My baby always falls asleep while nursing, and then she/he is hungry a ½ hour later.
When babies are first born it is natural for them to sleep about 16 – 18 hours a day. This can present a challenge when trying to nurse a newborn and provide adequate nutrition. One of the most common complaints from even the most experienced mother is that her baby falls asleep 2 – 3 minutes into the breastfeed. This makes sense for a multitude of reasons. (1) Naturally sleepy baby (2) Nursing naturally relaxes and creates a setup for a sleepy newborn (3) Newborns tire out quickly. The first two issues will get better with time as baby grows. The third issue is something with which we can help. Asking a baby to complete a full nursing session is like asking someone to run a marathon when they have only trained for the 5K. Nursing is a very aerobic activity for babies, it takes time to build up stamina. The first thing that we want to perfect is latching and positioning. If baby is not latched correctly, or wriggling around too much, they are wasting calories and energy that should be used for nursing. In my opinion, newborns do very well in a “football hold” because it keeps baby secure and locked in. This way, all of their focus is on sucking and swallowing rather than trying to hold a nipple in their mouths while their bodies are moving around. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s latch, please reach out early on. The faster we remedy the situation, the better the breastfeeding relationship will be. The second thing that we want to perfect is the hand massage of the breast while baby is nursing. New babies tend to get sleepy and stop actively sucking and swallowing although they appear to be still nursing. Mom should always keep her hand in a “C shape” around her breast while her thumb massages the milk forward. Babies will continue to swallow if the milk is brought to them even if they aren’t suckling for it themselves (this is why the bottle is much easier for babies because the milk is always readily available without effort). If you have questions about how to perfect this technique, please ask.
My milk has come in and I am so uncomfortable.
Although it is wonderful when mom’s milk comes in (usually day 2 – 5), a plentiful milk supply can present its own set of challenges. In the first few days of mom’s milk coming in, many moms have much more milk than their babies need. This is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that moms can nurse singletons and multiples. Depending on how many babies mom needs to nurse, the milk supply will gradually adjust itself in a supply and demand relationship. All too often babies can’t even latch because mom’s breast is too full. Baby slides off the nipple because the breast is like a cement wall. If this happens, you should always speak with your pediatrician for evaluation of you and baby (including baby’s weight). However, here are some common remedies that you can try at home for relief. (1) Heat (2) Cold (3) Cabbage leaves. Heat is always most important before nursing to soften the breast and get the milk flowing. Mom should fill a basin with water (as hot as is comfortable without burning oneself). Mom should lean over the basin and submerge her breasts in the water for about 5 minutes. While the breasts are submerged, mom should massage her breasts with her hands to soften them. Mom can now try nursing her baby while continuing to massage her breasts. Once the feeding is complete, mom should then apply icepacks to both breasts for 5 minutes. The ice packs do not decrease mom’s milk supply, but rather help with the inflammation and swelling. After the ice packs, mom can put two raw cabbage leaves (of any kind) in each side of her bra, directly on the skin. Keep the cabbage on the skin for about 24 hours, although you can change to fresh cabbage leaves within that time. Something that you may want to inquire about with your pediatrician or lactation specialist is block nursing, which can also help with engorgement and perfect supply and demand of milk supply.
My baby is nursing well, but the bowel movements are green in color and she/he seems fussy and not satisfied.
The typical color of stool for breastfed babies is bright yellow. Assuming there is no blood in the stool, a green stool usually represents a foremilk/ hindmilk imbalance. Breastmilk is composed of two components: foremilk and hindmilk. The foremilk is the milk that flows out within the first few minutes of nursing. This is a very sugary type of milk with little nutrition. In lay terms, it is like your candy bar. It fills you up initially, but quickly makes you hungry again and less satisfied. Foremilk also tends to make babies very gassy. Therefore, these babies will be hungry shortly after nursing and be uncomfortable or fussy. The hindmilk flows after the foremilk and is your fatty protein that baby needs to gain weight and stay satisfied. Again, this is like your steak and potatoes or your lentil soup. This milk will put weight on the baby, keep them satisfied, and prevent the fussiness that you see with too much foremilk. When baby gets too much foremilk, the stools turn from yellow to green. To understand how to correct this issue, please speak with your pediatrician and/or lactation specialist.