Feeding baby is the most critical of newborn basics. Many mothers choose to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, and breastfeeding can be one of the most wonderful initial experiences for mother and baby. It can, however, take work to establish a successful breastfeeding practice. Here are a few breastfeeding basics suggestions to guide you in your nursing journey!
In the hospital
- To start out, you can’t feed baby too often, but you can feed too little. Newborns who are getting the hang of nursing will need to eat often. It is important to wake baby to nurse in the first couple of weeks, as newborns are very sleepy. Aim for feeding 8-11 times per 24 hours.
- The first milk that Mom produces is called colostrum. It is a superfood that is very concentrated and high in antibodies and fat. The amount of colostrum you produce may seem small, but it is just right for baby until your milk comes in. Baby’s stomach is very small and can only handle so much volume at once.
- Get as much help as you need while in the hospital, especially if this is your first baby. While breastfeeding is natural, it isn’t always easy in the beginning. The lactation consultants are so knowledgeable! Even if things seem to be going smoothly, it never hurts to get some extra guidance. Babies can go through ups and downs with nursing so get as much information as possible while you’re surrounded by the experts.
- With breastfeeding, it can be tricky to know if baby is getting enough in those first few days and weeks. Things to look for will be: the number of wet and poopy diapers as well as baby’s weight loss/gain. It is normal for baby to lose a small amount of weight (up to 10% of birth weight) in the first few days. A healthy time frame for baby to be back to and over birth weight is within the first two weeks.
- Your milk will come in around day 3 or 4, possibly earlier if this isn’t your first baby.
- When baby begins to suck in the beginning of a feed he will trigger a hormone called oxytocin which will cause a “let-down”. This is when the milk begins to flow freely, making feeding easier for baby.
- Most experts recommend on demand feeding in the early weeks. This means you follow baby’s cues for hunger rather than watching the clock. This ensures that baby is getting enough milk, whether or not every single feeding goes well.
- Keep in mind that while the seemingly constant breastfeeding can be tiring, baby is getting more than just nutrition. They also receive comfort and nurturing!
Hush Hush Little Baby’s newborn professionals can help breastfeeding moms in major ways! We offer everything from 24 hour care, night care, postpartum doula, lactation consultants, as well as sleep training. We can bring baby to you for night or day feeds, so you can enjoy the time breastfeeding, but still be able to sleep or get work done during off times. This can truly make breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a newborn go smoothly and seamlessly!