Originally Posted by FullMetalMom
Even a little bit of colostrum is calorie rich, so even though it seems like the baby isn't getting much of anything, they are getting the calories they need to get to the next nursing session. The 20 minutes isn't for the baby to get colostrum, it's for the mother's breast to get sufficient stimulation to create a good milk supply. That 20 minutes is the baby nursing and working on latch. With my dd I put her on each breast for 15-20 minutes, corrected her latch if need be and, yes, sometimes there was only 40 minutes or less between nursing sessions. It was exhausting and really hard but my milk came in very strongly. I know women who just let the baby sleep as long as they wanted as a newborn and then wondered why they barely had any milk come in. I was instructed by nurses, mws, etc. about the baby's blood sugar getting dangerously low after more than 5 hours. JMO of course.
I think that you're right that even working on latch can help with the mother's milk coming in. At any rate, my milk came in great within 2 days, but everyone around me chalked it up to an intervention free, all natural birth. I certainly didn't nurse every 40 minutes - although now I see that you said there was sometimes only 40 minutes in between nursing. We probably tried every 2 hours or so during the day, less frequently at night - there's no way I could have nursed every hour at night, I had been in labor for 70 hours and hadn't slept in days, and exhaustion is bad for your milk, too! That's not to completely disagree with you - 5 hours seems too long to go IMO, even 4 hours probably shouldn't be the norm, and certainly there should and will be times when nursing is quite frequent in those first couple of days. (After that - well, after that, my little guy nursed continually, i.e., on average every 20 minutes, esp during the day.)
I also think that, while the babes of course need to be encouraged to nurse somewhat, and at least every 4 hours, doesn't the fact that intense sleeping is the norm these first 2 days sort of signal that it's ok? Nature doesn't usually set things up to fail...
I'd love to hear other responses. Thanks for yours, FullMetalMom!