You know the benefits of breastfeeding and you want to provide what’s best for you and your baby. Now it’s time for you and your baby will LEARN to breastfeed. It is normal to feel a bit confused as you begin this process. The steps you take over the next two week will make all the difference in establishing a great milk supply!
Bring baby to breast during baby’s first hour
Labor hormones and the process of delivery cause newborns to be alert for about one hour after birth. The sudden drop in your progesterone when the placenta is delivered begins milk production. Given no emergency situations, your health care team can place baby skin to skin even before weighing and cleaning of the newborn. Baby is attracted to the smell of your nipple and colostrum and will lift her nose and head that direction! If breastfeeding must be delayed due to medical issues, your nurse will help you get baby to the breast as soon as possible
Give only breastmilk:
Colostrum, your first milk, is super charged to be perfect for your newborn! 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of colostrum at a feeding on day one is all your baby needs. Colostrum coats the lining of the bowel to prevent infections and provides the exact protein, sugar, fat balance your baby needs. It is a natural laxative that helps prevent jaundice by clearing the bowels of that tarry meconium which is left over skin cells and amniotic fluid she ingested while in the uterus. Baby eats only 1-2 ounces on day one. She need no water or formula unless prescribed by a physician.
When to breastfeed:
OFTEN! Bring baby to the breast whenever she wiggles and squirms. During the first 1-3 days baby may be to breast every hour. As baby removes those tiny teaspoons of milk and the stimulation os suckling causes the release of prolactin, the hormone needed to make milk.
If the baby is too sleepy or is premature, you can hand express the colostrum for the baby. This action will “turn on” the milk production until the baby is more effective at the breast. CLICK here to learn how to hand express your milk
How to breastfeed:
CLICK here for tips from Jan Tedder, Lactation Consultant, on how to bring the baby to the breast and establish a good latch.
Swaddling and pacifier use before breastfeeding in well established (at around 3-4 weeks) can slow down a full milk supply.
Newborn’s stomach is tiny – beginning at the size of a cherry, then a walnut, then an apricot, then an egg by one month old. On day one your baby takes 1 teaspoon at a feeding (only 1-2 ounces per day); 2 teaspoons a feeding on day two (only 2-4 ounces on day). Baby is learning to suck, breath then swallow and you are learning to breastfeed.
Wet diapers tell us that baby is hydrated. He usually has one wet diaper for each day of life. Stools tell us that baby is getting enough calories. Meconium (those dark, tarry stools on day one and two) is composed of what your baby ingested while in the womb (skin cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, and water). Transitional stools on day 3 and 4 are lighter in color and less thick. By day 5 and 6 stools should be yellow and look like mustard squeezed onto the diaper. Stools are not formed. Stool the size of a quarter is included in your daily stool count.
When to get help?
- If you have pain lasting more than 30 seconds CALL someone TODAY.
- Baby does not have the number of wet or stool diapers described above.
- Baby has dark colored urine after day 3. (It should be pale yellow to clear.)
- Baby has dark colored stools after day 4. (They should be mustard yellow, with no meconium)
CLICK here for tips to increase your milk supply
The second week of a baby’s life can seem long and VERY busy to new parents. Even women sure they want to breastfeed can get a bit distressed by the WORK of breastfeeding. CLICK here to be reminded of the life long benefits of breastfeeding for your baby and for you.
Don’t yet skip a feeding?
Until breastfeeding is well establish (at around 3 weeks) skipping a feeding allows the breasts to get overly full. When too full the breast release a hormone (FIL) that DECREASES milk production. This hormone tells the breast to make less milk, now and in the future. Not breastfeeding for six hours can reduce the next feeding from 2 ounces to 2/3 ounce. Skipping early feeding during the first two weeks can be associated with less successful breastfeeding later in your baby’s life.
One side or both?
Lactation consultants (LC) recommend offering both breast to baby as your milk supply develops. If the baby seems hungry after the second breast, return to the first breast again. There is already more milk there!
If you prove to be a mother with an oversupply (evidenced by green stools and increased gassiness in baby), the LC will recommend feeding entirely on one breast at each feeding. That allows the baby to get more of higher fat milk that is deeper in the breast and less of the lactose (sugar) available in the milk drunk first from the breast.
How long to nurse?
The answer is simple: from 10-40 minutes and as long as your baby needs to! Gosh, that’s not very helpful, is it?
You are suppose to be learning, so feeling confused at times is NORMAL! Generally start at about 20 minutes per breast and the WATCH YOUR BABY. If she falls off the breast and seems satisfied, she is done.
Is pumping necessary?
Generally not. If you are working with an LC to manage a problem (such as pain in breast or lower than expected supply) then some pumping may be recommended. Once you supply has established, pumping so that others can feed your baby is a great idea.
Breastfeeding your baby both relaxes the baby AND relaxes you. CCK (Cholycystokinin) is a hormone released in the mother and baby when the newborn suckles. This hormone improves baby’s digestion and causes the baby to relax. You will see this hormone in action when your baby gets sleepy after nursing. But, hold her skin to skin and in about ten minutes (when the hormone leaves the baby’s bloodstream) she will wiggle her way back down to breastfeed again. The oxytocin and endorphins released when you breastfeed relaxes you and enhances your bonding with your new baby!
© HUG Your Baby 2018