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Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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171768 tn?1324233699

How do "normal" babies feed?

Both of my girls are/were a nightmare to feed the first 4 months. DD#1 had coordination issues, along with a weak suck and possible swallowing problems. Until btw 3 and 4 months, it would take her over an hour to take a few ounces. Many of the feeds were screaming sessions. Finding the right nipple around 3 months helped, but she didn't really outgrow her issues until 4 months or so.

This little one is also quite complicated. She rarely sits and downs a bottle- we have to try so many different tricks to get her to eat. I don't know if it's due to her reflux, colic, or tongue-tie or if it's normal for a newborn to be such a pain when it comes to feeding. I figured it was just them, but I do see frequent posts about frustrated parents trying to get their babies to eat.
by the way, this one likes to be swaddled to eat and rarely will eat without it. We also have to feed her in the swing with the white noise on. We're working on weaning her from this, but it's a slow process. The ped said it's still colic, just manifesting itself differently at this point. We often have to use the binky to get her sucking coordinated, and then do a switch (my first had to do this often too). Both girls ended up on the Nuk nipple. The LC said they have small mouths, and I think it's easier for them to get a latch on the small size. But with all of her thrashing and on and off, it often takes over an hour for her to eat as well (and she's still on an every 2 hr schedule). If we try to stretch her feeds until she's really ravenous, she's too upset and thrashy to get a good feed in.

So, my question is- how do "normal" babies feed? Are these behaviors typical or am i just lucky enough to get 2 poor feeders?
16 Responses
Avatar universal
my son had feeding issues for about 3 weeks and then went well after that.  with addy she had trouble the first week maybe, she too had reflux and is tongue tied/preemie.  i cant imagine going through what you have to, it has to be heartbreaking to see them have such trouble eating. have you used those bottles that look like a paci connected to a tube/bottle?  im sure you have tried everything, i wish there was a magical new product to help you :(
171768 tn?1324233699
we can't seem to use anything but the nuk. They can't get a good enough seal around normal nipples and milk pours out the side. And because the nuk has a vent hole, it doesn't work with the bottles with the tubes (tried it with DD#1)

It's actually improved a lot and we're learning how to manage it. I was just wondering how typical these issues are, primarily because I go back to work this week and someone else is going to have to deal with all of her little quirks. I want to know if I'm expecting a lot of her new caregivers. Aside from her feeding quirks, she's very hard to read, so I often wait too long to feed her, or try to get her to eat when she's not hungry. Although, I think a lot of the time, she may not know whether or not she's hungry (again, due to reflux).
Avatar universal
one thing that i remember with addy (due to reflux) is she ate more often but sometimes for shorter sessions.  she was an every 2 hour eater for quite some time.  eventually went to 3 hours but would still have a "snack" in between.  i have no idea, i wish i did!  

i can imagine your worry with a caregiver, is she going to be where you work or will someone come into your house ect?  you know first hand it can be easier to have more patience with anothers child than your own.  you worry more and stress more than with anothers child, no matter how much you care for them.  have you looked into a second opinion from another dr?  find a specialist that might be able to recomend more than what you have had so far?  

my sisters kids didnt like to be help while being fed either, i wanted to hold them so badly when she fed them, but she said they didnt eat well like that.  they are  very independant little kids now lol.  does she eat better if dh feeds her?  i swear they give mom more trouble than they give others.  my 11 yr old still is like that lol.  
189192 tn?1261345228
Have you tried reflux medication like zantac. To me it sounds like that is the problem.  I would tell you pedi you want to try it. If the feedings start going better than you know that is the problem.  Nathan started having feeding issues at about 6 weeks and the progressively got worse.  We started him on the meds for silent reflux and it has gotten much better but the med dosage has to be changed frequently because of weight gain and I think they also build a resistance to it.  But when the meds are working, it is AMAZING how smoothly the feedings go.  
Jacob was tongue tied and I had his tongue snipped at about 4 months old.  It really only took like a second for them to do and it he only fussed for maybe 30 seconds afterward.
I feel your pain on the feedings.. it is terrible when your LO struggles with feedings. I would seriously put her on zantac or other H2 blocker ASAP!!  
189192 tn?1261345228
oh one more thing.  One of the most common symptoms of silent reflux is arching back during feedings.  Nathan arched his back along with gulping and gasping. I've read they arch their back to straighten/lengthen the esophagus and sphincter muscle.  I think it is true because once he gets all straightened out like he wants, he feeds much better.  
171768 tn?1324233699
She definitely has silent reflux, and the meds have worked wonders. This is actually a huge improvement. I think her reflux is so bad, that even with the meds we have some residual problems. She definitely arches her back often. Since DD#1 had similar behaviors, i wonder if she had reflux too, just not as bad.

She has a script for zantac, but DH actually makes our own zantac suspention at home in the kitchen because the commercially available one tastes like peppermint (seriously- what infant would take that??? You can't even mask that in milk). He's a pharmacist, otherwise I wouldn't let him! I can always tell when it's time for him to make a new batch because her feeds get much worse.  She's on the highest dose he would allow, although I think the ped would let her go a little higher. I regularly make him recalculate the dose based on her weight. We have a baby scale so I always know what she weighs. The dr suggested trying prevacid, but DH is unwilling to let her go on that because he says it can significantly interfere with calcium absorption. Even the ped admitted that long term studies haven't been done on prevacid and infants, but the drug reps keep giving them samples for infants and parents are reporting that babies are doing well on it. Her next appointment is tomorrow and we're going to discuss pepcid. Apparently it is fruit-flavored as well, but since it's commercially available, it's shelf-life would be longer than DH's homebrew. DH isn't entirely thrilled with the option of pepcid because he said there is some evidence that in a small percentage of infants, they have worse reflux when they come off of it.

Tanker- I am VERY interested in hearing your experiences with having his tongue clipped at 4 months. What made you finally decide to do it? Did that also help improve his feeds?
171768 tn?1324233699
we HAD a fantastic sitter who in the last month decided to move to Texas :(
This week they will go to an inhome daycare. 2 lovely, trustworthy ladies, and my toddler loves it there. My concern was for the baby who is extra sensitive and has trouble eating in general, but especially when not home. There's a lot of kids there, and I fear she will have sensory overload. I found an unemployed girlfriend to be their nanny until she finds a job, but she's not available until Jan 7. I'm off btw the holidays, DH is off the 5th, so the girls will go to the inhome on the 6th as well. The nanny thing is crazy expensive, but I'll feel much better having the baby home for a few more months until she's a little more mature and less sensitive.
I considered extending my leave, but after 6 months I lose insurance, and this week marks exactly 6 months since I worked last. Right now we pay nothing for insurance, so it would be more than a hit of just losing my salary- we'd have to start paying for insurance.
189192 tn?1261345228
Jacob who is 22 months now is the one that was tongue tied. He was always a terrible feeder and looking back on it all, I really think he probably was suffering from reflux but maybe not a very bad case of it.  I pointed his tongue out to his original pedi and that pedi was against doing anything about it unless it interfered with feeding or talking.  That early on I was breast feeding so I really didn't realize how bad of a feeder jacob was until we switched to the bottle. I was really against waiting to clip his tongue because by the time you knew if they had speech problems they would be so much older and aware of what was going on.  I also had other reasons for wanting to get his clipped.  For one because growing up and "coming of age" is already a difficult awkward time in ones life, and I didn't want him to ever feel embarrassed or inadequate or whatever.  Also I didn't circumcise him so he already had that challenge to overcome, so I didn't want him to have to worry about being different this way also.. so anyway.. those were my reasons.. we changed pedi right before his 4 month well care visit.  When I showed her his tongue she was like "oh we can fix that right now." and she assured me it was no big deal and it really wasn't.  The whole deal was over really quickly and Jacob barely fussed afterward.  I've since talked to two other people who said they exact same thing about their experience.  As to whether it improved his feeds or not, I don't think it made much difference, but I still have NO regrets about getting it done.  

I've been having a really rough time with Nathan's feeds this weekend.  He is almost 4 months old now.  I have been increasing the dosage of the zantac on my own.  DH is a veterinarian so I have him calculate the dosage range for me but lately it seems like I am having to up the dose so much to get it to work it is starting to concern me.   The original script was for .4ml 3x a day.  As of today we are at about 1.5 mls 2x a day.  For us the higher amount at 2x works better than a lower dosage 3x.  He has also gained over s since his original script.  I called the dr and told them that I was giving more than the prescribed about and they called in a script of tagament (sp?) which has the same active ingredient as zantac so that didn't make much sense to me.  The tagament didn't work any better so I went back to the zantac since it is FDA approved for infants.  His 4 month appt is on the 29th so I'm going to take to the dr about the ppi.. i hate medicating my LO also but I don't know what else to do.  
What weight/dosage are you using right now?  Sorry so long and I'm sure there are tons of typos.  
171768 tn?1324233699
DD is about 16 lbs and has been taking 2 ml 3 times/day for over a month (i think since 14 lbs). It's a pretty high dose according to dh, but the ped said it is a perfectly acceptable dose at the last appointment a month ago. We haven't upped it since, but she's definitely gained!

for us, 3 times/day works much better than twice/day. her original script was for twice a day, but she was screaming after 8 hrs. So we changed it to a smaller dose 3 times/day (total mL per day the same- just spread differently). Ped did approve it.

As for the tongue, our ped doesn't do it- most don't around here. we'd have to see an ent. the ped actually had his daughter's done. he said it was supposed to be quick and painless, but unfortunately for his daughter it wasn't. i didn't ask too many questions, but mybe i'll ask what went wrong tomorrow
127529 tn?1331844380
My first was a night mare to feed. I had to hold him very tightly in my arm and move around and bounce him to get him to take a bottle. We changed formula's many times, every time we changed he would be okay for a few weeks and take his bottle okay but then would get really fussy again. He fed best when he was sleeping. He was extremely colicky too and always spitting up a lot, sometimes even projectile vomiting. By about 4 months he got better with the colic but feeding him continued to be a struggle for us. My second was much better and despite a few minor problems with nursing at first he both breast and bottle fed fine after about 6 weeks.
171768 tn?1324233699
mum- you are describing her so perfectly!! including the ridiculous measures we have to take to get her to eat. when did he outgrow it? please say he outgrew it...

DH and the ped decided to try the prevacid. Since she hopefully won't be on it for too long, he's not too concerned with its effect on calcium absorption. we hope to see an improvement with that change. if it doesn;t work, we're going to consult an ent about clipping her frenulum. Both may be worth trying. unfortunately, i suspect it has more to do with the colic and sensory issues ;(  not that she's failing to thrive- this 4 month old moose is 16 lbs 4 oz- 95th percentile!!

127529 tn?1331844380
It was a struggle to get James to take enough milk daily for almost the whole of the first year but it did get much easier once the colicky phase was gone.
As you know James has lots of issues; oral sensory issues have continued to be an issue for us but much of that has been to do with his Autism and Hydrocephalus and the difference for us was he was borderline for failure to thrive around his second birthday. He is chunking up nicely now and  apart form being a little picky with food choices is the height, weight and has the same diet as most other 5 year olds.
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