My newborn is nursing all the time and doesn’t seem satisfied.

It is normal for a newborn to nurse 10-12 times a day or more.  During the first three days before the rapid increase in milk supply, baby is receiving small amounts of colostrum, only drops to teaspoons at a time.  This first milk is available in just the right amount for baby’s tiny stomach, but baby must nurse very frequently in order to properly stimulate breasts to ensure a full milk supply.

Watch your baby to be sure that you see swallowing during feeding.  If baby is swallowing, there will be a rhythm of one suck per second and every 1-3 sucks, you will notice a slight pause and may see baby’s jaw drop.  If baby is not swallowing well it will look more like nibbling.  Also see care plan for milk supply to be sure baby is properly transferring milk.  More breastfeeding videos can be found here.

Watch for wet diapers and bowel movements.  After the 4th day, baby should be having 3-5 yellow bowel movements and at least 6 very wet diapers.  For the first few days, baby has fewer wet and soiled diapers.

Day 1–1 bowel movement and 1 wet diaper

Day 2–3 bowel movements and 2 wet diapers

Day 3–3 bowel movements and 3 wet diapers

Day 4 3-4 bowel movements (changing to green/yellow) 6 wet diapers

As long as baby is having appropriate wet and soiled diapers and is waking to nurse for at least some feedings, then likely all is well.  Every baby should get a weight check during the first week to determine that baby is gaining weight.  Baby should begin gaining by day 5 and gain 2/3-1 ounce per day for the first 3 months.

If baby is not gaining properly or if swallowing is not consistent, even with following the suggestions in the “care plan for milk supply” article, then supplement baby, at the breast, if possible, preferrably with expressed breastmilk, using a hospital grade breast pump and get expert help as soon as possible.

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