Five keys to successful breastfeeding

Thees five principals will get you on the path to successful breastfeeding.

Keep your baby skin-to-skin until after the first feeding

The first feeding sets the pace for next several feedings. The time right after birth babies are often awake and ready to feed for about an hour.

Take advantage of this special time by asking the nurses to delay the eye treatment, weight and routine injections until after the first feeding.

After that, feed when the baby seems hungry, at least 8-12 times each day.

Room with your baby

Keep your baby with you during your hospital stay so you can learn your baby’s cues and feed whenever he seems hungry. Babies typically feed 8-12 times each 24 hour day 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 in the first 24 hours. Offer the breast often. The fast flow and different feel of a bottle nipple can confuse babies and make subsequent feedings difficult.

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 the use of a pacifier, but not until breastfeeding is well established.

Research shows that babies who are constantly swaddled do not wake up as often for feeding. Frequent feedings 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 to see the lactation consultant in the hospital. She can watch a feeding and give you tips on how to hold your baby at the breast.

When you get home, contact a breastfeeding support group, a lactation consultant in the community, or other breastfeeding assistance.