Why breastfeed? Let’s talk about the benefits
What do I need to know to be successful at breastfeeding my baby?
Many new mothers ask themselves this question at some point during their pregnancy and journey into parenthood. The benefits of breast milk to nourish and protect your baby’s immature immune system are well established, but did you know that learning to breastfeed takes time?
When your new one arrives, skin to skin is the perfect place to get to know your baby and learn to feed. A healthy baby placed on mom’s chest is learning about the world in the comfort of your arms. The regulation of breathing, heart rate and even blood sugar is such an important part of beginning to feed. The teams at both Madison Hospital and Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children will watch for feeding cues and help you latch your baby.
The first hour after delivery is called the Golden Hour for many reasons. Some babies take up to an hour to latch, so relax and enjoy this special time. You have waited a long time for it!
Babies have small stomachs – about the size of a small grape. Your first milk is called colostrum and is the perfect composition for this tiny tummy. Your mature milk begins to transition on day 3-5 after delivery. Most mothers are home from the hospital when their mature milk comes in. How do we know baby is feeding well? We watch feedings, count diapers, monitor weight loss and teach you what you need to know to be successful.
Did you know your baby will likely lose weight the first three days of life? Colostrum helps your baby have their first bowel movement which prevents jaundice and increases appetite. You have to remove colostrum to tell your body to make milk, so feed on demand 8-12 times in 24 hours. You can hand express a drop of this liquid gold to help your baby locate the breast and signal your milk production.
It can be hard to know what to expect, but our team is there from first latch to outpatient services to assist in all your breastfeeding needs. And make sure to join our breastfeeding support groups! Moms helping each other is a key ingredient for breastfeeding success.
oHH baby, we can’t wait for your special delivery!
Kristine Taff, RN, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Madison Hospital