Mark-n-Sylva... Sylva-n-Mark...

My Newborn Nurses Constantly - Something Must Be Wrong! (And I'm supplementing... how do I stop that?)

No, nothing is wrong. Hang in for the ride... the first 6-8 weeks with a newborn are intense. Their needs are so incredibly high, especially since they are often growing a pound every 1-2 weeks!!

It is normal for 3 week olds to nurse constantly. That's what they are supposed to do. Is baby in your room in a cosleeper or a bassinet or in your bed? I recommend getting baby right there next to you (any of those!) so it's less effort to nurse in the middle of the night. Keep baby close by you all the time so you can get as much rest as possible. Soon it will be much easier to nurse and the feedings won't take nearly as long.

I would let your DS nurse as LONG as he wants on one side, and let him finish it, before offering the next side. See what he does for a day if you don't time him. Just watch him. When he starts to slow down his sucking, do "breast compressions" - press a little on the outside area of your breast as described Dr. Newman Breast Compressions - and he'll probably swallow some more.

When he won't nurse on that side anymore, THEN switch him to the other side. He most likely will spend about 45 minutes nursing at a time - and that's OK!!! Make sure that he is swallowing nice big gulps after every 1-3 sucks for a significant portion of that time. And about 45 minutes after he's done nursing, he'll be ready to nurse again. But remember, that's a whole 90 minutes since he started the last session.

The first 6-8 weeks feel like one long growth spurt. Babies take forever to nurse, and they need to nurse all the time. But they are growing so fast that they have to do that. The older they get, the slower they grow.

To really help you, we do need a little more information - why did you start supplementing? Who recommended it? When did you start supplementing? Has the pediatrician recommended seeing an IBCLC (lactation consultant)? Have you been to a Le Leche League meeting?

Your pediatrician is wrong about being a pacifier. If your baby is latched on well, nursing STIMULATES MILK SUPPLY. If you offer a pacifier, your milk supply will suffer. Nursing is the BEST THING TO DO. ALLL DAY (and night!) for about the first two months. It is overwhelming at times. That's why I like to remind people (and myself, when I was there!!) that this is my job, FULL-TIME. Nurse baby. Eat food and drink lots of water, juice and tea. Sleep. You and baby need to eat all day, and rest inbetween. Not much else. Life is radically different with a baby. Soon it gets a little easier though. Very soon - just a few weeks out it will be easier to go places and even to nurse while you're out.

So make sure that DH/DP know this is your job. Maybe in the mornings after the first nursing you can pass off sleeping baby and get a shower (nice time for dad and baby to bond, and EXCELLENT to shower). Before dad leaves for the day, make sure he's set you up with lots of water and juice and tea at your "nursing station", lots of snacks there and peanut butter sandwiches, and yogurt and anything else you like to snack on all day there and in the fridge.

Don't plan on cooking meals, going out much, see if friends who come to visit can bring a freezer meal - a container of soup, chili, pan of lasagna, chicken parm, anything for the freezer. And maybe they can pick up some lunch to share when they come Keep cans of soup and ingredients for grilled cheese on hand. Burgers in the freezer. Anything stupid easy. Not just easy, but STUPID easy. Because your energy is spent, all day, on taking care of this baby. Use paper plates and bowls!!! Did you know that the energy cost of paper plates is equal to that of regular plates? So don't fret it.

It's a big transition. I think in many ways the emotional transition of becoming a mom is more exhausting and draining than having additional kids. Of course, I haven't got the 2nd kid yet, but I know the emotional transition when my son was born was physically draining for me.

Get rest when you can - nap when baby naps. Seriously. And get a baby carrier - a ring sling or a **moby wrap** are some of the best inventions for newborns ever.

Hang in there, you're not alone. We've all been there and it is overwhelming. You're not doing anything wrong. Just let baby nurse, and when he wants to nurse again, let him nurse again. Try a couple days without supplementing, just keep putting him on the breast. Work with an IBCLC and your pediatrician to stop supplementing. It takes about 72 hours/3 days for our bodies to catch up to increased or decreased demand. If you nurse constantly, your body WILL respond. Hang in there. You're doing a great job.

I LOVE This page: on frequent nursing
instead of supplementing, see an IBCLC locally who can make sure the latch is great and your baby is getting plenty of milk. You can also do before and after weights if weight gain is an issue, rather than supplementing.

more links here:
newborns and common concerns