A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Ask an Expert: Common Newborn Concerns

By Wendy Wisner, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“I am EBF (exclusively breastfeeding) my 7 week old son, William, I never get engorged. EVER. He also does a lot of.. Nibbling ? Like really fast sucking? Is that normal? I can’t remember if my DD did that or not ? He also spits up after every feed? Anyone know some non- medicine ways to help with that? I don’t feel like medicating my 7 week old!! And I am REALLY enjoying breastfeeding this time around so I don’t want to stop! I hated it with my DD! Probably because she was tongue tied and the pain was unreal !”

Congrats on your new baby!  I am so glad you are enjoying nursing him.  All the things you describe (lack of engorgement, nibbling, fast sucking, and spitting up) aren’t issues as long as your baby is gaining weight, is generally happy, and your nipples are feeling comfortable.

But if you have concerns, here are some thoughts.

Most women feel some fullness in the early days as their milk becomes more plentiful (“comes in”), but not everyone feels overfull, or engorged. Again, as long as weight gain is on target, you are making just the right amount of milk, and there is no need to question it.

“Nibbling” or “fast sucking” could mean any number of things and I’d probably need more information to come to any conclusions.  But good, deep latching and a well-supported baby usually solve most sucking issues.  A tongue tie could also be a culprit for the “nibbling,” as a tongue tie causes the tongue to slip back and trigger the bite reflex.  You could have these things (and more) assessed at by an experienced lactation consultant if you are concerned.

If the baby is happy and healthy, spitting up is usually a laundry issue and nothing more.  If the baby is very fussy during the spitting up episodes, or has other gastrointestinal issues, you can try to tweak your diet a bit to see if it helps.  We know that certain proteins do pass into breastmilk, and many mothers report that when cow milk is eliminated from their diets, their babies spit up less.  Other culprits include soy, eggs, wheat, and corn.  You can also keep a food diary for a few days to track which foods exacerbate the spitting up.

I hope this helps!  Enjoy your sweet baby!

unnamedWendy Wisner is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), writer, and mother of two amazing boys.  In addition to her work with breastfeeding moms, she has published two books of poems, and a handful of articles about mothering and breastfeeding.  She blogs at www.nursememama.com.