Should I keep trying to wake him to nurse?

by Karina
(United States)

Hi I luv ur website!

My lo is 6 wks old & I am ebf. At night he wakes up every 2-31/2 hrs. If I'm lucky he will go 4 hrs but that's not always. Well lately during the night feeding he eats 10-15 min on one breast. I burp him then switch over to the other side.

Sometimes he only eats 5 min or nothing at all. He falls asleep & I can't wake him. I'm so tired at night that I just swaddled him again & lay him in his bassinette.

Should I keep trying to wake him to nurse in the other side? I wish he would sleep longer too. Thank you for your help!

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Mar 28, 2011
You dont need to wake him
by: Tracy

Hi Karina

Thanks for the complement. ;-)

A baby that is older than 6 weeks does not "need" to breastfeed through the night like a newborn, so I would recommend just breastfeeding him when he demands it. So now you can enjoy the times he doesn't wake up!

You do not need to worry about breastfeeding him on the other breast until he wakes again, your body will adapt to the amount of milk that needs to be produced.

Also I would recommend that instead of breastfeeding him 5 minutes on one side and then switching sides that you actually let him drink from only one breast every time he drinks. This is so that he can get to the more substantial milk "hindmilk" at the back of the breast. This hindmilk is much more fatty and nutritious which will keep baby fuller for longer periods of time. Meaning you get to sleep longer stretches at night!

But now you might ask...what about my other breast? As long as you alternate with each feeding, your body will adapt. In the beginning, if you do feel a little engorged on the "waiting side" you can pump a little milk or hand express some milk to relieve the pressure.

Pages that might also help...

Foremilk hindmilk imbalance
Weaning baby at night
Cluster feedings

Please let me know how things go!

Kind regards

Mar 29, 2011
Thank you much for your response!
by: Karina Jaimes


Thank you much for your response! I had a rough day with baby. He was very fussy & didn't want to settle
well for a nap during the day. But at night I fed him around 9ish only on one breast. He was very fussy afterwards but my husband finally got him to fall asleep at 11pm. He woke up at 3 am. I just finished feeding him in a very full breast for 20 min. I'll see long he goes for. I though I was suppose to have him eat at both sides & was always trying to keep him awake with diaper changes & tickeling.

Thank you again for the information. This is my third baby but I still need the help! I've used your website many times and it's helped me a lot.

Mar 29, 2011
by: Tracy

Hi Karina

Shame man, I know what it's like when baby just wont settle down, my little boy use to do the same...he use to cry every night until 11pm, that was until he was about three months or so. They say it's mostly developmental.

I'm having my next baby now in June, so I guess I'll be joining you soon!

You know when I had to breastfeed the first time, I was also told to breastfeed on both breasts with each feeding, but the nurses and even the doctors don't really have much experience or knowledge when it comes to breastfeeding.

I'm so happy that you find my website useful, its great to know!

Let me know again sometime how you guys are doing.
Kind regards

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one year old has stopped breast feeding

by Sara

Hi, I have a one year old who has stopped breast feeding the last 3 days, he bites me every time I offer it, And doesn't seem interested.

I was wondering why this is? Teething? Strike? Or weaning off? I usually feed him once a day in the morning and feed him 3 bottles through the day. I would like him to breast feed again, what can I do?

Also, I am close to starting my period, would this affect him not wanting the milk? Please help! Thanks

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May 22, 2014
self wean
by: Anonymous

Hello, it sounds to me like you're 1 year old is trying to self wean.

Some children like to breastfeed longer than others.

Something that may affect the taste of your breast milk would be the food that you eat.

While you can't force your child to continue breastfeeding, if it is his strong desire to wean, there are a couple of things that you could try to prolong your breastfeeding relationship.

You can offer the breast as soon as you know your child is hungry. Try to do it when they're first hungry, to avoid your baby being agitated because they have been waiting for a while. Try breastfeeding in a secluded environment. Children around the age of one can be easily distracted.

If your child is no longer asking to breastfeed verbally or through any signal he used to give, and none of these tactics work, you can continue to pump your breasts and offer your baby breastmilk in a sippy cup.

From experience I know that the act of breastfeeding is a bonding moment between mother and baby and it is difficult for a mom to give up for that reason.

If your child is completely refusing to breastfeed, you can still be sure that they're getting the wonderful nutrition and immunological properties of your breast milk, even if it is in a sippy cup.

You can also try to make breast milk lollies and breast milk ice-cream for him. I found the recipe on this is the link...

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Loosing appetite

My name is Jane, l have a baby boy of 4 months and 9 days, suddenly l discover he is not eating well as he used to eat before. Also, he is spitting up frequently. His poop is dark green colour.l have been avoiding anything sugary in my food. l dont know what this could be? please l need your help

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Aug 19, 2014
baby lost appetite
by: Tracy

Hi Jane

I would suggest that you take him to a "breastfeeding friendly" pediatrician in your area.

A lactation consultant too, if the pediatrician cannot help.

Has he been showing signs of teething?

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by Celina
(Kitchener, ontario)

My 3 and 1/2 month old had been sleeping well since he was a couple of weeks old sleeping from anywhere between 5/6 long stretches at night.

Over the last couple of weeks he got a cold and due to his congestion he was up often and wasn't feeding long enough, now he seems to be better but still feeds for 5 minutes on only one breast and does not want to feed anymore until 2hrs later and at night he's waking up every 3 hrs and doing a 5 minute feed.

I've tried to offer him the other breast, changing his diaper so he wakes up but he will not open his mouth, (his feedings before were about 30 minutes long and i have been told i have an oversupply of milk and for a few feedings offer the same breast, which I've done). What can I do to have him do longer feeds during the day so at night he can get a longer sleep.

Please help I'm running out of ideas.

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May 19, 2011
Maybe a growth spurt...
by: Tracy

Hi Celina !

Are you giving him anything other than breast milk during the day?

I know it's frustrating having to wake up so often at night, but I'm sure things will change again soon...maybe baby is just going through a growth spurt. Babies usually go through a growth spurt at about 4 months. A growth spurt can cause change in appetite and sleeping patterns.

Read more about how to handle growth spurts here.

Other things that could be causing this...

- Your baby's nose is still a little blocked, making it difficult for him to breastfeed for long stretches at a time.
- Your baby is already starting to teethe...this usually results in a change in feeding patterns. Check your baby's gums for swelling.
- There has maybe been a change in baby's daytime schedule.

Read tips on how to breastfeed a sleepy baby.

Co-sleeping can also help, this will keep you both snug, you won't even have to get up and baby can breastfeed as much as he likes.

Read more about co-sleeping here.

Things you can do during the day...

- Make sure baby has a good breastfeeding session just before bedtime.
- Definitely stick to one breast at a time so that baby gets the Hindmilk which is fattier and more filling. Because you have an oversupply of milk, maybe you should pump your milk for the evening feeds...this way you can control whether baby is drinking hindmilk or foremilk.
- Try nursing more during the day.

Just also remember,  baby won't wake up at night too much longer...they usually start sleeping through the night after a few months. Hang in there, it will be worth it!

Hope something here will help...please let me know how things go

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difficulty nursing

by Trupti

My baby is 6 weeks now and I'm not sure whether I have oversupply letdown.

But it has been a week now that my baby latches properly for 5 minutes and then unlatches and has difficulty nursing coz she becomes very fussy and keeps crying and tries to hold the nipple and again unlatches as if she is struggling to get the milk.

During a let down she struggles too. Initially this used To happen only in the evenings but lately it's started happening during the day as well.

Please help...

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Jul 21, 2012
Nursing Difficulty
by: Katelin Granados

Hi, my baby will be 5 months at the end of this month and went through the exact same phase. Sometimes now he still struggles to handle my letdown. To begin I have a very strong let down which would almost choke him. The lactation consultant told me when you notice him struggling and gulping or a clicking noise, take him off the breast and express in a towel to slow down the amount of milk coming out.

My baby would also become fussy when it seemed liked he wasn't getting the milk so I would massage and do breast compressions while he was on the breast. It gets the milk flowing faster after the initial let down.

You're doing a great job and breast feeding is not as easy as people think. It takes patience and effort so keep it up mama!

Jul 23, 2012
Tried almost everything
by: Trupti

But the problem is that she continuously wants to be fed and often ends up crying and throwing up.

I googled some of the websites and yea she does make a clicking sound while eating. Now not sure whether she has not latched properly or has an oversupply problem.

This has been going on from past 2 weeks and now what I do is that I let her nurse for 5 minutes and then once she becomes fussy then give her the bottle.

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baby not drinking breastmilk

I have three months old baby. I am on/off breastfeeding my baby and using infant formula. Due to low milk supply of mine my baby is habituated to formula milk and is not interesyed in breastnilk.

She does not like to suck my nipple. So i am supplying formula milk only. Is this ok for my baby`s health? What can i do to increase my breastmilk? Is it possible now?

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Dec 11, 2014
just pump your breast milk
by: Anonymous

it will make you supply more milk the more you pump the more milk

The more you pump the more milk

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distracted baby help

by Sarah

I just wanted to share a nursing story that hopefully will be helpful to other moms out there.

My baby boy just would NOT latch on, stay still, he was always all over the place, getting distracted and not feeding well.

I was so scared he wasn't getting enough so I had to supplement with bottles but I didn't want to do that, I just wanted to breast feed my baby.

After a couple weeks, I was looking online for tips and tricks to help and came across a post talking about a color patterned bra from Leading Lady nursing bras.

I checked it out and thought it was just a gimmick so I continued my search. Another week later and I kept wondering about that bra.

On the inside fabric after the cup folds down, there's this black and red patterned cartoon thing that "claims" it helps babies focus on feeding and gets their attention.

So I finally broke down and bought it, got it a few days later and tried it. I didn't really expect it to work, but I was so glad I had been wrong.

I'm not sure what it was, but that print thing really did get his attention and he started to be calmer during feedings, they lasted longer, and I was able to just breast feed him without and supplemental bottle.

It was a miracle. Again, I just wanted to share this because I know I'm not the only mom out there who had trouble with feedings. I hope that if someone sees this they consider looking into this bra because as cliche as it sounds, it worked for me. Now with another little one on the way, hopefully my arsenal of tools will make this time go better :) If anyone is interested, here's the link to the website where I got it

The product is the "baby sees it". I had gotten the wirefree, but there is a wired option if you want it. Good luck, happy bra shopping, and God Bless you all!

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My 3 month old eats very short meals...

by MichelleMichelle

He will only spend about 5-7 minutes on my boob and refuses to eat more.

He is gaining weight so I figured it was fine. But yesterday he had one green poo and last night he woke up to poo 3 times (he never goes at night) and went so much all day today.

The last couple Diapers had a little red blood in them. Also he has been very fussy. Do you think I have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance?

It makes sense that he doesn't stay on there long enough to get to it. I haven't changed anything with my diet... I pretty much always eat the same things. So it couldn't be an allergy right? Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.

Comments for My 3 month old eats very short meals...

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Jul 18, 2016
blood in stool
by: Tracy

Hi Michelle

Have you started taking any new meds?

If this continues, I would suggest that you get him tested for allergies. Nowadays it is not recommended to avoid anything in your diet. Unless if he has tested positive for an allergic reaction towards something.

Avoidance of specific foods (even cows milk, nuts, fish) is not necessary as avoidance can actually cause a reaction to something specific.

Since you have not had a problem before and have not changed your feeding frequency, I do not think you need to worry about foremilk/hiindmilk imbalance.

Just give it some time, if it continues go to a "breastfeeding friendly" pediatrician.

Please keep me updated.
Hope this helps

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Baby not taking mom breast milk

by Shan


My son hardly 5 times taking mom breast milk, he is around 4 months old now earlier he used to take more nowadays it reduced to 4 to 5 times in a day.. even if we try to feed him also he is crying not taking milk from his mom....

i m much worried about this since he stool five days once... i meant he pooping hardly five days once... we have consulted doctor suggested colicaid syrup .. please help me.. thanks.

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Oct 04, 2012
by: Tracy

Hi Shan,

It sounds completely normal to me.

Does your baby seem happy? Is baby still picking up weight?

As babies get older, it is common for them to start drinking less frequently as they can remove more milk from the breasts at one feeding. Try to breastfeed him at least every three hours. (Not needed at night, unless baby wants to breastfeed)

About the stools, it is normal for breastfed babies to either have 7 poops per day or only one poop per 7 - 10 days. Breast milk is absorbed better than formula and this is why your baby may only poop once every few days, it is normal. If your baby's stool is hard, or baby seems dehydrated, that's when you need to do something about it.

Hope this helps

Oct 30, 2012
Baby not taking mon breast milk
by: Anonymous


Thanks. I had consulted pediatric specialist, doctor told that he has gained weight, but looks under weight i meant as per baby age 4months he has gained 6kg.

Doctor told that he is under weight suppose to be 6.5kg... apart from that pooping is normal not tight but he poop every five days once..
Baby is normal activity playing, but not taking mom milk frequently not even every three hours ... in case if baby is too hungry that time he drink mom milk well.. apart from feeding every three hours he is not taking mom milk he just crying

Now baby age is 4 months 15days.

Please help me here am not getting . Thanks doctor

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Problem of lazy baby

My baby is going to be 4 months, but she insists to be feed with lying position only. It causes so many problems, she rejects to eat in any place and feed with my sitting pose.

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Aug 07, 2012
Breastfeeding laying down
by: Zelda Behr

Okay, you didn't give a lot of info, but it sounds to me like you have a forceful letdown.

What this means is, your breast milk is running or squirting out too fast, which makes baby choke and struggle to drink.

If you lay down and feed your baby, the position you are in takes the pressure off and the milk flows slower, making it easier for baby to drink.

Try pumping or hand expressing a bit of milk before a feed and then try other breastfeeding positions.

You can also try having baby saddle your leg and drink while you support her head and back (Saddle hold or Australian hold).

Look at these breastfeeding positions...

Here is more on forceful letdown...

Hope this helps.

Don't hesitate to ask if there is something else.

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not able to drink milk from the breasts

by nisha

My baby is 20 days old he is not able to drink milk from the breasts although my breasts are producing more than enough milk.

I first eject milk through breast pump and then feed him through bottle.

I just worrying about the thing that when would my baby be able to drink milk from my breasts and whether enough milk produced does any harm to me?

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Nursing strike? Help!!

My 14 month has up and striked me for nearly a week now.

He was a ravenous nurser before to the point of waking several times throughout the night to nurse both sides in a sitting.

Last week he started biting down and tearing at my nipples, I reacted as I always have with a firm gentle mouth or no thank you and removed my breast before trying again if he gave the nursing cue.

At first I thought he was just upset at teething pain so I went on with my day and dropped him off with a little extra breast milk for the morning.

That afternoon and evening he proceeded to do it every single time I tried to nurse him when he gave me his nursing cues.

At this point I thought, wow that's odd he must be just off today. He refused all night and the next morning to the point of screaming slapping pinching and biting even just holding him not trying to nurse but all while he was giving me the nursing cues.

I was (is) miserable and at a loss. My boyfriends take was that our son was ready to be done breastfeeding, but yet would only calm down when he got like this if given a bottle with breast milk, he's allergic to dairy and soy isn't healthy so we've also tried goats milk but he refuses it.

He will only take breast milk from a bottle now although I continue to try to nurse. My milk supply is already dropping despite pumping, a lot (ugh!). I'm at a loss! Help please.

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Jan 07, 2015
Nursing strike
by: T


Shame man, sounds like you having a hard time.

Have you tried giving him something cold to chew on just before you nurse?

I use to make breast milk lollies and give those to my daughter before she nursed, the cold will numb the gums and breast milk also I've heard that it contains anti-pain that helps too.

For now, you could try keeping your supply up with herbs. I make my own tea with fenugreek, fennel, anise and blessed thistle. If you would like the recipe I could send it to you.

Other than that, oatmeal helps as well as seaweed and coconut water.

I would hang in there, it could be a few things, maybe it will pass? It doesnt sound like self weaning, sounds more like teething pain or maybe ear ache?

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loss interest in feeds

by Sarah Baldwin

Hi My lo is now 7 and a bit months and has had a bottle (originally of expressed milk) since 6 weeks and otherwise been exsclusivley breast fed, she has started to lose interest in feeds and my production slowed so i stopped pumping and gave formula in the bottle as her dreamfeed 2 weeks ago, she has taken this fine, Last week she dropped a further feed(late afternoon) and now due to colleague sickness i have agreed to go back to work earlier than anticipated and so i need her to take a formula bottle at lunchtime as i wont be here. I will still feed her first thing in the morning and last feed before bed and she will have formula at lunch and as her dreamfeed if she still needs it do you think this sounds ok? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated, Thanks

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Apr 21, 2012
mommy going back to work
by: Tracy

Your baby will most probably take the feed while you are not there, but if she doesn't she will take in more calories at night and in the morning when you breastfeed her. Just make sure to keep your milk supply up while you are at work too.

There are some babies that completely stop drinking during the day while mom is away and then drink at night or through the night. This is okay, as long as she is still picking up weight and having urine nappies daily with one poop nappy at least every 10 days.

You could also try expressing at work so that your baby has breast milk to drink during the day, this will make it more familiar for her and she will, therefore, be more likely to drink it. Whoever is looking after her can also try cup feeding her if she does not want to take the bottle.

Read more on cup feeding here.

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baby seems more content on the bottle

by C.H.

Why is it, that my son will get more rest after the bottle, compared to when he drinks from the breast?

He seems to rest longer and does not cry as much!

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Jun 17, 2012
bottle vs breastfeeding
by: Tracy

Are you taking about a bottle filled with formula or breast milk?

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Baby dropping feeds

by Lorraine mum of two

Hello, this website is amazing but it has not answered my problem...

My baby is 16 weeks old and 2 weeks ago he began refusing feeds during the day. It started as one feed then days later he was going 6 hours between feeds. Then he used to wake once at night and now he wakes 3 times a night. I think he is teething.

He used to feed every 3 hours throughout the day but now he has 2 feeds in the morning then nothing til evening.

He is slightly more moody when awake. Ive taken him to the doctors but they have found nothing wrong. He had chicken pox a few weeks prior to this. And before the chicken pox he refused some feeds for 3 days. But he always eventually took each feed, all be it a bit late.

I have tried positioning, laying down in which he took some feeds but has now begun to scream and arch his back as soon as he knows what is coming.

I have now taken to feeding him as soon as he wakes from a nap. He seems to take the feed if he is half asleep. The problem is I'm spending all day trying to get him to feed and sleep and i have a d3 year old daughter who is being side lined.

I feel horrible and think I'm getting depressed now, i have knots in my tummy when i wake in the morning. I don't know what the the day will hold, and cant organize anything for fear of putting him off a feed.

Ant advice would be great.... my health visitor says he has dropped a feed and is getting his days mixed up, but I'm not convinced, it came from nowhere, he was feeding like a dream before. Now I'm trying to get him to take a bottle but hes refusing that too... help!

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Jan 29, 2013
reverse cycling
by: Tracy, CBC, CLD (CBI)

Some babies do something called reverse cycling, in which they take in more calories at night than in the day.

If your baby is still picking up weight and having a few wet diapers every day, and you don't have a problem with waking up several times at night...then you don't need to worry.

Here are a few tips on how to cope with reverse cycling...

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my 4 month old doesnt really drink at noon

by Claire

My baby refuses to drink at noon,from 11am to 5 pm,if I force him to drink,he cries out loud,is it ok if don't feed him at noon?

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Jan 18, 2012
baby not drinking at certain time of the day
by: Tracy

Hi Claire

It sounds as if your baby might be consuming more milk during other times of the day. This is a common occurrence, especially if he drinks a lot in the evenings.

It doesn’t matter when baby is receiving milk, just as long as he is getting in enough. Does baby sleep through the night yet?

You do not need to worry yourself about this, as long as your baby is still happy and picking up weight, everything is fine.

He might be going through a growth spurt too, at 4 months they do usually have another growth before you know it, the feeding patterns will change again.

Another reason could be that your baby is distracted too easily while breastfeeding, do you have a very busy household? If so, you will need to breastfeed him in a quiet, dim lit room.

Here are some pages that might help...

Growth spurts

Reverse cycling

Hope this helps! Let me know how things go, would love to hear from you again

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Baby only breastfeeds in the evening

by raphael
(dormaa ahenkro, Ghana)

a mothers job demands that her baby only suckles in the evening when she returns from work, can that cause stomach ache and running stomach in the baby?

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Aug 04, 2012
Foremilk /hindmilk imbalance
by: Tracy


Yes, especially if mom has an overproduction of milk. What happens is that moms breasts are overfull, baby drinks but only receives the foremilk (because there is so much of it)

Foremilk is the watery milk in the front of the breast's milk-producing cells (alveoli), this milk is high in lactose which causes the runny tummy and colic symptoms.

Has she just started working again? It could be because her body has not yet regulated the amount of milk needed for the baby. Her milk supply should drop within a couple of days...which means that baby will stop having runny stools and tummy ache. It will take a while and her body will start producing just the right amount of milk needed for the night feedings.

If the oversupply continues (which is very rare, if mom is only breastfeeding once or twice per day) she can use certain herbs to decrease supply.

There are more tips on how to handle oversupply and foremilk-hindmilk imbalance here...


Foremilk/hindmilk imbalance

Working and breastfeeidng

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Problems starting the feeding

by Katie

My 5 day old baby cries every time he starts to breastfeed. He is getting milk but seems to not like the taste. Help

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