Is your baby nursing for an hour and still hungry? See what to do when your baby is never satisfied after breastfeeding or nurses constantly.
Latching him on is fine, but after nursing 30 minutes on each side, he’s still crying for more. Despite lengthy feedings, he continues searching for your breast and shoving his fingers in his mouth. You’re worried he’s either not getting enough milk, or if he is, why he’s still crying for more.
It’s frustrating seeing him hungry all day, never mind that your nipples are raw and ached from the endless hours of latching him on. You’ve even tried giving a bottle of pumped milk after a long nursing session, where he’ll easily eat two or three more ounces.
He wants to nurse constantly, but falls asleep during a feeding session. When he finally stirs awake, he acts like he’s still hungry after breastfeeding. And when you have two other kids to care for, letting him nurse this long is all but impossible.
When your baby is nursing for an hour and still hungry
I can relate, mama. As a first-time mom, I assumed breastfeeding would be easy and natural. Instead, I faced blistered and bleeding breasts on top of a baby who wanted to breastfeeding constantly. Nursing would take an hour, which made me wonder whether he wasn’t getting enough milk from me.
Once he was finally done, he barely had enough time to be awake before it was time to feed him again. You can imagine why I felt like a milk factory, my baby attached to me 24/7.
I learned that a lengthy feeding session isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re not producing enough milk. Instead, this is your baby’s way of increasing your milk supply—the more you nurse, the more milk you produce.
We also have to remember that newborns have small tummies and that breastmilk metabolizes quicker than formula. Those two factors are a recipe for constant nursing, whether in short bursts or, in this case, long sessions.
Still, this doesn’t make hour-long breastfeeding any easier. How do you cope when you feel glued to your baby all the time? Take a look at these tips to help you get through this stage:
1. Keep your baby awake during feedings
The biggest culprit for hour-long nursing sessions? It’s likely that your baby is dozing off. Sure, it might look like he’s still nursing, especially when you see his mouth move. But he could simply be sucking to comfort or soothe himself to sleep instead of eating.
This is especially tricky with breastfeeding because you can’t see a decrease in milk the way you can with a bottle. And of course, when you take him off the breast, he cries either because he’s still hungry or he needs to suck to fall asleep.
To avoid this situation, make sure that he stays awake during feedings. Change positions or burp him frequently, or tickle or talk to him while he eats.
Then, make sure he’s actually eating by listening for a swallowing sound and looking for movement in his throat. Even though his mouth is moving, he may not be swallowing milk.
If he’s nursing for comfort, see if you can slip a pacifier in his mouth. This gives you a break while allowing him to comfort suck to sleep.
Even better: feed him after he wakes up, not to fall asleep. This way, he’s not relying on feeding to fall asleep, and is less likely to doze off while eating. Except for the bedtime and middle-of-the-night feeds, nurse him after he wakes up from sleep.
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2. Empty each breast before switching
In the early days, I didn’t know that breastmilk came in different stages.
The fore milk is the first to come out, which is more watery and easier to suck. The hind milk follows, and this is creamier, whiter, and fattier. You can see the difference between the two if you pump—the first few ounces are lighter and more watery.
Here’s the thing: the hind milk is more likely to fill up your baby, but if you switch too early to the other breast, he doesn’t get as much of it.
Instead, make sure to drain each breast so that he’s drinking from one side completely before switching to the other. This ensures that he’s getting both sides of the breast and that he’s filling up on his calories.
3. Expel excess gas
I didn’t realize until later that my baby’s shrieks and cries sometimes had more to do with gas than the need to nurse. What I thought were cries for hungry were actually signs of his discomfort from having gas.
Before assuming your baby wants to feed some more, try and expel excess gas from his body. You might hold him upright to burp, sit him on your lap and lean him over, or hold him on your forearm, tummy side down.
You can also try to squeeze the gas out in farts by laying him down on his back. Then, gently move his right elbow toward his left knee, as if they were about to touch over his body. Repeat the same with the opposite limbs. This elbow-to-knee trick helped my baby fart a lot of gas that wouldn’t come out in burps.
4. Take extra care of your breasts
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With constant nursing sessions, your breasts might not be getting a much-needed break. Still, you can squeeze in proper care so that it’s able to heal when your baby’s not nursing.
To start, apply lanolin cream (or your own breastmilk) on your nipples before and after nursing sessions. This will add an extra layer of protection while you nurse and help your nipples heal after.
Then, try to air dry your breasts whenever possible. You might leave them exposed while you burp your baby, for instance, or take a nap without your top.
If going topless isn’t your thing, you can wear breast shells so that your nipples aren’t rubbing against your clothes. This allows them to heal without contact with your clothes, but still allowing you to stay covered.
Feeling frustrated is normal when your baby is nursing for an hour and still hungry for more. But rest assured mama, this will pass. You’re not doing anything wrong—nor are you destined for sleepless nights and blistered breasts.
Instead, keep your baby awake during feeds to ensure that he’s actually eating. Empty each breast before switching so that he’s drinking the hind milk as well. See if you can expel gas, which is a common reason babies cry.
And lastly, don’t neglect caring for your breasts, as this will make whatever nursing sessions you have more bearable. Now you can make sure that your baby’s getting the milk he needs from breastfeeding—without taking an hour each time.
Get more tips:
- Baby Feeding Every Hour (And Not Sleeping, Either)?
- Newborn Life: Expectation vs Reality
- Newborn Tips and Tricks New Moms Need to Know
- 6 Ways to Handle Your Newborn Constantly Feeding
- How to Survive the 3 Month Old Sleep Regression
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