As we discovered from yesterday’s posts, each mother and baby have a unique but beautiful feeding experience. But for some, the process may not come as easy or “naturally” as desired for a variety of reasons. Still, there are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby, as human milk provides the specific nutrients that babies need to grow. Research shows that breastfeeding provides significant value to both infants and mothers.
Keep in mind, breastfeeding is a learning process for both mom and the baby! Successful breastfeeding happens with education and support. Whether you are expecting, currently breastfeeding or would like to breastfeed in the future, I hope some of these tips are useful.
The more the baby nurses, the more milk there will be. Frequent nursing and effective milk removal signal the mother’s body to produce the amount of milk her baby needs. Newborns usually nurse 8-12 times per day. Frequent feeding provides comfort, nutrition, and helps assure that the mother’s supply will quickly become well established.
Allow the baby to nurses as long as he/she seems interested (10-15 minutes or longer). It’s not always about the length of the feeding, but the quality of the feeding. Alternate which breast you start each feeding with. If you find your baby regularly sleeps more than three hours between feedings, the baby may need to be awakened for feedings to ensure the baby is nursing 8-12 times per day.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
After your milk comes in (day 3-5), the baby should have at least five to six really wet diapers per day. The baby will begin having at least three to five bowel movements a day beginning about the fifth day after birth (once the meconium is passed). By the fifth day, stool is very loose and bright yellow in color. Finally, you know your baby is getting enough milk when the baby is appearing satisfied after feedings. You should also feel before and after feeding breast changes and hear frequent swallowing. Your pediatrician will monitor the baby’s weight closely to ensure the baby is gaining and well nourished.
Be sure the baby is positioned and latched well. Hold your baby in a comfortable position at the level of your nipple with his/her whole body facing you. Wait for the baby to open his/her mouth wide, and then pull the baby close. The nipple should be far back in the baby’s mouth to form a good latch. If needed, try breast compression to keep your baby interested in nursing by squeezing the breast firmly with your thumb on one side and fingers on the other to increase milk flow. Note: a sleepy or jaundiced baby may not nurse vigorously enough to empty your breasts adequately.
If you need to increase your milk supply
You will be in close touch with your baby’s doctor to make sure the baby is gaining well over the first weeks and months. If there is a question about your milk supply, contact a breastfeeding specialist.
Remember, breastfeeding is a learning process for you and your baby!
If you are experiencing difficulties breastfeeding or have an immediate concern or question, the Touro Lactation Center has a dedicated line for breastfeeding mothers (available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) by calling (504) 897-8130. The Lactation Center also offers private consultations, monthly classes and a full-service Lactation Boutique that services mothers in need of breastfeeding supplies, custom bra fittings and support. Services offered by appointment only.
Helpful Websites for Nursing Mothers
Enter to win $50 to the Touro Lactation Boutique
The Touro Lactation Center has everything a new mom needs to begin breastfeeding, including: Medela breast pumps for both purchase and rental (rentals are available on a daily, weekly and monthly basis), pumping supplies, boppy pillows, nursing bras and custom bra fittings. The Touro Lactation Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. by appointment only. Please call (504) 897-8130 for breastfeeding support, to schedule a visit or register for a class. The Touro Lactation Center is located on the second floor of the hospital near the Family Birthing Center sign-in desk.
Juliette Glaviano RN, IBCLC
Juliette Glaviano RN, IBCLC, graduated from LSU School of Nursing in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Juliette began her career at Baptist Hospital in the Well Baby Nursery/NICU from 1987 where she worked until 2005. Following Hurricane Katrina, Juliette worked as a staff nurse in the Birthing Center at St. Tammany Hospital from 2005-2007, and began working part time in the Lactation Department at Ochsner in 2006. Juliette started at Touro in May 2007 in the Well Baby Nursery/NICU. In July 2008 she became a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and transferred to her current role in the Touro Lactation Center. Juliette supports breastfeeding mothers in both the well baby nursery and NICU, provides outpatient consultations, and teaches prenatal breastfeeding class.