Tips from Oxford’s Leading Lactation Consultants
Congratulations on your choice to breastfeed your baby. It truly is the best nutritional start for your precious little one. Women throughout history have breastfed thriving babies and busy, modern day moms are no different! I’ve said this to many moms, “It’s natural but its not always easy.” That being said, sometimes it is hard to find quality, nonjudgemental, safe breastfeeding advice when something just doesn’t seem quite right. There are more breastfeeding blogs online than I could count but you have a unique situation.
You don’t have to rely on advice from neighbors, friends, social media, or mommy blogs. Your best breastfeeding friends are also your little one’s healthcare providers. Dr. Phillips and I are both Certified Lactation Counselors and can’t wait to help you succeed in providing breastmilk for your baby! Hopefully, the frequently asked questions below will provide peace of mind that you are doing a great job or prompt you to seek advice from us if things just aren’t going well.
My baby will be born soon, what can I expect after delivery?
The first thing all new Mom’s should do is give themselves the gift of grace before they even put their new baby to the breast for the first time. The period after delivery is hectic and exhausting! Most baby’s feed within 1-2 hours after delivery. The labor nurse will probably place your baby skin to skin on your chest right after he is born. Let your baby take the reigns! He will root, sleep, wimper, suck his fingers, bob his head, and eventually find your breast and feed. Relax and enjoy this “Golden Hour.” Once your baby feeds, he will probably sleep (You both earned a nap!) New babies sleep ALOT during the next 24 hours, so you will need to put your baby to your breast often and encourage feeding, either with feeding cues or just every couple of hours. After this sleepy period, babies wake up and feed very often until your milk “comes in.”
Do I have milk as soon as my baby is born?
You do not have breasts full of mature milk the minute your baby makes his grand entrance but don’t worry! Your baby doesn’t need a belly full right now (his tummy is only about the size of a marble anyway). You have colostrum. This is often called “liquid gold” because it packs all of the nutrients and fat your baby needs into a tiny amount. It looks like honey! Your baby’s body needs this small amount of food 10-12 times every day until your mature milk is in. Watch for wet and dirty diapers every day. If your baby doesn’t have these, let us know immediately. If your baby feeds often you’re doing it right!
When does my milk “come in” and what do I do when it does?
Usually your mature milk makes it’s appearance 3-5 days after delivery. You will notice your breasts feel full (maybe even too full!) or lumpy. You will notice the thick yellow colostrum is now thin and white. You will hear your baby swallowing or gulping! If you feel engorged when your milk comes in, hand expression, cool gel packs, and a supportive nursing bra should provide relief. The best relief is nursing your baby and emptying those breasts often! If you have cracked or bleeding nipples during this time, let us know. We can help you improve your latch and decrease nipple trauma. Don’t worry, this engorgement only lasts a day or two.
I’m ready to pump. What is the best way to do this?
Everyone’s plan, lifestyle, and baby is unique. If you plan to pump multiple times daily to feed your baby, make sure you get a good double electric pump (I like Spectra or Medela. Lansing makes a good pump that is a bit cheaper, also). If you just need to pump occasionally when you are away from your baby, you can purchase a single electric pump or a hand pump very reasonably. It is also very important to have a plan for storing your milk safely. Call us with your specifics and we can help you make a plan!
I am ready to wean my baby/toddler. How do I do this easily?
Again, every baby is different. You can wean at anytime but there are a few things to consider. If your infant is less than one year old, you will need to wean to iron fortified infant formula as their main source of nutrition even if he is also eating solid foods. If you are weaning your toddler, it is usually easiest to wean from one daily feeding at a time. Leave nap time and bedtime feedings for last as those are usually the most difficult for mommies and babies to let go of. Wear clothes that make breasts difficult to “get to” for your child and consider having another family member take over bedtime for a few days. You can replace breastfeeding with other things such as a new lovie or stuffed animal, rocking/singing/reading, etc. Don’t replace breastfeeding with bottles or cups in the crib for sipping through the night as this will cause cavities.
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Remember Mom, you can do this! Your body knows how to feed your baby! We want you to be successful no matter how your choose to feed your baby. Please don’t hesitate to call for a prenatal consultation to meet our team before you deliver or a lactation visit so we can troubleshoot any concerns you may have. Phillips Pediatrics cares about your breastfeeding questions (big or small!) because we know “the little things mean the most!”
-Brooke Underwood, CPNP-PC, CLC