Active Eating

As a postpartum doula, I get asked this question ALL the time - “How do I know Baby is actually eating?” 👶🏼 If a Baby is ACTIVELY eating, you will see their entire jaw at work. In the below video, you can see Cubby (only 2 months old!) actively eating - notice how his whole jaw comes down? That’s a sign that he’s swallowing. 🙌🏼 If you listen closely, you can also hear him “gulping” and having those big, breathy swallows (just like you and I might have if we chugged something!) 👂🏼

It’s important to note that upon first latching, Baby needs to stimulate the nipple with short, “mouthy” sucks in order to encourage a letdown. The difference between stimulation sucks and active eating is that during stimulation sucks, only baby’s lips and mouth with be working and it will be short sucks as opposed to long swallows. 👄

It’s also important to note that during a feeding, Baby may go back to stimulating sucks or stop completely - this is ok! Baby might need another letdown to happen or might just need a break - especially in the beginning, eating is EXHAUSTING! 😓

Give Baby a minute to see if a letdown happens or if they unlatch completely before switching sides or taking them off the breast completely. Aim for 15 - 20 minutes each breast a nursing session but remember that every baby is different and some like to go fast  while others like to go slow. BOTH are fine as long as Baby is actively eating during nurse sessions and gaining weight 💪🏼