Normal Newborn Behavior
NEWBORNS ARE BORN A WITH HIGH SUCK NEED
Newborns are born with a high suck need for more reasons than just hunger.
- Their intestines need to move out the first thick sticky dark poop called meconium. The act of sucking and swallowing colostrum and saliva helps with digestion and moving the poop out. It is important for your baby to pass this poop to avoid jaundice.
- Baby’s want to suck often to fill their tiny tummies and grow.
- Breastfeeding often and allowing your baby to stay latched to the breast even when they are full helps establish a milk supply.
- It is important for your baby to suck the breast within the first hour of birth. Early stimulation is critical for establishing a full milk supply.
Watch for these signs that your baby is hungry, and then feed them right away:
- Fists moving to mouth.
- Head turning to look for the breast.
- Becoming more alert and active.
- Sucking on hands or lip smacking.
- Opening and closing mouth.
Many moms think crying is the only sign that their baby is hungry. But, it’s actually a sign of distress. Hungry babies will show signs of hunger before they begin to cry. Watching for and responding early to your baby’s hunger cues may help prevent them from crying. Once the baby is crying, it can be harder to latch.
Sometimes your baby may be fussier in the evenings and want to feed more often than during the day. Some babies may want to feed every 30 minutes to an hour in the evenings. This is normal, and it does not mean your baby isn’t getting enough milk. It may just be your baby’s way of filling up before a longer sleep at night. Follow your baby’s lead, and ask your partner and family for extra help to make evenings easier. Cluster feeding can also happen when your baby is going through a growth spurt.
Your baby will go through many growth spurts in the first year. They can cause your baby to feed longer and more often. These growth spurts typically happen when your baby is around
- 2 to 3 weeks
- 6 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months old
At 2 to 3 weeks, this is often the time your milk supply is established and you will not likely feel so full or engorged. Your breasts might even feel soft. These are not signs that your milk supply is drying up. It means your body is now making the perfect amount of milk for your baby.
But your baby’s growth spurts may not happen at these exact times. Growth spurts can happen at any time, and every baby is different. So don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t follow the schedule listed above. Growth spurts usually last a few days; you’ll be back to your regular routine soon.
Many babies are fussier during growth spurts and will want to feed longer and more often, as much as every 30 minutes. It may feel like all you’re doing is feeding your baby! But this is your baby’s way of helping you increase your milk supply so that you can keep up with their needs. Remember, the more your baby feeds at the breast, the more milk your body makes. Once your supply increases, you will likely be back to your usual routine.
During a growth spurt, you may wonder if you are making enough milk for your baby. The answer is probably yes. Follow your baby’s lead. As you feed your baby, your body adjusts to make the right amount.
BABY’S SECOND NIGHT/DAY OF LIFE
The second night of a baby’s life can be rough for some parents. Your baby is more awake and alert. Babies are sleepy from the hard work of being born on Day 1.
By Day 2, they realize they are no longer in the warm comfort of the womb with all the familiar sounds. They are now clothed, diapered, and when not skin to skin or breastfeeding, often placed in a bassinet near your bed. They let you know loudly that this is not where they want to be and show hunger cues even if they just finished feeding. Shortly after you put your baby back on the breast, they might fall asleep. You try to put them back down in the bassinet and they wake protesting loudly.
This is exhausting, but also very normal newborn behavior. It’s the baby’s second day out in the bright cold world and the safest, warmest, most familiar place is on you and breastfeeding.
So how do you get through Day 2?
When the baby is breastfeeding, wait for the baby to reach a deep sleep before attempting to move. You can break the seal of the latch once the baby is asleep and place them on your chest but don’t attempt to put them down yet. Babies drift between light sleep and deep sleep, and it can take up to 20 minutes to reach a deep sleep. When your baby is in a deep sleep, their breathing is quiet and there is no movement behind the eyelids.
Loosen the swaddle and take the mittens off. For the past 9 months, your baby’s hands have been their go-to for self-soothing. Mittens and tight swaddles take familiar touch away from them.