Thursday, March 10, 2011

A High Maintenance Baby's Eating Habits

Moving right along in the 12 Features of a High Needs Baby.....

The next indicator is "feeds frequently".  I personally don't relate to this one.  I'm not sure if it is because of my parenting style or just the way my son is wired.  But either way my son eats by the clock.  I remember when he was a newborn he would nurse every 2 hours almost to the minute.  I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever seen.  Regardless of whether he was awake or asleep he would show signs of hunger right at 2 hours.  It took him a while to go longer periods in between feedings. 

When our little boy was 2 weeks old he was screaming up a storm and my husband and I thought we were going to loose our minds.  I called his pediatrician because I thought he was having a lot of gas and I wanted to know what I should be avoiding in my diet to help.  The doctor said it sounded like he had acid reflux and prescribed meds for him.  We started the meds that day and saw a big change (although, that wasn't even close to being the end of it).  When he suggested the acid reflux I was a bit perplexed because my son was HUGE!  He was in the 95th percentile and not having any trouble gaining every month.  One of the big symptoms of acid reflux is a baby that throws up so much that they loose weight, or a baby that won't eat because it hurts too much.  I realized then and there that my son has determination as a strong personality trait.  He was not going to let a little pain stop him from eating!  (Although it didn't stop the constant crying either). 

These days I would categorize my son as a great eater.  He is currently dabbling in many different solids.  With each new veggie or fruit that I give him he seems addicted until the dish is empty and I say "no more".  He acts like I said something so mean to him.  He gets a sad look on his face and cries.  It caused me to ask his GI specialist if I am feeding him enough.  He said it's clear by his continual growth that he is getting enough to eat. :)  That's my boy! 

Frequent feeding is a feature of a high needs baby because many moms soothe their babies by nursing them.  I have read many things recently that highly praise this way of mothering a high needs baby, especially if you are nursing.  They say that if a baby snacks often for comfort they are getting low caloric milk more often, as opposed to the high fat milk that comes at the end of a longer feeding.  So it is regulated for them to fit their needs.  Plus it helps keep them calm and it helps them to trust and bond with mommy. 

Please share if your baby is a frequent feeder or not.  What was your experience with feeding your baby?  Did you stick to a schedule or did you feed them when they got fussy? 


  1. My little high maintenance baby is definitely a frequent feeder. I breastfeed on demand with him... it helps keep him mostly calm at least in that department. He is 4 months old and still wanting to nurse every 2hrs even at night.

  2. Wow! I really think we have the same kid. For the first couple months, I could tell you what time it was based on Joe's hunger. We had to use a nipple shield for the first couple months and finally weaned from it when he was 2 months. Then, our 40 minute nursing sessions went down to 5 minutes! I was disappointed because I loved those sessions. Joe would be quiet and sometimes fall asleep, it gave me downtime and helped the day pass. I tried using the shield again but Joe wasn't having it. We went to a lactation consultant and after measuring, Joe can suck down 5.5 ounces of milk in 5 minutes. The shield was actually more work for him and made it come out slower. However, at his wellness check-ups, his growth slowed down. My chunker, born 9 lbs, 12 ounces, and always in the 95% or higher, only gained 2 ounces during his third month and 12 ounces during his 4th month. He was still a chunker but it made me worry. Well, since I had been feeding him when he woke up and rocking him to sleep (like books say to do), he was just too awake and distracted to eat. So, when we went back to co-sleeping and nursing to sleep, he started eating more again. Now, at 7 months, my chunk-a-monk weighs 23 pounds. He is too cute! He's been playing with solids since he was 5 months when he got his first two teeth. Now that he has 6 teeth, he eats a lot of Mum mums and Gerber graduate rice and corn puff flavored snacks. He just started enjoying the baby food out of a jar and eats 2 ounces/meal but his real favorites are the foods in the mesh feeder - blueberries, pears, pineapple. He can feed himself and he loves how juicy they are.

    So, we had a schedule/comforting nursing time the first couple months, very little feeding until 4.5 months, and now he eats constantly. His milk "meals" are only before sleep but I'll offer it to him if he's cranky or fussy or if he's been eating snacks and I think he might be thirsty.