Here are 8 things you need to know about breastfeeding before going home from the hospital
1. Feeding cues-
Watch for arm and leg movement, turning head to the side with an open mouth (rooting), or sucking on hands. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Keep your baby skin to skin, breastfeeding any time baby shows readiness to feed.
2. How to latch well-
Place baby’s tummy facing yours, nipple at nose level. When baby’s mouth is open wide, aim your nipple toward the roof of baby’s mouth. Latch baby deeply onto the breast. If it hurts for longer than a few sucks, break the seal and try again. If in doubt, ask an IBCLC to take a look while breastfeeding.
3. Avoid bottles and pacifiers-
Healthy newborns should not receive bottles or pacifiers during the first few weeks after birth, while they are learning to breastfeed.
4. Feeding frequency-
Baby should eat 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. In the early weeks, babies often feed at irregular intervals, usually 1 to 3 hours after the start of the last feeding. Sleepy babies may need to be awakened for feeding.
5. Right, left, or both-
Alternate the side you start on for each feeding. If starting on the right side, allow baby to remain there until sucking stops. Then offer the left breast. No matter if baby feeds from one or both sides, start on the left side for the next feeding.
6. How to know if baby is getting enough milk-
If baby has normal output (pee and poop), feeds on demand, and has a normal weight gain pattern, your baby is getting enough milk. Normal output is least one wet diaper on the first day of life, two on the second, three on the third, and so on until baby has six or more wet diapers per day. Expect at least one tarry black poopy diaper on the first day of life, and the poop should transition from black to loose yellow poop by day five. Once the colostrum changes to mature milk, baby will usually poop four or more times per day.
7. How to treat engorgement-
Engorgement is a feeling of firmness and tenderness as the breasts begin to make milk, usually 2 to 5 days after giving birth. Keep feeding frequently. If your breasts are too firm for the baby to latch, try expressing a small amount of milk before feeding. Engorgement is swelling of the breast tissue, not simply an overabundance of milk. Ice packs and Ibuprofen can be helpful until it passes in a couple days.
8. Supply and demand-
Breasts work by supply and demand. Regular and complete emptying of the breasts sends a message to make more milk. When breasts to remain overly full (skipping a feeding), it reduces future milk production. If baby is more hungry than usual, allow the baby to breastfeed more frequently. This will cause your milk supply to increase to meet your baby’s needs.