Beginning to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding Basics--Helpful· Information and Tips for Success

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both recommend breastfeeding for the first twelve months of life. We at Glendale Pediatrics strongly support breastfeeding, and we are committed to helping you achieve your breastfeeding goals. We encourage you to get help from a certified Lactation Consultant as soon as any breastfeeding issue comes up, whether it be painful feedings, low supply, or simply the desire for greater confidence in feeding your baby. Most women who stop breastfeeding early on after the birth of their baby do so because of misinformation. This sheet provides a brief guide that can help you through the first few days of feeding, but it is not intended as a substitute for the guidance of your pediatrician or lactation expert. We can provide you a list of local lactation resources (consultants and breast feeding support groups). Call our office at 818-246-7260 for more information.

  1. Try to breastfeed as soon as possible (within one hour) after delivery of your newborn. Even if baby just licks and "nipples" at the breast, that's a good beginning! 
  2. Practice skin-to-skin in the hospital and once you are home. Strip baby down to the diaper and keep him/her close on your bare chest as much as possible. Putting a blanket over the baby's back will help to keep him/her warm.
  3. The early milk is called colostrum, and it is rich in protein and antibodies. It is highly concentrated, so baby only needs small amounts at a time. 
  4. Often it is hard to tell whether baby is getting any milk in the early days. Listen for swallows (they can be tiny! and they sound like sighs) and try to keep baby awake during feedings. 
  5. Breastfeeding should not hurt! If feeding is very painful it is probably because baby's latch is incorrect. Encourage baby to latch on with a wide-open mouth, taking in as much of the areola (the area around the nipple) as possible. 
  6. Newborns need to feed 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. Try to feed the baby every 2 hours during the day (counting from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next). Most newborns will "cluster feed" during the early days and may want to be on the breast every hour at times, especially on days 2-3 before mature milk comes in. Mature milk comes in around 72 hours after delivery. 
  7. Do not supplement with formula unless directed to by your pediatrician! Rarely does a healthy newborn need supplementation. If baby is urinating and stooling appropriately and has not lost too much weight and is not too jaundiced, there is usually no need to supplement.

Glendale Pediatrics is here to provide you with the information and support you need to make breastfeeding a successful and happy experience for you and your baby!

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