The ‘Lazy’ Feeder

Every baby’s feeding duration/frequency/length of baby’s feeds is different and there are many variations of normal.  Many baby’s are described as ‘lazy feeders’ – when this is associated with unmanageable (sleepy/long/frequent) feeding or slow weight gain, it’s well worth looking into.

There are many reasons why a baby’s feeding pattern may appear to be lazy.  The reasons are many and varied, but they all need a very thorough assessment by someone who has the time to take a full history and WATCH a full feed – from start to finish even if it takes an hour.  As an LC, this is what I do.  I listen to the mum and what she is seeing and feeling, I look at the baby and the pattern of weight gain, I listen and assess for swallowing and watch for tiny clues to tell me what is going on.

When I’m assessing a mum and her bubba who is ‘lazy’, here’s some of the things I consider

  • Is there a medical condition which is making this bubba lethargic – this could be severe jaundice or under-nutrition, a cardiac condition etc.  If this is a possibility, it’s time to seek medical attention while putting in a plan to support feeding
  • Is this bubba having short feeds because he is getting a lot of milk in a short amount of time
  • Is this bubba waiting patiently for his mum’s let-down which is inhibited – such as those effected by breast reduction
  • Is this bubba premature and just not strong enough to do full breastfeeding yet
  • Is this bubba falling asleep at the breast and taking a long time to feed because the milk is flowing really slowly or supply is low

The lazy feeder is fine if mum and bub are happy, healthy and bubba is gaining weight – if this isn’t the case, they need to be assessed properly and a close eye kept on them.

If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding, pattern of weight gain or finding breastfeeding unmanageable, please consider a consultation for a thorough assessment.



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