Our Founder Corky shares her thoughts on getting off to a great start with breastfeeding.
OUR “GOLDEN RULES” OF BREASTFEEDING: SO YOU CAN GET OFF TO A GREAT START!
1. Attempt to breastfeed within two hours of birth.
2. Stay together.
3. Nurse often.
4. Get a Deep Latch.
1. Attempt to breastfeed within two hours of birth:
- Place baby skin-to-skin on mom’s chest as soon after birth as possible. (immediately after a vaginal birth and within a few minutes after a cesarean birth). This heightens the baby’s natural instinct to seek the breast. Shortly after being placed on your chest your baby will begin to crawl and root/gape (open their mouth), trying to find the breast. Researchers have found a relationship between early skin-to-skin care and improved breastfeeding outcomes.
- The sooner your baby begins nursing, the better it usually goes. A baby nursing directly from the breast is the best breast stimulation.
- Early breastfeeding provides the baby with the critical, disease fighting immunoglobulin IgA (antibody). If your baby is not nursing, he/she can still receive this valuable antibody in expressed breast milk.
- If your baby is not nursing well or is separated from you, pumping will be important to drive milk supply. Hand expression followed by pumping in the first 24 hours is best. Learn how by clicking this link.
2. Stay Together:
- It keeps your baby warm and stabilizes their vital signs when baby is close to mom.
- Lots of skin-to-skin and holding will encourage your baby to feed more often.
- When you are with your baby, you will be able to recognize their feeding cues.
3. Nurse Often:
- Frequent, cue-based nursing encourages a good milk supply and will also reduce the severity of breast engorgement. Try for 8-14 feedings in 24 hours. Early feeding cues are: rooting, eye movement under closed eyelids (active sleep), mouth movements, wiggling within their blankets. Did you know, crying is a late-stage hunger cue? IMPORTANT: Effective removal of milk is what drives supply. Lots of good nursing (or pumping if baby isn’t nursing well) is what makes it happen. “The bottom line is: The more drained a mother’s breasts are at the end of a feeding and the more times a day they are well drained, the faster her breasts will make milk.” (Mohrbacher. Kendall-Tackett)
- If your baby is sleepy, or not self-waking by three hours, unwrap, undress, change their diaper, lay them on a flat surface and rub their body with your fingertips and try again. When the baby slows, switching breasts can help them stay more active. You can switch several times during one feeding.
4. Get a Deep Latch:
- In order to remove milk from the breast, babies need to be latched deeply with jaws compressing the areola rather than the nipple. This will also help to prevent sore nipples. Watch the video in this link for help with latch; and read the Deep Latch article linked here.
Other Thoughts and Tips
- It’s normal for babies to lose as much as 8%-10% of their birth weight in the first few days after birth. Your milk increases in volume from droplets to ounces in the first weeks. Engorgement (swelling of your breasts) by the 3rd-5th day of life signals that your higher volume milk is arriving and your baby should now begin to gain. Once babies begin gaining weight, they are expected to gain 1oz/day or 6-7 ounces/week. See: Engorgement
- Keep records of baby’s urine and stools. By day six expect to see 6 urines and 3 or more yellow, loose stools every 24 hours. There are many apps available for this purpose. Keep in mind that it is normal for a baby’s stooling to slow between days 3-5. No need to continue keeping records once your baby is gaining 1 oz/day and has reached birth weight by 8-14 days of life. See: Is your Baby Getting Enough to Eat.
- Remember, if your baby is unable to nurse or is not nursing well, you will need to pump as often as your baby should nurse in order to insure a good milk supply. The Symphony Pump by Medela is a clinical grade pump and research has shown, it is the very best pump for protecting and encouraging milk supply. Most insurance grade pumps can work well to maintain a good supply, but a clinical grade pump (rental) is the best choice to help attain a good supply. The Symphony is available to rent at the Pump Station.
- If you are asked to supplement your baby with formula, you will also need to pump. Breastfeed first, then pump, letting your partner offer the supplement. Milk supply is based solely on MILK REMOVAL. By pumping after breastfeeding, you communicate to your breasts that your baby is eating, and more milk needs to be made.
- Please be part of our twice-weekly virtual Breastfeeding Support Groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:15 pm. A lactation consultant moderates and answers questions, but it is the lived experiences shared by other breastfeeding mothers that can offer invaluable support. You don’t have to do this alone, we've got you.
Check out all of our articles on breastfeeding HERE.
For current information on Breastfeeding and COVID19 go to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine website- Click Here