Breastfeeding your newborn – What to expect?
Your newborn should often eat and for as long as possible. The best thing for your baby in the first few days of life is breast milk so feedings will be at least eight to twelve times a day. Nursing Eight to twelve times a day works out to every two hours or so and the clock starts at the beginning of the feeding. This will make it feel like you are continually nursing at first.
What is colostrum and its benefits?
The substance that your baby will be consuming when nursing for the first few days is called colostrum. It is not breast milk yet. Colostrum is packed full of immune boosters and proteins essential for the transition from the safety of the womb into the real world.
Breastfeeding your newborn during the first week
When your milk starts to come in, 2-3 days after the birth, feedings will become longer at first. Your baby will begin to develop more of an appetite, and it is important to allow the feeding to go as long as necessary. The milk that comes down at the very end of the feeding is called the hindmilk, and there are essential fats in this milk that you don’t want to deprive the baby off. At this point, your feelings will still be at least thirty minutes at a time and as frequent as eight to twelve times a day.
How can I tell if my newborn is getting enough milk?
You will know your baby is getting enough to eat by looking at the diapers. If you are getting a wet diaper after feedings, your baby is eating enough. There is a chart that your doctor might give you before you take your baby home that shows how many wet diapers to expect during the first few months. It is important to keep a good count of the wet and dirty diapers, so you know that your baby is eating properly.
A common concern with nursing mothers is that the baby is not getting enough to eat. Breast milk digests much faster than formula so breastfed babies tend to get hungry faster than formula fed babies. Digestion causes an empty belly, and an empty belly in a newborn means that the hunger is back. This is why a nursing mother could think that she is not producing enough milk to satisfy her baby. The time for concern is when your baby has a dry diaper for an extended period.
Breastfeeding – How often should I breastfeed my baby?
The time has finally come! Nine months (or more like ten!) of waiting and your baby has arrived. Now comes all of the joy, pain, and wonder of those first few magical weeks of motherhood. If you have decided to breastfeed, go ahead and congratulate yourself. You’ve chosen the best possible nutrition for your baby!
While breastfeeding can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be difficult, if you’re not armed with useful information. One question I’m often asked is, ” How often should I breastfeed my baby?” If you’re stumped on this issue, read on. I’ll discuss how often you to feed your baby, as well as, supply and demand.
Developing a healthy and prosperous breastfeeding relationship begins with the very first feeding. Don’t worry about adhering to a feeding schedule, especially with a newborn. You should rely on your baby to give you hunger cues such as whimpering, restlessness and rooting.
Feed your baby when you notice these subtle signs of hunger.
Don’t wait until your baby is crying excessively to feed. This is a late sign of desire and means that your baby has probably been hungry for a while. In the beginning, making sure your baby is properly latched onto the breast is very important to prevent sore nipples. Proper latching is best accomplished when your baby first exhibits signs of hunger and is still calm. Watching for your baby’s hunger cues rather than watching the clock is called feeding on demand and is the feeding method recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Baby Growth Spurts
You should also be aware that babies experience growth spurts. Growth spurts usually occur at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. Extra calories are required to fuel your baby’s increasing metabolism during these times of accelerated growth. So, during these times, expect to feed as often as every hour to every hour and a half. If you get discouraged during times of feeding marathons, know that your dedication to breastfeeding your baby is what’s making them grow so robustly, and meet all those first-year milestones!
What does breastfeed on demand mean?
The last thing I want to mention is supply and demand in regard to milk supply. To put it just, every time you breastfeed, you are regulating your milk supply. By feeding your baby on demand, you’re allowing your baby to decide how much milk his body needs to meet his caloric needs. When you feed on a schedule that you set rather than watching your baby for signs of hunger, your milk supply won’t increase to meet your baby’s growing needs and, eventually, your milk supply will diminish. In other words, your body will make as much milk as your baby eats.
So, how often should you breastfeed your baby? Well, if your baby ate 2 hours ago, and you’re pretty sure she can’t be hungry already, offer her the breast. If you just fed your baby and he’s still crying, and you know he can’t be hungry already, offer him the breast.
To give you an idea of how often your baby may eat, I’ll tell you how it went for me. My babies always ate about every three hours. During growth spurts, they ate every hour for about two days. This wasn’t a schedule that I set. I watched my babies from birth and always offered the breasts first if I even though they may be hungry. Pretty soon, my babies had put themselves on a schedule, and I never had an issue with low milk supply.
Be aware of your baby needs
To a degree, babies will be able to tell parents when they’re hungry by crying, but parents need sometimes to feed them, as babies don’t quite know when they’re hungry if they’ve been sleeping for a long time. How much a baby is fed is often up to the baby, as they know when their stomachs are full, and they can stop themselves from feeding when they feel they have enough inside them. There’s a distinct difference between how often a baby feeds when it’s fed formula and when it’s being fed breast milk.
Breast milk is natural for a baby’s body to digest and use throughout, whereas formula takes a while because it wasn’t naturally designed for babies to drink. Parents who are breastfeeding their babies mustn’t compare themselves to those who are feeding them formula, as it won’t be a fair comparison and will make parents feel as though they are underfeeding their child. A baby will always drink enough for it to last until its next feed, which will differ depending on how old the child is.
Once a child is about two or three months old, it will need to feed around seven or eight times a day, and mothers who are breastfeeding will have adapted by now to feed their baby at any point in the day, as they will be producing milk almost constantly.
Once babies are slightly older than this, they will be able to slot into a feeding routine in which parents set a time for feeds, and the baby needs to last for the entire time between them. Babies will always choose how much they want to drink, and some days they might not be hungry at all, meaning parents can store breast milk in the freezer for another day. Sometimes it is better to store breast milk as it can be used on days out, meaning mothers won’t have to breastfeed in public.