Breastfeeding: Beyond the First Week

Relax and snuggle

Your baby will want to breastfeed a lot and be near you. Now is the time to clear your schedule and give yourself time to be snuggly with your baby! Lots of new moms have trouble with this because they are used to getting things done and feeling independent. This time is brief and you will thank yourself later for taking the time to rest and establish breastfeeding.

Fussy periods

During their first few months, many babies have a regular fussy period.  This fussy period usually occurs in the late afternoon or evening. Some babies’ fussy periods come so regularly that parents can set their clocks by it! The standard infant fussiness usually starts at about two to three weeks, peaks at six weeks and is gone by three to four months. It lasts on average two to four hours per day. Of course, there is a wide variety of patterns depending on the baby and the particular day.

Fussiness tends to occur during the time of the day that the baby usually stays awake more, the most common time is in the evening right before the time that the baby takes his longest stretch of sleep.

Babies fuss for many reasons: overtiredness, overstimulation, loneliness, discomfort, etc. Babies are often very fussy when they are going through growth spurts. Do know that it is normal for you to be “beside yourself” when your baby cries? You actually have a hormonal response that makes you feel uncomfortable when your baby cries.

Comfort measures for fussy babies

  • Breastfeed baby.
  • Burp baby.
  • Change the baby’s diaper.
  • Undress baby completely to make sure clothing is not uncomfortable (e.g. “sticking.”)
  • Hold baby.
  • Carry baby in a sling, wrap, or other soft carrier.
  • Give baby a back rub.
  • Carry baby in the ‘colic hold’ (i.e. lying across your forearm, tummy down, with your hand supporting his chest.)
  • Lay baby across your lap and gently rub his back while slowly lifting and lowering your heels.
  • Massage your baby.
  • Reduce stimulation.
  • Swaddle baby.
  • Dim lights and reduce noise.
  • Play some music (try different styles and types of voices to see which baby prefers.)
  • Sing to baby.
  • Turn on some “white noise” (e.g. fan, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher.)
  • Rhythmic motion / change of pace.
  • Breastfeed baby in motion (e.g. while walking around or rocking.)
  • Give baby a bath.
  • Rock baby.
  • Hold baby and gently bounce, sway back and forth or dance.
  • Take baby for a walk in a stroller.
  • Go for a car ride.

Please note, very often almost anything a parent tries to reduce fussiness will work, but only for a short time (a few days), and then other strategies need to be used.

Ask for help

Remember, you don’t have to do everything alone. Get help! Your partner, your family, your neighbours — accept all offers of help. Where possible, let others help with the house and cooking so you can rest and breastfeed.

Find support

Do you love breastfeeding? Feel overwhelmed? All these feelings are normal, and it’s normal to feel all of them all at once.

Once you have recovered from birth and breastfeeding is established, join a local breastfeeding support group. Meeting other breastfeeding moms will help you feel connected and supported. It is important for mothers to stay connected as this can be very useful if a problem arises. Your public health nurse is your go-to resource and can assist you if you have concerns or issues.

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Last updated: 2021-10-01