By: Resident Nurse Aimee Jackins
“My baby is starving. He latches on for an hour at a time, and still pulls of hungry and unsatisfied. He drank 2oz of formula after our last breastfeeding session. I don’t understand why he is so hungry after breastfeeding. I know I am not making enough milk. I do not want to give formula, but I feel it is the only way to give my baby what he needs. He is three weeks old today.”
~Does this sound similar? This is very normal behavior in a young baby, and it is a similar message to hundreds I have answered in all my time being an admin on our Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk. It is a growth spurt, and it is not a cause for alarm.
~Growth spurts typically seem to happen at 3 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, etc. However, all babies are slightly different and this schedule is only an estimate. Do not be surprised if your baby has a growth spurt at times that do not fit this exact schedule. It is not the age that is the determining factor, it is how the baby is acting. For instance: nursing every hour, seeming hungry even after a long breastfeeding session, crying and irritable, and latching and unlatching over and over; those are all indicative signs of a growth spurt.
The number one thing to remember is “this too shall pass”, it will not last forever, and soon enough it will be a distant memory. Your baby will go back to being his happy self. Remember that your milk supply will adjust to fit his needs if you let the symbiotic breastfeeding relationship flourish as it is meant to. It is important to tell yourself “I can do this and make it through”, as your determination and strength will help you manage this difficult stage.
As for how you should handle a growth spurt:
*I know how tempting it is to give that first bottle, however it will only hurt your supply and cause more issues than it will solve.
*If possible, take a nursing vacation! This is when your baby is in a diaper and you are topless, both of you lay in bed and you just nurse, nurse and nurse some more.
*Make sure you are drinking to thirst and keep healthy snacks on hand. I suggest that every time you sit down to nurse you drink a glass of water and eat a handful of almonds – only an example of course J
I remember the early months, I spent hours reading while my baby was nursing and hours on Facebook talking to my close mom friends. Just because you are nursing does not mean you have to stare at your baby every second, so take some of that time to enjoy yourself. I personally read the entire Game of Thrones series within the first four months of nursing my second child.
*As well, foods high in healthy fats are another asset. - Increase Milk Supply With lactogenic Foods -
Remember it will only last 2-3 days to a maximum of a week, so just take a deep breath and relax. You can and will do this...
If baby is having 6 wet diapers a day (and the proper poo diapers according to age) he is getting enough.