Snacking is great for some mums and babies but you may find you simply don’t have the time to sit down and feed frequently, especially when if you have other little one to look after. So what is normal and how can you help your breastfeeding baby to get what he needs easily so that you both enjoy some down time between feeds?
There is no ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ feeding pattern a breast fed baby should follow, as they will feed according to their needs, their tummy capacity and calorie requirements. However, you can enable your breastfeeding baby to feed more effectively really easily.
Here are some elements to consider and tips to play with.
How to tell the difference between snacking and normal feeding patterns?
You may question whether you produce enough milk if your baby wants to feed every 45 minutes to an hour. If this is happening late in the afternoon or at the end of the day, it is considered ‘normal’ and pretty standard as this is when your milk supply is low and baby isn’t able to get as much milk, as easily as he or she can at the morning feeds, when your supply is naturally higher. Consider feeding from both sides at these feeds, ensuring that your positioning and latch are right, so that your baby can get as much milk as possible, without hurting you or working too hard.
How big is your baby?
If your baby is tiny, he or she will only have a small little stomach which fills up really quickly, so in order to meet daily (24 hourly) calorie requirements, he or she will need to feed little and often until it gets bigger and is able to accomodate a bigger feed. Your baby is not snacking – just feeding according to size and in time, this will be less frequent.
If your baby is not so small – you may need to consider changing your feeding pattern, so that baby is able to get more milk at each feed. This may mean that you do a nappy change mid feed to wake baby or maybe even offer the second side, if you feel that baby is not getting much milk from the first side. Your baby is snacking so improve your feeds so that he or she can get more milk at feeds and go a little longer.
Is your baby going through a growth spurt?
There are certain age groups that need to feed more frequently to increase your milk supply and this is often misinterpreted as snacking. If your baby has suddenly started to feed more frequently and is close to 3 weeks, 5 weeks or 10 weeks, he or she is probably going through a growth spurt. Instead of trying to restrict feeds, you can encourage them and help your baby to boost your milk supply. The sooner you boost your supply, the sooner your breastfeeding baby will stop snacking or feeding frequently.
Ensure that your baby drains the breast well at each feed
When your baby first starts feeding, the milk will be quite thirst quenching and not very calorific. As your baby continues to feed, your milk becomes creamier. Use a nappy change mid feed or when your little one becomes sleepy, to wake baby and keep him or her interested in feeding for a bit longer. The more calories your baby gets at each feed, the more satisfied he or she will be and this will lead to less frequent feeds.
More often than not, snacking or cluster feeding is just a phase that will pass as soon as it has begun. Small changes can lead to big improvements but if you are struggling, know that there are more practical tips available to help your breastfeeding baby stop snacking.
As always, know that we are here to help you get the breastfeeding experience that you dream of … so just get in touch and let’s make it happen.