When you feel like breastfeeding has been going well, and you and your little one have found your groove, it can completely shake your confidence when your baby or toddler starts feeding much more than usual.
If you’re suddenly finding that it feels like all you’re doing is non-stop feeding, I’ll bet that you’ve had at least one of the following thoughts:
- “Perhaps my supply has dropped?”
- “Perhaps I need to start supplementing with formula?”
- “Maybe I need to wean my baby onto solids?”
- “Am I making a rod for my own back by feeding more?”
- “Is my child getting too clingy?”
- “Am I going to be breastfeeding until they’re 15?!”
Am I right?! It’s so easy to doubt our bodies, and our ability to make the right amount of milk for our child. Particularly when we can’t see the quantity like we can when milk is in a bottle.
But breastfeeding journeys are rarely linear – there are many changes and phases along the way. Feeding can suddenly increase for a whole variety of reasons, none of which mean that there is anything wrong with your supply, or that your child is going to spend the next 10 years attached to you!
Breastfeeding journeys are rarely linear – there are many changes and phases along the way.
Here are 5 reasons why your baby might suddenly start breastfeeding more than usual
1. They’re going through a growth spurt!
Just as you’d expect a 6-year-old to eat more when they’re growing lots, so does a baby or toddler. Your supply of breast milk will increase with the extra demands, and when feeding reduces again so will your supply.
2. They’re fighting off a bug!
Whether they seem poorly yet or not, your child may be picking up extra antibodies to help support their immune system and fight an illness. Your child’s saliva sends signals to your body and in response your body produces the necessary antibodies in your breast-milk – how incredible?!
3. They’re going through a developmental leap!
This can mean more for your baby or toddler to cope with mentally and emotionally, so they naturally seek out that comfort and may wake more too. Remember this is just a phase, and you are supporting them through it.
4. They’re thirsty!
In hot weather, or when poorly, expect your little one to want more to drink. Just as we would up our fluids, they do the same, and the water-content in your breast-milk also increases to increase their hydration levels.
5. They’re teething!
Remember what it’s like to have your wisdom teeth come through? It’s no wonder they want the comfort of a feed when teething – and breastfeeding actually reduces the pain that they feel!
It can bring some comfort being able to understand why your child is suddenly feeding so much – but that doesn’t mean it won’t sometimes be challenging for you too. So try to remember: they’re not just being clingy… breastfeeding isn’t just because they’re hungry…. and this isn’t forever! Give yourself the time and space that you need and congratulate yourself on doing an amazing job. And repeat after me: “This too shall pass…!”