Q: Good morning, Doctor. My wife is doing exclusive breast feeding but my daughter sucks intensively, an average of 14hrs everyday…she could suck from 12am to 4am sometimes, making it difficult for the mom to do any other thing.
1) Can we start introducing a little water so that I could help wife some nights?
2) Can we give her gripe water? Mother insists it helps babies to ease stomach upsets that is normal with babies.
A: Trust me…you’re not the only husband who wonders whether their new babies are on a mission to deplete their wives of their very lives given their frequency of sucking! When I had my last baby, I would jokingly say that I felt light-headed after breast feeding him…he sucked that much 😀 So, I know exactly what you’re talking about! And thank you so much for being a caring husband that feels for his wife and wants to lighten her burden. You’re a gem 🙂
When your baby is born, feeding should really be on demand and so that’s as often as they want 😀 The feeling you have that your baby feeds all the time is probably because breast milk is so easy to digest that it moves pretty easily through your baby’s digestive system and also be because your baby’s tummy is really tiny requiring only little food at once and then needing to feed more often. But the good news is that a good number of babies sleep through the first couple of days and frequent feeding helps boost your breast milk production. Unfortunately, your baby does not appear to be one of those sleeping through the first few days For those parents who do have those babies that sleep through, please be sure that you never let them sleep more than 3 hours without waking them for a feed.
However, the good news is that as your baby grows older, his feeding pattern will become more established and she will generally feed every 2 to 3 hours. Sucking from 12am to 4am sounds almost like comfort sucking where the baby is on the breast but not sucking or swallowing and sometimes just playing with the nipple. In the early days, it may not be a bad idea to allow this as you bond with your baby but later on, you’ve got to make breast feeding time to be about ‘eating’ and find other means of comfort.
So, should you introduce water? No. The fore milk is made up of a significant quantity of water…so trust me, your baby is not thirsty. Then, it’s also important that your wife alternates between the two breasts during each feed and go for about 10 minutes on each side depending on how hungry your baby is. This ensures she’s getting the fore milk (mostly water) and the more calorie-dense hind milk.
For more on breast feeding, please click on the link below:
And now to gripe water, honestly, the benefits are more in our imagination than in actual fact. The stomach aches that babies have (colic) can be very distressing for a parent to watch but perhaps understanding what it’s about may be helpful. Colics usually start occurring in some children between 3 to 6 weeks of age and disappear between the 3rd to 4th month of life, without any treatment. Some modifications may help reduce their severity:
• Be sure to burp baby after each feed
• Hold baby and gently rock her after a feed
• Hold your baby upright during her feed
• Check your diet: reduce caffeine-containing foods and sometimes, it may be the dairy in your diet that you baby is reacting to. Taking dairy off your diet for a week or two may lead to improvement in symptoms.
Remember to see your doctor where in doubt as to what is wrong with your baby, especially if you’re a newbie mum/dad 🙂
So, with or without gripe water, this colic shall pass 😀
Have a great night, y’all 😀