Frequency of Breastfeeds
The frequency of breastfeeds, particulary during growth spurts, is something that often takes new mothers by surprise.
Whereas in the early days after childbirth your new baby will probably spend much of his time sleeping, in the following weeks things will likely be very different! Remember that birth is very hard work for you and your baby. Babies tend not to feed a lot for the first couple of days but try having lots of skin-to-skin contact in the meantime. If you had pethidine during your labour it may have passed into your baby and will leave him a little drowsy for a few days. Newborn jaundice will have the same effect.
A breastfed newborn requires breastfeeds roughly every two to three hours and you may find you have to awaken baby for some of his feeds if he is sleeping a lot. This can be difficult as newborns can be very difficult to waken from sleep. One thing you may find helps is to remove some of his clothes and to try gently wetting the baby's face with cotton wool soaked in lukewarm, previously boiled water. However, remember it is not necessary for a baby to be fully alert in order to breastfeed. Once the baby has latched he will usually feed well. However, if he keeps falling into a deep sleep and stops suckling then the warm water tip above can be very successful.
As your baby gets older he will let you know often when he needs a feed. Sometimes this can feel relentless but it will pass over time. As his stomach increases in size he will begin to feed less often but for longer periods of time at each feed. Try to remember that breastmilk is very light and easily digested so a breastfed baby will generally feed more frequently than one who is formula fed.
Many mums worry about whether or not their baby is receiving adequate fluids when they are breastfeeding. If your baby has plenty of wet and dirty nappies, then it is a fairly good indication that he is getting enough fluid. However, if you are at all concerned speak to a health professional.
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