If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, you probably know there’s no other experience quite like it. You and your baby will bond closely as he or she takes nourishment directly from your body. Also, you may find your body and mind are stronger than you thought possible, since breastfeeding is a unique challenge. However, if you’ve never breastfed before, you might have some questions we can help answer.
How Do I Position the Baby?
Positioning your baby is the first and perhaps most challenging step. Once you get used to it though, it will start to come naturally. Make sure you’re comfortable; use pillows to support your arms and a footrest or phone book for foot and leg support. Position the baby with his or her nose and mouth facing your nipple. The baby’s hips should be flexed so she doesn’t have to turn to reach your milk. Support your breast so your baby’s chin does not press on top of it. The chin should drive into the breast.
How Does the Baby Latch On?
You should support your baby’s back rather than his head, so your hand becomes a “second neck.” Your baby’s nose should be touching your breast. Breastfeeding should never hurt; if it does, gently remove the baby and reposition.
Is the Baby Getting Enough Milk?
The best way to tell is by looking at your baby’s diapers. During the first few days after birth, your baby will receive colostrum, which is a thick, immunity-boosting version of milk. At that point, your baby should only have one or two wet diapers a day. This amount will increase to six to eight for cloth diapers and five to six for disposable diapers on the third or fourth day after birth. This is when your actual milk begins coming in. Your baby should nurse every two or three hours, with eight to 12 nursing sessions in a 24-hour period.
There are many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mom. If you have additional questions, talk with your pediatrician at your next appointment.