One of the scariest phone conversations I can have with a new parent in the first week after their baby is born is about “what a well behaved baby we have!” Babies that are doing well, eating, thriving are not “well-behaved”. In the first week, if your baby is sleeping and pooping like you, we have a problem!
It is normal, especially in our hospitals with an almost 40% cesarean rate, for babies to be sleepy and irritable in the first 12-24 hours of life. After that they wake up and want to eat, and eat, and eat, and eat oh and sleep too. I’ve seen this over and over again. Many parents mistake this crying and fussiness for hunger that can’t be satisfied by breastfeeding. But lets take a step back and think about it. Why is baby crying and looking hungry? To make you feed it! Babies get small FREQUENT feedings until mom’s copious milk supply is in. This is never a reason to give supplementation (formula or otherwise) without a consult by a person who knows and understands breastfeeding. But what happens if baby is not crying and demanding food? The initial fussiness becomes “contentment”? The baby doesn’t wake to feed, doesn’t demand to be fed. Sleeps 5-6 hours at a clip. The ultimate (to-good-to-be-true) “good” baby.
WARNING WARNING WARNING!! Wake that baby up, get help if breastfeeding isn’t happening, feed that baby. Babies don’t sleep like we do. They need lots and lots of calories and frequently. A “content” baby might actually be an underfed, dehydrated baby. If your baby is like this and it is the first few weeks and you haven’t had his weight/growth evaluated by a knowledgeable health care provider, do it now.
But…”I just don’t understand what my baby is trying to tell me!”
Check out this blog: The Secrets of Baby Behavior