Feeding Basics

Feeding Basics
The rewards are endless, so give breastfeeding a fair chance.

Don’t expect too much too soon: First milk usually comes two to three days after delivery, and you may not have copious amounts initially. But try to persevere in bringing baby to your breast and just letting baby suck even if it yields minimal results. Regular and continuous sucking signals the brain to produce prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production.

Won’t baby get hungry while my milk supply is still low? Colostrum, the yellow fluid that your breasts start producing during pregnancy, is the perfect first food for your baby and will meet all his nutritional needs for the first couple of days after your baby is born, he will take in only teaspoon (not ounces) of this precious fluid. His immature kidneys are not meant to handle large volumes of fluid at this time, and the colostrum has a laxative effect that clears the meconium (the black tarry first stool) out of his system.

When baby hasn’t learned to latch on… If your newborn hasn’t gotten the hang of latching on, you can start expressing colostrum from your breast. Store even the smallest quantity that you yield; this may be fed to baby by spoon, dropper, or feeding syringe. Expressing regularly also helps jumpstart your milk supply. Postpone the introduction of artificial nipples while baby has yet to learn proper latch-on so that baby doesn’t become accustomed to sucking from an artificial nipple, which calls for a very different oral orientation from sucking from a breast.

How do I increase my milk supply? Breasts work on the law of supply and demand. Follow baby’s lead by letting him breastfeed as often and as long as he wants. This will help bring up milk supply quickly.

Proper positioning: Breastfeeding isn’t naturally painful. Any pain or discomfort, like sore nipples, is usually caused by improper positioning, poor latch-on, or poor hygiene. One article from lalecheleague.com states that the baby should be face to nipple, and tummy to tummy with you. Baby’s chin should be just below the nipple, and he needs to open wide to take in a good mouthful.

How do you know baby is getting enough milk? The best indicator of adequate milk supply is if baby gains four to seven ounces a week three to five days after birth. Other indicators include:

  • Baby wets 6 to 8 wet cloth diapers or 5 to 6 disposable diapers a day.
  • Baby moves bowel 2 to 5 times a day for the first few months.
  • Baby nurses 8 to 12 times a day, 10 to 20 minutes per breast.
  • Sometimes, though, when your breast milk supply has regulated itself to meet the demands of baby, and baby has become proficient in feeding from the teat, nursing can take as short as 5 minutes per breast. Don’t worry, this indicates that you and baby have settled into an efficient breastfeeding routine.

How long after an anesthetized delivery may I start breastfeeding? As soon as baby is delivered, latching is done (even in the operating room). Actual feeding in infants, whether delivered through CS or normal delivery, can be — and is actually started — after 3 to 4 hours.

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1 Comment

  1. Anne Marie Napay-Dragon

    September 30, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This is a very informative post. I am a first time mom and I really need information on what to expect in breastfeeding my child. Thank you for this, I learned a lot. More power to you and your blog.

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