Breastfeeding Moms’ Survival Guide for the First Two Weeks
Breastfeed whenever your baby shows feeding cues
It sounds like a lot, but your baby needs your milk and your breasts need the stimulation to bring in an abundant milk supply. Newborns need to be fed around the clock so that they get 8 or more feedings each 24 hour period
Wake your baby up well before feedings
A drowsy baby will not feed for long. Undress to the diaper, rub the tummy and back, talk to and rock your baby until the eyes open. A good strategy is to put the baby naked (except for a diaper) on your chest skin to skin for 1/2 hour prior to feeds.
Keep your baby sucking through the feeding
If your baby drifts off to sleep, “bug baby” to keep awake. Massage, use cool wash cloths, blow on baby’s face, and talk to keep your baby feeding. Look for vigorous sucking on each breast.
Try baby led latching
Get in a reclining position and place the baby on top of you in any position that is comfortable for you. Allow the baby to locate the breast and latch-on. Baby’s head will bob to locate the breast. When the chin feels the breast first, the mouth will open wide and latch-on. Try again if you feel any nipple pain.
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If your breasts get full, have your baby empty them for you by frequent feeding
Engorgement is natural in the first few days. Emptying your breasts helps. Massage your breast during the feeding to empty them more completely. If that is not enough, you may use a breast pump prior to feedings to get the milk flowing and shape the nipple, then feed the baby. After feedings, if you are still over-filled, use the breast pump again. Ice is also a good way to slow down breastmilk production at this time. And it will feel good!
Look for one wet diaper according to baby’s age until day 6
For example, 3 wet diapers on day three, four on day four, and so on. Continue with 6 wet diapers and 2-3 stools daily. More is fine, but if you are not getting these minimums, call a lactation consultant or your health care provider for evaluation of your situation and advice.
If your nipples get sore
Try the sandwich hold. Gently squeeze the breast into a “sandwich”. Create an oval of the areola with your thumb lined up with your baby’s nose, your fingers under the breast.
When do I get to sleep?
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Newborns tend to feed a lot at night and sleep more during the
day. Around the clock feeds are grueling and you can maximize your sleep by napping when your baby does. Accustom yourself to these quick “cat-naps” to help you feel refreshed. You can also encourage the baby to spend more time awake during the day by feeding and playing.
Find your groove
It will take several weeks for you and your baby to get into a pattern of feedings and nap times. Go with the flow and learn what your baby’s natural rhythms are. Schedules don’t tend to work until the baby is a bit older and bigger. You can encourage a more predictable pattern later.