Let’s talk newborn stomach size!
There is often a misconception a lot of parents have when their baby is first born, and into the first few days of life when it is their first time breastfeeding. That misconception is “well he’s starving” “I feel like I have nothing there for him” “he won’t stop eating maybe I don’t have any milk”.
You have the right to have those concerns and questions, because If you don’t know what type of behaviour to expect from a new baby if it is your first, or if you were never explained this type of behaviour then immediately we jump into survival mode and want to protect our babies. Mothers instinct right? I completely understand!
Well let me tell you something. I can promise you that although the “always acting hungry” behaviour is portrayed by your new baby; you are not starving him/her. As long as your milk is in for them by day 5, they have plenty of energy from your colostrum to keep them nourished.
Just remember that your baby has baby instincts too, and those are to be at your breast most of the time in the first 1-3 days of life. That’s the average time it takes for your milk to come in. During that 1-3 or sometimes 4/5 days depending what type of labour you’ve had, while your baby is suckling which seems like all the time, he’s getting thick, rich, high in immunological factors: COLOSTRUM . It takes him a lot of work to get that milk out, but he does not need a lot of it.
In fact in the early days of life, to him it isn’t about getting his belly full, it’s all about ingredients and staying close to his mommy. Being skin to skin and suckling most of the time in the first day or so is HOW your milk comes in. The less you have him there, the longer it will take. Colostrum is very sweet tasting, almost like honey, and it’s lining his gut with so much goodness and protection that will shape his health for years to come. He wants to suckle often!
Your baby wants the constant flow of colostrum in his mouth. Eventually, when your milks in, he’ll start to quench his thirst and take in more volume, therefore giving your nipples and chest a little break.
Even in the first week to month of life we have to remember not to over feed our baby’s belly’s. If you do that, you are confusing and messing with the baby’s inner food self-regulating system and satiation system and this can set our children up for childhood obesity and lead to other health issues in the future (diabetes, heart disease etc).
~>•Smaller •amounts •more •frequently•<~
Allowing your child to feed more often not only decreases their risks for SIDS but it also helps regulate their hunger, and not expand their tiny little belly too fast, as we want it to grow at a normal rate.
If you are a parent that has chose to bottle feed your baby or for medical reasons or for personal reason are supplementing (with expressed milk or formula) on top of giving breast milk, remember it is not about loading our baby up with food, this in turn will do the opposite of settle your little one, and it sure is not healthy for what you can’t see and that is their inside's. Remember that feeding them smaller amounts more frequently will allow their bodies to adjust to the extra breastmilk or artificial milk better and allow them time to adjust. Smaller amounts is much better on their tiny little organs!
In the grand scheme of things, a newborn's belly is really only the size of a large olive, that is NOT very big. So think twice before trying to shove an orange in a space that is meant for cherry