It is normal for the baby to demand more breastfeeding and to have changes in behaviour during this stage. The mammary gland responds by producing more milk as the baby sucks. The duration of the crisis may vary, but there is no cause for concern if the baby continues to gain weight adequately. Here comes the key tip: stay calm and avoid introducing formula, it is best to offer breastfeeding on demand. With these breastfeeding tips, you can get through this stage and continue to enjoy successful breastfeeding with your baby. Find out how to deal with the 3-month breastfeeding crisis with our breastfeeding tips!
What is the 3-month breastfeeding crisis?
During the first months of life, the baby experiences a crucial developmental phase. Breastfeeding plays a fundamental role at this stage, as it provides the nutrients necessary for optimal growth and development. However, at around 3 months, it is common for babies to go through a phase known as the breastfeeding crisis.
Baby’s development in the first months
In the first months of life, babies experience rapid physical and cognitive growth. Their organ systems develop, their basic motor skills begin to develop and their ability to interact with their environment expands day by day.
Breastfeeding and its importance
Breastfeeding provides all the nutrients necessary for a baby’s healthy growth and development. It also strengthens the immune system, protecting against illness and establishing an emotional bond and attachment between mother and baby.
Changes in milk production in the third month
By the third month, the mother’s body is adapting to the needs of her growing baby. The mammary gland begins to produce milk as the baby sucks, rather than having it immediately available. This can lead to changes in the way the baby feeds and affect breastfeeding behaviour.
Typical behaviours during breastfeeding crisis
During the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months, it is common for the baby to show behaviours that may be confusing for the mother. He may fight with the breast, have difficulty sucking properly, fuss and be distracted during feedings. These behaviours may give the impression that the baby is rejecting the breast, but in fact it is a normal reaction to the growth spurt they are going through.
- Fighting with the breast
- Difficulty sucking
- Flicking and signs of distraction
Why does this crisis occur?
The breastfeeding crisis at 3 months in breastfed babies is due to several factors related to the baby’s development and milk production. The main reasons for this crisis are explained below.
The role of the mammary gland in milk production
The mammary gland plays a key role in breast milk production. As the baby suckles, the mammary gland produces the milk needed to meet the baby’s demand. However, at 3 months, the mammary gland begins to produce milk as the baby suckles, rather than having it immediately available. This transition can cause some confusion and difficulty for the baby in getting enough milk.
Delayed breastfeeding can be a valuable tool for overcoming the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months. By offering additional flexibility and support, this practice can contribute to maintaining successful and satisfying breastfeeding for both parties involved.
Baby’s accelerated growth and demand for more milk
At 3 months, the baby undergoes significant growth and development. This rapid growth requires a greater amount of nutrients and therefore a greater demand for breastmilk. This is why during this crisis, the baby may show behaviours such as fighting with the breast, not suckling properly or swiping. These behaviours are due to their need for more milk to meet their increasing demand.
The importance of maintaining breastfeeding on demand without introducing formula milk
It is crucial to maintain breastfeeding on demand during this crisis stage. Introducing formula can make the situation worse and make it more difficult for the baby to adapt to milk production as he sucks. Although feeds may be short and the baby may be easily distracted, it is important to remember that if the baby is satisfied and calm after a feed, nothing more needs to be done than to offer the breast when the baby asks for it again.
Duration and normality of the 3-month feeding crisis
The 3-month breastfeeding crisis is a normal stage in a baby’s development, but it is important to understand its duration and how it relates to health and growth.
The average duration of the crisis and its possible variations
The average duration of the 3-month lactation crisis is approximately 3 weeks to 1 month. However, it is important to keep in mind that each baby is unique and there may be variations in this time period. Some babies may experience the crisis for a shorter period of time, while others may experience it for a full month.
It is essential to remember that this crisis is a temporary and transient stage in the breastfeeding process. Although it may be challenging for the mother, it is important to remain calm and trust in her body and her ability to produce milk.
The baby’s growth rate and its influence on weight
During the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months, it is common for the baby to experience a slower growth rate compared to the first few months. This is because their body is adapting to new nutritional demands and the production of milk that meets their needs.
It is important to note that if the baby continues to gain weight adequately, there is no cause for concern. Even if the rate of growth has slowed temporarily, this does not mean that the baby is malnourished or that breastfeeding is not sufficient. Milk production adapts to the baby’s needs, and as long as the baby continues to gain weight steadily, this is an indicator that he or she is receiving adequate nutrition.
Tackling the breastfeeding crisis with reassurance and support
Keep calm and trust your body
The breastfeeding crisis at 3 months can be challenging for mothers, but it is important to stay calm and trust your body. Knowing that this is a normal and transitory stage will help to avoid excessive worry. Trust that your body is capable of producing the amount of milk your baby needs. Anxiety and stress can affect milk production, so it is essential to stay calm and find ways to relax during this stage.
Identifying the crisis and avoiding the introduction of formula supplements
It is crucial to identify the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months to avoid resorting to formula supplements. During this stage, it is important to remember that breastfeeding on demand is the key to meeting your baby’s needs. There is no need to introduce formula, as your body is able to adapt to your baby’s growing demands. Avoiding the introduction of supplements will help maintain milk production and strengthen the bond between mother and baby.
Using the kassing method for bottle feeding
If you choose to use a bottle during breastfeeding, it is advisable to use the kassing method to prevent your baby from rejecting the breast. The kassing method consists of alternating the use of the bottle with the breast, so that the baby does not become completely accustomed to the easy flow of the bottle and continues to practice sucking at the breast. This prevents the baby from becoming accustomed only to the bottle and maintains breastfeeding.
Overcoming the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months and continuing to breastfeed successfully
Overcoming the breastfeeding crisis at 3 months is possible with support and understanding. During this stage, the mother may experience some challenges, but it is important to remember that her body has the capacity to produce enough milk for the baby.
Support and understanding of the mother during this stage
It is essential that the mother has emotional and physical support during the breastfeeding crisis. It can be helpful to have the support of family, friends or breastfeeding support groups where she can share her experiences and receive advice.
The body’s ability to produce enough milk
It is normal during this stage for a mother to be concerned about whether she is producing enough milk for her baby. However, it is important to have confidence in your body and remember that as long as there is suction, there will be milk production. Breastfeeding on demand is key to maintaining adequate production.
Information and resources for overcoming the crisis and continuing to breastfeed
There are numerous resources and tools available to help overcome a breastfeeding crisis at 3 months. From consulting with a breastfeeding health professional, to finding information in books, websites or support groups, it is important to arm yourself with knowledge and have access to resources that provide support and reassurance during this time.
A valuable resource to help you meet this challenge is to access our online breastfeeding course. This type of course provides detailed information, guidance and practical advice to overcome any obstacles that may arise during this stage.
In addition, it is essential to remember that every breastfeeding experience is unique and that each mother and baby has their own rhythm and needs. Listening to and respecting these individual needs can be key to overcoming the crisis and enjoying successful breastfeeding.
About the instructor
Deanna Marie Mason PhD
More than 20 years of clinical experience helping families:
Bachelor's Degree in Registered Nursing, Master’s Degree in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and PhD in Nursing. University professor, patient education specialist, pediatric researcher, published author and reviewer to first-line international scientific journals, continuous philanthropic activity related to health promotion and education, wife and mother of two children.