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Thread: Newborn not feeding for recommended time periods - help?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    West Virginia

    Question Newborn not feeding for recommended time periods - help?

    Hello all!

    I am a first time mom exclusively breastfeeding my almost 2 week old baby boy. After a rocky start, he is latching well. Our local hospital has an excellent lactation consultant on staff who has helped me out a lot, but I am still having some issues and wondering if you all could help me.

    I was told that he should be nursing for periods of approximately 40 minutes each time at a frequency of every 2-3 hours. He consistently gives me hunger cues about every 2 hours and I nurse him.

    The problem is that he often does not go for nearly 40 minutes. I am lucky if I can get 30 minutes and sometimes can only get him to nurse for 10 minutes.

    The main problem seems to be that he falls asleep. I have tried stimulating his cheek, pulling his chin down, moving his arms, rubbing his back, etc. to get him to start nursing again but he is just not having it.

    He also seems to have a frequent problem of spitting up after being fed. I've been trying to burp him at least twice during longer periods of feeding to help, but he will still spit up at times. Today, after a 10 minute session I burped him and I feel like almost all of what he had just taken in came back up.

    I am very nervous that because I can not get him to feed for the 40 minute periods that my milk supply is going to decrease.

    He is not showing any signs as of yet that he is not getting enough. He seems to have enough dirty/wet diapers per day. He was also back up above his birth weight after only 1 week and 1 day at his first pediatrician appointment. He was 7 lb 10 oz when born and was 7 lb 13 oz at 1 week 1 day.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. I REALLY want to do this correctly to provide my son with breast milk as long as I can! Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Newborn not feeding for recommended time periods - help?

    Hi Mary8584, Welcome and congratulations on your new baby!

    If your experience in the hospital is anything like mine have been, it's pretty much a blur! It sounds as if your baby is doing wonderfully, so I hope this helps reassure you:

    At LLL, for many decades we have suggested that moms "watch the baby, not the clock." This means, do exactly what you are doing-nursing baby when baby cues, and for as long (or short) as baby wishes. This suggestion makes some people nervous because SOME babies, in the first couple weeks, especially after hospital births where mom received meds, tend to be very, very sleepy and do not cue often enough. So I always add (for the newborn period) "As long as baby is nursing at least 10-12 times a day."

    Some babies WILL nurse for 40 minutes (or longer.) Others, for just a few minutes at a time. Most will do a little of both. Some babies want to nurse every 30 minutes (or even more often) part of the time, will sleep one time for 3 hours, and then start nursing very frequently again. Etc. The variations are as endless as their are babies. ALL of these variations are normal. So when moms are told “nurse every such and such hours for such and such amount of time” it should be seen as (at best) a very loose guideline, NOT a rule. Because babies simply do not nurse that way. And baby knows best!

    As long as baby is nursing at least 10-12 times in 24 hours, is pooping a "scoopable" poop (enough that you could scoop it up with a small spoon, not just a streak) 3 or more times a day, you can be pretty sure baby is doing well. If you know baby is gaining well as well (as your baby apparently is) then for sure, baby is getting enough milk-All is well, and your milk production will continue to be perfect for your baby.

    I think if you relax and stop trying to convince baby to nurse longer than baby seems inclined, the spitting up may calm down. But if it does not, don’t worry. Spitup-even lots of spitup- is entirely normal and not a health issue.

    Were you also told to nurse baby on both sides every session? Because it is also fine to let baby nurse on one side "per session" if that is what baby prefers. If you are really concerned baby is conking out before getting enough, then switching sides may help wake baby up.

    Here is some further reading that may help. I also very much recommend the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) for all breastfeeding mamas.

    Breastfeeding in the early weeks: What is normal: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

    Waking a sleepy newborn: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf

    Diaper log: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...diaper_log.pdf

    feeding cues: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

    How is nursing feeling for you? Comfortable? How are you doing with sleep (or lack of it) etc?

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