It is one of the most natural thing in the world to breastfeed, but not all babies are created equal and some don’t get the hang of nursing as soon as others do. Babies are born with the sucking reflex but the mechanics of nursing is something they must learn. It’s the same thing with you, especially for a first time mom. Breastfeeding a newborn is an art you learn by doing (or sometimes, observing) and you will improve more the longer you’ve practiced.
You can attend a prenatal feeding class if probable and there are many books out available in the market as well. You can also go over this article where we will teach how to breast feed in detail.
1. For The 1st Week:
How Often To Breastfeed?
Frequent breastfeeding promotes good milk supply and decreases engorgement. Try nursing at least 10-12 in 24 hours. Don’t nurse too often and don’t nurse too seldom.
Don’t wait for the baby to cry and nurse at the very first sign of hunger, these could be rooting, hands in the mouth or stirring. Give the baby infinite time to nurse as long as he is sucking actively. If the baby hasn’t fed for two hours during the day or for four hours at night, wake him up for a feeding as some babies are very sleepy at first.
Is The Newborn Getting Enough Milk?
Weight Gain: A max of seven percent may be lost in birth weight for the first few days, this is normal. On average, the baby then gains 170g in weight per week. You should take his weight after the first week. Consult a doctor if the expected weight gain does not result.
Wet Diapers: In the earliest days, newborns generally has a 1:1 wet diaper ratio—one on the first day, two for the second day, three on the third. After the mother’s milk comes, six or more diapers per 24 hours is expected. A sufficiently wet diaper fills 45 ml of liquid. You can pour water in this amount to a clean diaper to get a feel on what it’s like. You can also test with a tissue piece.
Dirty Diapers: Likewise, in the earliest days, newborns generally has a 1:1 dirty diaper ratio—one on the first day, two for the second day, three on the third. After the fourth day, about 4 stools are expected at about 2.5 cm or larger. Other babies can stool after every nursing. Normal baby stool must be yellow, loose, soft and runny or seedy/curdy.
What Are The Breast Changes?
A mother’s milk will start to ‘come in’ or increase and change to mature milk from colostrum between day two and day five. In order to reduce breast engorgement, you must do the following: offering the other breast only after the newborn finishes the first breast, ensure good latch, nurse often and don’t skip feedings, even at night. In order to decrease discomfort because of breast engorgement: between feedings, you can apply cold compress or cabbage leaf compress.
Consult The Doctor If One Of The Following Occurs:
- the babe has no wet or dirty diapers
- the urine is dark-colored after the 3rd day, instead of pale yellow to clear
- dark colored stools after the 4th day instead of mustard yellow
- there are fewer wet or dry diapers than ideal
- the babe nurses less frequently than indicated here
- the mother has symptoms of mastitis, that is to say: chills, flu-like aching, sore breast accompanied by fever
2. For The 2nd To 6th Week:
How Often Should The Babe Be Nursing?
To establish a good milk supply, it is important to nurse frequently in the early weeks. Most newborn babies need to feed 8 to 12 or more times every 24 hours. Again, don’t nurse too often and don’t nurse too seldom.
Just like in the first week: don’t wait for the baby to cry and nurse at the very first sign of hunger, these could be rooting, hands in the mouth or stirring. Give him/her infinite time to nurse as long as he is sucking actively. If the baby hasn’t fed for two hours during the day or for four hours at night, wake him up for a feeding as some babies are very sleepy at first. Once a good weight gain pattern has been established, you can stop waking the babe and feed according to hunger signs alone.
The Following Are Considered Normal:
- frequent and long feedings
- changing nursing patterns from day to day
- cluster nursing (frequent to constant feeding for a number of hours each day, usually in the evenings)
These concur with the normal early month ‘fussy time’ that some babies go through.
- growth spurts—commonly on the first few days at home, 7th to 10th days, 2nd to 3rd weeks and 4th to 6th weeks
Is The Newborn Getting Enough Milk?
Weight Gain: Breastfed newborn gains 170 grams per week on average. If the babe is not gaining as is expected, consult the doctor immediately.
Wet Diapers: five to six or more wet diapers are expected every 24 hours. Don’t forget that a sufficiently wet diaper fills 45 ml or three 3 tablespoons of liquid. You can pour water in this amount to a clean diaper to get a feel. A piece of tissue paper will also help determine wetness. After the 6th week, as the baby’s bladder capacity increase, the number of wet diapers might decrease to four or five a day but the amount of urine will raise to four to six or more tablespoons.
Dirty Diapers: three to four or more stools every 24 hours are to be expected. Stools should be the size of a quarter or larger, that’s 2.5 cm. Normal stool when breastfed are yellow, loose, soft and runny or seedy/curdy. After the 4th to 6th week, the baby may stool less frequently up to one every 7-10 days. This is normal as long as the baby is gaining weight progressively.
That’s it for our breastfeeding a newborn lesson. Congratulations new mommies, happy feeding!