Breast milk is fundamental to your baby’s nutrition and development. New research continues to show more health benefits for breastfeeding moms and their breastfed babies. While the first two weeks can be overwhelming for a new mom and baby, this is the critical time for establishing a successful breastfeeding experience. In order to establish good breastfeeding habits and a good milk supply, follow these steps:
Plan on frequent feedings. Frequency of breastfeeding is key to establishing mom’s milk supply. Plan on feeding every 2 to 3 hours during the day and night, and don’t be afraid to wake your baby to breastfeed. Use a piece of paper or an app to keep track of feedings to ensure you achieve 8 to 12 feedings during a 24-hour period.
Get a good latch. Establishing a good latch ensures your baby is able to transfer milk and will stimulate mom’s body to make milk. Mom should feel a pull or tug sensation during the feeding, but there should never be pain. If there is pain, seek help from a lactation consultant.
Forget the breast pump, for now. Put the breast pump away and don’t worry about how to use it ... yet. Use the first two weeks to focus on getting to know your baby, watching for feeding cues and practicing latching well. A breast pump doesn’t stimulate the milk supply as well as your baby can. If feedings are going well after two weeks, start working the breast pump into your feedings. Note: some moms with certain risk factors may need to use a pump sooner.
Use a lactation consultant. Plan on meeting with a lactation consultant after delivery and within the first week after your baby is born for hands-on training or to brush up on breastfeeding skills. Seeing a lactation consultant can help build confidence in moms and is a way to prevent problems.
Be patient. While breastfeeding is instinctive for your baby, it also requires some practice. Every time you latch and breastfeed well helps your baby learn how to feed. Remember that this is a process, and take it one day at a time.
Latch on to the basics at Parenting U
To learn more about Breastfeeding Basics, sign up for Children’s free Parenting U classes at the Fall Baby Love Baby Fair on Sept. 22. Ann Schuchardt, a lactation consultant with Children’s Physicians, will teach two classes on Breastfeeding Basics. Registration for Parenting U includes free entrance to the Baby Fair. Register here today.