Contact Phone Number: (475) 444-3044

Breastfeeding Tips

Prenatal:

  • A spontaneous, natural childbirth with minimal interventions will maximize the chance of a successful breastfeeding relationship
  • Read “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin, Midwife
  • Take a birthing class
  • Develop a birth plan to share with your health care provider
  • Search for a birth doula that can support both you and your partner during labor
  • Read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League International
  • Attend a La Leche League Meeting while pregnant
  • Purchase at least two comfortable “transitional” or “sleep” nursing bras for the first few days after birth
  • Set up your network of support for the first few weeks after birth
  • Call for a prenatal visit, including a breast and nipple assessment

Immediate postpartum period:

  • No matter what type of birth you experience, immediately place baby skin-to-skin on your chest
  • Cover baby to prevent heat loss, but remain skin to skin to facilitate the mother-baby natural temperature regulation system
  • Skin-to-skin babies will usually find the breast and begin nursing within 30 minutes after birth
  • Avoid any mother-baby separation; enjoy full rooming-in, if in hospital
  • If medical issues prevent baby from being placed immediately on your skin, send partner to stay with baby until he/she can be brought to mother
  • Partner can perform skin-to-skin if mother is unable.

The First Week:

  • Nurse early and often; 10-12 times in 24 hours
  • Usual duration of feeding is between 20-45 minutes
  • Give both breasts at each feeding
  • If you experience nipple pain when feeding, ask for help right away
  • It takes 3-5 days for mature milk to ‘come in’ to your breasts
  • Breasts will become noticeably larger and fill with milk over 1-2 days
  • After Day 5, baby should have 6-8 wet diapers and 3-4 large yellow, seedy, loose stools (with a few extra streaks) daily
  • To prevent severe engorgement, nurse frequently. 
  • If baby is not able to nurse, hand express or pump your breasts 10-12 times daily
  • Engorgement usually lasts for about 2 weeks
  • Limit visitors, both in hospital and at home, while you bond with your new baby
  • If you plan to sleep with your baby, make your room safe for bed-sharing
  • Time to purchase more nursing bras if yours don’t fit anymore!
  • If baby is not nursing, stooling or gaining weight well after your milk comes in, call right away

The Second Week:

  • Get plenty of rest to aid in recovery after childbirth
  • Nurse on demand around the clock to help establish good milk production
  • Avoid using a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established
  • Baby should regain birth weight by 7-10 days after birth
  • If nipples hurt or if baby is not nursing, stooling or gaining weight well, call right away

The Third Week:

  • Take daily naps with baby
  • First growth spurt! Baby will nurse more frequently for several days in a row
  • Engorgement fades; breasts are less hard and milk production is regulating to baby’s demand

One Month:

  • Baby will continue to soak 6-8 diapers per day
  • Stooling pattern slows down to 1-2 large stools daily, may skip days
  • Baby’s alert time increases
  • Usually nurses 8-10 times in 24 hours
  • Time spent at the breast is less as baby becomes more efficient
  • Now that breastfeeding is well established, an occasional bottle of your breastmilk can be introduced if desired

Six Weeks:

  • Another growth spurt! Baby will nurse more frequently for several days in a row
  • Crying peaks at this phase of baby’s life, be patient
  • You may begin to see social smiling from baby
  • Baby will continue to nurse every 1½ to 3 hours, with one long 3-5 hour interval of sleep (hopefully at night)
  • If you have to leave baby when you return to work in a few weeks, begin storing your milk.  Call for an appointment for guidance on preparing to return to work.