Breast feeding is very good for you, as well as your baby. To help you get off to a good start and make sure that your baby is getting enough breast milk, it’s important to nurse every one and a half to three hours – or at least eight to 12 feedings in a 24-hour period. Your baby should have at least four to six wet diapers per 24-hour period after they are 3 to 4 days old. Try to ensure that your baby is satisfied after the feeding. A baby may cry, root or suck on his or her hands if not satisfied.
In the beginning, feed from both breasts, alternating the starting side for each feeding. Once the milk supply is established (about 10 days) let the baby feed on the first breast for as long as he or she is actively nursing. If the baby is still interested or hungry, offer the second breast. The next feeding should start with the second breast. Do not time feedings.
If you feel any discomfort, take the baby off the breast immediately and reposition before resuming the feeding. Sore nipples are usually cause by an improperly positioned baby while breast feeding. To prevent nipples from cracking, air-dry them for five to 10 minutes after each feeding. After two to three weeks you can offer a “relief” bottle (breast milk or formula) for when your absence makes it necessary to bottle feed.
During the first few weeks, most breast-fed babies have more stools than bottle-fed babies, oftentimes after each feeding. Later, breast-fed babies may have soft, infrequent stools every two to three days.
Breast-feeding mothers do not need to restrict their diet, but should avoid excess of food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and should continue with their prenatal vitamins. Breast-fed babies should be given a vitamin D supplement with an infant vitamin drop.
In support of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation, we encourage exclusively breast feeding until 6 months of age.
If you have any questions, concerns or problems with breast feeding, please contact one of DuPage Medical Group’s lactation consultants by calling your pediatrician’s office.