Most babies are born knowing how to breastfeed, but it may take time to find your rhythm. Learning all about breastfeeding before you bring your baby home will increase your chances of success.
At Atrium Health Floyd, we offer extensive breastfeeding services
and support, including a prenatal breastfeeding class and one-on-one visits with a certified lactation consultant. If you need help, call 706-509-6548.
Getting Started: The First Few Weeks
Your baby’s first feeding and the first two weeks after can be challenging, but it’s worth the time and effort. To get started, we recommend you:
Hold baby tummy-to-tummy and get a lot of your breast into the baby’s mouth
Let the baby nurse on the first breast for as long as he or she likes and then offer the second breast
Rest as much as possible and focus on taking this time to bond with your new baby
Many new moms are concerned about how often to feed and how to tell if the baby is getting enough milk. Here’s what you can expect:
- Nursing routine - While you’re in the hospital, let the baby breastfeed often, about every two hours. This will help initiate your milk supply and your baby’s digestive system. For the first few weeks, your baby will likely need to nurse every two to three hours. Most babies finish nursing in ten to 30 minutes.
- Baby weight gain-Your baby may lose a few ounces from birth until breastfeeding is established. After the first few days, your baby will begin to gain weight. You can expect the baby to gain about five ounces per week for the first few months and double his or her weight by three to four months.
- Your well-fed baby - One way to know if your baby is getting enough to eat is if he or she seems satisfied and calmer after feedings. Your baby should have five to seven wet diapers a day, and three to four bowel movements. If your baby does not, it could be a sign of dehydration or another problem. Contact your pediatrician right away.
Supporting a Breastfeeding Mom
Dads, partners, parents and friends can help by allowing new moms to rest and focus on breastfeeding. Support can come from:
- Helping with cooking, cleaning house or caring for other children at home
- Upholding the decision to breastfeed by not introducing formula
- Staying supportive and positive during trying times
- Holding and bonding with the baby as much as possible
Going Back to Work
If you are returning to work, start planning early. You can:
- Practice pumping and storing breast milk once milk supply is established, typically three to four weeks after your milk has come in
- Find out where you can pump and store your breast milk at work
- Transition your breastfed baby to a bottle with a natural nipple shape
- Start your new pumping and feeding schedule a week before returning to work to regulate your breast milk supply
If you need help developing a return to work plan, contact one of our certified lactation consultants by calling 706-509-6548.