Facts About Breastfeeding
Why is colostrum good for newborn babies?
- It’s the perfect amount for your baby’s small stomach.
- It is easy to digest and helps your baby past its first few dark poops.
- It helps your baby to fight colds, diarrhea, and other viruses.
How does breastfeeding work?
- You and your baby work together as a breastfeeding team.
- Your breasts start to make early milk while you are pregnant. This early milk is called colostrum. It is may be clear or yellow. It is very healthy for your baby.
- Your baby’s sucking helps your body to make and release milk.
- Each time your baby takes milk from your body, you will make a little more milk.
- It is normal to not see white milk until your baby is 3 or even 4 days old.
- It is normal for your baby to feed very often in the beginning. This helps the milk come in.
- Watch your baby, not the clock! Your baby will tell you when they are hungry.
What are feeding cues?
Feeding cues are your baby’s way of showing signs of hunger. The 4 most common feeding cues are:
- Sucking on the hand of fist
- Sticking out the tongue
- Smacking lips
- Moving around
Don’t watch the clock, watch your baby. Feed when your baby gives you a cue.
Can I give my baby a pacifier?
Wait to give your baby a pacifier until breastfeeding is going well (at about 2-4 weeks old). Pacifiers can hide feeding cues.
Why are position and latch important?
- Position is how you hold your baby when you are feeding.
- Latch is how the baby attaches to the breast.
- A bad ‘latch’ may hurt your nipples. Your baby also may not get enough milk.
- Ask for help each time your baby feeds in the beginning. This will help you learn tips for a good position and latch.
How do I know my baby is getting enough milk
- Count the number of wet and poopy diapers your baby makes. Your baby should make 6 to 8 wet diapers and 3 poops a day after you go home. The poop usually changes to a yellow color when your baby is 3 to 4 days old.
- Count how many times your baby breastfeeds in 24 hours. Most new babies want to breastfeed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Your baby has a small stomach for the first few days after birth. Lots of breastfeeding is normal!
- Watch and hear your baby swallow.
- Go to your baby’s doctor visits for a weight check. It’s normal to lose some weight after birth. Your baby should be back to birth weight by 2 weeks.
Can I breastfeed my baby too much?
No. Many new babies breastfeed for a long time, fall asleep and wake up a short time later wanting to feed again. Babies sometimes breastfeed 3 to 4 times in 2 hours. This is called cluster feeding. Babies may cluster feed during a growth spurt or at certain times of day like early evening.
Can I breastfeed and bottle feed my baby?
- The more time you wait to give your baby a bottle, the more time your baby has to learn to breastfeed.
- Waiting at least 4 weeks to give your baby a bottle helps:
- Build your milk supply.
- Teach your baby to breastfeed.
- Prevent sore nipples.
Feeding your baby anything other than breast milk in the hospital can make breastfeeding much harder:
- You may make less milk because your baby is breastfeeding less.
- The suck at the breast and bottle are different. Your baby may get confused.
Can I breastfeed my baby when I go back to work or school?
Yes you can! You can pump and store milk to use when you are away.
Can I breastfeed and take birth control pills or other medications?
Many medication and some birth control pills are safe to take. Talk to your provider first.
Can I breastfeed and drink alcohol?
1 drink or less each day does not seem to hurt your baby. A lot of alcohol every day (2 drinks or more) may hurt your baby’s growth over time.
Can I breastfeed and smoke?
- Smoking can cause many health problems for you and the people who breathe your smoke. You and your family will be healthier if you quit or cut down. Some women cannot stop smoking when they are breastfeeding. It is still healthier for your baby to breastfeed.
- Here are some tips to keep your baby as healthy as possible:
- Avoid smoking right before you breastfeed.
- Do not smoke around your baby.
- Change your clothes after you smoke before you hold your baby.
- Do not let anyone smoke around your baby.