Your baby’s second growth spurt will occur around this time.
At this point you may start to notice that your breasts stop feeling so hard and full before each feed, and stay much softer, but fear not, they are actually producing more and more milk for your growing baby. Don’t assume you’re running out because your breasts are softer between feeds: your body is simply becoming more efficient. It is unfortunate that this change often occurs at the same time as the 6 week growth spurt, which naturally leads mothers to be unnecessarily concerned about their milk supply.
It’s common at this point to notice that one breast is producing more milk than the other or is easier for your baby to latch onto.
Leaking is likely to have diminished or ceased altogether now, although some mothers experience leaking longer than others.
You may no longer feel your letdown reflex or the feeling may have diminished in strength. Some mothers never feel let-down at all, but they can tell by watching their baby's pattern of suck and swallow when their let-down is occurring.
It is not recommended that you start expressing until you have had a chance to build up a good milk supply. This usually happens at around 6 weeks. If you decide to start pumping, be aware that pumping only small amounts is not an indicator of a low milk supply.
Likewise, this is the earliest you should introduce a dummy. However refraining from dummy-use altogether is preferable.
By now you will have eased your baby through the most critical part of his infancy. Newborns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have many more digestive problems than breastfed babies. Also breastfeeding for 6 weeks means that your child now has less risk of chest infections up to 7 years old (NCT).
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30-09-2012 10:01 #11
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:07.
30-09-2012 10:01 #12
Your baby may now spend less time at each nursing session because he has become more efficient at the breast and therefore requires less time to milk it effectively. He may also only need to nurse one side per feeding, rather than both sides as he may have done before. Always offer the second side but don't worry if your baby doesn't seem to want it or need it.
At this point, most babies, whether breast or formula-fed still need to feed once or twice during the night.
From now until 4 months old, your baby should nurse at least 6 times per 24 hour period.
If you choose to get your baby vaccinated they will have their first vaccination around now. By breastfeeding you are enhancing your baby's antibody response, strengthening the effectiveness of the vaccine (Silfverdal. SA et al). Nursing during the vaccination process will also offer your baby a unique level of pain relief (Tansky.C and Lindberg. CE).
By breastfeeding exclusively for 2 months, your child now has a lower risk of food allergy at 3 years old (NCT).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:13.
30-09-2012 10:02 #13
Another growth spurt, hang in there. Don’t be tempted to give formula (or even worse, solids) to appease your baby’s appetite, because a decrease in the frequency of nursing would reduce your milk supply, which is the exact opposite of what your baby is ordering.
Even after the growth spurt has passed, a baby between three and four months old should be feeding at least every four hours during the day.
Your breastfed baby will tend to need much less burping now.
You’ve probably heard the delicious fact that breastfeeding uses up the fat stores you laid down in pregnancy. The greatest weight loss is seen in the three to six month period (Moody et al). You’ve just hit the start of this uber fat-burning period.
By breastfeeding for at least 3 months you have given your baby a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma if you have no family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction if you have a family history of asthma (Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-Based Practice Center).
By this stage you have also given your baby between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes (Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-Based Practice Center).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:14.
30-09-2012 10:02 #14
By giving nothing but your breastmilk for the first four months you have given your baby strong protection against ear infections and respiratory tract diseases for a whole year (American Academy of Paediatrics; Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-Based Practice Center; Duncan.B et al).
By breastfeeding for at least 4 months you have reduced your baby’s risk of cot death (Mother & Baby).
By now you have overcome early obstacles such as engorgement, sore nipples, and marathon cluster feedings. Nursing is becoming so much easier than bottle-feeding.
Around this time teething may cause your baby to begin drooling, sucking on his fingers, or chewing on objects. This need to suck or chew on things can easily be misread as a sign that your baby is still hungry after a feed and ready to wean. Also, bear in mind that reaching for food is NOT asking for it. Babies reach for everything, and they like to mimic as well, so doing mouth movements also does not indicate a readiness for solids. Likewise, some of your friends, baby food manufacturers and even health professionals may suggest that you introduce solid foods around now. The UK Department of Health, WHO and Unicef all recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (meaning only breastmilk). This is because your baby’s digestive system is unlikely to be sufficiently developed to cope with solids before then. Also contrary to what some health visitors may contend, starting solid foods before 6 months of age will not increase your baby's caloric intake or provide a health advantage to your baby. Breastmilk has a higher concentration of fat and other essential nutrients than any solid food.
From now until 7 months old, your baby should nurse at least 5 times per 24 hour period. One of these is likely to be a night feed.
Some babies will want to nurse more often while teething while others may nurse less often, some even refusing to nurse completely, often referred to as a nursing strike. If this happens, try applying infant teething gel. Your baby might accept the breast more readily if her gums are numbed. If your baby still refuses the breast, you will need to pump your breasts frequently to prevent blocked ducts and maintain your supply. A nursing strike will usually last between 2-5 days although can last longer.
You may notice a further slowing of your baby’s weight gain around now. Between four and six months, breastfed babies tend to gain weight slower than their formula-fed peers, although growth in length and head circumference are similar in both groups (Moody et al). "Gradual weight gain, although this is not necessarily even, and a dropping-off of weight gain should not be taken in isolation to suggest that feeding isn't going well" (Johnson).
Some babies nurse very quickly at this age (3-5 minutes) and may become distracted at the breast, maybe even pulling off the breast after only a few sucks.
Feeding in peaceful surroundings can help. Night waking may begin again or become more frequent as your baby tries to make up calories missed during the day (read more about sudden night wakings at 4 months here).
By breastfeeding for 4 months you have given your child a lower risk of developing eczema and asthma (NCT).
By 4 months, babies have entered a significant cognitive milestone; their brains are going through an enormous growth spurt, which accounts for all of the increased alertness and distractibility. A baby who used to feed intently will now pop off and on the breast, turning to look when Daddy or big sister walks into the room or if a noise catches her attention.
You may be preparing to return to work, and lots of breastfeeding mothers make the decision to switch to formula at this stage. However this does not have to be the case. Your milk can be expressed for your baby to have while you’re at work. You can find a collection of resources for working and pumping mothers here. If it is not possible to express, try a milk bank or as a last resort you could wean her onto formula during the day and keep her morning and evening breastfeeds going.
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:15.
30-09-2012 10:03 #15
You have greatly reduced your baby’s risk of developing allergies by waiting until at least now to introduce solids, this is particularly the case if you have a family history of allergies.
Once your baby is happily taking two or three solid 'meals' a day (although these meals may consist of only a small handful of food at each serving), you may find that she's not nursing as much at the breast. Usually, the early morning and pre-bedtime feed stay the same, but during the day your baby may nurse a little less.
At around 6 months your baby will experience another growth spurt. Although you have solids to give, remember to offer the breast first as breastmilk is more nutritious. If your baby has been sleeping through the night you may find that he begins to wake for a midnight feeding during this growth spurt.
After the first six months, breastfed babies tend to be leaner. Compared to their formula-fed friends, breastfed infants gain an average of one pound less during the first twelve months. The extra weight in formula-fed infants is thought to be due to excess water retention and a different composition of body fat. (Dewey. K). Expect your breastfed baby to gain an average of one pound (1/2 kilogram) per month from six months till he is one year old.
Your baby will grow around one-half inch per month from six months to one year.
Keep an eye on your baby's fluid intake during this time. If too many nursings are replaced by solid feedings too quickly, he may not be getting enough fluid which can lead to constipation (evident in small pellet-like stools). Putting your baby to the breast frequently should alleviate the problem.
A lot of childcare manuals suggest that your baby should have doubled their birth weight by now, but remember that each baby is unique. When evaluating your baby’s overall growth pattern, your baby’s birth weight, length, gestational age, and parental size need to be taken into account. It has been noted that, “by the time they are ready for solids breastfed babies are often gaining less than many of the growth charts say they should” (Lim. P). The complex nature of a harmonious breastfeeding relationship cannot be weighed, measured, or plotted like scientific data on a chart. If you receive overreaction about your baby’s weight from family or health professionals, direct them to this article: ‘Look at the Baby, Not the Scale’.
By breastfeeding for 6 months you have given your baby significant protection against eczema during their first 3 years (Chandra et al).
You have also given your baby a 19 percent decrease in risk of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia and a 15 percent decrease in the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia (Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-Based Practice Center).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:15.
30-09-2012 10:04 #16
Distraction at the breast may continue. Don't be misled into believing that your baby's temporary lack of interest in breastfeeding is a sign he is ready to wean. It is extremely rare for a child to self-wean before one year of age.
From now until 12 months old, your baby should nurse at least 4 times per 24 hour period.
You'll find that your baby wants less milk the more solids she takes. Babies often drop a feed or two by the time they are well established on three solid meals a day, although you should continue offering the breast first.
Your baby will likely be teething in earnest at the moment. There are really two kinds of teething: chronic teething and acute teething. Chronic teething is ongoing. You’ll notice your baby doing lots of drooling, putting just about anything he can fit into his mouth, and gnawing on his fingers or hand. But he will continue to eat and drink normally. During acute teething, a tooth is actively cutting through the gum, which is a very painful process for most children. Babies who are cutting a tooth are often less interested in the breast, or eating solids, as their gums feel sore and irritable when sucking or eating. Luckily, acute teething will only last a few days at a time.
Babies breastfed for between seven and nine months have higher intelligence than those breastfed for less than seven months (Johnson).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:16.
30-09-2012 10:04 #17
You have now seen your baby through the fastest and most important brain and body development of his life on the food that was designed just for him - your milk. You may even notice that he is more alert and more active than babies who did not have the benefit of their mother's milk.
Some babies display waning interest in the breast around now. This may be due to altered taste brought about by hormonal changes during your menstrual period (if it has returned yet) or a temporary loss of appetite due to a cold or teething. Gentle perseverance is recommended. Try nursing in peaceful surroundings or when your baby is sleepy. If all else fails, pump milk to give to your baby in a cup whilst continuing to offer the breast.
Around now, your baby may be mastering the use of a beaker, which could lead to further loss of interest in nursing.
30-09-2012 10:05 #18
Your baby’s increased mobility through cruising, crawling or shuffling may mean that his nursing patterns become erratic. On some days he may so ‘busy’ that he almost forgets to nurse. On such days, periodically offer your breast even if he does not at first indicate a desire to nurse. On other days, when exploration becomes overwhelming, he may nurse almost constantly.
Even though your baby is eating solid foods, breastmilk is still the most important part of his diet, and continues to provide him with important immunities at a time when he is crawling around and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth.
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:16.
30-09-2012 10:05 #19
Many of the health benefits this year of nursing has given your child will last his entire life. He will have a stronger immune system and will be much less likely to need orthodontia or speech therapy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for at least a year, to help ensure normal nutrition and health for your baby.
As you have been lactating for a year, the fat and energy content of your breastmilk has significantly increased compared with the breastmilk of women who have been lactating for shorter periods (Mandel. D et al).
Many babies nurse infrequently at this age – only once or twice a day. Others may wish to nurse more often as a form of comfort.
The fact that most babies can tolerate cow’s milk after one year does not mean that cow’s milk should necessarily replace your breastmilk. Cow's milk does not contain the bioavailable vitamins and antibodies found in breastmilk. Also it is well documented that the later that cow's milk (a common allergen) is introduced into the diet of a baby, the less likelihood there is of allergic reactions (Ponzone. A).
As a result of receiving your breastmilk for at least a year your child is more likely to display better social adjustment when they begin school (Kneidel. S).
By breastfeeding for a year you have given your child a lower risk of becoming overweight in later life and lower risk factors for heart disease as an adult. Oh, and you've saved yourself at least £450 ($720) on formula! (NCT).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:16.
30-09-2012 10:06 #20
You have continued to provide your baby's normal nutrition and protection against illness at a time when illness is most common in other babies. Your baby will continue to receive those important immune benefits for as long as he continues to nurse.
Breastfeeding toddlers between 16 and 30 months old have been found to have fewer types and shorter duration of illness and to require less medical care than their non-breastfeeding peers (Gulick. E).
Some of the immune factors in your breastmilk will increase in concentration during this second year (Goldman. A et al).
Last edited by headoverfeet; 30-09-2012 at 10:17.
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