Basic Steps for Breastfeeding

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding your baby provides him with the best possible infant nutrition and costs less in time and money than formula preparations. It helps boost the baby’s immune system, resulting in fewer newborn illnesses and also helps in the prevention of allergies. According to recent research, breastfed babies are less likely to develop obesity as adults.

Breastfeeding also has many benefits for the mother. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower incidence of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Nursing mothers also find that breastfeeding uses up extra calories, enabling easier weight loss after delivery.

How much should I nurse during the first few weeks at home?

To establish a healthy milk supply during the first weeks of nursing, babies need to breastfeed at least eight to ten times every 24 hours. Because newborns tend to “cluster” their nursing (breastfeed more frequently during certain times of the day), mothers may want to look at each day as a whole, rather than attempting to nurse at certain intervals.

What are the best positions to breastfeed?

Three basic positions can be used when breastfeeding: the cradle hold, side-lying hold, and football hold. Regardless of position, the infant’s trunk should always be skin-to-skin with the mother. This is usually referred to as “chest-to-chest” positioning. This technique permits the newborn to have his head and neck in good alignment. If the infant is not chest-to-chest, he will have to turn his head in order to breastfeed; this can interfere with swallowing.

How can my husband be involved if I am breastfeeding?

The new dad can assist with many baby care activities. He can help with burping and rocking the baby after feeding. Dads are encouraged to try skin-to-skin contact to enhance bonding with his new baby.

Can I get pregnant if I am breastfeeding?

Although many women do not menstruate while exclusively breastfeeding, some women continue to ovulate; thus pregnancy can be possible. As a result, breastfeeding cannot be used as a reliable form of birth control.

How do I wake up a sleepy baby?

Several techniques will assist in waking up a sleepy baby. You may want to try:

  • Skin to skin helps your baby wake up on his own. Do this for 30 minutes prior to a feeding.
  • Talking to the baby and attempting to make eye contact.
  • Loosen or remove blankets.
  • Unwrap the baby if the room is warm.
  • Hold the baby in an upright position.
  • Try to arouse the baby when he is in a light sleep cycle. During light sleep cycles, the baby may change facial expressions and move his arms and legs.

How do I know that the baby is getting enough?

Breastfeeding is going well when your baby has a burst of 10 to 20 suck/swallows at the beginning of the feeding, slowing down to two to three suck/swallows at the end of the feeding. The breast will soften at the end of the feeding also. The baby’s arms and body usually relax during the feeding. A feeding session should last approximately 20 to 40 minutes. By the fifth day of life, the baby should have at least five wet diapers and two to five seedy stools per day. The breastfed baby will gain weight, which is also evidence that he is getting the nutrients he needs.

What can I do about sore nipples?

Sore nipples are not an expected consequence of breastfeeding. Nipple pain is a signal for “help.” If not corrected, nipple damage may occur. The most frequent cause of sore nipples is poor positioning. Management of sore nipples can include feeding on the less sore side first and repositioning the infant for feeding. If the problem progresses, you may want to seek the advice of a lactation consultant.

Do I need a breast pump?

A breast pump can be helpful to relieve engorgement, collect milk when mother and baby are apart, increase milk supply, maintain lactation if breastfeeding is interrupted, or collect milk for a sick or pre-term baby. A lactation consultant may be able to assist in making the decision about a breast pump and which type might be best for you.

Breastfeeding Help Line

Got a question at 3 a.m.? Call 283-2901 and leave a message for our lactation consultant. She will gladly return your call on the next business day.

What community resources are available for breastfeeding mothers?

The Breastfeeding Center at Especially For Women is located off the main entrance of Clark Memorial Hospital. A full time lactation consultant is available to answer any questions you may have about breastfeeding your baby. In addition The Breastfeeding Center offers:

  • Breast pump rental and purchase
  • Nursing bras
  • Other breastfeeding supplies

To contact the lactation consultant at The Breastfeeding Center, please call 283-2901.