You and your newborn are home at last. Your journey together has begun, and one of the first decisions you have made is to breast feed.
Hopefully your nurse midwife, obstetrician, or breast feeding consultant answered your questions and concerns about breast feeding before you left the hospital, but it never hurts to have a refresher. Below are the most important things to remember about breast feeding.
1) Breast feed on demand.
Feed your baby on demand whenever she is hungry. Typically that will be every 2 to 3 hours, or about 8 to 12 feedings in a 24-hour period. You will know that your infant is getting enough milk if she produces 6 to 8 wet diapers and at least 3 yellow stools by 3 to 5 days of life.
2) Look for signs of hunger.
Observe your baby for signs of hunger such as lip smacking, opening of the mouth, or hand-to-mouth motion. Also, if you notice that your infant’s eyes are moving underneath the eyelids, that signifies that she is in a light sleep state and might be ready to be fed.
3) Position comfortably.
Position your infant facing you at the level of your breast. Placing a pillow underneath your baby might help in achieving the most comfortable position.
4) Switch sides.
The most intense milk flow takes place during the first 7 to 10 minutes of breast feeding. Therefore your infant should feed about 10 minutes per breast at each feeding.
5) Supply is determined by demand.
The more your baby nurses, the more milk will be produced. Should you end up with surplus of milk, you can safely freeze it for later use.