Breastfeeding seemed to go OK at first. After all, the baby was nursing a lot and slept well. It didn’t seem right to the new mom that her 1-week-old baby slept 6-8 hour stretches, but everyone said “don’t worry.” A pediatric visit at 2 weeks confirmed this mom’s worst fears. Her baby had lost weight! She was told to supplement with formula and contact a lactation consultant.
I met with this mom a few days later. She explained to me that her nipples had been cracked and bleeding from day 1. Baby was fussy after feedings but slept for hours with the help of a pacifier. Since the baby slept so much, she thought he was getting enough milk.
At first glance, the baby appeared to be eating well, but there were early warning signs. Sore nipples indicated a poor latch. The baby was often at the breast for an hour at a time and not satisfied after feedings. His urine was concentrated and poopy diapers were rare.
So, when do you wake a sleeping baby? In the first few weeks the baby must eat at least 8 times per day. Your baby will pee and poop multiple times per day and will be content and sleepy after feedings. If you’re unsure if your baby is breastfeeding well, schedule a visit with your pediatrician or lactation consultant to weigh the baby. Once you know your baby is thriving and all is going well, you can relax a little, and trust that your baby will tell you when it’s time to eat!