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Breastfeeding Questions

Breastfeeding Advice

  1. Frequency of Feedings to bring in the milk supply
    • Every 1 to 2 hours for the first month (8 or more times/day)
    • During the day, wake her up if more than 3 hours have passed since the last feeding
    • During the night, wake your baby if more than 4 hours pass without a feeding. After 1 month of age, allow your baby to sleep longer at night
  2. Length of Feedings to bring in the milk supply
    • Offer both breasts with each feeding
    • 10 minutes on first breast and up to 15 minutes on second breast if your baby is actively suckling
    • Alternate which breast you start on
    • Needing to stimulate your baby to take the second breast is normal
    • Length of Feedings after milk supply is in (by day 8 at the latest)
      • Allow your baby to nurse as long as she wants to on the first breast (up to 20 minutes). (Reason: to get the high-fat, calorie-rich hind milk)
      • You can tell your baby has finished the first breast when the sucking slows down and your breast becomes soft. Then offer the 2nd breast if she's interested.
      • Alternate breasts at the start of each feeding.
  3. Signs of Adequate Milk Supply (ie your baby is receiving enough breast milk)
  4. 3 or more good-sized, yellow-colored, seedy BMs(bowel movements)/day (EXCEPTION: May not be present while the milk is coming in until day 5 of life) (Caution: infrequent BMs are not normal in breastfed babies until age 6 to 8 weeks)
  5. 6 or more wet diapers/day. (EXCEPTION: 2 wet diapers/day can be normal while milk is coming in - until day 4 of life) (NOTE: if uncertain about diaper being wet, place tissue in diaper)
  6. Satisfied (not hungry) after feedings
  7. Breasts feel full before feedings and soft after feedings. Appropriate let-down reflex
  8. How to Increase Milk Supply:
    • Adequate sleep (extra naps), reduced stress (ask for help), relaxed environment, adequate fluids (1 quart of milk and 1 quart of water per day)(Minimum: One 8 oz. glass of fluid every 4 hours while awake)
    • Increase the frequency of nursing and minimize the use of the pacifier
    • Pump the breasts for 10 minutes after each feeding (see lactation consultant)
  9. Supplemental Formula:
    • Never routinely supplement with formula before 4 to 6 weeks old (Reason: it will interfere with establishing a good milk supply).
    • EXCEPTION: Medical indications include the following:
    • The milk is not in (day 2 and 3) AND your baby is very hungry (especially preterms), inadequate number of wet or soiled diapers or the baby is quite jaundiced. (Reason: prevent dehydration)
    • Method: give 1 oz. of formula after every other breastfeeding for 1 or 2 days.
    • Also see your doctor within 24 hours for a weight check.
      • After nursing is well established, give a bottle of pumped breast milk or 2 oz. water once daily. (Reason: so your baby will accept bottle feedings if need to leave with a sitter)
      • Until the milk comes in (day 3 or 4), a few need supplemental formula, but not water
  10.  Extra Water:
    • Never needed. (Reason: breast milk contains 88% free water)
  11. Engorgement (swelling and pain) of the breast (most common 48-72 hours after birth)
    • Nurse your baby more frequently (avoid the use of pacifiers)
    • Express a little milk before nursing your baby
    • Compress the areola with your fingers or use a manual pump at the start of each feeding to soften the nipple area. (Reason: for milk release, your baby must be able to latch on to the areola)
    • Pump your breasts, whenever they hurt, whenever you must miss a feeding or whenever a feeding doesn't relieve the pain.
    • Localized Engorgement: For localized hard areas or swelling or tenderness due to blocked milk ducts, apply moist heat or take a hot shower and massage the affected area toward the nipple
    • Call your doctor if not improved after 24 hours of treatment
  12. Sore or Cracked Nipples (usually due to friction from improper latching on or areolar grasp).
    • Clean with warm water after each feeding (avoid soap which dries out the skin)
    • Then coat and lubricate nipple and areola with breast milk for sore nipples
    • For cracked nipples, apply 100% lanolin (no prescription) after feedings
    • Help your baby latch on to as much of the areola as possible by compressing areola
    • Prevent the breast from pulling out of your baby's mouth by supporting it from below
    • Start feedings on the side that is least sore
    • Limit feedings to < 10 minutes on the sore side
    • Don't pull your baby off the nipple until she has released her grip. You can break the seal by placing your finger in baby's mouth between the gums
    • Call back if: not improved after 24 hours of treatment
  13. Mother's Medicines (it?s best to take your drug at the end of a feeding)
    • Most commonly used drugs are safe: e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, penicillins, erythromycin, cephalosporins, stool softeners, antihistamines, decongestants, cough drops, nose drops, eyedrops, and skin creams. Aspirin and sulfa drugs are safe after 2 weeks old. For all other drugs, call your doctor
  14. Sick Infants. Do not discontinue breastfeeding for vomiting, spitting up, diarrhea, cough, jaundice, etc. See the appropriate guideline for that symptom. Continue breastfeeding whenever possible
  15. The Mother is Sick (has an acute illness)
    • Continue breastfeeding, even if you have a fever. (Reason: Breast milk carries your antibodies which can protect your baby from the full-blown infection)
    • Try to prevent the spread of infection by good hand rinsing, especially after blowing your nose (for colds) or after BMs (for diarrhea).
    • Contraindications to breastfeeding are rare: AIDS, Herpes simplex rash (fever blisters) on the nipple/areola, substance abuse and tuberculosis. Talk with your doctor
  16. Breastfed Stools, Normal
    • Breastfed babies pass from 4 stools per day to 1 after each feeding during the first 2 months. The stools are runny, mustard-colored and contain seedy particles
    • Normal breastfed stools can even become green or have a water ring around them during the first month
    • At 4-8 weeks of age, most breastfed babies change to infrequent BMs. They pass 1 soft BM every 1 to 7 days (Reason: complete absorption)
    • Breastfed stools have changed to true diarrhea if:
      • They contain blood or mucus
      • Develop a bad odor or abruptly increase in number
      • Your baby feeds poorly, acts sick, or develops a fever