All You Can EatCeridwen Morris and Rebecca Odes
I‘m a new mom and I have a question about breastfeeding. My baby eats constantly. Like, for an hour or more at a time. So pretty much I spend 12 out of 24 hours breastfeeding. Is this correct? Should I be pulling her off sooner or something? Will the feedings get shorter and when? – Practically Moo-ing
Most newborns need to feed at least 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. And very young babies tend to take a long time to nurse. 45 minutes is common. An hour is not unheard of. So, yeah, spending half your time feeding is right on target.
Should you pull her off sooner? You could try, but if she protests and wants to feed, it’s probably a good idea to let her. The breastfeeding process is governed by supply and demand. Her relentless nursing is sending your body the message to make milk. And overeating is not an issue with young babies. Sometimes very frequent feeders are responding to a less than optimal latch or something else. But if your daughter is gaining weight and filling diapers and generally healthy, she’s likely just doing what babies do: sucking. She wants to suck. She’s meant to suck. She can’t walk, talk or hop. But she can suck.
Thankfully, her sucking will become a lot more efficient. And her stomach – now the size of her tiny fist – will grow. After about 3-4 months she’ll be able to power through most of her feedings in much less time. She may still nurse frequently but for shorter stints.
It can be shocking and totally mind-frying to find yourself tethered to the couch for enormous stretches of your new life. We recommend thinking a bit like a college stoner and setting up your nursing station with a bounty of goodies for those moments of immobility. Get into the habit of grabbing water, phone, powerbook, entertainment, snacks, magazines, novels and/or a variety of remote controls *before* you sit down for a session. Or make sure there is someone who can bring you all of these things during your couch cow marathons. We’re not against sticking a mini-fridge next to the couch. Desperate times…
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