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Ask an Expert: Growth Spurts and the Tired Mama

By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA

Fan Question:

“My son is 3 weeks old & gets strictly breast milk. The past 3 nights he has been awake most of the night & is feeding almost every 1-1.5 hours throughout the day. He eats for 15 minutes then buttons his lips until an hour has passed. I’ve read about growing spurts. Any tips on how to help make growth spurts a little easier on this exhausted 1st-time mom?”

I wish I had a quick fix! What your baby is doing is completely normal and expected at this stage. That’s how he boosts your milk production to meet his growing needs. There are some ways to make this easier on you. For one, reduce the work of breastfeeding by using feeding positions that allow you to relax all of your muscles and rest. One example is laid-back positions (for details, see my blog post. Hopefully, your baby is already in your room at night. (Experts recommend this to prevent SIDS.) And your baby is sleeping near you. The less you have to move around at night, the easier it is to get back to sleep. Make your bed safe for your baby, even if you don’t plan to bedshare, as most parents fall asleep with their baby there even when they don’t plan to. You can also set up a mattress or sleeping bag on the floor and use side-lying positions in which you can nap while baby feeds. Also, nap between feedings during the day. What’s most important is how much sleep you get overall, not how much sleep you get at a single stretch.

unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions  In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.


  1. Hi, Nancy!

    Thank you for your valuable tips! I’ve had a very similar situation with my son. Only, he was fed through the bottle and not by breasfeeding. So you call it growth spurt, right? And it’s supposed to be finished in a few days, right? Also, I didn’t understand what does SIDS mean?

    Thank you again.

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