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Thread: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    5

    Smile How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    What is normal feeding time for a 3 week old? I have been feeding him for 7 minutes on each breast (was feeding him for 5 minutes each per doctor but he seemed hungry all the time) and he is feeding every two hours like clockwork (especially at night). Does this seem normal? Also, when should I increase the amount of time I am feeding him? At his two week check up he weighed 9lbs 8oz (was 8lbs 10oz when born) and I think he has defintely gained more weight and probably over 10 lbs.

    Any ideas or advice?

    Thanks so much!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,064

    Default Re: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    Congratulations on your new baby and welcome to the forum! It sounds like your baby is doing great since he was back over birth weight at his two week checkup! You've definitely gotten off to a good start. You will hear often from LLL to "watch the baby not the clock". There is no set amount of time that a newborn (or any baby for that matter) should nurse. Different babies take more or less time to eat, and need to eat more or less frequently. Therefore, the best way to go is to let the baby decide when he needs to eat and for how long on each breast. You'll want to let him "finish the first breast first" before offering the other breast. This will assure that the baby gets plenty of the fatty hindmilk that comes later in a feeding. Some babies will come off the breast on their own when they are finished. Others will simply fall asleep or stop active sucking. Watch your baby's sucking patterns while he is nursing. At the beginning of the nursing session generally the milk flows fairly quickly, and you see see long rythmic sucking with swallowing after each suck or every couple sucks. As the nursing session goes on the flow will slow down and the baby will begin to swallow less frequently. Eventually you will see shorter more random sucking with little swallowing. If this happens you can try breast compressions to make sure that baby has actually finished the breast and not just fallen asleep. Gently squeeze your breast; the increased flow will spur baby to suck and swallow again. When squeezing and releasing no longer cause baby to restart active sucking, then burp baby and offer the other breast. Some babies will only take one breast at a feeding, others will take both. Some will nurse for only 5 minutes at a time, others for 45 monutes. Letting the baby guide you will assure that he continues to get plenty to eat and that your supply regulates to meet his needs. Enjoy you new baby!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    5

    Red face Re: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    Thank you so much for your post. I have been so confused on the whole breastfeeding thing (due to my pedi telling me one thing, and feeling another, etc). I think my pedi is a little nuts because she told me I was over feeding Cristian and that he had gained "too much weight". Everything I have read tells me otherwise and that he is right on track. I am such a nervous first time mom and really letting everything get me down. I am so proud and so happy that I have stuck with breastfeeding (and it helps that I have an awesome, supportive husband).

    Part of the "overfeeding comment" I believe came from the fact that he spits up and is fussy. I keep thinking that I am doing something wrong. Maybe I have been (not feeding him enough). He has now started waking up every 1-1/2 to 2 hours at night wanting to nurse. And he is not sleeping well during the day and it is so difficult to figure out a routine with him (I know, it's still early) but every day is different from the next.

    I think I am going to take your advise (have kinda tried a few times anyway) and will let him tell me when he is done nursing. He may start going longer between nursings if I let him finish. I guess I just keep hearing by pedi tell me I'm feeding him too much, etc. I know I just need to go with my gut instinct and what my little man is trying to tell me.

    This is the best site I have found and so glad I have it to reference. Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    5

    Smile Re: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    I forgot to post, I have another question. I will be going back to work in a few weeks and need to start pumping. If Cristian nurses so often, how do I know when is a good time to pump? I do not want to keep him from getting enough. I have pumped a few times in the last couple weeks and only get a couple ounces out of each breast. Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    All of your feelings are completely normal for a new mommy! I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and like I had no idea what I was doing. Most mothers will echo this sentiment. Don't worry about overfeeding. Breastfed babies are very good at regulating their own intake, and they learn to "comfort nurse" without actually taking in much milk when they are not hungry. Spitting up and fussiness are very common in newborns. Switching sides too often *can* contribute to the problem because the baby tends to take in more foremilk this way and less hindmilk. The foremilk is higher in sugar and lower in fat, and too much can cause a bit of tummy upset. That is why it is important to watch for the babies cues and allow him to finish the first breast before offering the second. I'm not saying that this is necessarily why your baby is fussy--some babies are just fussy and spit up frequently regardless, but following babies cues rather than an outside timetable can a long way toward making a happy, healthy baby. Babies grow at all different rates. It is very common for breastfed babies to gain lots of weight in the beginning and the to slow down considerably as they get older. Please don't worry that your baby is gaining too much.

    About pumping to store milk for your return to work--there is a section of these boards dedicated to working and breastfeeding. You may want to look there for some information and support. Pumping, just like nursing, is a learned art and can take some practice. It is very common to not be able to get much milk with the pump in the beginning. Many mothers find that milk supply is more plentiful in the morning, so that can be a good time to pump. Or, if there is a time of day that baby tends to nurse less frequently you can try adding a pumping session during that time. If you regularly pump at the same time each day, your body will begin to recognize that as another feeding, and begin to produce more milk at that time. HTH!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    1,987

    Default Re: How long should my 3 week old nurse for?

    I had oversupply/OALD and DS spit up a lot and gained quickly. My LC's comment was, well, you have to do more laundry.

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