Back to basics: Nursing your newborn

Timing

Allow your baby to finish one breast first, untimed, before offering the other breast. This will allow her to access your rich hindmilk that is so important for growth. Allow the feeding to end when she comes off your breast relaxed and satisfied. Be sure to feed your baby at least eight to twelve times in 24 hours. Breastmilk is easily digested and it is not unusual for your new baby to be hungry again an hour and a half following the last feed.

How Much is Enough?

Many moms worry whether or not their baby is getting enough milk. In the early weeks, as breastfeeding is getting established, it's a good idea to monitor your baby's output. Your baby should be having at least six to eight wet cloth diapers (five to six disposables) and two bowel movements a day, beginning around day three -- about the time your milk supply increases. This should continue until your baby is about six-weeks-old, when her wetting and stooling pattern may begin to change. Your baby should have regained her birth weight by the second or third week of life. Average weight gain during the first six months is four to eight ounces per week.

 

Getting Settled

The early postpartum period is a time of great change. It may take several weeks until you feel comfortable taking care of your baby and nursing her. Keeping outside activities to a minimum during this time will help you to settle in and allow you to get the rest you need during this challenging time. You and your baby will be on your way to establishing a satisfying nursing relationship. With good preparation, information and support, most breastfeeding families navigate the postpartum period with few difficulties. If you are nursing and are experiencing difficulties, contact a Board Certified Lactation Consultant or La Leche League leader for further help.

 

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