Breastfeeding is Natural But May Not Always Come Naturally
Our bodies were made to feed our babies and while breastfeeding is natural it may not always come naturally. Here are a few tips to get your breastfeeding journey off to a good start and to maintain your supply as your little one grows.
- Before your baby arrives create a plan. Talk to your significant other or family members about your plan to breastfeed. Locate a lactation counselor for support after you deliver and find out if the delivering hospital has lactation counselors on staff. DKH is a designated Baby Friendly Hospital providing lactation support. Our WIC Program has Certified Lactation Counselors on staff to help support your breastfeeding goals.
- Once your baby is born, breastfeed early and often. Your hospital should offer you skin-to-skin time after delivery. Skin-to-skin allows your baby to keep warm and self-latch to start your breastfeeding journey. Your baby knows how to suck but may need help learning how to breastfeed. If concerned, ask your lactation counselor or nurse if the latch looks right. DKH WIC program offers a breastfeeding support group the first Monday of each month from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. open to all nursing moms and babies. Call (860) 928-3660 to learn more.
- Learn your baby’s feeding cues such as sucking on hands. Crying is the last sign of hunger. Breastfeed your baby before crying occurs.
- Understand how to tell if your baby is getting enough in the first few weeks. During the first few days babies need to be breastfed often. At birth their stomach is only the size of a cherry and by two weeks it is as small as a chicken egg. Signs that you are making enough for your baby include frequent nursing (at least 8-12 times a day) and weight gain.
- Avoid formula and pacifiers unless necessary. Your breastmilk works on a supply and demand system; the more your baby nurses, the more milk you produce. Introducing formula replaces a breast milk feeding and may decrease your supply. Studies show breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition and creates a strong emotional bond for mom and baby.
You have everything that your baby needs to nourish and grow. Feed your baby often and trust your body! If you have any concerns contact your doctor or lactation counselor.
Bianca Grover is a nutritionist, and Tess Person is a registered dietitian. Both are also Certified Lactation Counselors for Day Kimball Healthcare’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.