newborn wants to nurse all the time! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-23-2003, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. I have a 4 week old newborn (first baby) and he is having days/nights where he wants to nurse for hours, it seems. I just can't do it - my nipples/breasts get so sore after 50 minutes or so of nursing. The baby seems insatiable - I realize he may have a growth spurt but i can't keep up. Last night, I tried nursing him for 3 hours and he still was frantic and hungry. I made up a bottle of formula which he drained and then he fell asleep and slept for 4 hours. But, this afternoon, i nursed him for 90 minutes and he is still rooting and looking for food.

Do others have babies that are this hungry? How do you keep breastfeeding to meet their demand - my breasts/nipples just get sore. I've had my "latch" checked and it's good so I don't think it's my technique. My only solution is to give him a bottle if I'm desperate. Is there something else? Maybe I'm misreading his signals - is it possible he is not as hungry as I think? HELP!
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#2 of 11 Old 06-23-2003, 07:17 PM
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Who checked your latch? Was it an IBCLC lactation consultant, an LLL leader, or a nurse at the hospital? Most nurses and peds have no training in breastfeeding, so if someone like that told you your baby's latch was OK I'd get a second opinion. Especially because of the soreness you're experiencing - it really shouldn't hurt.

Here's a helpful handout on latching correctly:

Do you see your baby's chin going down and pausing (suck on your own finger, that downward motion when the suck is strongest is what you're looking for) and do you see and/or hear swallowing? Those are the signs to look for to make sure your baby is taking in plenty of milk.

Is he gaining at the right rate and having the right number of wet and poopy diapers a day? If not, it may be that he's not getting enough milk at the breast (probably because of bad latch). Some links about what to look for and what to expect:

It's also true that newborns need to suck a lot for comfort as well as nutrition. They basically nurse around the clock. Have you thought about trying a pacifier? If he's 4 weeks old, it shouldn't cause nipple confusion if breastfeeding is well-established. Try a pacifier with a silicone nipple, not a rubber one (healthier).

Most babies will take a bottle of formula even after they've just nursed. It doesn't mean they're hungry or not getting enough milk. If you supplement with formula now, though, you will likely see a decrease in your supply and that may very well lead to a vicious circle of more formula-less nursing-more formula etc.

Are you using Lansinoh lanolin on your nipples after each feed? That and those cold gelly packs (Soothies) can really help reduce tenderness.

I would strongly recommend that you get in touch with your local La Leche League leader and talk to her about your concerns, and go to a local meeting. You will get lots of help and support from women who have been in your shoes!

Hang in there, you can do it! I promise, it does get a lot easier, and the nursings space out over time.

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#3 of 11 Old 06-23-2003, 11:32 PM
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Okay, first check with a lactation consultant if you can and make sure your baby is latching on correctly. If he's latched on correctly, you shouldn't have sore nipples no matter how much/how long he nurses. My DS nursed every hour on the hour (and nursed for about 30-40 mn at a time) until he was 6 weeks old, then every 2 hours until he was 6 months-around the clock. He went from his 6lb 0oz birth weight to over 18lbs at 6 months. Yes, he tripled his birth weight in 6 months!! On my milk alone-but it was an exhausting 6 months.
Your baby is completely normal, and you've made it this far and you don't have long to go. In about 2-3 more weeks he will more than likely start going longer stretches between nursings and you will get more of a break. I know it seems that you are doing nothing but nursing and it seems like it will never end-but it does go by quickly and with every week it gets easier. Your baby needs that milk, so try your best to relax and just concentrate on your little one and taking care of him. Your days are a blur of nursing and diaper changes, and I imagine you stay in your pjs most of the day and sometimes don't even get to brush your teeth till after noon, right?? We've all been there, and it doesn't last forever I promise!
BUT, check with a LLL leader or a lactation consultant about your baby's latch, cuz nursing shouldn't hurt you especially this far into it (4 wks). Like I said, my DS nursed about as much as a baby can nurse, but he had excellent latch thanks to my midwife and I had not ONE day of sore nipples with him-and I also am very fair skinned with very light colored nipples (supposedly the kind that get sore easily).
Hang in there tired Mama and congrats!
I almost forgot: try rubbing your br/milk onto your nipples and letting it air-dry after every feed. It really helps keep them from getting sore. And be sure you keep changing your br/pads in your bra so that you have dry nursing pad against your nipples at all times! Also be sure to drink a lot of water: I mean A LOT, like more than you ever thought you could drink-because it will help you keep up your milk supply for your hungry little guy.
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#4 of 11 Old 06-24-2003, 05:26 PM
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hi Tuesday~

I'm a new breastfeeding mama too & have the same questions as you sometimes~ how do you do this for hours & days??? I have used a ton of Lansinoh & it really helps. My nipples have never been cracked or bleeding, but they just get sore from the marathons. Some people say that breast feeding should not be painful, if it is you need to change something, likely the latch. But there is a difference between sore & pain. They put it like this @ my LLL meeting~ if you had never riden a bike, then you learned how & rode constantly for 4 wks, your butt would be sore! Not bcz you were riding wrong, but just bcz you aren't used to it.

My 3 wk old is pretty much a constant nurser, he likes to fall asleep on the boob & keep sucking in his sleep, then slips off & cuddles up to my nipple & sleep on me. Very very cute! At 1st I just gazed lovingly @DS, and contentedly sat on the couch for hours & hours talking to visitors & being waited on. Now that DH is back to work, I have tons of stuff within a arms reach hogging up the whole couch to keep me ocuppied, but still I am pretty bored with the rest of the scenery & sometimes it is very hard not to just cry a bit, now I know what "tied down" means & it is definitely harder mentally than I thought it would be!

It is also very hard not to worry if DS is getting everything he needs & if I am taking good care of him. When he nurses happily, even if for hours, I'm ok. But when he fusses & cries while nursing, or just won't "get full" I start thinking & worrying. Am I eating enough? making enough milk? Is my milk good enough? am I holding him wrong, not paying enough attention? etc, etc. Plus, even tho my nipples are not so sore right now, my left wrist is constantly killing me & now that we are nursing in bed, my shoulders are getting all kinked up, I can herdly raise my arms when I get up inthe morning.

ANyway, obviously I don;t have any answers for you, just wanted you to know you are not alone. BTW, I would throw all that formula away, so you aren't tempted again. Your breastmilk is the best thing for your baby, bar none, & you can do it!
blessings, Maria
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#5 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 01:04 AM
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to the marathon mamas, Hang in there and you are just doing Great! It is harder in the beginning especially when your baby loves whats best for him, Breast milk and mamas arms.
I remember going through the same sort of worries and doubts with my first and then with my second I knew to trust more. Im definately in agreement with checking your latch with a professional in the field of lactation. it's always good to know for peace of mind at least.
Oh yes i agree with throwing out the formula. it's definately a bad temptation to a mom who's trying and wondering and exhausted. just the actual process of throwing it out will be empowing to you as a bfer. throw it out and say" I dont need this ! I am woman!
Laura :binky :bf
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#6 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 12:56 PM
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AMEN Lauraess!

The hardest thing I did as a new nursing mom was to go against Dr's orders and refuse to supplement my dd!

Instead, I did marathon nursing sessions. Some nights, I would put her on the boppy, latch her on, wrap my arms around her and fall asleep. I soon learned a side-lying position with her and brought her into bed with us. Co-sleeping was the only thing that saved my sanity in those days!

By her third week, I was running around the house in a nursing bra and sweatpants -- no shirt because it was just too much to deal with! I swear she nursed all the time!

By week five I was sore and ready to quit. A friend of mine said: "Give it two more weeks, get some lansinoh and just stick it out."

I'm so happy I did -- by about week 8, my daughter was nursing like a pro - draining a breast in less than 10 minutes (where at week 3 it was taking her at least 20 minutes or more). By seven months we're still going strong and she eats in 5 minutes or less!

Right now your munchkin is trying to help your body establish a good supply. Throw out the formula (it IS empowering). What helped me with sore nipples (our latch was perfect, I was just SORE) was after each nursing session to rub on a little breastmilk, let it dry, and then put on some lansinoh. Another thing that helped was to spend some time topless each day - trying to get some sun on my breasts. Who knows why it worked, it just did.

Good luck to you and stick with it!!! You'll be so happy you did!

Monica, mom to Lilly (7) and Carter (4) and rainbow baby Elsa (11/27/10).
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#7 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 01:49 PM
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This was us, too. Commit yourself to 8 weeks without using formula. After that it will be smooth sailing. The first 8 weeks are soooo hard. Owen nursed for an hour an a half, with an hour break. IT WAS A NURSING MARATHON for about eight weeks. You CAN do it. I used to just sit in front of the tv and watch...doing little else. Please keep it up. IT IS WORTH IT.
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#8 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 02:16 PM
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to the advice so far. i agree, throw out the formula - you will confuse issues and produce less milk - it is a supply/demand relationship.

Hang in there - it will get easier. Soon you'll be chatting on the phone while babe does acrobatics while nursing. By your second baby, you'll be dealing with a toddler and cooking dinner at the same time!

Hang in there, breathe through it, and get to a LLL meeting asap.
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#9 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 04:27 PM
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We spent many days and nights connected via mouth and breast... might as well have not cut the umbilical cord (didn't want to anyway) Now, at 2+ months, we're doing wonderful... DS has my supply up enough to feed five babies and can't keep up with what he's created!

I agree that checking on his latch, and getting local support, etc. is important... For us, my nipples were sore simply because of the sheer amount of time he nursed, his latch was fine, and the force of his suck was just so strong...

...I think that the best thing that we ever did was explore different nursing positions to create a different approach to the nipple. That gave a little relief... Also, practicing with the bobby and the side-laying position are good suggestions (love them both) as is co-sleeping! So what if DH has to sleep at the very edge of the bed and DS takes up more room than a horse...

Hang in there - You are doing what is BEST for you baby!
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#10 of 11 Old 06-25-2003, 08:21 PM
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You are so wonderfully supportive... may I ask, what is your definition of marathon nursing or nursing around the clock? Specifically... minutes and time spent on and off the breast.
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#11 of 11 Old 06-26-2003, 12:29 AM
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i used these nipple protectors when not nursing that really helped with discomfort...i got them at usababy here in ohio and they were clear plastic, 4 inches in diameter with vent holes...bizarre, i know but it basically enclosed the tender areas in a space suit that protected them from rubbing against cloth

i also found it helpful to let my nipple air out after nursing and not to wipe away any leftover milk

when my marathon nurser would start to fall asleep she would slightly fall off a good latch and then resume nursing...if the discomfort level changes i would gently insert my finger and break the seal and put the babe right back on

switch sides after every hour...

don't supplement for all the reasons above

good luck...
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