Breastfeeding is supported enthusiastically by parents and pediatricians. Breast milk is universally nutritious and agreeable. The encounter between mother and baby at nursing time is emotionally satisfying to both. In most nurseries, healthy newborns are allowed to nurse immediately after birth. We do recommend breastfeeding infants receive a vitamin D supplement. Discuss this issue with your pediatrician at your 2 week check up.
These are suggestions we consider helpful:
- We recommend the baby be breastfed eight to twelve times per 24 hours. Proper positioning and latch-on technique are important in the prevention of nipple soreness and to help ensure adequate milk supply. If you are having difficulty breastfeeding those first few days in the hospital a lactation specialist is available at most nurseries.
- Alternate the first breast offered at each feeding. Start out nursing 5-10 minutes on each breast and work up to 15-20 minutes.
- The more frequently you nurse, the easier it becomes, and the more milk you will make. Mother’s milk usually comes in by the 3rd or 4th day. If your breasts don’t start to feel full or leak milk by the 5th day, please call our office.
- Babies often fall asleep during nursing. If this is occurring frequently, try changing positions, burping your baby, or not keeping her bundled too warmly.
- We usually recommend avoiding bottles the first 2 weeks. Exclusively breast feeding in the beginning will ensure your milk supply is coordinated with your baby’s demand and will help avoid nipple confusion. Breast milk provides all your baby’s water and nutritional requirements.
- Please drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious meals and try to rest while your baby is sleeping. While nursing, try to relax and not worry as to whether or not the baby is getting enough milk since fatigue and anxiety can decrease your milk production.
- Weight gain is the most precise sign of adequate nursing. We expect the breastfed baby to lose about ten percent of her weight the first week and then to gain enough weight to be up to her birthweight by the time she is 2 to 3 weeks old. She will then probably gain 1 to 2 pounds per month for the first three months. Many yellow seedy stools per day suggest your baby is getting enough to eat. Also, the baby should urinate frequently, with at least 5 to 8 wet diapers in 24 hours once your milk is in. The color of the milk, the amount of the baby’s crying, and the vigor of nursing are all unreliable predictors of nursing success.
- Do not use your breast as a pacifier when the baby cries.
- We do not generally recommend starting babies on cereal or other solids until at least four to six months of age.
- For substitute feeding, we support breast milk expressed with a breast pump or the use of an iron-containing formula. Of the types of formula it is most economical to use a powdered type since there is no leftover formula to discard.
Breastfeeding can be hard work initially but can be successful and rewarding for most women with proper instruction and support. Please call our office if any questions or problems arise. We can help with many of the common problems encountered during breastfeeding. There are also many helpful lactation consultants at area hospitals and in the community that we can help you contact.
For more information from medela.com:
Nighttime Feeding Schedules
- For your later convenience, please wake your baby to nurse or bottle-feed at least every 4 hours in the daytime. Unless you have received other instructions, do not awaken the baby to eat at nighttime. We feel this contributes to more appropriate sleeping habits. You may also help your baby to sleep all night at an earlier stage by controlling the light and noise in his environment. Keep his surroundings bright and stimulating in the daytime and dim and quiet during the nighttime feedings.
Bowel Movement Patterns
- Bowel movement patterns vary widely, particularly in breastfed babies, from one stool every 2 to 3 days to 4 to 5 small stools per day. Having more than 3 or 4 large, loose stools daily may be common.
- Your baby’s first stool is a black or green tarry substance called meconium. This may persist for 2-3 days. Breast fed babies stools will become yellow, seedy and loose within 4-5 days of delivery. They may have 2 to 8 loose stools a day. This is not diarrhea and is actually a good sign since it tells us the baby is getting plenty of breast milk. If your baby is not having yellow stools by 5 days of age you should call our office, since it may be a sign that they are not getting enough breast milk.
- Formula fed babies often have less frequent stools, usually 1-4 per day. Their stools tend to be a pasty consistency and may vary from brown to green to yellow colored. Don’t be alarmed by the variation.
- Constipation is the passing of hard rock-like stools with discomfort. If your child grunts or strains to have a bowel movement but then has a soft stool, he is not constipated and does not need treatment. Breasts fed babies almost never get constipated, but may grunt and cry because they don’t like the sensation of having a bowel movement. It is not abnormal for a baby to strain and redden prior to having a stool. This will get better as they get older. A stool that consists of hard pellets passed with discomfort is considered to be a sign of constipation. If your infant is having hard stools and seems uncomfortable, please call the office. In general, calls regarding constipation are not emergencies and should be made in the daytime when the office is open.