I am a FTM to a 4 week old, beautiful baby girl! I feed her on demand and have done so since she was just a few days old. She is a super sleepy baby though, and has slept through the night (other than a midnight, and then a 3:30am feeding, then sleeping till 8 or 9am or so). Feeding on demand has always been what works for us as parents, and makes her happy and content. However, the last week and half or so, she wakes up screaming! literally, screaming! Red in the face, real tears in her eyes, screaming! I rush to warm her bottle (I do not breastfeed, she is an exclusive bottle eater) and she takes it, sucking it down like a starving 3rd world child! She eats it so fast she chokes herself and I have to take it from her for a second to let her catch her breath.. then she starts screaming more!
She has reflux that we are trying to get under control (switched to Simulac sensitive from Advanced and are feeding her sitting up- keeping her that way for 30min after she eats).. As a next course of action- if just the switched formula does not work- we are going to try barley cereal in her formula (no rice).. then, meds as a last resort.
My concern and question here is: Since she is such a sleepy baby who can sleep sometimes for 5 hours + is the on demand feeding method hurting her rather than helping her? She is waking up screaming in hunger.. Should I start her on a schedule.. even waking her up after a few hours to feed her?
I mean, it is breaking my heart to hear her screaming in hunger like that, when I am right here with food for her, as much as she wants/needs.I feel as though Im not anticipating her needs very well with this method, and I feel like I am failing her, what can I do???
Re: So frustrated- Feeding on Demand (warning: long post- as usual for me, sorry) :(
I would feed smaller amounts more often. It is hard on a reflux baby to go long periods with an empty stomach and then filling it full. The full stomach will trigger extra stomach acid to be made to digest. Her empty stomach will be slushing with stomach acid and burning.
The general rule for acid reflux (young or old) is small meals more often.
She may not be gulping it down due to hunger but to ease the discomfort.
More Green For Less Green
I would also recommend considering the meds if your baby is exhibiting pain. I hated having to do the meds but seeing the difference made me know it was the right decision. We started at 7weeks. She had gone from a laid back easy going baby to a baby that was screaming in pain. She would projectile vomit 4-5feet. If you touched her back she would arch and freak out in fear that we'd burp her...which would push the acid back up. There were just so many symptoms that made it clear she was in a great deal of pain and discomfort. All these symptoms went away with the zantac, they would return when she needed a dosage adjustment then return to her carefree self. There are risks and downsides to the meds...but we could see the benefits so it was worthwhile for us.
Keep an open mind. As well, I would avoid the cereal in bottle and opt for the meds. If you do NEED to thicken up her formula buy the formula that is sold thickened rather than adding your own cereal. It's not ideal but it is prepared for babies that need it thickened and I believe their is less risk involved. All the cereal does is make the formula thicker so it is less sloshy in the tummy. This is NOT a real solution for acid reflux it just helps with ONE of the symptoms of a greater problem.
As others have said, smaller amounts more frequently. Some BF moms even have to wake to eat at 4 weeks. How is your baby's weight gain?
My bet is that baby is gulping to soothe belly/esophagus pain-- not necessarily just because she is hungry.
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