As a new mom the first couple weeks months are terrifying. Especially when you have a crying baby. Most new mom’s automatically blame themselves or their milk supply. It’s so easy to doubt your milk supply, how can you really know how much they are drinking? But let me tell you, after stressing with my first and getting by just fine, it’s most likely not your milk supply. Here are a few things to check before you blame your supply…
5 Reasons Your Baby is Crying
Fast let down
This one I struggle with myself. It took me a little while to figure this out though, with my first baby we used a nipple shield at first which helped with the fast let down (which explains part of the reason for the mess the nipple shield made). But with my second we didn’t need to use the nipple shield so my let down was a lot more noticeable, especially the first couple months that your milk is regulating.
Fast let down results in gulping, choking and pulling away crying (with milk spraying their face). It’s not pretty and baby really doesn’t like it! There are ways to help this; pump for a minute or so to let off the pressure, lean back and work against gravity, put a burp cloth over your nipples during let down and then let baby latch once the pressure is off (alternative to pumping). Once your milk regulates, your let down won’t be quite as strong and baby will get used to it which means less choking and less crying.
Their temperature – are they too warm or too cold?
I have had one baby who was always cold and one who was always warm. Babies don’t like being uncomfortable, so check their body temperature. Are they a little too bundled? Are their toes cold? Remember that you are hormonal mama, so your body temperature may be all over the place. Theirs is as well as they adjust to life outside. You may need to play around with layers or no layers, blankets or no blankets, socks or no socks. And get this…it may change in a split second, so always take it into consideration when they are crying. Every baby is different, but one thing they all do the same is let you know when they are uncomfortable.
They need a diaper change
You would think this is a no brainer right? Not unless you are completely on top of watching for that little yellow line to change to blue. My babies did not like to be in a wet diaper and when they were screaming that wasn’t the first thing I checked. Although I have always been on top of changing my kids diapers, the time I’d forget or didn’t change right away (especially with number two) they would quickly let me know. So check the diaper. Again, they will let you know when they are uncomfortable.
They are over tired and can’t fall asleep
Over tired babies are the hardest to get to sleep. They want to sleep, you want to sleep and want them to sleep, but they can’t get to sleep. Whether it be from over stimulation, being uncomfortable or so on, they weren’t able to fall asleep and now they are past the point of no return. It will come across like they don’t know what they want. They may think they want to eat but that doesn’t help, they may start to settle down, try to get comfortable and try to go to sleep but can’t completely settle down. Over tired babies usually need a heavy dose of snuggles and rocking, swaying, bouncing and maybe a lullaby or a loud “SHHHHH” to be able to calm down. Trying to nurse your baby during this time can be extremely frustrating to both you and baby. So try to calm baby first and then offer the boob.
They are gassy
It could have been from something you ate, sucking too much air from a bottle or nipple shield, fast let down, or just their little bodies working out the kinks. Usually you can tell if they are gassy by them pulling their legs in and then pushing them out straight with a loud scream like they are in pain or extra burps and spit up. Also the obvious little (or big) toots.
Make sure you are burping them every so often at first. I tried for every time I switched between boobs to burp them until they let out some sort of burp or if you only nurse on one side – try for every five minutes. Burping them helps reduce the spit up as well.
Burping helps the gas but also laying baby on their back and doing gentle bicycles with their legs. That helps getting things moving. You can also try “toes to the nose” and bend their knees in and gently roll their torso up so their knees touch their tummy and their butt is in the air a bit. But do so gently. There are also methods of gentle newborn massages you can find if you google baby massage.
Gripe Water and Simethicone Drops are other alternatives and can be found in the baby aisle of most pharmacies.
If these things don’t change the crying don’t jump on the bandwagon of low milk supply just yet dear mama. Does your baby have 5 or more wet diapers a day? If so, its likely that it’s still not your supply. I am not a doctor, or a lactation specialist, I am just talking out of experience. You may need to talk with a doctor or a lactation specialist and get to the bottom of the problem. But that is OK mama, that doesn’t make you a failure or any less of a mom. You are learning and so is baby. Give yourself some grace and push through.