Keys to Successful Breastfeeding

Why do we recommend exclusively breastfeeding baby? There are many reasons, but the simplest is:

Time spent breastfeeding + no other foods = great milk supply for mom!

Breast milk is all supply and demand: If baby does not demand it, the body will not supply it. It really is that simple. If baby is taking formula, even if it is in addition to breastfeeding, he will not go to the breast as often.

Each time your baby breast feeds, hormones are released in your body telling the breasts to produce milk. The fewer times a baby breast feeds, the fewer hormones there are, resulting in less breast milk available for baby.

The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do not introduce artificial nipples, bottles or pacifiers until breastfeeding and milk supply is well established. This is usually after one month of exclusive breastfeeding.

  • It’s all about the latch. If this is your first time breastfeeding, make sure you understand how to latch your baby. The difference between correct and incorrect latch can mean success or frustration in breastfeeding.
  • Don’t worry about how much breast milk your baby is getting when breastfeeding. Newborn babies have small tummies and almost all mothers can produce the amount of colostrum and milk that they need. Instead, focus on breastfeeding often for as long as your baby will feed. Remember, a typical feeding of colostrum is about a teaspoon! It is packed with protein, vitamins and antibodies that start building your baby’s immune system. Baby’s tummy will get bigger as your milk supply starts to come in, around three to five days.
  • Room in with your baby. Your baby will stay with you during your hospital stay so you can learn your baby’s cues and feed whenever he seems hungry. Babies typically feed eight to 12 times in 24 hours for the first several weeks.
  • Avoid supplementary feedings. All your baby needs is you! Rarely is there a baby who needs more than the breast the first 24 hours. Offer the breast often and avoid bottle feeding. The fast flow and different feel of the bottle nipple can confuse babies and make subsequent breast feedings difficult and more work for you.
  • Limit the use of pacifiers and swaddling. Anytime your baby seems hungry, offer the breast. In between, continue your skin-to-skin holding. Later your pediatrician may recommend a pacifier to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, but not until breastfeeding is well established. For now, pacifiers may keep babies from going to the breast as often as they need to. Frequent breast feeding in these early days assures that you will bring in an abundant milk supply and your baby will feed adequately.
  • Ask for help. If things don’t seem to be going well or your breasts become sore, ask your nurse for assistance, or ask to see the lactation consultant. She can watch a feeding and give you tips on how to hold your baby at the breast. If you still have concerns when you get home, call our Lactation Consultant for guidance or to find one-on-one help.