FIRST DAY TIPS FOR LIFE AND BREASTFEEDING WITH YOUR NEW BABY
●Practice, Practice, Practice breastfeeding your baby. Just getting used to holding your baby and getting the positions and latching comfortable takes time and practice. Watch the baby, not the clock for minimum times between feedings. As frequent as hourly feedings, on and off during the day, are ideal for building milk supply
●It’s a new endeavor. Though you want to share your new baby with your loved ones, we all learn better without an audience. Secret signal for getting rid of visitors?
●Skin to Skin time is very important for babies. Mom can “warm up” or “cool down” a baby. STS means Baby in a diaper only, blankets over back, tummy on mom’s bare chest. Hats are generally not needed and can potentially limit bonding by preventing baby's scent from reaching mom's nose during STS. Mom can wear robe, button-front blouse or sweater etc. Dads can do it too, but can overheat baby.
●1 wet diaper and 1 poop on day one, 2 of each on day 2, 3 on day 3, After your milk “comes in” around 72 hours post-partum, 3-4 poops at least the size of a quarter, 5-6 wet diapers (wet=2 tablespoons, try water in a dry diaper to have as a comparison if you are not sure). Great chart at: Beststart.org but I do not like the look of the latch on page 2. nose should be away from the breast
●Stomach size is quite small. First 24 hours 1 tsp. can be a feeding = about 10 -15 sucks. 2nd 24hours increasing toward 1 Tbsp. or 3 X the above. Increasing to an ounce by day 3.
●Be ready for “2nd night fussies” --About 48 hours after birth, baby wants to nurse and fuss for hours on end. Often the last night in the hospital or the first night home, nurse as much as you can as it seems to help bring in the milk faster.
●Feeding cues: Eyes moving under lids while sleeping, baby is starting to wake up, hand to jaw and mouth-hands need to be able to touch face-nerve in jaw, tongue out testing the air- searching, mouth open -head turning-searching. Crying is a late sign of hunger, to be avoided as baby might not be as co-operative if stressed from wait.
●Babies are able to find the breast-TRY IT! Line up chin to breast, and nipple to nose as baby moves into position for the best latch. Same line-up if you are in charge of positioning. Chin into breast, nose away, allow head to gently tip back into drinking position.
●Watch the jaw movement. At first latch, rapid sucks to get the milk flowing. Then slower sucks, 6-12, followed by a 4-6 second pause, then 6-12 again. One to 6 of those patterns is considered a feeding in the first few days, though they can be of longer duration as well.
●Allow the baby to stay on one side until baby comes off. If baby seems to be drifting back to sleep too soon, try pressing on your breast, without affecting the latch, to send a little milk into baby, or talk to baby, tickle feet to help wake baby up. Or detach with finger in corner of mouth to break suction and place baby on back uncovered-- will arouse within seconds.
●Switch to second side after baby comes off first side. Keep in mind baby will often take a 5-10 minute break between sides (great time for gazing at one another). And switch to 2nd side after you have fed baby on the first side 2-4 times, but are having trouble keeping baby awake-just try the other side. Alternate side you start on.
●Maximum time from start of one feed to start of the next is 3 hours until your baby shows you that your baby knows how to wake up and ask to eat and is gaining weight. Swaddling will keep baby asleep, ok at times, not ok if baby is having trouble waking up and is losing too much weight. Use swaddling wisely.
●Babies suck for comfort. The mouth is the easiest part of the body for them to control. Most babies want to be held a lot the first few weeks, and don’t breastfeed on a schedule yet either. This is okay, just follow the baby and listen to your heart. Watch the diaper count: milk in, something out.
●A little soreness/ strong sensation is normal, but pain that makes you not want to breastfeed the next time, cry, scream, shake from pain IS NOT OK. Keep asking for help until someone helps you or explains the problem and how to get to a solution.
●If there is concern that your baby is losing weight too quickly or too much: STOP, take a breath, think about what your baby has been doing. Sleeping too much? lots of meconium or lots of wet diapers. These might make for greater weight loss, but not mean something is wrong with milk supply.
The first few days after birth are exciting, scary, busy, overwhelming in many ways. Those feelings are normal. Holding baby skin to skin and breastfeeding as much as you can and soon you will feel like you know what you are doing.