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Growth spurts and feeding

When I talk about a growth spurt I am talking about a time when your baby will seem hungrier than she usually is. Although we can not predict when a growth spurt will take place, I have observed times where a baby is more likely to have one, and have therefore allowed for this in my routines.

If your baby is bottle-fed and you are following my advice and feeding her until she is full you will not need to worry about her growth spurts because she will just drink the extra milk she needs.

However, if your baby is breastfed I can’t state strongly enough how important it is for a breastfeeding mother to follow the expressing times stated if you want to have your baby both on my routines and breastfeeding successfully. The expressed milk should be kept and given at the 6 pm feed or stored appropriately for a later date.

If you look carefully at my breastfeeding routines you will see that more milk is expressed the week before a common growth spurt than in the weeks your baby may be having a growth spurt. This means there is more milk in your breasts during the week your baby is having a growth spurt because your breasts have become accustomed to making more milk.

Your baby will drink this extra milk during the growth spurt. If you can’t express or you choose not to express you can use my routines only as guides until week eight. At week eight you can follow my routines to the minute because expressing is not required to make the routine work successfully.

If your baby goes through a growth spurt at other times apart from the weeks I have suggested, don’t worry. If you have been following my routines and expressing advice, because your breasts will think you have a bigger hungrier baby, they will produce more than is needed and will be used to making different amounts of milk.

There are a number of reasons you should express before a feed until your baby is eight weeks old.

• Your baby should still be asleep when you are expressing so you can relax and not worry about needing to tend to him. If you try to express after a feed you might need to wind your baby or you might miss out on cuddling time while expressing. Your baby might also fall asleep outside feed-time while you express, however if you are not expressing you can stimulate your baby to keep him awake.

• If you express after a feed you might be expressing after the hour mark which will affect the amount of time your breasts have to make more milk.

• Once your breasts are on a routine for a while, your milk becomes all hind milk. But before this happens, if you express before you feed, you will be expressing fore milk, which is not as important for your baby to drink and in some cases can give the baby reflux. If you express after the feed you will be taking the hind milk, and this milk is important for your baby.

Once your baby is eight weeks and over then you can follow the advice on pages 116–117 of Save Our Sleep.

You can begin to express after the 7 am and 11 am feeds, making sure to finish by 8 am and 12 pm respectively.

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