1. All you need is breast milk!
- Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life.
- Breast milk is a wonderful gift to your baby that only you can provide.
2. Frequent breast feeds — not formula.
- It is important to remember that babies do not eat on a schedule, and breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis.
- The more often you breastfeed, the more breast milk you make. If you give formula, your baby will feel too full to nurse frequently.
3. Feed early and often.
- Feed early and often — at least 8 to 12 times per 24 hours.
- Feed your baby on demand at the earliest signs of hunger.
- Remember that crying is a late sign of hunger.
4. The early days.
- Long-term success with breastfeeding greatly depends on what is done the first few weeks after you deliver.
- A newborn needs very little breast milk for the first 3 to 4 days of life.
- Your baby will get colostrum from your breast to meet this need.
- Colostrum is the thick, golden “pre-milk” that offers many immunity benefits for your baby.
- On average, you can expect your milk to transition from colostrum (thick, golden “early milk”) to mature milk by the third day after delivery.
- Weight loss in your baby of up to 7 percent from birth weight is normal.
- Your baby should regain his birth weight by 10 to 14 days of life.
5. Latching on “Chin-tobreast, chest-to-chest”
- Remember, if your baby is latched on and sucking correctly, it is normal to feel a tugging sensation without painful pressure on your nipple.
6. Look and/or listen for swallows.
- To help you know if your baby is getting breast milk, look for signs and/or listen for sounds of frequent swallowing or gulping while breastfeeding.
7. Watch your baby, not the clock.
- Allow your baby to set the feeding pace and breastfeed until he is finished.
8. Just say ‘no” to pacifiers and bottles.
- Unless you plan to pump and bottle feed only, you should avoid pacifiers and other artificial nipples for the first 4 to 8 weeks.
- Giving bottles or pacifiers before this time can lead to “nipple preference” or “nipple/suck confusion.”
- If pacifiers and/or bottles are used when your baby is hungry, it may be difficult for you to hear or see your baby’s feeding cues. As a result, you may not be nursing often enough to make enough milk to meet your baby’s needs.
9. Just say “no’ to supplemental formula unless…
- Do not give formula or other supplements unless there is a medical reason (such as your baby having low blood sugar or if your breastmilk has not yet transitioned from colostrum to mature milk by days 5 to 7 after delivery).
- Before supplementing your breast milk without a medical reason, discuss your decision with your baby’s doctor, lactation consultant and/or hospital nursing staff.
10. Ask for help — it’s worth it!
To give you and your baby the best chance at successful breastfeeding:
- Ask your nurse for help while in the hospital.
- Follow-up with your baby’s doctor as directed and/or with any concerns after you go home.
- Call our Warmline at 225-924-8239 or refer to your breastfeeding guide for further guidance as needed.
- Don’t wait too long to get the help you need to make breastfeeding easier.