There were so many different things that surprised me as a first time mom, but the one thing that I wish I had known was how often newborns eat! Whether you decide to breastfeed or bottle feed, it is going to be a 24/7 job!
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is CONSTANT with newborns! As soon as your baby is born, you are feeding them on-demand. For newborns, this is typically every two to MAYBE three hours.
I chose to breastfeed my son which is a learning curve in itself. From getting my baby latched properly, to him actually eating from one side, to me then trying to coax a burp out of him (Dr. Anastasia can show you an excellent burping position that worked for my son almost every time!), to then offering a feeding from the opposite side…this feeding session has now turned into about an hour process.
It was hard work, but I did it!
Now, I should have two to three hours to rest in between feedings right? NOPE! My baby started his feeding an hour ago, meaning in about an hour, maybe two he will be hungry AGAIN! This is the life of a newborn!
Feedings did start to spread out a tiny bit and get less time consuming, but up until about 6 months old, my son was eating every three hours, with one five to six hour stretch at night.
I definitely started to feel like my entire day was spent feeding my son and all that I was good for was milk. Deep down, I knew that wasn’t true but sometimes I felt so defeated and exhausted! But, looking at that precious face of my baby boy and knowing he depends on me for his food and nutrients kept me going.
If you choose to bottle feed, all of this applies! Your baby will still feed on demand in your arms and you may get the chance to hand him or her off to someone else for a feeding.
If you are looking for a reprieve from breastfeeding, one thing I found to help was to pump once at night after my son went to bed for a longer stretch of sleep. This started when he was around eight weeks old. Whatever milk I was able to collect from pumping, we would save for a bottle so that my husband could feed my son a bottle the next day and give me a break.
The things I hope you remember are newborns are hungry constantly and all of these feelings are completely normal! Remember it is also important for YOU, as a parent, to eat as well and try to get some rest in between feedings. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
If you need assistance or resources, please do not hesitate to ask for help. It takes a village to raise a child, allow others to be a part of your village.