Breastfeeding a newborn is a new experience for each mom, whether it’s your first baby or you have breastfed before. Please remember it will take time to get to know each other and settle into this new relationship. So, be gentle with yourself.
What to Expect when Breastfeeding Your Newborn
Regular, frequent, and complete emptying of the breasts (8+ times per day) is the best way to bring in and maintain breast milk supply in the first few weeks postpartum. This can be achieved either by effective nursing, via a pump, or a combination of both.
The first few weeks at home with your newborn might not be the best time to entertain family. It’s ok to ask for some privacy while you and your partner are settling in. Your newborn will benefit from lots of skin-to-skin time. This will help your baby nurse frequently and ensure that you don’t miss your baby’s feeding cues. This IS the time to ask for help. We encourage new moms to seek additional support for tasks like cooking, laundry, cleaning, and even childcare for older siblings.
Latch and Nipple Care
Breastfeeding might not be comfortable in the beginning. The initial latch can feel sensitive for about the first 20 seconds as more delicate skin adjusts. It typically takes 2-4 weeks for initial latch discomfort to completely resolve. Nipple pain throughout a whole feeding is abnormal, as is nipple cracking, blistering, or bleeding. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our office for an exam by a breastfeeding specialist.
Tips for Pumping
An electric breast pump is helpful both to increase breastmilk supply or manage breast engorgement. Order one early before your baby is born and familiarize yourself with its functionality. Remember to use lots of nipple cream (ask us about our favorites!) on your skin to prevent irritation from friction when pumping.
Try and limit the unnecessary use of artificial nipples in the first 2 weeks of your baby’s life. This will ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to respond to feeding cues, and it decreases the chances of your baby developing a “flow” preference for the faster delivery of milk from a bottle versus milk at the breast.
Helping Your Baby Breastfeed
Your newborn may be sleepy and need extra stimulation while nursing, especially if your baby has jaundice or was born early. These babies can require extra feeding support in the first weeks, so don’t worry that anything has gone wrong if your infant needs additional supplementation.
Don’t be afraid to try different holding positions to discover what might be most comfortable for you and your baby.
Maternal Medical Conditions
Make sure any maternal medical conditions are well managed. This includes high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, anemia, or postpartum mood disorders. If these conditions are not properly treated, they can contribute to impaired breastmilk production.
Reach out for Breastfeeding Help
Adequate calories for your baby equals healthy brain development so please remember that no matter what, fed is best!
If you need support or have any questions about breastfeeding, please reach out to your doctor at Castle Pines Pediatrics at 720-779-1991 or www.castlepinespediatrics.com. Our pediatricians double as lactation specialists, with additional expertise and certification in breastfeeding medicine, and we’re here to help moms and their infants have a healthy, happy start.