How Many Oz A Day Should 4 Month Old Eat 3 Breastfeeding Rules That Are Meant To Be Broken

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3 Breastfeeding Rules That Are Meant To Be Broken

Breastfeeding advice abounds in parenting magazines, books, websites, and even free booklets from formula manufacturers. Some of the information is contradictory and some of it is just plain false. For example, here are 3 bad tips and why they are bound to lead to problems.

1) Only nurse for XXX minutes per side

Fill in the blank here. It may be 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes, but breastfeeding mothers are often told to look at the clock instead of their babies. Well-meaning people (like the labor and delivery nurse who told me this after my oldest was born) say this because they think the pain is related to how long or how often they nurse the baby. He doesn’t do that. Pain has to do with HOW baby nurses.

Why is this bad advice?

Because babies can’t tell time. A newborn can take 15 minutes to nurse on one breast, especially if he (and you) are still learning the ropes. Don’t set a time limit for breastfeeding your baby. There is no such thing as non-nutritive sources. Baby will always be rewarded with ounces or drops of milk throughout his time at the breast.

In addition, the baby’s milk obtained at the end of the feeding, after the second feeding, contains more fat and calories. Limiting time at the breast can, for some babies, lead to slow weight gain, fussiness, excessive gas and other problems.

2) Babies who breastfeed poop every day

While many breastfed babies have a dirty diaper every day, many do not. This has caused a lot of concern on the part of a poor mother who thinks her baby will starve if she does not fill a diaper every day. Remember that breast milk is completely digested and contains little or no “waste”. Sometimes, especially during a period of rapid growth, your baby will skip days between bowel movements. My second child went 8 days without a bowel movement once as a newborn, and I was concerned. When he finally got going, he made up in quantity what he lacked in frequency. If memory serves, several loads of laundry were needed to clean up the resulting mess!

If your baby is producing lots of wet diapers, has no signs of dehydration, and is gaining weight on schedule, he’s probably fine. The consistency of his movements rather than the frequency is a more accurate sign of constipation. Keep in mind that fully breastfed babies do not get constipated. If a baby who is eating some solids has difficulty passing hard stools, call your doctor or a lactation consultant. And do not limit his time at the breast.

3) Don’t let him use you for a pacifier

This is another well-intentioned piece of advice where the person giving the advice is trying to lighten the load.

mother breastfeeds, but it betrays a lack of understanding about the breastfeeding relationship.

Breastfed babies don’t just breastfeed when they’re hungry. They also nurse when they are thirsty, tired, overstimulated, scared, hurt, down with an illness, lonely or bored. And that’s ok. Breastfeeding often keeps a mother’s milk supply at a high level to meet the baby’s needs. A baby who suddenly wants to breastfeed “always” may be going through a growth spurt and is signaling to the mother to “send more milk!” in the most efficient way possible. Or he may be teething or otherwise not feeling well.

Think about how you might feel if someone told you that you shouldn’t comfort your preschooler when they fall to their knees. A baby who uses the breast as a “pacifier” is no different than that older child, or a friend who calls you for a shoulder to cry on. It’s called relationship.

Breastfeeding is also fun for babies. Sucking is a comfort and regulates the nervous system, and for the baby, the best kind of sucking is the kind that takes place at the breast. Babies who are offered pacifiers tend to wean earlier than babies who are not.

Frequent breastfeeding also has benefits for the mother. Levels of certain hormones are kept constant in his blood, helping him feel calmer, more immune to stress, and happier. Frequent breastfeeding also tends to keep fertility away, which can be a desirable side effect and also protect her health in the long run.

The bottom line? Listen to the baby with your own common sense, and listen less to books and advice givers.

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