Feeding FAQ: 3-4 months – Breast Feeding

How can I get my 15-week-old baby to take more milk?

I am finding it difficult to get my daughter to feed more at each feed. She only drinks 2-3ozs at each feed, occasionally 4ozs if she really wants it.
Her weight gain is dropping slowly. At present she weights 12lbs 2oz.The health visitor has advised me to demand feed her for a couple of days, but it has been terrible. She is very agitated at each feed and takes her time. I never know if she is really hungry this way or just distressed. On the routine she fed every 3-4 hrs, but would only have a small amount. On demand feeding it is even worse as she sometimes only takes 1oz. This was supposed to increase her weight.
She does have a bit of a cold and cough at the moment and demand feeding has put her sleeping all over the place, making her grumpy.
In the past she had problems with colic and a little bit of reflux. How can I get her better settled and to take more milk?
The report which follows is not a reflection of every day as she has been catnapping with demand feeding.
6.15am 4oz, 9.00am 2oz, 10.45 3oz, 2.25pm 2.5oz, 4.00pm 2oz, 5.50pm 3oz, 6.40pm 1oz, 8.00pm 1oz, 12.05 6.5oz, giving a total of 25ozs.
She slept 12.50am- 6.00am, 6.50-8.20am, 11.30am-12.15pm, and settled at 8pm-9.20pm.

The problems that your daughter is having with only taking very small feeds and becoming distressed during them, needs to be assessed by a doctor. As she has had slight reflux problems in the past, the re-occurrence of “silent” reflux needs to be ruled out. The “silent” kind means that a baby may not bring back up its feed but still be experiencing discomfort whilst feeding and therefore becomes distressed, refusing to take in any more. Talk to your doctor and explain exactly how she behaves in her feeds.
As your daughter has a bit of a cold at the moment, she may be having difficulty in breathing whilst taking in a feed as her nasal passages are blocked. Using saline drops before a feed can help this problem. Take her to the doctor to have her checked over, as this could also be affecting her ability to drink properly.
Once you have discussed your concerns with the doctor and he is happy for you to get back into some kind of a routine, try “splitting” your daughters feeds. When she feeds on waking in the morning, let her have 2-3ozs and then have a break whilst you change her, and let her sit in her chair for 15-20mins before offering her another 2ozs. This may help her to increase her intake a little. If you give her this break at all her feeds, you may find, although rather time consuming, she will end up having taken more milk over 24 hours than she is doing at present.