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Is it normal for a newborn to want to nurse constantly?

My daughter is a week old and is still in the hospital, so I'm only able to breastfeed at night. The problem is, it seems like from the first time I put her to the breast, she doesn't really want to stop; she'll eat from one breast for a while, then I'll burp her and put her on the other one, and then she'll fall asleep, but 15 minutes later she's awake and hungry again. I know she's getting milk because my extreme engorgement went away with just one night of nursing, and I can tell a difference in my breasts between before she eats and after she eats. And I remember my son going through a growth spurt fairly early on, but closer to 3 weeks old than 1 week. Is this normal? Could it be a growth spurt this early? Could she possibly still not be getting enough to eat even though she empties my breasts substantially? Please help, I need some sleep, even if it's just a few hours!

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Asked by DragonRiderMD at 3:26 PM on Apr. 19, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 22 (14,603 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Yes. Your milk isn't fully in yet so she will be hungry until you have a good rich supply in. Most nursing babies eat more often then bottle fed babies because you can not regulate how much they are eating. Not to mention it usually takes a good week for a good supply to come in and only nursing at night is going to make it take longer as your body needs the babies hormones to really produce the milk. Do you pump all day long to get the supply going?

    Answer by brailynsmama08 at 3:29 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • I would say its normal...what is she getting during the day? Maybe shes making up for it!

    Remember they have tiny little tummies :)

    Answer by keyaziz at 3:31 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • Yes, it's totally normal. It's hard, but keep feeding her on demand. She's sleepy and hungry and trying to work it all out. Your body's still trying to adjust to her demand... all this takes some time to regulate. But the best, the only, way to regulate it is to feed on demand. I'm sure she's getting enough, and she won't do this forever. You can try to keep her awake for a full feeding by undressing her or using a cool washcloth, playing with her feet, etc. My first daughter was exactly like this. She'd either fall asleep and keep a feeding going on forever, so there was no clear beginning or end, or else she'd just nurse for an hour straight, then sleep for an hour, then nurse for an hour. Hang in there, mama. Can someone else take her at night when she's not nursing?

    Answer by EmilySusan at 3:32 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • You may be taking her off the first breast too soon. Let her stay on the first breast longer, and do some breast compressions (basically squeeze your boob) to help her completely drain the breast. This way she gets the fatty hindmilk at the end of the feeding that leaves her more satisfied. She may be full after one breast and that is fine.

    Keep in mind that this first week in NOT an indication of what is to come! She is learning to be an efficient nurser, and bringing in your supply. Hang in there, and try to nurse lying down so that you can get a little more rest. It will get better soon!

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 3:32 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • My little girl did the SAME thing. I was going crazy getting nothing done! But, its normal, and really good that she has such an appetite. You wont have to worry about her losing too much weight. It does slowdown eventually, and actually pretty sooner than later

    Answer by HunnysFarAway at 3:46 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • Yes, this is normal. Also, you said she's in the hospital still. Are you home, and apart from her for a while? She may also be constantly nursing to reconnect if you are home and she is still there.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 4:57 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • make suer you are pumping through the day to help your milk come down as well. make sure she's peeing so you know that shes getting enough. make sure they are keeping record of her wet dipes

    Answer by ssnelson26 at 5:02 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • Yup, totally normal, after a few days or week, she will get better at emptying your breasts. It takes newborns longer to eat, especially if they are early or sick, so just stick with it!

    Answer by Harrisonsmommie at 5:08 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

  • yea it really normal for a new baby to eat like that breast milk although its verynourishing digests alot quicker than formula, leading to the reason why your baby wants to eat more often. mine was like that always wanting to eat i thought i didnt have enough milk either untill i was told about the digestion thing.. if you can feel the difference before and after she eats then dont worry about your baby not getting enough.

    Answer by MummaB. at 6:26 PM on Apr. 19, 2009

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