Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience for you and your baby. However, sometimes things can get overwhelming when your newborn won’t stop nursing. If you’re a new parent who is trying to figure out why your baby is nursing often, don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal! In this article, we’ll discuss some common reasons why babies might nurse excessively and how to deal with them.
1. Growth Spurts
Growth spurts are periods where babies tend to gain weight and grow faster than usual. During these times, they may seem to be constantly hungry, which results in frequent nursing sessions. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that growth spurts typically happen at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.
2. Cluster Feeding
Babies have a natural tendency to cluster feed, meaning they take several shorter feeding sessions in a row, followed by longer intervals between feedings. This is a common reason why newborns won’t stop nursing since they are working to increase your milk production and supplement their growing body.
Cluster feeding is typical in the evening, so if your baby won’t stop nursing in the evening, it’s not a cause for concern. Some pediatricians refer to cluster feeding as “the witching hour” since babies tend to cry and fuss during this time, making it challenging for parents to manage.
3. Baby Comfort
Babies need to feel comfortable and secure, and they use nursing as a way to soothe themselves. Frequent nursing sessions may indicate that your baby needs to be close to you and feel secure in your presence. Keep in mind that for the first few weeks after birth, your baby is still adjusting to life outside the womb, and breastfeeding provides them with the comfort and familiarity they crave.
4. Pacifying Reflex
Babies have a natural pacifying reflex that kicks in when they are nursing, and it can be challenging to pry them off once it starts. If your baby won’t stop nursing, it could be due to this reflex.
5. Nursing Strike
Sometimes babies refuse to nurse due to an illness or teething, which is known as a nursing strike. You should see if there are any physical indications, such as swollen gums or fever, that may be causing the strike.
6. Sleepy Baby
You may notice that your baby falls asleep while nursing and starts nursing again as soon as you try to remove them from your breast. This cycle goes on and on, and it can feel overwhelming, but it’s relatively typical in newborns. try switching sides to awaken them or change their nappy to keep them awake.
7. Unconscious Mom
One of the most overlooked reasons for excessive nursing is when the mom is unconscious during feeding. Sometimes your body becomes so used to nursing that you do it while sleeping. If you wake up of your baby repeatedly nursing at night, you’re probably unconsciously nursing your baby.
New moms and dads tend to worry when their baby won’t stop nursing. However, often, this is a sign that your baby is growing, needs comfort, or has learned to associate nursing with sleep. By understanding the reasons behind excessive nursing, you can find ways to make it work best for you and your baby.
It’s essential to remember that breastfeeding is a bonding experience for both mom and baby. So, enjoy these moments as much as possible. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, consider reaching out to a lactation consultant or support group for assistance. And always trust your instincts as a parent.