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newborn 411

Breastfeeding Basics

While breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for your baby, it is not for everyone. If, for whatever reason, breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you, there are plenty of good and nutritious formulas available to give your baby excellent nutrition.

It is very common for mothers to experience significant breast tenderness during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. It is recommended to start putting the baby on the breast as soon as you can after birth. Allow the baby to nurse every 2hours for approximately 10-15 minutes per breast if it is not too painful. While bottle-fed babies will feed approximately every 3-4 hours, breastfed babies will nurse every 1 ½-2 hours. Bottle-fed babies will initially take 1 ½-2 ounces per feeding the first few days of life. Breastfed babies will get ½-3/4 ounce of milk per breast per feeding once mom’s milk comes in. 

The first few days of life the breastfed baby receives “colostrum.” This is the thin milky white fluid produced before the breast milk comes in. It is full of healthy antibodies to help strengthen your baby’s immune system. Your breasts will begin to produce milk in approximately 3-5 days after birth, although every woman is different. You will know your breast milk is coming in, as your breasts will begin to feel full and lumpy. Some women experience a “pins and needles” feeling that indicates the “letdown” reflex of milk production. 

If your baby is awake and actively suckling, he/she will get all he/she needs to grow in 10-12 minutes of breastfeeding. The “foremilk” is what the baby gets first and comes in the first 5 minutes of the feeding. The fat-rich and nutrient dense “hind milk” follows after that. 

Breastfeeding can be challenging. Be patient with yourself and with the baby for the first 48 hours after the baby is born. Many hospitals have lactation-consultants that can help you during your hospital stay. Try to avoid bottles and pacifiers during the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding (unless it is recommended by your doctor). This will help your baby become a good breast feeder.

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