Your newborn is here and you’re home from the hospital. You’ve gone through the engorgement stage and the role of motherhood is starting to settle in. Suddenly your baby is acting like he’s starving. What is up with baby? Learn more in this issue of our newsletter.
You’ve settled into your new routine at home with baby. He nurses great. An hour later nurses great then an hour after that he’s ready to eat again. What’s going on? If baby is two weeks old, the first growth spurt is here. The best thing you can do is to continue to nurse on demand. The more the baby nurses, the more your breasts get the message to increase your milk supply. Take extra good care of yourself during this time by:
- Making sure you get plenty of water to drink
- Getting as much rest as you can
- Eating good, healthy food
This will help your body to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding. Often moms will think they need to give formula at this point. Their breasts are no longer engorged and they think they don’t have enough milk. The growth spurt will last a few days and the breasts will respond by making more milk.
The next growth spurt is at six weeks. It will be very similar to what happens at two weeks. Baby has started to be on a predictable schedule and is most likely nursing every two to three hours. This will suddenly change with baby again cluster feeding frequently which will increase your milk supply. Many mothers think they don’t have enough milk during growth spurts because baby is always hungry and their breasts feel soft. If baby is given formula, the breasts will not get the message of what baby’s appetite is and then the milk supply won’t increase to meet baby’s demands. You will notice the increase in appetite for a few days, but then it will return to your previous routine.
Three months is the next growth spurt you will experience. Hopefully baby has been sleeping long stretches at night by then. Suddenly, baby will start waking up for an extra feeding at night. Some may tell you not to nurse baby – to let him cry it out. He’s just hungry! Baby may do this a few nights in a row and then return to the previous sleeping routine. As long as you respond to your baby’s needs, your breasts will respond by making more milk.
If a mom feels like she’s struggling to keep baby satisfied, she could pump her breasts in the morning after nursing. The breasts are most full in the morning and babies usually do not completely empty them this time of day. If baby is very fussy later in the day and not satisfied at the breast, supplement with the breastmilk pumped in the morning. Baby is still getting breastmilk so the breasts continue to produce enough milk.
Growth spurts are very obvious and almost universal to the day with all babies. When mom expects baby to be more hungry at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months, she will be mentally prepared and ready to cope with the extra feedings. This prevents turning to a bottle of formula to fulfill baby’s needs.
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime with your concerns. I am here to assist you in any way I can.