babies! There’s even a name for it: “The Four Month Fussies.” And it’s just as you describe: the baby was who previous happily nursing becomes fussy at the breast (especially during the day), shortening nursing sessions, and sometimes even refusing the breast. These same babies often nurse well at night or during other sleepy times.
There are several reasons for this. First, your baby is going through a big developmental leap. For the first time, he is realizing that there is a world beyond his mommy. There are trees, lamps, people shuffling across the room. Your baby is finding is hard to divide his attention between the job of nursing, and the job of observing the world around him (he will figure out how to balance the two in the months ahead). That’s why he nurses so much better at night, when the lights are out and everything is quiet.
It’s also possible that your baby is teething. Some babies really do start this early! And some teething babies find breastfeeding uncomfortable at times (and soothing at other times). If you suspect teething, you can give your baby something cold to suck or chew on before nursing to comfort his gums. Your baby also simply may have become a more efficient nurser, and is able to get the milk he needs in five minutes – this change often happens around this age.
You are doing the right thing by continuing to nurse him on demand, and especially at night, when your milk supply is often highest and when he can nurse undisturbed. Other moms have found that moving some of the distractions during the day helps too. So try nursing in a dark room, nursing after walking your baby around in a baby carrier. Try nursing right as he wakes up from a nap, in the middle of the nap, and certainly nurse him to sleep if he likes that.
If you are truly concerned about whether he is getting enough, please visit your pediatrician right away for a weight check. Most babies who exhibit the behavior you describe continue to get plenty of milk, but if your gut tells you something is wrong, please look into it right away.
As long as he is continuing to gain weight, starting formula will only reduce your milk supply. Starting solids before the middle of the first year (usually around six months, or when your baby show readiness signs) is not recommended. It can also inadvertently reduce your milk supply, and your baby’s digestive system is not ready for solids just yet.
Probably the best piece of advice I can give is to find a good breastfeeding support group, and surround yourself with a “tribe” of breastfeeding mom friends. Knowing what is normal, and knowing you are not alone is so important for breastfeeding moms.
Wendy Wisner is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), writer, and mother of two amazing boys. In addition to her work with breastfeeding moms, she has published two books of poems, and a handful of articles about mothering and breastfeeding. She blogs at www.nursememama.com.
by Anne Smith, IBCLC
“I have an over supply problem. Any suggestions as to how to correct this?”
Although concern about not having enough breast milk is the number one reason that mothers wean their babies early, having too much milk can also be a problem. When you consider the fact that a small percentage of women don’t have the capacity to produce enough milk for their babies no matter what they do, then having too much milk is a relatively good breastfeeding problem to have, and is usually fairly easy to resolve.
Babies whose moms have too much milk may exhibit symptoms such as fussing, pulling off the breast, colicky crying, gassiness, spitting up, and hiccuping. They may want tonurse frequently, and they may gain weight more rapidly than the average baby (who usually gains 4-8 ounces each week during the first 3 or 4 months), or they may gain weightmore slowly than the average baby.
Their stools may be green and watery, and their bottoms may be red and sore. The mother’s letdown reflex may be so forceful that the baby chokes, gags and sputters as he struggles with the jet of milk that sprays too quickly into his mouth.
Mothers who produce too much milk may suffer from full, engorged breasts, plugged ducts, and mastitis. Sometimes they feel a few seconds of intense pain as the letdown (or milk ejection) reflex occurs, because it is so forceful.
The article Oversupply: Too Much Breast Milk has details about tips and techniques or handling an oversupply off milk including burping often, offering one breast at a feeding, drinking sage tea, altering positions so that the baby isn’t leaning back with milk gushing down his throat, catching the initial forceful spray with a towel, and donating to a milk bank,
Usually, the problem of too much milk will resolve as your baby matures and is able to handle the flow better, and also as your body settles down to make the milk your baby needs and not a lot of extra milk. Like all other breastfeeding problems, this too shall pass.
Anne has been helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals for over 35 years, as a La Leche League and an IBCLC in private practice since 1990. Breastfeeding six children gives her a unique combination of first hand experience as well as professional expertise. In 1999, she started her website,www.breastfeedingbasics.com, with lots of information on breastfeeding and parenting, and a wonderful group of bloggers, including Abby from The Badass Breastfeeder, Rachelle from Unlatched, and Marie from Anarchy in the Sandbox.
Join the more than six millions of moms who come to Breastfeeding Basics each year for information and support, and visit Anne on Facebook.