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Hi there! I've got a couple questions about nursing:

My little girl is only 4 days old, but I'm worried she's not going to get or already not getting enough milk. My milk came in right away (in the first 24 hours), but she'll only feed for 10 minutes at a time. I've heard that they're supposed to feed for at least 20. She does have the suck-swallow ratio that seems right (2 sucks to 1 swallow). Is she getting enough? Any tips on how to get her to feed for longer periods of time?

Also, how do I get her to open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch? I know tickling her lip will get her to root, but it doesn't work after the initial 10 minutes. Do I have to get her upset and crying in order to get her mouth to open wide enough? (That's what they had me do in the hospital).

Answers GREATLY appreciated. I'm super worried.

A

asked 17 Nov '10, 14:50

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misssvanes
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edited 08 Apr '11, 13:35

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Tammy ♦♦
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One of the most usefull things I was ever told was to remember that my babies hadn't read the book, whatever book said they "should" be doing something.

If your breasts feel full (which if your milk came in, I'm guessing they do) and your babe isn't fussing because she's hungry, try not to worry, chances are very good that the two of you are doing just fine. Some newborns nurse for 20 minutes every 2 hours, some for 10 minutes, some for 30, they're just filling their tummies and don't realize they arn't following the chart.

It sounds like you have a good latch and she doesn't want to latch after 10 minutes because she's not interested anymore, a good milk supply and an efficient little nurseling who's getting her job done in 10 minutes instead of 20.

Your daughter is probably still just a little bit tired from being born, is just learning to breastfeed, has a tiny, tiny tummy, and has had a very busy few days. In a week or so she'll probably start to nurse for longer periods and stay satisfied for longer.

A better way to determine if a baby is feeding well (other than how long they nurse) is to count wet and dirty diapers. Here's a great link Is baby getting enough? Quick Reference Card, on kellymom.

Congratulations on your new baby! Good luck, and I know how hard it is, but try not to worry.

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answered 17 Nov '10, 16:19

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Neen
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accept rate: 30%

+1 great sensible response. I remember that anxious/worried feeling wondering if my daughter was getting enough, was I doing everything right, did we get the hindmilk. It can be so overwhelming. The most important things I learned after several months is that all babies are difference, they eat and sleep as much as they need to, and rarely follow the textbook.

(17 Nov '10, 18:10) Tammy ♦♦
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+1, what would we do without Neen? :)

(18 Nov '10, 05:57) Benjol

In support of what Neen is saying, I once heard someone refer to their baby as an "air fern", in that they didn't seem to take any nutrients at all to grow. You're not alone!

(05 Jan '11, 15:07) Sunday

My son would only nurse for about 10 minutes at a time, so we never really broke out of the 2 hour schedule, and on some days it was every hour. If you are concerned about the amount she is eating, try expressing the milk to see how much you produce. If she only eats from one side at a time, make sure that you switch sides with each meal, and the express the unused side.

As for the latching, getting them to cry never worked for me. Because they would be so upset that they wouldn't realize I was offering them food. I would use my thumb to gently but firmly pull their chins down to open their mouths, then put my nipple in their mouths and wait for them to start eating. With my daughter this was more complicated/easier because I had to wear nipple shields to help her when she was born.

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answered 17 Nov '10, 14:58

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mkcoehoorn
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4

+1 on not getting them upset. It makes matters worse. Our daughter sometimes wants to eat so badly when she wakes up that she throws her head around so vigorously that she can't possibly latch on or get the pacifier in her mouth. We also "gave up" a bit and just let her latch on and then pulled the chin down when she was sucking. After a few weeks, we didn't have to do that any more.

(17 Nov '10, 17:41) Alexander

Our daughter was born a week and a half ago. We talked to a lactation consultant about these same questions. She suggested that we log her diapers, and after looking at the logs, she concluded everything was just fine. If enough is coming out, then you know enough is going in. Granted, not every newborn poops like the average newborn. Our pediatrician told us that some can go a week between bowel movements, and be perfectly healthy. If you track your daughters diapers and continue to worry about her not getting enough to eat, talk to a lactation consultant or your pediatrician.

DD was very sleepy the first few days, which didn't help the oversupply issues my wife was having. To help relieve her, we would undress the baby to help wake her up from the change in temperature.

Also be aware that in the US the growth charts your pediatrician will have include formula-fed babies in the underlying populations used to create the percentiles, and formula-fed babies tend to grow faster than breastfed babies. Many breastfeeding advocates suggest using the World Health Organization's charts to track infant growth.

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answered 17 Nov '10, 20:17

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Scottie T
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edited 30 Nov '10, 16:06

+1 Really great advice about undressing your little one to encourage her to wake up. My mother used to use that technique.

(17 Nov '10, 20:57) Emi

Everyone's answers are right on. I just want to add some things regarding getting her to open her mouth wide, since that was my problem with my guy. I never tried getting him upset -- I'm sure that would have made things worse for both of us. But we did have to see a lactation consultant because his latch was a bit off, and my nipples were NOT happy.

Anyway, she told me to point the nipple toward his nose, or tickle the upper lip. Wait for him to open his mouth wide, and smush his face right down on there. If you point the nipple toward his nose, it ends up in the upper part of his mouth, so the latch is better. If it doesn't work, break the latch and try again. (I found I sometimes had to wait quite a while for him to open his mouth big enough.)

Another thing she told me, and that I read, was to make sure his lips are outside the latch. If he's sucking on his lips, it makes the latch more difficult. You can just sort of stick your fingers in there and pry them out.

You can also put your finger on her chin and try to open the mouth a bit more after she's latched.

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answered 18 Nov '10, 14:36

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Anne
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Asked: 17 Nov '10, 14:50

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Last updated: 08 Apr '11, 13:35