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Breastfeeding/Breastfeeding Length of Time/Frequency/Stools


Hello, My son was born at 34 weeks and two days 5lbs2oz went down to 4 lbs, and since birth has been exclusively breastfed except for a few times where my breastmilk was given to him through an NG tube. This was very difficult in the NICU since there is no rooming in, I slept on a chair/couch. The breasfeeding requirement was a 10 min feed with 10 sucks per burst (10 suckles before the baby rests and resumes suckling).
My son is now 9 weeks old and almost 10lbs. He now nurses for only approximately 5 minutes and has been doing this for a while, if I try to put him to breast to nurse more he gets very angry. I have been nursing every 2hrs. My sister suggested I let the baby make his own scedule so that he is only fed once he shows signs of hunger and even then to wait a little to make sure. I nursed him yesterday and got to 12 mins he came off rosy cheeked and sleepy. Today only the short feeds again where he comes off alert not rosy cheeked and sleepy.
I'm worried the feeds are not long enough and not sure of frequency.
Also his stools do not have much consistency. They are yellow but mostly just look like a stain on the diaper, sometimes with a partially applesauce consistency. There was also one day with mucous and dark stool and he was very fussy so I'm keeping a food diary but think it was garlic/onions.
Otherwise nothing else is odd.
Dr has nothing bad to say but does not have many baby patients/breastfeeding.
I'm also concerned the stools are unusual.
To reiterate:
Concerned about length and frequency of feedings and stools.
Could you offer any information? I also have pictures of the diapers.
Thank you for your time.

First, congratulations for giving your son the best start in life by breastfeeding him! You deserve special congratulations in view of the his special needs at birth and soon afterwards. You seem like a really caring and conscientious mom.

I consulted with pediatrician Laura M. Marks, M.D., the coauthor of my book (see below), and she is very reassuring. She said, "Usually we use the baby's weight gain as our guide to whether the baby is getting enough breastmilk." And according to what you write, your doctor seems to feel that your baby is gaining normally. If your baby is growing well then the length and frequency of feedings are not important, so try to relax around that. Sometimes he'll come off a feeding rosy-cheeked and sleepy -- but sometimes he won't. One thing you're learning is that babies are very unpredictable!

The stools as you describe them sound quite normal.

So enjoy your baby -- he seems to be doing very well!

Best regards, Sally
Sally Wendkos Olds
Author, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING: Olds & Marks, 4th edition, September 2010, published by Workman Publishing, and available in most public libraries, bookstores & La Leche League chapters.  


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Sally Wendkos Olds


What do you want to know about breastfeeding? I can tell you what`s good for the baby, what`s good for the mother -- and the father, how it`s related to a woman`s sexuality, how working moms can nurse, how to overcome obstacles, and lots more. As the author of THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING and author or coauthor of 8 other books and more than 200 articles about child and adult development, I can offer sound, sensible advice on breastfeeding, child care and family issues.


I nursed my 3 daughters and am the grandmother of 5 breastfed children. My book THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING (written in consultation with pediatrician Marvin S. Eiger, M.D.) was first published in 1972, and in 1999 came out in an updated 3rd Edition by Workman Publishing & Bantam Books. It is now a classic, with over 2 million copies in print. I am now revising this book for a fourth edition, consulting with pediatrician Laura M. Marks, M.D. This new edition will be published September 2009. I welcome any and all suggestions for the new edition. I coauthored college textbooks A CHILD'S WORLD: INFANCY THROUGH ADOLESCENCE, and HUMAN DEVELOPMENT; both are leading texts in their fields and have been read by 2 million students. I am the coauthor of HELPING YOUR CHILD FIND VALUES TO LIVE BY and RAISING A HYPERACTIVE CHILD, and author of THE WORKING PARENTS' SURVIVAL GUIDE & THE ETERNAL GARDEN: SEASONS OF OUR SEXUALITY. My newest book, A BALCONY IN NEPAL: GLIMPSES OF A HIMALAYAN VILLAGE, published in 2002, tells the story of the way of life in a remote village in Nepal, where all the women breastfeed! My book, SUPER GRANNY: COOL PROJECTS, ACTIVITIES, AND OTHER GREAT STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS, will be published March 2009. I speak often to professional, parent and general audiences and make many radio and TV appearances.

Credentials I received my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where I minored in Psychology, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude.

Other points of interest I have received national awards for my writing, and am a former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. I am listed in the World Who's Who of Women, International Authors & Writers Who's Who, and Contemporary Authors, and am a member of several professional and civic organizations. I believe: that all parents are working parents; that parents employed outside the home need special support; that mothers' well-being is crucial to their children's welfare; and that the family is the best institution in the world and the one for which we are least prepared. My thrills come when parents or kids tell me they were helped by my writing or speaking or just understanding. To find out more about me, go to

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