A Yale University study found that even breastfed babies have eating patterns, as cited in the book Your Baby’s First Year by Steven P. Shelov M.D., M.S. F.A.A.P. See if you can recognize your baby’s feeding behavior among them:
As soon as they are put to the breast, they grasp the areola and suck energetically for 10 to 20 minutes. They get less eager, though, as time passes.
They become frantic at the sight of the breast. In a frenzied cycle, they grasp it, lose it, and start screaming in frustration. They must be calmed down several times during each feeding. Experts suggest feeding them as soon as they wake up, before they get desperately hungry.
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As long as the result from their sucking is simply colostrum, they aren’t interested. The trick is to continue putting them to the breast regularly, whenever they feel alert or make mouthing movements. Advice on improved positioning and attachment is also helpful.
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These babies insist on playing with the nipple, tasting the milk first, and smacking their lips before digging in. If hurried or prodded, they may get upset. But after a few minutes, they usually settle down to nurse.
They prefer to nurse for a few minutes, rest a few minutes, and resume nursing. Some fall asleep on the breast, nap for an hour or so, and resume nursing. The solution is to schedule extra time for feedings and remain as flexible as possible.