Breastfeeding in the First Weeks

Your first weeks at home with your new baby is a precious time. But these times can also be an adjustment and quite challenging! Many new moms feel a wave of many emotions, alternating from feeling confident and overwhelmed, and exhilarated and exhausted. Initially, learning to care for your baby, feeding and getting to know your baby is a full-time job. But with time and practice, the tasks that make up your new job description, will make you an experienced, well-adjusted parent! Make the most of your time before you have a child, to learn about what to expect when baby arrives, breastfeeding, and other infant care topics. Initially, you will spend quite a bit of time feeding your baby. Getting breastfeeding off on the right foot is one of the most important things you can do to smooth your adjustment to new parenthood. Read on for some general breastfeeding how to's:

Beginning to breastfeed

  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth.
  • Hold your undressed baby next to your bare skin. Snuggling skin-to-skin gives you and your baby the best start for breastfeeding, and is the best way to keep baby warm and calm.
  • Keep your baby with you in your hospital room so you can breastfeed every 1½ to 3 hours.
  • Before going home, ask a nurse to watch an entire feeding to make sure your baby is getting breastmilk.

Breastfeed your baby often

Breastfeed every 1½ to 3 hours, or 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Your baby needs your first milk (colostrum) before your milk becomes abundant. Breastfeed often so your body knows to make enough milk. Your breasts do not need to “rest” or “fill up” between feedings. You are always making milk!

Avoid formula, bottles or pacifiers

Avoid formula in the first 4 to 6 weeks. Giving your baby formula tells your body not to make milk and will cause your milk supply to decrease. Artificial nipples, if used in the early weeks, can confuse your baby and can also decrease your milk supply. Breastfed babies don’t need water, sugar water or formula.

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