Q: Is it normal for my 2-month-old baby to want to nurse all the time? Could he really be that hungry?
A: It's normal for newborns to nurse around the clock, but by 2 months, you'd expect a baby to last longer between feedings. If he's gaining weight normally or gaining more weight than expected, his nonstop nursing may be due to discomfort. I suspect he's reacting to something in your diet that's making its way into your breast milk. (The most common culprit is cow's-milk protein, which some infants find hard to digest.) The resulting bellyache, ironically, may make him want to nurse even more. While the baby is sucking, endorphins are released, which make him feel better. And, of course, he associates feeding at your breast with safety and warmth.
Try cutting your dairy intake in half. Some mothers with extra-sensitive babies need to eliminate all dairy from their diets. (Of course, it's important that you continue to get 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, but there are many alternative sources, such as spinach, almonds, sardines, and calcium-fortified OJ.) It will take about two weeks for you to notice a difference. If eliminating dairy doesn't help, talk to a lactation consultant about other foods in your diet that could be triggering your baby's discomfort. --Kate Kelly
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