1 week old - constant nursing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 04:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 1-week old son wants to nurse constantly. If he isn't sleeping he wants to be nursing. He will nurse for anywhere from 45 mins to 2 and a half hours at a time, sometimes switching from one side to the other and back again several times in one nursing. He often gets pretty tired while nursing and gets kinda lazy with long pauses or just sort of nibbling my nipple and sometimes falls asleep. But if I try to unlatch him, he freaks out and the only way to soothe him is to put him back on. I think he has a pretty decent latch. On the left side it doesn't hurt at all, though on the right side it is always painful when he first latches on, but fine once he gets going. I've watched the Jack Newman videos and he looks like he's doing pretty well. We are getting plenty of wet and poopy diapers. I'm mostly asking about this because it is getting extremely exhausting for me to constantly be nursing him for 2 hours at a time with only 1-2 hour sleeps in between. Any thoughts, suggestions?

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#2 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 06:37 AM
 
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Hi lilmamita smile.gif

I think this is pretty normal, at least in my experience. My new guy was born 9/20, and he's the same way- I know he's getting plenty of milk, but it's all he wants to do. I was laughing with DP at the pediatrician's recommendation that we feed him every 2-3 hrs- my take on it is I hope to get a break from feeding him every 2-3 hrs wink1.gif
He's my fourth baby, and this seems like pretty normal newborn nursing behavior to me. I know some newborns are so sleepy it can be hard to rouse them for food, but otherwise, their main job is to eat and ensure an adequate milk supply- and the best way to do that is to nurse a ton.
Hope that helps. Fwiw I remember being totally unprepared for it with my first child.
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#3 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 07:05 AM
 
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Hi lilmamita!

 

I agree, it's pretty normal newborn nursing. It feels really heavy-duty with the first baby, I think, as jennyanydots noted.  Just baby programming breasts to make lots of milk.  You could try doing breast compressions (there's a good video on Jack Newman's site) with feeds to see if that will get more milk to Simon and get him satisfied a bit faster/sooner and longer.  But, around 7-10 days old, there's a growth spurt that usually happens, so there may be a lot of cluster feeding around this time.  My example: Matilda is 9 days old now, and we had cluster feeding yesterday and the day before, nursing almost constantly from 11am until 6pm-ish.  It was a bit exhausting, but I'm just glad she chose daytime for that, unlike my DS, who did it starting around 8pm and going late into the night. ;)  

 

Have you tried side-lying nursing yet? I always try to lay down to feed when those big clusters are happening, because that way I can doze/drift a bit, and rest my body.  Or laid-back nursing on the couch so you can lean back and rest? 

 

HTH and good luck! You're doing just fine and this will pass. :Hug

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#4 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I guess it is just normal. Maybe he's hitting his growth spurt early since he was 10 days overdue. I tried the side lying nursing early on but found it harder to doze since I had to keep myself propped up for it to work. I may give it another try though. Compressions have definitely worked to get him going when he's doing pretty lazy sucking. Thanks again for the feedback mamas. any thoughts on how long it takes to start being able to get a little more sleep?

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#5 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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I think nappies, at this age, are a good sign that baby is getting enough milk out, so from what it sounds like he's getting plenty out.  The desire to feed constantly could be for comfort as much as for sustenance.  You say he freaks out when you take him off the breast...how about if you persist a bit longer with soothing him some other way (rocking, walking, singing, taking him outside).  I know it's tough when you know exactly what will soothe him in an instant, but trying to hold off just for a little while and encourage him to be soothed other ways might allow your breasts to get a bit of a break and you too!  Have you tried a slightly quicker/jiggling rocking motion and loud "shushing"  - like louder than you would think (is this from "Happiest Baby on the Block"? I was given the advice word of mouth but I think this may be where it originated) this was a really good technique for getting my son to settle from when he was tiny.  Didn't work so well for my girls, but would def be worth a try.  Of course, only one week in everything is so new for you both so it's not surprising you feel exhausted and possibly overwhelmed.  It's not surprising either that he wants to nurse 24/7 - that's his happy place!  Sounds like you're doing great at feeding him so well done and don't worry as it's not unusual at all for a baby to be like this.  However if you can try other techniques to help soothe him and keep him happy off the breast, then you will be able to get a bit of a break while still responding to all his needs.  Good luck and congratulations on the little one!

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#6 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, we have been doing a lot of the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques (jiggling, swaddling, shushing loudly) and they have worked wonders for calming him down before a feeding so he will latch on better) but I hadn't thought of using them when he wants to comfort nurse since it is so obvious the breast is what he wants. But I will give them a try then and see what happens.

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#7 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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The first few weeks were a blur of nothing but nursing with the difference that if she fell asleep nursing, DD2 would let the breast go or allow me to gently unlatch her. While awake it was all boob all the time though. Now at 9 weeks she's stretching awake and alert time to an hour sometimes without the breast. I vividly recall multiple 12 hour marathon nursing sessions where I only put her down or passed her to hubby to use the bathroom. It's baby's way of building a strong milk supply, totally normal and it will pass. Congratulations!
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#8 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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My little one nursed non stop for the first month.  I was so worried because my family said I was overfeeding him.  I followed my instincts and nursed on demand and he did eventually slow down.  Here are a few things that helped me get though:  learn to nurse laying down, keep food and beverages by your bed, when he gets lazy take him off and put him on the other breast when he fusses (he will get new fore milk which may slow him down), learn to nurse in a carrier so you can move around, make sure to use a nipple cream to prevent soreness.  Good luck!


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#9 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 01:46 PM
 
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The first 3 months with my dd (now 7 months) were a blur of near-constant nursing and dozing, mostly in side-lying from 1-2 weeks on.

When sitting up the boppy didn't really work for me, but if I were going to do it again I would try the MyBrestFriend nursing pillow. It hooks around your waist so it stays in place better if you have to move or get up.

I wasn't able to wear her much until she was 3-4 months and big enough for the ergo (with the infant insert pillow), but some people are able to make baby wearing work with ring slings or wraps.

Nursing while babywearing is pretty tricky (it just frustrated dd to be off the breast but near them for more than a split second), but if you can make it work that might help too.

If/when any friends or family offer to stop by, make sure to encourage them to bring food, and don't be shy about it.

Good luck and Congrats!! :-)

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#10 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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Let him nurse all the time! It's what will ensure a plentiful supply. I was told nurse on-demand (even if that demand was excessive) for the first 6 weeks. Then you can start teaching him other soothing techniques.

The one thing I recommend, especially if your supply seems plentiful, is NOT switching breasts multiple times a feed. If you have a large supply baby can take one breast a feed, or even the same breast for multiple feeds (this is called block feeding, if you'd like to kellymom it). I'm not recommending block feeding for you at this point, only mentioning that some people do it, and baby gets plenty of milk.

But switching multiple times a feed might mean that baby isn't getting the richer, fattier hind milk, just the sweeter, waterier foremilk, and thus feels hungrier quicker. So try keeping baby on one breast, burping if he gets fussy, putting him back to the same breast, and then switching if he truly seems still hungry.

And I found that for truly marathon feeds, a little distraction in the form of TV or computer time while nursing did wonders.
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#11 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the feedback, folks. I just got some kind of conflicting advice from my MW, whose advice has been really great and whom I really trust. She said that the LCs she works with say 45 mins is plenty per session and it's not worth wearing myself out by letting him just continue on. She suggested doing compressions for the first 15 minutes when he is most alert, then letting him go on aslong as he wants up to 45 minutes, taking him off and trying to soothe him another way if he gets upset. She said he's clearly getting plenty of milk with his number of wet and dirty diapers. So now I'm feeling at a bit of a loss as to what to do. She said since he amd I are a team, I should also make sure I'm not getting worn out.

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#12 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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Is it getting too much for you? If so then you can try to soothe in other ways. I find it a lot harder to soothe a crying baby who wants to nurse. If you're ok with the nursing then keep it going. He will slow down on his own. I'd only interfere if I was overwhelmed or felt stretched too thin. My girl was a marathon nurser in the early weeks but it was doable at the time and I was able to roll with it until her needs changed. Follow your instincts on this one. Certainly take care of yourself too
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#13 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was trying to implement the 45 minute limit this evening after the MW left but it's not really working. Nothing else soothes him more than temporarily. So here we are at around 2 and a half hours of nursing. I'm just really tired cause I can't really sleep when he's latched on and he only sleeps about 2 or 2 and a half hours max, so I only sleep 1 or 1 and a half hours a few times a day. Fortunately I have a ton of family support, so I'm not responsible for much else so it isn't a huge problem that I'm exhausted. So I guess I'll just keep up the marathon sessions. Once we go back home (we're staying with my parents now) and DH goes back to work -in about a month - I may have tofigure something else out to get my rest.
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#14 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 11:46 PM
 
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Unless you're really getting worn out, I disagree with the LCs your midwives work with (I am a midwife to FWIW). I think it is totally normal for a baby that young to feed longer than 45 minutes. Comfort feeding is a totally legitimate need for a baby that age. They are creating brain pathways and growing and developing in all sorts of ways which cannot happen properly if their need to feel safe and secure is not met.

I would encourage you to try side-lying again. It took me a few weeks to get it with my first babe. My best tip is to get yourself in a comfortable position first. For me that meant good back support. Then attach the baby. Maybe try it at a time when he is most settled and when someone else can hold him while you get sorted. And make sure you have your iPhone/book/TV remote control to hand as well.
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#15 of 39 Old 09-27-2013, 11:47 PM
 
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He won't be nursing like that in a month! As they get bigger they are more efficient at milk removal.

Perhaps he has a really strong need to suck - have you considered trying him on a pacifier after nursing is well established?

I feel for you, mama. My daughter was the same, and I was her human pacifier. But she started sleeping longer stretches at night, and if swaddled could be popped off the boob once asleep at about 3 weeks. By 6 weeks she was sleeping a 6-hour stretch, if swaddled, so I didn't mind as much that she was hanging off the boob most of the day. (Don't get TOO excited though, at the 4-month sleep regression she went back to waking every 2 hours)

Just hang in there, and find yourself some good distractions. This is really a special time. I remember feeling trapped under my baby, as you do, but once she wasn't a newborn anymore, and requiring entertaining, and moving around and I had to be on the go all day, I missed those all-day cuddles, staring at her little face, reading books and watching movies with a baby at the breast. Looking back, it was so mellow, relaxing and beautiful, and I wished I appreciated it more for what it was at the time.
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#16 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He won't take a pacifier. We just tried to give him one today and he won't suck on it.

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#17 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilmamita View Post

He won't take a pacifier. We just tried to give him one today and he won't suck on it.

It may have to do with the style of pacifier -- my boy did not like the soothies the hospital gave us, but loves Mam brand ones.

I can't remember if you've been able to swaddle him? That has been the key to my getting more rest. R has a really strong startle reflex and wakes himself up quite a lot, usually wanting a boob afterward. Swaddling has been a life saver in limiting the wake ups.
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#18 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've definitely been swaddling and that has helped a ton when he's fussy and or screaming. I think I'm going to start nursing pretty exclusively in the living room recliner instead of in bed. Cause a big issue has been that when he nurses to sleep, if I put him down (which I have to do in bed if I'm gonna get some sleep) he wakes up and wants to keep nursing. Whereas in the recliner if he falls asleep at the boob I can lean back and get some sleep myself while he sleeps on my chest.
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#19 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 03:27 PM
 
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From a safety point-of-view it is not recommended that you fall asleep with your baby in an armchair. They can roll off your chest/lap and get wedged between you and the cushions.

Are you able to side-lie in bed at all? That is probably your best chance of sneaking away if he falls asleep.

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#20 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A part of me feels like that is very alarmist. With him sleeping on my chest, I wake up to his slightest movement. I can't imagine he could fall or roll off of me and get wedged between the minimal space between me and the chair without me waking up.

Regardless, we've had some luck with side-lying nursing today so are going to give it a shot tonight. I'm also just resigning myself to only getting a few daytime hours of sleep every day since at night all he wants to do is nurse but during the day there are folks I can hand him off to for a couple hours.

Excited, anxious and proud to be pregnant for the first time! My partner and I can't wait to meet the little boy sometime around Sept 20th.

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#21 of 39 Old 09-28-2013, 11:09 PM
 
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My DS1 was a lot like you are describing for what seemed like forever at the time!  But we were really good together at side lying nursing.  DS2 (4 wks old now) doesn't do the marathon nursing like his brother, but we were having a lot harder time side lying than before.  A LC came to our place and gave us some latching tips.  Then before she left she said she was going to get us set up for a nap.  We were already on our (family co-sleeping) bed, but she started grabbing pillows and got a towel and totally arranged us!  She got me on my side and put pillows behind my back and had me relax into them, then she stuck a pillow between my knees and another behind and half under my head.  Then she rolled DS2 onto his side and put a tightly rolled towel behind him with a pillow behind that; he wasn't swaddled, but she tucked a receiving blanket around him snugly.  I thought this was all very sweet, but who really goes to all of this trouble to nurse?  But this arrangement totally improved our side lying nursing!  Mostly I think it is him being on his side and me being comfortable and relaxed, because now we don't use all of the props... but it got us where we needed to be (i.e. in a land of more sleep)!  I hope this helps.  In fact, I hope you are sleeping right now!  :)

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#22 of 39 Old 09-29-2013, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Mama 505. Yeah, i got DH to arrange the pillows and while he wasn't quite as elaborate as your LC, he did a pretty good job. Just woke up from an hour of sleep...not bad.

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#23 of 39 Old 09-29-2013, 07:16 AM
 
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Hang in there, Lilmama! Not only are the early weeks a blur of nursing, but everyone has an opinion and it doesn't really help.

 

When your son wants to nurse at this age, it is because he has a need to nurse. Whether it's a need to have milk, a need to practice latching on, or a need to feel close to you, those are all legit newborn needs. Try to doze when he dozes and don't worry about whether he is nursing too much.

 

When your husband goes back to work in a month, your baby won't be nursing quite this frequently and you'll have some more tricks figured out.

 

Meanwhile, some tricks might be nice. See if you can figure out how to latch him off while he's sleeping and lay him down. Give it a try each time. If it doesn't work, don't sweat it. Maybe it'll work next time.

 

Also, perhaps your son might enjoy sleeping in a wrap on someone else's chest while you get a shower or an hour nap. Get him all tucked in there and make sure the other person (dad?) is really bouncy. It is worth a few tries.

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#24 of 39 Old 09-30-2013, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we have been all about side-lying nursing for the last day and a half and it has definitely meant more sleep for me. He's still not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, but he now rarely nurses for longer than 45 minutes before falling asleep and staying asleep for a while. Amazing, folks...thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for the tips MichelleZB. DH has started wearing him for an hour or two a day in the afternoons so I can get in an extra nap. It works well as long as DH keeps moving. And my dad is a bit of a baby whisperer, so he has been providing some relief during the day, too.
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#25 of 39 Old 09-30-2013, 04:45 AM
 
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Glad you're getting more rest. smile.gif
It does get easier after the first couple of weeks.

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#26 of 39 Old 09-30-2013, 07:06 AM
 
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My 1-week old son wants to nurse constantly. If he isn't sleeping he wants to be nursing. He will nurse for anywhere from 45 mins to 2 and a half hours at a time, sometimes switching from one side to the other and back again several times in one nursing. He often gets pretty tired while nursing and gets kinda lazy with long pauses or just sort of nibbling my nipple and sometimes falls asleep. But if I try to unlatch him, he freaks out and the only way to soothe him is to put him back on. I think he has a pretty decent latch. On the left side it doesn't hurt at all, though on the right side it is always painful when he first latches on, but fine once he gets going. I've watched the Jack Newman videos and he looks like he's doing pretty well. We are getting plenty of wet and poopy diapers. I'm mostly asking about this because it is getting extremely exhausting for me to constantly be nursing him for 2 hours at a time with only 1-2 hour sleeps in between. Any thoughts, suggestions?

Sounds like a normal newborn nursing pattern. It could be his one week growth spurt, also,

 

The first few weeks of life babies tend to want to nurse (if Mama is paying attention) pretty much all the time. All my kids did this, most of my clients kids do this (I'm a Lactation Consultant) and it is common for first time moms to have questions about it, as many of her friends are bottle feeding and formula tends to sit in the stomach and causes a delay in gastric emptying and the aftermath is "longer" spaces between feedings. Which in the opinion of most is not the "good thing" it appears to be. Remember the food is just sitting there as it is so difficult to digest. Human milk is easily digestible and so the GI system has a very easy time using it properly and thoroughly.

 

I always tell new Mamas, "Don't worry about the first few weeks and "getting stuff done." You're growing your baby, and that is really your only job at this point." The baby WILL space out feedings as he gets older. Then there are other grow spurts. Usually, at 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months and a year. They can occur at any time, but these are the most frequently seen growth spurts. Babies are usually showing other signs of a growth spurt: stretching, yawning, LOTS of kicking and moving, restlessness, irritability, and nearly constant need to be on the breast. A baby can grow an entire inch in 24 hours during a growth spurt, and your milk easily catches up to his needs in only a few hours, so DON'T supplement with formula during a growth spurt, because not only will it mess with your body's ability to increase your supply to meet his needs, but the brain and body grow at a tremendous rate during a growth spurt (as well as other times) and his brain needs nutrients that are only found in your milk.

 

It may be a really challenging time, but in the long run it is worth it plus you get to really practice and learn breastfeeding during these stretches of constant nursing. :)

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#27 of 39 Old 09-30-2013, 07:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilmamita View Post

Well, we have been all about side-lying nursing for the last day and a half and it has definitely meant more sleep for me. He's still not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, but he now rarely nurses for longer than 45 minutes before falling asleep and staying asleep for a while. Amazing, folks...thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for the tips MichelleZB. DH has started wearing him for an hour or two a day in the afternoons so I can get in an extra nap. It works well as long as DH keeps moving. And my dad is a bit of a baby whisperer, so he has been providing some relief during the day, too.

That is good to hear. Things get easier, day by day, usually to be replaced by an other challenge... that's parenting. learning.gif

 

I'm glad you're getting more sleep. Remember the 3 week growth spurt, which will be soon, isn't a "back slide" it's just part of the normal rhythm of the way babies eat and grow.

 

Try to go with the flow as much as you can. I'm glad you're getting help. Things do get easier, as you've seen already.

 

I did want to say, as an LC myself, I completely disagree with what the Midwife said her LCs said. I think the message may have been misconstrued. We only worry about the baby being on the breast "a long time" if they are not transferring enough milk in the beginning of the feeding, or are small, weak preterm babies who actually can waste calories from nursing too long (this rarely happens once a preterm baby is sent home.) As long as he's transferring milk (which you can see from at least 6 wet cloth diapers (5 or more disposables) and at least 3 or more poops a day) he can stay at the breast. Also, as long as he's getting the milk in the first part of the nursing, he may be "imprinting" with the breast firmly in his mouth, once he's gotten what he needs. A little loop goes from the baby's mouth to his brain: "This is what we do. this is what we do and how it feels." This "imprinting" seems to help babies get the hang of breastfeeding. As long as he isn't hurting you (always a sign that something needs to be looked at) remember the breast is more than just food. It's a way of calming and bonding with the baby and many newborns are really only content when they are latched on. That will NOT last forever, as you are already seeing.

 

Happy nursing! :Hug 

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Attachment Parenting: The radical notion that children are human. bfinfant.gif
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#28 of 39 Old 09-30-2013, 11:54 AM
 
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I didn't read all the posts, so sorry if this has been said (and I'm prepared to dodge internet tomatoes): Given him a pacifier.  When my guy was born I was completely against the pacifier, but come hour 24 of his life when all he wanted to do was nurse (literally every second he wasn't nursing he was crying, and in the hospital co-sleeping wasn't an option they allowed, so 1 minute of sleep for me meant he had to be off the boob).  At the nursery nurse's advice I gave him the paci, despite my fears of him getting nipple confusion or him needing it when he was 17 years old.  Neither thing happened, but it helped me get the rest I needed in those early days.

 

And, if a pacifier isn't helping, try different brands with different types (sizes, shapes, materials) of nipples, and try putting your milk on it the first time.

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#29 of 39 Old 10-01-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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Totally normal.  Keep up the good work!

 

Do be sure to eat a LOT of extra fruit right now--about an extra 2 pounds each day (that sounds like a lot but it's not).  Obviously organic is best but get whatever is ripe in your area.

 

Be well.

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#30 of 39 Old 10-01-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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Glad it is all working itself out mamita!  Congrats!

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