Baby feeding continuously

How to Handle a Newborn Constantly Feeding

A newborn constantly feeding can exhaust any parent. Here’s how to handle the cluster feeding, especially when you’re breastfeeding.

I just about had it.

The sore nipples from a bad latch, the cluster-feeding sessions, the leaking—I was over it. I felt glued to my baby and shot dagger eyes at anyone who suggested feeding him the second he’d fuss. I was ready to give up.

And that was just five days in with breastfeeding.

But beyond the physical pain, breastfeeding for many moms is especially hard when your newborn is constantly feeding. Your baby wants to nurse all the time, hungry and unsatisfied despite the frequent nursing.

For instance, within a two-hour time frame, she’s already nursed a whopping four times.

As a first-time mom, you’re curious whether this is normal. If other babies also want to eat within minutes of having been just fed. You wonder whether it’s even possible to overfeed a newborn or if yours is eating too much—especially since she’s constantly wanting to be fed.

How to handle your newborn constantly feeding

Rest assured friend, you’re not alone. And more importantly, your newborn constantly feeding is normal and common.

Known as newborn cluster feeding, frequent feeding is her way of getting your body to produce enough milk, especially during a growth spurt. Think of it as nature’s way of increasing your breast milk supply. After all, the more demand for milk, the more your body will produce.

Plus, she likes to be near you not just for food but for comfort. You smell good, you’re the perfect temperature for her body, sucking is soothing—it’s no wonder she simply wants to be snuggled and fed.

That said, I don’t blame you if you feel exhaustion and even—let’s be honest here—resentment of being the only one able to feed her. I totally understand that feeling of being tied down, and the lack of freedom that a newborn constantly feeding can bring.

So, here are a few practical ways of coping with cluster feedings, both to see if she can gradually wean from them, as well as how to cope in the meantime.

1. Make sure your newborn is emptying the breast

Did you know that breast milk comes in stages? During the first few minutes, your newborn is drinking the fore milk (or the lighter part of the milk). Afterward, she drinks the hind milk (the fattier, more filling part).

If she’s only nursing a few minutes on each side, she might not be getting the hind milk, and ends up hungrier sooner than later.

Instead, make sure she’s emptying the entire breast so she gets both kinds of breast milk from each side. This will help fill her up so she’s able to go longer between feeds.

A simple way to make sure she empties the breast? Don’t let her sleep on the job. Feed her after she wakes up, not before she’s about to sleep, so that she doesn’t doze off during feeding.

Besides making sure she’s emptying the breast completely, offer her both of them as well. That way, not only is she getting both kinds of breast milk, but she’s also getting double the serving.

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2. Burp between switching sides

Do you find that your baby fusses during feedings, cutting them short? She could be uncomfortable from taking in gas while she eats.

One simple way to eliminate gas is to burp her between switching sides. Simply hold her upright and allow any gas to escape, as well as the food to digest down. Not only are you helping her release gas, you’re also holding her upright, which can prevent spitting up food.

Get more tips on how to burp a baby that is hard to burp.

3. Watch for excessive spit-up

Your newborn could also be extra hungry if she’s not actually taking in the food she had just eaten. In other words, she’s spitting the food right back up.

Like we talked about, holding her upright (especially after a feeding) can help avoid excess spit-up. Make sure you’re also holding her at an angle when you breastfeed to prevent her from feeding flat on her back.

If all else fails, talk with her pediatrician to further discuss health issues or even medicines that can help her stop spitting up so much.

4. Pay attention to weight gain and wet diapers

Your doctor or lactation consultant will know your baby is just fine by making sure she’s gaining the weight she’s supposed to. If you feel like she’s still not feeling satisfied despite frequent feedings, have your doctor check whether her weight gain.

You’ll also want to pay attention to how many wet diapers she goes through. While weight gain is a better gauge of how well your baby is feeding, seeing enough wet diapers can also reassure you that she is, in fact, taking in the milk.

5. Feed on demand

The newborn stage, particularly the early days and weeks, is not the time for a strict feeding schedule. This is when your baby can take a five-hour nap, only to take a 20-minute one next. And the same is true for when and how long she sleeps as well.

While she might cry because of a soiled diaper or uncomfortable pajamas, more often than not, your baby’s hunger is the likely cause. Breast milk digests easily, which means she can be hungrier earlier than formula-fed infants.

And don’t worry that you’re setting her up with “bad habits” by feeding her when she’s hungry. Feeding on demand doesn’t mean she’ll always expect to eat frequently. Instead, she’ll eventually develop her own routine and flow, especially the larger her stomach gets (and the more food she can take).

For now, feed her when she’s hungry, knowing that this is a temporary and important stage in her growth. She knows what her body needs, and this is her way of letting you know she needs to eat.

Learn how to handle a baby feeding every hour and not sleeping.

6. Find a comfortable feeding position

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.

Perhaps the simplest way to handle your newborn constantly feeding is to make it as comfortable as possible. Sometimes we feel “stuck” in our positions, unable to move around like the rest of the family, making us even more frustrated.

But you can make the most of it by having a comfortable feeding station. Start by using a good nursing pillow and back support. Keep often-used items within arm’s reach, from tissue paper to snacks. Use it as an opportunity to watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or read a book.

And consider creating several feeding stations throughout the house. That way, you won’t feel alone and isolated in, say, your bedroom, while everyone else is enjoying dinner on the other side of the house.


That first month with my newborn was rough. I must have looked online to read the benefits of breastfeeding every single day just to keep going.

But despite the first few days or weeks, breastfeeding does get easier and will happen in longer stretches. Your baby will feel less fragile and can nurse without a pillow. Your nipples will adjust and you won’t need ointment for long. And most importantly, she won’t cluster feed as frequently as she does now.

Still, in the meantime, you can make this stage as easy and smooth as possible. Make sure she’s emptying each breast so she’s getting both kinds of breast milk (as well as emptying both breasts). Burp between switching sides so she doesn’t fuss because of gas and digestive issues.

Watch for excessive spit-up so you know she’s keeping her food in. Pay attention to how many wet diapers she goes through, and confirm with the pediatrician that she’s gaining enough weight. Feed when your baby’s hungry, not from a set schedule.

And finally, find a comfortable feeding station (or a few) so that you’re at least as happy and content as possible.

Don’t worry, mama—she won’t always feed this frequently. Especially if, like me, you’re just five days in and ready to throw in the towel.

Get more tips:

  • 5 Tips to Stop the Pain After Breastfeeding
  • Burping a Newborn After Breastfeeding: Necessary or Not?
  • 6 Ways Dads Can Support Breastfeeding Moms
  • 12 Breastfeeding Secrets Every Mom Should Know
  • How to Burp a Sleeping Baby

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My Baby Wants to Breastfeed All the Time! Is This Normal?

Frequent Feeds Are Very Common!

In the first few days after birth, it is very common for newborns to feed constantly, probably around 12 or more times per 24 hours. Newborn babies drink very small amounts frequently in the first 1-2 days.

Most newborn babies only drink about a teaspoon (5-7ml) of colostrum at each feed on day one. This is just perfect as their tummy is about the size of a cherry and holds about 7mls at each feed on day one! Perfectly designed!

By day two you start to make a little bit more colostrum at each feed and this gradual increase in milk each day stretches bub’s tummy allowing them to drink more.

Colostrum is a sugary delicious drink but it is not jam-packed with fat at this stage, which means baby needs to keep feeding very often to stay full up.

Remember, every time your baby feeds it helps your breasts build your milk supply in the first month. As your milk increases in volume, from around day 3 onwards, you will notice your baby starts to have longer sleep periods of around 1.5 – 3 hours mostly.

During the first month, newborn babies need to feed on average 8 – 12 times every 24 hours to ensure they are getting enough milk and that you stimulate the breasts enough to keep building your milk supply. One you have established a good milk supply in the first month you may find that your baby changes their feeding pattern again. Many mums report this happens around 6-8 weeks after birth.

After this first month, research has shown us that babies will breastfeed anywhere from 4-13 times every 24 hours, but most babies still feed on average 10-11 feeds every day.

Each mum and baby’s breastfeeding pattern is different and this is perfectly normal. It is just down to the levels of fat in your milk (and fat levels change throughout the day) and the amount of milk your breast can hold at each feed, as well as how your baby is feeling.

Babies Find Breastfeeding Relaxing

Most babies find breastfeeding very comforting and, just like if we feel upset a hug can do wonders. Likewise, a short extra breastfeed does the same for calming our babies!

Do not compare yourself with another mum and baby’s feeding pattern. It will most likely be completely different from yours. Trying to “force” your baby into strict routines often brings with it tears and stress for mum and bub!

There are, of course, some mums who say that a routine was the best thing for their baby. But these babies are probably the very small percentage of babies who naturally feed every 4-5 hours and would’ve gotten themselves into a strict schedule anyway!

For most babies, a strict routine does not work! Try and go with the flow, listen to your baby’s cues for when they would like a feed and feed them. Just like us, they will not stick to the same “routine” every day.

I bet you didn’t have the same things to eat, in the same quantity, at the same time, with the same glasses of water, cups of tea or snacks as you have today! So why do we think this is normal for our babies?!

Cluster Feeds Continue After the First Few Days

Most mums report that their baby feeds frequently and is unsettled more so during the evening hours, most commonly between 6 – 10pm. Mums often say that their baby wants to be held constantly and feed “all the time” and that baby cries when put down in their cot.

This is a very normal and common behaviour for babies who are otherwise content during other parts of the day, feeding and gaining weight well and are generally healthy.

Babies do have these periods of cluster feeding, often most present between 2 and 9 weeks of age, but of course some babies will have these periods for several more weeks and still be totally healthy.

Researchers think it is a developmental stage that all babies naturally need to go through. There are a huge number of processes going on in a baby’s brain in the first year. Babies can easily get overwhelmed or dysregulated in the first few months in particular.

Babies who are overtired or overwhelmed, find it hard to calm down by themselves in the first few months of life and need someone to help them. And what better way to be calmed than having a breastfeed, which of course is not just food, but also a pain reliever and a happy hormone giver!

Also, being held and rocked allows baby to feel safe and warm, like being back in the womb. So, it makes sense that they need to be held and fed so much in the evenings after a big day in the big wide world!

Normal Can Still Be Tiring!

Even though this is normal, it doesn’t stop it being exhausting. So, it’s important to note how you are feeling and coping.

Some of us have another person around to help us out, whilst other new mums have to manage alone during the cluster feeds. Regardless of your situation, it is important to realise that cluster feeding is normal.

If you are responding to your baby by holding them and feeding them, yet they are still crying in-between feeds you are not causing harm to your baby, you are still showing them love and they will calm when they are able to.

The other thing to remind yourself is that this is temporary. It is important to not place any demands on yourself during these times. Try preparing dinner at times in the day when baby is sleeping well and just re heat and eat when you can during the cluster breastfeeds!

If you have support, share the holding and rocking of baby with another person to give you a break. If you do not have supports around at that time, listen to your instincts; if you are starting to feel like it is all too much and you feel worried that you are not coping, place your baby safely in their bassinet and walk away to calm down for a few minutes, before coming back to hold baby again.

You could also try knocking on the door of your neighbour, who you know and trust, and asking them to hold your baby for 15 mins or so to give you a break.

Most people will understand and, if they have children, they will have gone through the same themselves. Doing this will not harm your baby, but, will give you time to relax a little and recharge.

If you are finding that you are not coping during other parts of the day then it is important to talk with your GP or contact PANDA  for some extra help and support.

If you are concerned that your baby’s crying seems abnormal and you are worried if your baby may be unwell. Please get first line advice from these helplines (below). They will be able to give you support and further guidance:

Health Direct helpline (covers all of Australia) 1800 882 436

Maternal and Child Health Nurse 24-hour helpline on 13 22 29 (if you are in the state of Victoria)

Other Things Which Can Help to Relax Babies During Cluster Feeding Times

Skin to skin contact

Having a bath with your baby – only do this if you have another person to help you and baby in and out of the bath and keep you both safe.

“Rocking your pelvis like Elvis” – Whilst holding your baby, try some rocking and swaying moves whilst holding baby either upright, over your arm like superman or in a cradle hold. Each baby will be different in the positions they prefer. You Maternal and Child Health nurse can show you positions for holding and calming babies.

Carrying your baby in a sling. This keeps baby nice and close and creates a womb like environment.

As you rock your baby make a loud “shuuusssshhhh” noise. This is actually calming for babies as it mimics the sounds of being inside the womb.

Try taking 5 deep breaths with your eyes closed before breastfeeding baby to ensure you are relaxed and not tense.

Make sure you get extra sleep in the day time, even if you don’t feel like it make sure you lay down in a darkened, quiet room to rest your body and brain. Over the next few days you’ll soon be drifting off to la la land easily.

Lastly, remember that you cannot spoil a baby by holding them too much. All the information about spoiling babies came out of textbooks written in the early 1900’s!

We have known for years and years that holding and listening to your baby’s needs is the best thing to do, yet we still hear this very bad advice! So listen to your gut instinct and cuddle, love and feed your baby as they need it. This phase will pass and get easier over the next few weeks.

For more information head over to our Medela Australia Facebook page.

Do you ever feel like your baby wants to feed all the time, especially at certain times during the day? Let’s have a chat and support each other!

Solving five breastfeeding problems after the first month

Expert advice on solving the top five breastfeeding problems that may arise after the first month.

Share this information

Cathy Garbin, child health nurse, midwife and lactation consultant:
Cathy, a mother of two, was a research fellow at the renowned Human Lactation Research Institute, founded by Peter Hartmann, for seven years, providing support to breastfeeding mothers in clinics and at home. Today, she still works as a family counselor, and also conducts seminars for attending physicians and speaks at international conferences.

You and your baby have already fully established the process of breastfeeding and know what and how to do. It seems that all difficulties are left behind. However, some more surprises await you. The following are suggestions for dealing with breastfeeding problems that may arise later.

Problem #1. I need to be away from my baby

Whether it's social events, travel or medical treatment, at some point you may need to be away from your baby for a while.


  • Express milk so that someone else can feed the baby. Now that breastfeeding is established, you can express and store your breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Try different options to find the most convenient time for pumping in your daily routine. Some mothers manage to pump more breast milk in the morning when the baby wakes up after a long night's sleep. For others, it's best to express 60 minutes after feeding. Remember that everyone is different. Don't be discouraged if you don't get enough milk the first time: it's possible that you'll be able to express enough for one feeding in just two or three pumpings. As with feeding, it may take time for your body to adjust to pumping.
  • Take your breast pump with you, if you plan to skip a feed. Even if you leave your baby with expressed milk, but will be absent for more than two hours, you will need to empty your breast. Pump at the same frequency as you would breastfeed your baby. This will support milk production and prevent discomfort. Express milk regularly throughout the day without waiting for your breasts to overflow. 1 Most electronic breast pumps are battery operated, so you don't have to find an outlet nearby.

Problem #2. How to continue breastfeeding after returning to work?

You will likely have to leave your baby more often and for longer when you go to work, so it's especially important to find ways to continue breastfeeding and pumping that work for both of you. As mentioned above, you can build up a supply of breastmilk before you go to work and then pump regularly to support milk production, prevent discomfort, and make sure your baby has enough pumped milk the next day. Many companies now provide dedicated pumping rooms, and modern breast pumps work efficiently and reliably. If you have a regular work schedule or work part-time, you can still breastfeed your baby before and after work and at night.


  • Express as often as you would feed your baby. This will help maintain milk production and prevent discomfort, as well as reduce the risk of clogged milk ducts, mastitis and breast swelling. 1
  • Try double pumping. Double pumping not only takes half the time, but also produces an average of 18% more milk than pumping from each breast in sequence. Milk is more nutritious and has a higher fat content. 2
  • Assemble and bring to work the set, which includes a breast pump, milk storage bags and, if desired, a bustier top for hands-free pumping. You will also need a cooler bag to carry your expressed milk.
  • Know your rights. In many countries, the law allows women to express and safely store breast milk at work. Discuss these options with your employer before returning to work. This will get you both ready.

Problem #3. It seems to me that the baby suckles only for pleasure

Sometimes you may feel that the baby takes your breast in order to calm down, and not to eat. However, do not forget that breastfeeding is not only nutrition, it is also comfort for your baby. "Soothing suckling" (when the baby suckles but does not eat milk) helps the baby to calm down and relax. Remember that a sudden increase in the frequency or duration of feedings may indicate insufficient milk production. However, if the baby continues to gain weight and you use enough diapers a day, this is unlikely.


  • Be patient. The baby needs your care - listen to his needs and support him. Usually, the period of soothing suckling does not last too long, but it allows the child to feel your love and protection - and this is the best thing you can give him.

Problem #4. I want to switch from mixed to exclusive breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is so good for you and your baby that it's worth trying to fight for it. However, if you have rarely fed lately, your milk production may have been reduced. If your baby has only been mixed-fed for a couple of weeks, you will most likely be able to restore enough milk. Contact a lactation consultant or medical specialist who will help you and give you the necessary advice. This is a very individual process that depends on many factors. In any case, do not despair, because every drop of your milk is important for the child.

Solutions 1.3

  • Increase milk production. Try to put the baby to the breast more often, because the more milk the baby consumes, the more milk is produced. You can also express milk additionally. As mentioned earlier, double pumping in particular helps increase milk production.
  • Be in physical contact with your baby as much as possible. As in the first days after childbirth, close physical contact with the baby promotes the production of the hormone oxytocin, which in turn triggers milk production. It will also make both of you feel more calm and relaxed.
  • Reduce the number of formula feedings gradually. Resist the urge to stop supplementing with formula right away. If you gave your baby formula after each breastfeed, start giving it every other time until milk production rises. Keep a close eye on the number of soiled diapers and weight gain during this transition period. It is likely that at first the child will ask for the breast more often, and this is absolutely normal.
  • Speak with a lactation consultant or healthcare professional. He will be able to help you and strengthen your confidence that your baby gets everything he needs.

Problem #5. My child has lost interest in the breast

If your child, who always ate with appetite, suddenly began to refuse the breast for no apparent reason, this is a false refusal, the so-called "strike". You may assume that he is ready to switch to solid foods, or that he does not like your milk anymore, but this is most likely not the case. It's just that the child develops vision, and now he is more distracted by the world around him. Or maybe something frightened the child during feeding, or he reacts to a violation of the regimen, perhaps he has a stuffy nose or teething. What you take for lack of interest may actually mean that your baby has simply learned to breastfeed more effectively and therefore takes less time to suckle.


  • Be patient. False rejection is usually temporary and goes away after a few days. To provide the baby with the necessary nutrition during this period, give him expressed milk.
  • Find a quieter feeding area with as few distractions as possible. Baby is more likely to eat better if he can relax and focus on his chest.
  • Check in which position you feed. The baby may refuse to breastfeed if he is uncomfortable or unable to move his head to breathe during feeding.
  • Express milk to keep it flowing . You can try feeding your baby with expressed breast milk using the Medela Calma smart pacifier.
  • Do not start formula or solid foods. Supplementing with formula can lead to reduced milk production and will only make matters worse. If your baby is regularly fed with expressed milk and is growing well, and the number of soiled diapers is normal, try not to worry. If the baby is less than six months old, you should not give him solid food: his digestive system is not yet strong and may not be ready for such a load.
  • Do not force-feed. Try to relax and be in skin-to-skin contact with your baby as much as possible, hug him and often offer the breast so that he can take it on his own. The release of oxytocin that body contact triggers will also help you pump. 4

Related content: Breastfeeding: what to expect after the first month


1 Kent JC et al. Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. J Obstet , Gynecol , & Neonatal Nurs . 2012;41(1):114-121. - Kent J.S. et al., "Principles for Maintaining and Increasing Breast Milk Production". G Obstet Ginecol Neoneutal Nurs. 2012;41(1):114-121.

2 Prime DK et al. Simultaneous breast expression in breastfeeding women is more efficacious than sequential breast expression. Breast Med . 2012;7(6):442-447. - Prime D.K. et al., “During the breastfeeding period, pumping both breasts simultaneously is more productive than sequential pumping.” Brest Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2012;7(6):442-447.

3 Amir L. Breastfeeding managing ‘supply’ difficulties. Aust fam physician . 2006;35(9):686. - Amir L., "Breastfeeding: Problems of 'Supply'. Aust Fam Physical. 2006;35(9):686.

4 Moberg KU, Prime DK. Oxytocin effects in mothers and infants during breastfeeding. Infant . 2013;9(6):201-206. - Moberg KW, Prime DK, "The effects of oxytocin on mother and child during breastfeeding. " Infant. 2013;9(6):201-206.

Six first week breastfeeding solutions

Having trouble breastfeeding your newborn baby? Read on for expert advice on tackling the main challenges of the first week of breastfeeding.

Share this information

Cathy Garbin, child health nurse, midwife and lactation consultant:
Cathy, a mother of two, was a research fellow at the renowned Human Lactation Research Institute, founded by Peter Hartmann, for seven years, providing support to breastfeeding mothers in clinics and at home. Today, she still works as a family counselor, and also conducts seminars for attending physicians and speaks at international conferences.

Breastfeeding is not always easy, so if
you are having difficulty, know that you are not alone. A US study found that out of 500 new mothers surveyed, 92% experienced breastfeeding problems by the third day. 1 Fortunately, most early breastfeeding problems are easy to resolve. Below you can read recommendations for solving the main problems that mothers often face in the first week of feeding.

Problem #1. Breastfeeding hurts!

Pain during feeding is usually associated with tenderness or inflammation of the nipples, especially when milk "comes" on the second to fourth day after birth. 2 The baby will beg for a breast every couple of hours, and this can quickly aggravate the problem: for some mothers, the nipples crack, bleed or blister. This is, of course, very annoying.

Solutions 3

  • Check how the baby latch on. An incorrect latch is one of the most common causes of pain during breastfeeding. A newborn baby should take most of the lower half of the areola (dark skin around the nipple) into his mouth, and your nipple should rest against his palate, supported from below by the tongue.
  • Contact a lactation consultant or healthcare professional to make sure your baby's mouth and torso are properly positioned during feeding and there are no other latch-on problems. The doctor may also examine the baby's mouth for physical abnormalities.
  • Try other feeding positions. Reclining, cross cradle, underarm, or lying positions can relieve pressure on the most painful areas of your breasts.
  • Gently wipe soaked nipples with water-dampened cotton swabs after each feed to remove milk residues that can cause infection.
  • Air dry nipples or pat dry with a clean, soft muslin or flannel cloth to prevent bacterial growth in humid environments. Use disposable or reusable bra pads to absorb leaking milk and remember to change them regularly.
  • Soften your nipples. An ultra-pure lanolin treatment will help relieve inflammation and dry skin. You can also apply a few drops of your own breast milk to your nipples. In both cases, you do not have to wash your breasts before the next feeding. You can also apply refrigerated hydrogel pads* to your nipples. They soothe the nipples and help relieve pain during feeding, as well as speed up healing.
  • Protect your nipples. Nipple shields* protect the sore area from rubbing against clothing.
  • Be patient. The inflammation usually resolves after a few days as your body adjusts to breastfeeding and your baby learns to suckle.
  • Seek medical attention, if pain during feeding does not improve after a few days. Constant inflammation of the nipples may indicate an infection that requires prompt treatment.

Problem #2. Baby doesn't latch on properly

Some newborns do not immediately latch on properly. Maybe both of you just need more time to learn how to breastfeed, or maybe the baby was born prematurely, feels unwell after a difficult birth, or mom has flat or inverted nipples.


  • Contact a lactation consultant or healthcare professional who can help you identify the cause of the problem and suggest solutions.
  • Flat or inverted nipples must be pulled out. Nipple formers* fit comfortably in the bra and apply gentle pressure to the nipples to help them come out for easier feeding.
  • Try different positions and ways to support your newborn. The baby needs to feel supported. He must be comfortable and breathe freely in order to suckle properly. Do not hold the child by the head and do not put pressure on it. Lean back and let your child take the lead. This stimulates his natural reflexes and helps him find and latch on to his breasts. 4
  • When feeding, try to find the optimal position. Instead of putting your baby on and off, stressing both of you, try to position him in a way that is easy and comfortable for him. Hold the torso and legs of the baby close to you, support him by the shoulders and hold him firmly so that he feels safe. Let the baby's head rest freely on your arm so that he can tilt it back slightly and breathe freely. The chin should be pressed against your chest. If these small adjustments don't make feeding more comfortable for your baby, seek help from a lactation consultant or healthcare professional.
  • Use nursing pads. If your baby is having difficulty latch-on, a lactation consultant or healthcare professional may suggest trying nursing pads*. A nipple with an overlay is more convenient to take in the mouth, so it is larger and more rigid. Do not use nursing pads for a long time.

Problem #3. Not enough breast milk

You will produce little breast milk at the very beginning, as the hormonal changes that trigger milk production occur slowly and do not end until the second or fourth day after birth. 2 You may be worried that your baby is not getting enough milk, but in the early days his stomach is still too small and feedings are frequent, so don't worry. The only things to worry about these days are excessive weight loss, too few wet and soiled diapers, or signs of dehydration in the baby. For more information on how often a newborn should urinate and void, see Breastfeeding Newborns: What to Expect in the First Week.


  • Contact a Lactation Consultant or your healthcare provider who can determine if you have problems with milk production. The sooner you do this, the better.
  • Feed your baby on demand, not on a schedule. In the first week after birth, your baby will ask to breastfeed every two to three hours (or more often!), both day and night. Such frequent feeding helps to establish the production of breast milk.
  • Take care of yourself. It's not always easy with a newborn, but try to rest whenever you can, eat right, and accept any help around the house or with older children that your loved ones can give you to fully focus on breastfeeding.
  • Try expressing milk. If a baby is feeding frequently but not gaining any weight, a lactation consultant or doctor may recommend pumping to increase breast milk production. If milk is not coming out at all, you can try the Medela Symphony Dual Electric Clinical Breast Pump**. It features an Initiate program that mimics a baby's natural sucking rhythm for the first few days.

Problem #4. Breast full and heavy

Your breasts will become fuller and heavier as milk comes in.
If the baby suckles well and often, this should not cause any problems. However, in some women, the breasts become so full that they become hard and painful. This condition, called breast swelling, can cause discomfort. The swollen chest seems to be “burning”, now all the activity of your body is concentrated in it, resembling a busy traffic at rush hour. Fortunately, this condition usually resolves within 24 to 48 hours. However, due to the swelling of the mammary glands, the nipples can become flat and the baby may have difficulty latch-on. 5


  • Feed your baby often. Try to breastfeed at least 8-12 times a day. This is the main way to alleviate this condition. For more tips and tricks, see the article on Breast Swelling. 6.7
  • Call your healthcare provider, if symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, you have a fever, or your baby is unable to breastfeed due to swelling.

Problem #5. Milk is leaking

Breast leakage is very common during the early days of breastfeeding when milk production begins. Milk may leak from one breast while you are feeding the other, when you sleep on your stomach, or when something accidentally triggers the milk flow reflex, such as when you hear a baby crying in a store. The leakage usually stops after about six weeks.


  • Protect clothes from stains will help disposable or reusable bra pads to be used day and night.
  • Don't waste precious drops! Breast milk collection pads* fit inside the bra and allow you to collect any leaking milk. This is a very useful thing when there is too much milk and the pads are not absorbing well, or when one breast is leaking while you are feeding the other. If you want to save the collected milk, use only the milk collected at the feeding. Place it in a sterile container and refrigerate immediately if you are not supplementing with it right away. Collected milk must be used within 24 hours. The breast milk collection sleeves should not be worn for more than two to three hours at a time.

Problem #6. There seems to be too much milk

Sometimes when milk comes in, too much is produced! In the first few weeks there may be an overabundance of milk, but usually everything returns to normal soon. 7 Up to this point, the breasts may be heavy and sore almost all the time, even immediately after a feed, and a lot of milk may leak. A strong flush can cause a baby to cough or choke, vomit immediately after a feed, have tummy discomfort, or have hard, frothy, greenish stools. These are all signs that you are having too much milk, but the problem may resolve itself as your breasts get used to the new function.


  • Express some milk by hand at the start of each feed to ease the force of the flush.
  • Try to feed while leaning back: this will help your baby control the flow of milk. The "cradle" position is also good: hold the baby obliquely by the shoulders so that the head can lean back slightly while on your arm. The torso of the baby will be located diagonally on you.
  • Be kind and patient. Let your baby rest and absorb milk both during and after feeding. Don't move your baby too much or too fast, as this can make him nauseous. As the baby grows, he will learn to better cope with the rush of milk, which is likely to weaken anyway.
  • Use the towel or swaddle to soak up spilled milk if the baby can't handle the flush, and place the breast milk collection pad on the other breast to catch any spilled milk.
  • Contact a lactation consultant or doctor if problems persist after a few weeks . He will examine you and may suggest one-sided feedings or hourly breast changes (“breast duty”) to reduce your milk supply.

Related materials: Difficulties in breastfeeding in the next few weeks and problems with breastfeeding after the first month


1 Wagner EA et al. Breastfeeding concerns at 3 and 7 days postpartum and feeding status at 2 months. Pediatrics . 2013: peds -2013. - Wagner I.A. et al., "Breastfeeding Problems at Days 3 and 7 of a Child's Life and Type of Feeding at 2 Months". Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 2013:e865–e875.

2 Pang WW, Hartmann PE. Initiation of human lactation: secretory differentiation and secretory activation. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia 2007;12(4):211-221. - Pang, W.W., Hartmann, P.I., "Lactation initiation in the lactating mother: secretory differentiation and secretory activation." G Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2007;12(4):211-221.

3 Cadwell K. Latching - On and Suckling of the Healthy Term Neonate: Breastfeeding Assessment. J Midwifery & Women s 2007;52(6):638-642. — Cadwell, K., "Latching and sucking in healthy newborns: evaluation of breastfeeding." F Midwifery Women Health. 2007;52(6):638-642.

4 Colson SD et al. Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Hum Dev . 2008;84(7):441-449. - Colson S.D. et al., "Optimal Positions for Provoking Primitive Innate Reflexes to Induce Breastfeeding." Airlie Hume Dev. 2008;84(7):441-449.

5 Jacobs A et al.

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