Week 3

How is your “mother radar” working?

I can remember thinking when I was first pregnant, how am I ever going to hear my baby cry? What had me worried? I typically slept every night through without hearing anything except the alarm clock the next morning—and a few snooze buttons were required as well. No one explained what I came to call “mother radar”.  Nature provides, if your baby is crying—you know about it.  It seems wired into your system.  I’m guessing you are well versed in “mother radar” by now.

At three weeks of age, your baby is often better organized and latches on to the breast more easily. They have had at least one weight check and are gaining roughly 1 ounce per day. (1) Engorgement and soreness are decreasing or are gone all together. Usually you are changing a wet and dirty diaper with every feeding. You may have noticed a growth spurt in the past week and have had 24-48 hours of increased eating from your baby. Now the frequency of feeding has settled down a bit from the growth spurt period and is roughly every 2-3 hours. Now you may be wondering when you will be getting some more sleep . . .

Your baby is three weeks old continues to grow and change rapidly. It is still typical for your baby to be breastfeeding 8 or more times in 24 hours and be having 3 or more dirty diapers and 3-4 wet diapers (or 6 + cloth diapers) every day. You may still have questions about how often is your baby eating?  how many dirty diapers are you changing in 24 hours when breastfeeding?; and how many wet diapers are you changing in 24 hours when breastfeeding? (2) 

Is your baby getting anything besides breastmilk?  Giving something besides breastmilk is not nutritionally necessary at this time. Breastmilk is all your baby needs to grow and thrive at this age. If you need your baby to take a bottle, preferably breastmilk in the bottle here are a few tips on  introducing a bottle nipple  and what to do  if your baby won’t take a bottle nipple.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, you may be wondering when you are going to be getting some more sleep. Sleeping and co-sleeping may be something you want to know more about. Check out the links for further information. Besides sleeping you may wondering about crying and colic. Remember the only way your baby has of letting you know they have a need, whether that is being tired, hungry, in pain, cold, hot, lonely,   is to cry. They need your help to be soothed and figure out what will help.

Be aware that your baby’s next growth spurt will be when they are about 4-6 weeks of age. Remember your baby didn’t read this. But 4-6 weeks of age is a typical time of more rapid growth. Depending on how often you see your healthcare provider, you may wonder how much your baby weighs.  Your baby’s weight is still typically increasing at approximately ½ ounce to one ounce per day (15-30 gms/day) (1)(2)  If you are changing 3 or more dirty diapers a day, that is your best indicator, without a scale, that your baby is growing. If your “mother radar” is wondering if their weight is increasing—you might be able to have a weight-check-only visit at your healthcare provider. You can call and check. Or if you are aware of a Newborn Parenting Group or other mom group that might have a baby scale, that might be a way to weigh your baby between visits to your healthcare provider. Realize, if you are weighing your baby on a different scale each time, their weight might vary, due to differences in scales. Just keep that in mind.

Now for yourself.  Are you experiencing any engorgement or nipple soreness?   Do you have any concerns with breastfeeding?  By now most engorgement is resolved, and only apparent if your baby goes a longer stretch between feedings. Most nipple soreness is gone as well. It might be more noticeable as you start a feeding, but should be quickly resolving as feeding progresses.

By the three week mark you may be thinking about providing breastmilk for your baby, if you need to miss a feeding or will be returning to work at some point and want to be pumping and storing breastmilk. You may also be thinking about weight loss, diet and exercise while breastfeeding. You may be wondering about consuming alcohol and caffeine while breastfeeding. Check out the links for specific information.

If you’ve noticed that you continue to have the “baby blues” at this point, just feeling down, or finding no joy in the things you do, be sure to ask your healthcare provider about postpartum depression. Usually if you’ve had the “blues” for 2-3 weeks and things aren’t getting better, have it checked out.

A couple of stories that have to do with different reactions to taking a bottle when mom needed to be away from baby. Won’t take a bottle and Sitter can’t get to take a bottle.  Other stories at Real Life Breastfeeding Stories.

References:

  1. Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional (7th Edition), Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, pp 276, 343.
  2. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003. pp 152-53, 268.

Written by Sherri L. Gartner, RD, IBCLC, Copyright 2015

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