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Breast Feeding

Growth spurt

01/05/2001

Question:

For the past 5 days my son has wanted to nurse about every 1 - 1.5 hours for long periods of time. He is 3 months old. I think he is going through a growth spurt. How long will this keep up? Previously it seemed like when he did this it would only last about 2 days. He wants to nurse for long periods of time. His old pattern was about every 2 to 2.5 hours for about 40 minutes. I have read that freguent short nursings build up the supply faster but if I end the feeding before 45 minutes or so he screams. He had formula for a day last week due to me having a breast lump removed but I did pump and dump to keep up my milk supply, plus I made sure to nurse him frequently the next day to make sure I didn`t decrease my supply. I know better than to offer a bottle because that will just make the situation worse but I am getting a little exhausted not to say a little bored (although I have been catching up on my reading.)

Answer:

Growth spurts often occur about three months of age, and since your milk supply may have decreased during the day he was unable to nurse, it sounds like your son is trying to build up your milk supply to meet his needs. Research has shown that twenty minutes of vigorous nursing every hour will increase your milk supply more effectively than longer, but less frequent sessions. Usually this takes just a few days, but you may be playing catch up.

Are you switching breast early? If you are switching too early (before your son has completely emptied the breast) your son is not receiving hindmilk, which is high in fat and low in volume. The foremilk (or first milk) is high in volume but low in fat. The hind milk is what "fills" him up, because the fat is digested slower than the carbohydrates and proteins. So be sure that he has emptied the breast, by allowing him to decide that he is finished with the first breast. Infants who receive only foremilk are often generally fussy (even at the breast) and slow to gain weight.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati