Breastfeed Tips For Success
Here's a list of are the most important things you need to know to ensure breastfeeding gets off to a good start:
Breastfeed within the first hour of life. Your baby will be alert and interested in breastfeeding during the first hour after delivery. Research shows that early initiation of breastfeeding increases the overall success and duration of breastfeeding.
Practice skin-to-skin (S2S) with the baby as soon as possible. You should have S2S contact immediately after birth for at least one hour and then as often as possible afterwards. S2S is when you keep your unclothed baby (only in a diaper) against your bare chest. S2S helps regulate the baby's body temperature, aids in milk production, neural development and promotes bonding. If you have a c-section, have your partner do S2S until you are able to hold the baby. You can practice S2S before, during, and after feedings. There's no such thing as too much S2S!
Room-in with your baby. If possible, don't send your baby to the nursery. Keeping your baby close is really important so you can get to know your baby’s feeding cues and respond quickly every time the baby shows those signs. Early signs of hunger include: rooting, bringing hands to mouth, licking, and sucking on fingers. Crying is a late sign of hunger, so don't wait for that.
Don't stick to a strict feeding schedule. Instead, feed your baby on demand at least 8-12+ times per 24 hours (every 2-3 hours). If your baby is really sleepy and does not wake up for feedings, be sure to wake him/her up by placing the baby S2S. Feeding often will help the baby gain weight and help establish your milk supply early on. You can't feed the baby too often, but you can feed your baby too little!
Take advantage of the liquid gold. The first milk your body produces is colostrum. It's thick, yellow and a natural vaccine for your baby. Colostrum contains lots of antibodies that help protect against disease and infection. You won't produce large amounts of colostrum and that's completely normal! As your baby's stomach size increases, so will your milk supply.
Avoid supplementary feedings unless medically necessary. All your baby needs is your milk!
Plan to limit your visitors. You will need to breastfeed 8-12 times every 24 hours. Too many visitors can be overwhelming and interrupt feedings with your baby.
If your baby can't breastfeed, ask for a pump. If your baby is unable to breastfeed for any reason, it's important to start pumping with a hospital-grade electric breast pump right away.
Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from one of the lactation consultants in the hospital. Even if you think breastfeed is going well, it's a good idea to have a lactation consultant assess position and latch. Proper latch is key to preventing nipple soreness and ensuring effective milk removal.
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