Q&A: My 12-week-old is constantly hungry
When my son was born he weighed 3.5kg, and now, at the age of 12 weeks, he weighs 6kg. Is this the normal weight for a baby of his age? He is not fat, but people remark on how big he is. It seems as though he is just not getting enough food to satisfy him. I try to feed him every3 hours, as I would like to stick to a routine, but not long after he has fed he starts niggling and chews at his fingers. I assume that he is hungry, and when I feed him again he drinks as if he has been starved. Should I change him from my breast to formula, or even feed him puréed vegetables?
Hannah Leathem replies:
Weight gain patterns differ from baby to baby, and it is more important to keep your eye on the growth curve on his graph than to be worried about his specific weight. Boys tend to gain weight in their first 6 months, but then lose a little when they start crawling and walking.
Ask your clinic sister or paediatrician to plot his weight on a growth chart, and see which curve he follows. Some babies also gain weight a little faster than their length grows, and this too is normal. You do not have to worry about his weight at all.
Your breastfeeding routine question might be one you should pose to a breastfeeding specialist, but I am inclined to prefer demand feeding. I know it makes life easier to have a set routine, but I believe it causes unnecessary stress for your baby. Babies sometimes go through growth spurts, which makes it impossible to stick to the 3-hourly routines.
My advice would be to take at least a week, and set aside all other priorities, concentrating instead on feeding your baby on demand. Your milk production will increase and you will soon get into a new routine.
Breastmilk is wonderful for babies, so do try to feed him exclusively from the breast for as long as possible. Your baby’s digestive system is not ready for solid food before the age of 4 months. If he is gaining weight satisfactorily, and still niggles after feeds, it might be a good idea to talk to your paediatrician, as there might be another cause for this behaviour. Check with the paediatrician before you supplement his breastmilk with formula.