BreastfeedingFeeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed your baby. Just as a mother is capable of nourishing her baby for months in the womb, she is also capable of completely nourishing her baby at the breast. Breast milk is the ideal food for your baby. 

Your breast milk is suited for your baby. It is always available at the right temperature, doesn’t need any mixing or equipment, and costs very little. By choosing to breastfeed, you are helping protect your baby from common early childhood illnesses such as colds, ear infections, and diarrhea, especially during the early weeks and months of her life.

The ideal goal is to breastfeed for at least the first year, but your baby will benefit from whatever amount of breast milk she receives. Keep in mind that you should breastfeed without introducing a bottle or pacifier for at least 3 to 4 weeks to assure that breastfeeding is well established. I recommend that you continue to breastfeed your baby your breast milk until her/his first birthday.

Techniques for the Breastfeeding Mother
The way your baby “latches on,” or attaches to your breast, is one of the most important things to master for successful breastfeeding. Making sure your baby correctly latches on will help prevent or minimize sore nipples. Gently lift and support your breast, with your fingers below the breast and your thumb above, well away from the areola (the dark area around your nipple). Gently stroke your baby’s bottom lip with your nipple in a downward motion several times. Pause to see if he will open his mouth. Repeat this until your baby opens his mouth very wide. Then quickly pull him onto the breast so that his nose, cheeks, and chin are all touching the breast. Most of your areola should be in the baby’s mouth. If your nipples become sore as the feeding continues, remove your baby from your breast, after breaking the suction, and try reattaching him. 

When you breastfeed in the sitting position, hold your baby on his side facing your breast, with the baby’s lower arm tucked around your waist. Your baby’s face, tummy and knees should be facing you, in a snug, tummy-to-tummy position. If his nose is blocked, pull his bottom upward and closer to you so his head will move back slightly.

Alternate the breast offered first at each feeding. Babies should be offered both breasts at each feeding. When your baby loses interest in the first breast, stop and burp him. Then offer the second breast for as long as you both want. Generally, most newborns should feed for at least 10 minutes and they should be able to complete a feeding in about 60 minutes or less. To change breasts, put your finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth, releasing the suction. Let your breast completely air-dry after nursing.

Check the information below for signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk. Please call my office if you are concerned that your baby is not feeding well. Getting help early will often prevent problems from developing.

If you need to be separated from your baby at feeding time, once breastfeeding is well established, you can leave behind a bottle of milk that you express from your breasts. You can express breast milk by hand, or by using a breast pump. If one is needed, my staff can refer you to a lactation consultant for assistance in selecting and renting or purchasing a breast pump.

Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
A healthy, full-term newborn who is breastfeeding well at least eight times a day should need no feedings other than mother’s milk. Your baby is most likely getting enough milk if: 

  •  Your milk “comes in” (increases in amount) – making your breasts feel firm and full – between the second and fourth days of breastfeeding.
  • ‘Your breasts feel full before a feeding and softer afterward.
  • Your baby has no difficulty latching on.
  • Your baby is breastfeeding every 2-3 hours – at least eight times in a 24-hour period.
  • Your baby usually breastfeeds for 10 minutes or more and no longer than 60 minutes at each feeding. Let your baby, and not the clock, determine how long a feeding lasts.
  • Your baby gives you signs that she is ready to be fed. She may lick and smack with her lips and tongue, clench her fists and put her hand to her mouth, or flex her arms and legs.
  • You can hear a rhythm of suck/pause/suck during feedings.
  • Your baby usually breastfeeds at both breasts.
  • Your baby appears satisfied and no longer hungry after feedings.
  • Your baby has at least one wet diaper the first day of life and three on days 2 and 3. Look for more wet diapers on days 4 and 5. Your baby should wet at least six diapers every day after about 6 days of life with clear, colorless urine.
  • Your baby is passing yellow, seedy runny stools, starting on day 3 or 4. If she is not passing any stools, or is still passing meconium (thick and black or dark green stools), contact our office.