In the third month after delivery, the baby has reached approximately one hundred days of extra-uterine life. The hundred-day landmark is particularly important in the growth and development of an infant because it signifies another phase of growth in the infant characterized by increased nutritional and energy requirements (especially in terms of feeding).
At this stage of growth, milk; breast milk in particular; remains the primary food for the child. However, after a hundred days, the intake of milk is heightened, the baby eats faster and most times the mother can even hear the gurgling sounds when the child is swallowing.
This third month can be very stressful for some breastfeeding mothers and at the same time a stress-free month for others. This is because in the third month, the interval between each breastfeeding is longer as digestion and absorption take more time, and the baby can store energy; with these features, the baby does not often get hungry as in the past months. For example, a baby that gets hungry every three to four hours can stay for five hours without getting hungry. This longevity can be used to the mother’s advantage if she plans properly as it can give her enough time to sleep. Proper knowledge is a necessity for every breastfeeding mother to give proper care at this stage.
What Is the Proper Quantity of Milk Intake for Three-Month Old Babies?
For a baby who has reached the three-month mark, the level of milk intake should be monitored closely. Three-month-old babies are to be breastfed five to six times a day with an amount of 150ml of milk each time. In total, a baby is to have an intake of about 800ml of milk every day for proper growth.
With the added feature of slow digestion, breastfeeding mothers and guardians should be smart enough to use it to their advantage. In the evening, breastfeeding can be postponed from 9 or 10 o’clock to 11 or 12 o’clock. With a slow digestive system, if breast milk is given by 11 or 12 o’clock the baby would not get hungry till 4 or 5 o’clock. This means the mother will have 4-5 hours of sleep compared to the other months she has to wake up at short intervals.
How Do I Know the Milk Intake Is Insufficient?
The mother needs to be very vigilant at this stage. This is because if the baby’s milk intake is insufficient and is not noticed on time, the child might become malnourished. Also, if it is caused by a disease and not noticed timely, the situation would have aggravated. The following should be done to detect insufficient milk intake timely:
- The mother should watch the weight of the child judiciously. If the baby adds less than 100 grams to 150 grams of weight per week or does not add at all, the milk intake of the child is insufficient.
- The mother should observe the intervals before the baby gets hungry again. A three-month-old baby is not supposed to get hungry 2-4 times in one night due to their slow digestion. If the baby does this, it means that the milk intake is very insufficient. The mother is most advised to add milk powder i.e. milk formula to supplement the breast milk immediately.
What If the Baby Takes Less Amount of Milk?
A lot of things can make a three-month-old baby take less amount of milk than the usual amount. But whatever the reason might be, the most important rule for every breastfeeding mother is for her not to panic! A baby may consume less milk than normal due to the following:
- If the infant has indigestion. Indigestion will make the baby very uncomfortable which might result in the baby taking in less amount of milk.
- A baby can also take less amount of milk if the baby is sick. For this reason and many others, nursing mothers and guardians are to be very vigilant while taking care of their babies.
- A low amount of milk intake is normal to some extent in three-month-old babies, as their small livers and kidneys become tired of milk. Every organ reacts when overworked; in babies where there is non-stop work for the liver and kidney, as they partake in the digestion of milk, these organs eventually become tired. This is expected in every baby of this age.
It should be emphasized that all these reasons can be absent and the baby still has a low amount of milk intake.
What Should I Do When My Baby Has a Low Level of Milk Intake?
Despite the severity of the baby’s low milk intake, the first and most important thing to do for your baby is not to panic. It is also very important that the mother or guardian does not force the baby to breastfeed.
If the baby is not sick, the baby is most likely just taking a break. This break might be for days or 1-2 weeks. This break is essential as the liver, kidneys and digestive system take a rest. The digestive system will gradually recover after some time, and then the level of milk intake will gradually improve until it reaches the appropriate level of milk intake.
The baby can be given other meals during this ‘break’ period. These meals are to be given only once or twice a day with a measurement of 100-150ml per meal. But when the child resumes breastfeeding, breast milk should be given in small amounts that are to be increased gradually. As the amount of milk is increased, the number of other meals should be reduced; if not the baby will get tired of breast milk again.
What Makes Three-Month Old Babies Reject Breastfeeding?
When a baby rejects breastfeeding, it is very frustrating to the breastfeeding mother as her breasts are left filled and heavy. This is a very uncomfortable situation as the mother is also extremely worried about her child. However, the following reasons can make a baby reject breastfeeding;
- The development of the vision and hearing of the baby can cause distractions that can make the child reject breastfeeding. This is called physiological anorexia and it occurs in babies that are 3-5 months old. As the child grows, his vision and hearing also develop; the baby becomes curious about the world, he wants to see everybody and hear everything. This is a good development but it is very distracting especially when the baby is being breastfed.
- Physical discomfort due to pain or wrong breastfeeding posture can make the child reject breastfeeding. Physical discomfort can also be caused by teething, vaccination, and sickness.
What Should I do When My Baby Rejects Breastfeeding?
When it is noticed that the baby is rejecting breastfeeding, the breastfeeding mother should try her best to know the specific reason for the rejection. With the right knowledge of the cause of rejection, appropriate solutions can be given. The solutions in respect to their causes include:
- Breastfeeding should be done in a noiseless environment. This is to be done when the cause of the rejection is physiological anorexia, i.e. when the child is distracted by noise and people. This is very essential as the baby’s nutrition would be affected severely. If it persists, the child should be taken to a doctor so that means to supplement nutrition would be given.
- Use a large-holed pacifier if the baby is teething. The large-holed pacifier is to reduce the pain caused by sucking when the baby is teething.
- Adopt a new feeding method. It might be that the child is used to a particular method of feeding. The mother is to adopt a more casual method of feeding.
- Breastfeed in a correct posture to prevent discomfort. When the posture is the cause of rejection, the mother is to simply change the breastfeeding posture.
- Consult a pediatrician for treatment. If rejection of breastfeeding is accompanied by vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fever, abdominal distension, and other symptoms, it means that it is caused by a disease. The baby is to be taken to the hospital for cross-examination as timely as possible.
Is It Normal for A Baby to Sleep While Eating?
It is very normal for a baby to sleep off while being breastfed; however, the breastfeeding mother should try to wake the baby. There are various ways to wake up the child which includes
- To wake the baby, gently pinch the baby’s earlobe. Do not apply too much pressure as you might end up creating an injury.
- Using your fingers to flick the soles of the baby’s feet. Again, do not apply pressure to prevent injuries.
After applying these methods and the baby does not wake up, simply put the baby to sleep in his small bed. When the child wakes up he might be hungryand then you can continue feeding.
Insufficiency in the amount of breast milk taken is a very big threat to the growth and development of a three-month-old baby. Mothers are to be vigilant, smart, and very concise while breastfeeding to yield a very healthy baby.