Breastfeeding Survival Guide for the First Two Weeks
Breastfeed every 1 to 3 hours
It sounds like a lot, but your baby needs your milk and your breasts need the stimulation to bring an abundant milk supply. Newborns need to be fed around the clock so they get 8-12 feedings each 24 hour period.
Wake your baby up well before feedings
A drowsy baby will not feed for long. Undress him to his diaper, rub his tummy and back, talk to him and rock him back and forth if necessary until his 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 she drifts off to sleep, "bug her" to keep her awake. Massage, cool wash cloths, blowing on her face, and talking to her will keep her going. Look for about 15-20 minutes of 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. His head will bob around until he locates the breast. When his chin feels the breast first, he will open wide and latch-on. Try again if you feel any nipple pain.
If your breasts get full, have your baby empty them for you by frequent feeding 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 for each day the baby is old until day 6
Continue with 6 wet diapers and 2-3 stools daily. For example, 3 wet diapers on day three, four on day four and so on. More is fine, but if you are not getting these minimums, call your pediatrician for evaluation of your situation and advice.
If you nipples get sore
Try the sandwich hold. Gently squeeze the breast into a “sandwich”. Create an oval 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 with him.
Do as little as possible at night
Feed your baby when he tells you he is hungry. Don’t turn on any lights, don’t change the diaper (unless it is running out or he has a diaper rash). If your baby “really wakes” up you will be ready to go back to sleep and he will be ready to play.
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 allow your baby to show you what his natural rhythms are. He will develop a pattern that works for him. Schedules don’t tend to work until the baby is a bit older and bigger. You can encourage a more predictable pattern, later.
For help with breastfeeding, contact the La Leche League of Palm Beach County or the Breastfeeding Coaltion of Palm Beach County