Babies are so much fun.  They can also be so exhausting and frustrating!  Once you think you have figured out their schedules and what to expect they like to change it up on you.

My son, who is now three months old was just settling into a predictable schedule.  I knew when he was going to eat, and how much he was going to sleep.  It was beautiful.  Then last week, he threw me for that loop.  Instead of eating 5-6 ounces every five hours, he decided he only wanted two to three ounces every five hours.  At first I started to panic.  I mean, if he kept that up surely he was going to lose weight and it would be the end of the world.  Something was wrong!

Then I remembered that sometimes babies do this.  They don’t often follow what “The Book” says they should do.  Books are just guidelines, and we need to remember that when we are comparing our kids to the book.  My husband pointed out that our son may not be eating much, but he was sleeping the same, and was all together really happy between meals.  He wasn’t acting hungry, or frankly like anything was wrong at all.  He just didn’t want to eat is normal amount.

I did a little reading and research to discover that sometimes babies have an appetite decrease just before a growth spurt.  This made plenty of sense, lots of babies have growth spurts right at that three month mark.  I just wasn’t convinced though, so I kept reading.

Other things that could cause a problem?  A baby who is distractible.  They are too interested in what they see around them that they eat just enough to get by and want to get on with their days.  I thought this might be the culprit for a minute until I remembered that he was not really eating at night too.  Nothing to distract him at night, no lights, sounds, or even a coherent mommy.  Other culprits could have been gas or reflux, congestion, or a sore throat.  My first two kids had reflux, so I was fairly certain this didn’t fit that mold.  He’s awfully gassy though so I increased the number of times I burped him.  It didn’t help. His breathing was fine, so no congestion there.  I suppose it could have been a sore throat, but no one else had one in the family so I tentatively ruled that out.   Last of my list of things to try was a faster flow nipple.  If you breast feed, just skip this part.  I went up to a level two.  He ate from this fine, not too fast, not too slow.  And no gagging, so I know he handled the switch fine, but still no more than three ounces.

After about a week of pulling out my hair trying to troubleshoot my son he decided he was hungry again.  With a vengeance.  He now takes six ounces every five hours.  Looks like it was that slowdown before the growth spurt after all.

Be patient with your baby, and chances are you’ll be able to figure out whats going on.  Remember that if your little peanut is acting happy, and full, he probably is.  As always, when in doubt don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.  That’s what they are there for.  Plus, they might be able to give you a few ideas on things to try.  If nothing else they will put your mind at ease.


-Stephanie Wright

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