Techniques That Work
Breast-feed your baby as soon as possible after birth.
Let your nurse know that you intend to breast-feed
Ask your nurse for help with the first few feedings. The nurses will help you get the baby positioned and latched-on properly to prevent sore nipples. They have been trained to help you.
Use the 3 steps of latch-on:
Positioning: Have baby rolled toward you with the head in the crook of your arm. The face, abdomen and knees should all be towards you. Hold your breast with all your fingers under and your thumb on top. The entire hand should be behind the areola (dark portion of breast).
Stimulate rooting reflex: Move your breast to tickle baby’s lips with your nipple until the mouth opens wide (the big Ah…). Latch-on: Center the nipple in baby’s mouth and pull baby in close (Do this very quickly in motion).
Breast-feeding is a learned skill for both you and your baby. The first few feedings may seem a little awkward. Check with the hospital for available breast-feeding courses.
It is best for baby to room-in with you. If baby is in the nursery, request rooming-in as soon as you are able.
To establish your milk supply during the first week, nurse your baby frequently, every 2-3 hours, day and night. Baby should have 8-12 feedings in a 24 hour period. Baby will gradually go longer between feedings. It is recommended that baby not sleep more than one 6 hour stretch in a 24 hour period until after 6 weeks. (Many do not sleep 6 hours at a time until after 12 weeks)
Since colostrum, your first milk, is thick (concentrated), feeding may take 20-60 minutes. Switch breasts approximately every 10 minutes. In a few days the mature milk will come in and is thinner so feedings will not take as long. At birth, an infant’s stomach is the size of a marble so it may need more frequent feedings. By day 3 the stomach is about the size of a golf ball and by day 5, the size of an egg.
Newborns may be very sleepy and difficult to arouse for feedings. It is important that you do not let your baby sleep through a feeding. If you can’t keep baby awake long enough for a feeding, wait 20-30 minutes and try again. Also, try to latch baby on to the breast as soon as baby begins to stir in the crib. Take advantage of baby’s sleep-awake cycles.
It is recommended that artificial nipples be avoided in the newborn period (first 3 weeks). A bottle should be introduced between 3-7 weeks if it will be needed later on (such as returning to work). Someone other than mother should give the first bottle.
Wash your hands, not your breasts, before nursing your baby.
Wear a good fitting, supportive nursing bra as much as possible. Avoid tight fitting bras that can lead to plugged ducts.
We recommend using breast milk on sore, cracked or bleeding nipples. Once the milk is dry, you can then use a thin layer of lanolin on the nipples.
Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids per day. Drink to thirst.
Eat well. Good nutrition means adequate quality and quantity of calories. You will need an average of 2200-2500 calories per day. Don’t diet! Breast-feeding will help you lose weight.
Rest and sleep are important to your general well-being. Nap when baby does, try not to overdo it.
After the first 5 days, baby should have at least 6 wet diapers in 24 hours and at least 1 stool. Baby may have stool after every feeding. Loose stools, resembling egg yolks, are normal. If you have questions regarding your infant’s feedings or bowel movements, please contact your pediatrician.
If, for any reason, you need to temporarily discontinue breastfeeding, you must pump your breasts at regular intervals (every 2-3 hours) to maintain milk supply
Other Breast Feeding Resources
The Loving Support Organization’s breast feeding clinic is free to all Riverside County residents. Please visit their website for more information.