Knowledge is power. And having the right knowledge will increase the likely hood of successful breastfeeding right from the start.
Breastfeeding is a learned process for both moms and babies. Many think it just comes naturally and happens on its own, but it takes work and practice.
The more you know, the more smoothly your baby will be able to learn to latch with your guidance.
Let’s talk about the first week and what you need to know to get the job done right.
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Breastfeeding Tips For The First Week | Everything You Need To Know
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Nurse A Lot
Your baby will want to be close to you during those first weeks and breastfeeding provides the comfort and nourishment she needs.
Keep her skin to skin as much as possible and begin learning your baby’s feeding cues. Rooting and sucking on fingers are your first clues.
The first bit of sustenance that comes from the breast will be colostrum.
It’s very nutritious and contains high levels of antibodies, which are proteins that fight infections and bacteria.
Make sure your baby gets as much of this as possible. It’s important to her health and growth.
Don’t try to form any kind of feeding schedule at this time ( or any time really ), Just let your babe suckle as needed and keep her close.
This will assure your milk comes in and she is well-nourished.
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It Will Be Painful At First
Breastfeeding will definitely hurt at first. I know you’ve heard this before.
But don’t let that scare you.
The pain is short-lived and it’s worth a week or so of pain to breastfeed your baby.
And it’s not even that bad. To put it into perspective, each time your baby latches on, your nipples will burn very badly, but it goes away in only about 10 seconds every time.
It doesn’t hurt the whole time your breastfeeding, just those few seconds so it’s totally doable.
There are many things you can do to make it less painful. You can see this post right here for more details.
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Avoid Artificial Nipples
Artificial nipples can really confuse your baby.
It may cause latching problems that will inhibit your milk supply and cause more nipple pain.
It will also really frustrate your baby.
Nipple confusion happens before breastfeeding is well established and the baby may have trouble deciding how to suckle on your breast to get milk.
It’s best to wait a bit before offering a pacifier or a bottle to avoid any interruption of the latching process.
After A Few Days, Your Milk Will Come In
A few days into the week your milk will come in like a flood. You’ll notice while your baby is feeding that her lips are coated in white and you’ll know that it’s happened.
This is a sweet feeling for a first-time mother that is excited to breastfeed.
Your breasts will swell huge at this point and more and more milk will come in until your body learns to regulate it.
Your body is amazing and will make exactly the amount of milk your baby needs and wants.
But at first your body will create way too much which leads us to the next point….
Your Breasts Will Become Engorged
Your breasts will become very engorged after the first few days. It is NOT a comfortable feeling.
The best way to relieve this pressure is to begin pumping your breasts.
You can begin saving the milk for future feedings when your baby is older and you’re ready to try a bottle.
Here’s a good article on what to do to relieve the discomfort of Engorgement.
Make Sure Your Baby Is Getting Enough
Checking your baby’s diapers after your milk comes in is a great way to tell if she is being fed enough.
Her poop will turn mustard yellow and she will generally have 5 to 10 poops per day that usually occur after feeding.
She will have 4 to 7 wet diapers too.
All of this is a good indication that she is getting enough to eat via the breast.
Also, watch her weight and make sure you go to all her doc appointments. This is the best way to tell if everything is going well.
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Get help If Needed
If you find your baby not gaining weight quickly enough, seems hungry or she’s not making enough dirty diapers you may want to contact a lactation consultant.
You can find one online and do a video call. The one I recommend is Lactation Link.
It’s also a good idea to take a breastfeeding course. Milkology is the very best online choice and it’s only $19.
This will head off any problems before they start and you’ll go into this thing knowing what you’re doing.
Knowing how to latch before you go to the hospital can make all the difference in whether you are successful at breastfeeding or not.
I hope this gives you a good idea about what to expect during your first-week breastfeeding.
It’s a very special time. I still remember the absolute joy I experienced as I was learning to breastfeed my firstborn.
Best of luck to you and your baby!
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