Newborn Care: Q&A
Hi everybody, Ann McKitrick here with Nurtured Noggins. We are committed to helping you understand, appreciate and see your child through a developmental lens and to look at yourself and your own responses to your child through that same lens. Your own development is very much an important part of being a great parent and responding in the best way for your child.
And so any answers that I give to your questions really need to be taken through a filter. You need to double check and make sure that what I’m saying you can affirm and confirm with your doctor.
Every baby is unique, and you are the expert on your own child. I do everything that I do based on a career in early childhood education, teaching and training early childhood teachers and coaching parents, and the fact that I’m a mom and a grandmother myself.
I’ve got some great questions and I’m gonna dig right in because we’ve got a lot to talk about.
“My newborn baby is two weeks old and is spending way too much time feeding, around one and a half hours and more. Is that normal? I’m getting really tired and I’m afraid my breast milk may not be enough or not good enough.”
In these first few weeks of life it’s really important to let your baby set the pace, especially with breastfeeding, When the baby lets you know they’re hungry and you put them to the breast and they eat, this creates the supply and demand that is necessary for breastfeeding. Some babies can get what they need in 5 – 10 minutes. Other babies might need half an hour. Sounds like your baby needs a little bit more time on each breast to get what they need.
And so we really do wanna follow the cues of the baby and let them set the pace. The amount of milk that they drink that’s what your breast will create for their next feeding.
I think babies just really love to breastfeed because it’s very cozy and comfortable, and sometimes they’re really just kinda using you as a pacifier. You just have to use your own judgment for that and see when maybe you think they might be done.
Your breast milk production will match your baby’s needs, and that’s why it’s so important to let the baby decide and to set the pace for how much and when they eat. If your diet is healthy, if you’re getting the calories, the kind of calories, the amount of fluids, and the rest that you need, then probably you can rest assured that your baby is getting what they need out of your breast milk.
If your baby is not gaining weight, then that’s a different conversation, and it’s recommended that a newborn would gain around four to seven ounces per week, and so that is really how you tell. There are ways of measuring how much a baby is getting by weighing them before you nurse them and weigh them afterwards. But unless your baby is really having trouble gaining weight I probably wouldn’t think that you need to go to that much trouble to figure it out.
I want to encourage you in your breastfeeding adventure. It takes time to trust the process. Trust your baby to take what they need, trust your body to give your baby what it needs, and try to make nursing a time of connection with your baby.
Try to relax a little bit yourself. You can even lay down and get it done that way. The first months are hard and it takes a lot of commitment. I just encourage you to hang in there. I know it can be a little bit tiring at times.
“Why is my baby crying and waking up when I put him to bed after breastfeeding?”
Well, that’s a tough thing because you feel like when you breastfeed your baby that they would just slumber off to sleep and stay asleep. It’s really hard to know why your baby’s crying. But here’s a couple of things that you might want to look at. We just need to observe our children and see what their patterns are and what’s going on. Observe your own diet. Are you eating something that maybe is bothering his stomach a little bit?
You need to avoid large amounts of caffeine. It’s recommended one to two cups of coffee or one to two sodas a day if you’re nursing. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar. They can affect your own body’s ability to create the milk.
Drinking a lot of alcohol will definitely pass through. It’s recommended one alcoholic beverage per day if you’re breastfeeding. have it after you’ve fed your baby and you know that they won’t be needing to nurse again for a few hours. It takes at least two hours for alcohol to run through your system and not come through the breast milk.
Other foods that can be finicky with your breast milk: Garlic, onions, spicy foods. Sometimes babies are allergic to the proteins in cow’s milk or in soy milk. By eliminating some of those things from your diet you might be able to figure out what it is that’s causing your baby to become irritable after you nurse.
It might just be that they need another burp. It might be that they need to eat some more. They might just want to be snuggled. They might need to be wrapped up cuddly and swaddled up tight. These are just some options to try when you have fed your baby and you put them down and then they cry. Those are just some things to think about when looking at breastfeeding.