What is normal? How do you set yourself up for success in breastfeeding? Have you seen another mom with a new baby nurse their baby? I don’t mean under a blanket– I mean really see a baby nursing? Attend La Leche League meetings to actually learn from moms who are doing it! And attend a great breastfeeding class. A couples class is best since your partner being on board is one of the primary things that can make or break your success. Take a class that has you practice positions holding a baby- a hands on class helps you gather great skills you will need. You will learn what is normal.
For instance, one of the biggest misinformation myths out there is that if a baby is nursing more than five minutes and more often than every three hours, they are using you for a pacifier only. Not true! A good latch should never cause a sore nipple- nursing frequently with a good latch should not make you sore. And if we are trying to get a baby to double their weight in three months, giving them a pacifier instead of nursing them is like giving them worthless non-weight gaining activities. A pacifier in the first six weeks can cause latch issues for most moms.
A baby may nurse every hour for five minutes- another may nurse every 2.5 hours from start to start for twenty minutes or more. Both are normal. Babies are normal little humans- humans who are adjusting to life outside the womb. This adjustment means crying about a lot of the adjustments- beyond being hungry. Also, just like you eat a few larger meals one day and then find the next day is a snack all day long day- that is how they may eat too. It is all normal. Trying to force a schedule- making a baby fit a predetermined schedule of feeding is difficult to do and consider the individual baby and their needs. Think about it- try to do it yourself. Eat for five minutes every 3 hours and no water or snacks at all in between. Not even a sip at the water fountain. How will that work for you? Scheduling in the first six weeks or few months can cause weight gain issues and milk supply issues both.
How do you know if the baby is getting enough? The test is what goes in comes out. So after day five, we expect to see 8 to 12 wet diapers a day… get it? If it goes in it will come out- that is how you measure. We all have times when we wish our breasts were clear cylinders with measurements on the side telling us how much we have in there! But measuring output is the best way to know- not the scale- but the wet diapers.
Poop is another story- some babies poop a stain every nursing- some hold out and give you a huge poo once a week- both are normal. After the black tar meconium is passed- we expect to see yellow seedy bms… and sometimes a bit green as well. But regularity is all different. Hmmmm- how is that like other humans? So trust your baby to be an individual. They are not all that predictable or regular.