How do I get started?
It is best to get started as soon as possible after baby is born. Here are some things to remember:
- Breastfeeding is new to both the mother and baby. It takes time to learn it and be good at it. Be patient.
- Get yourself in a comfortable position. Use pillows for support.
- Hold your baby tucked in very close to your body. Support your baby well. There are several different positions. Work with lactation consultants and nurses in the hospital to find what will work best for you.
- It is important to get the baby to open his or her mouth wide. Once the mouth is open wide, put in as much of the dark area around the nipple (the areola) as you can.
Nurse your baby whenever your baby cries or seems hungry. Your baby will probably nurse every 2 hours. Your baby should nurse at least 8 times a day for the first couple of weeks until your baby is back to birth weight and has established his or her own schedule. We will discuss this further in the hospital and at the first office visit.
How long should I feed the baby?
Nurse your baby at least ten minutes on the first breast and as long as he or she wants on the second. Your goal at first is to have your baby nurse for a total of about 20-30 minutes total at each feeding. Remember to change the breast you start with each time. Every baby is different. Some babies are efficient and will nurse 5-10 minutes total while others may take 20 minutes on each side. Again, we’ll discuss this at your first office visit.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough?
Breastmilk is made by supply and demand. The more you nurse, the more breast milk you make. Many times, parents worry that their baby isn’t getting enough because you can’t see how much breast milk the baby is taking in. You can be sure that your baby is getting what he or she needs if:
- Your baby is gaining weight
- Your child has 6 or more wet diapers a day and at least 1-2 bowel movements a day. After nursing is established your baby should be wet most changes but may only have dirty diapers every other day or even once every 3-4 days.
It is a great idea to keep a log the first few days on when baby nurses, has a wet or dirty diaper. There are great apps on your phone if you want to document it that way. We can recommend some if you are interested but pen and paper work just as well! If you are worried about how much baby is nursing or gaining weight, please bring these with you to your office visit!