One of my best friends in the entire world, Michelle, is having her first baby at the beginning of December. Unfortunately, she lives across the country, so I will not be able to be there when her little one arrives. Nor, will I be able to be there in the hospital to help guide her during those few first days of breastfeeding. So, in honor of Michelle, I have created a list of my Top 3 Tips to Getting Breastfeeding off to a Great Start. I figure, I might as well share the wealth with all new moms out there. Love you, Michelle, my belle:)
#3 For the first two hours after your baby is born, kick out all extraneous people from the labor room. Your baby will be extremely alert during this time and then will mostly likely sleep for most of the next 24 hours. During these first two hours, she/he will study you, listen to your voice, and will want to breastfeed. Give her/him this quiet time to get to know you and to feed for as long as she/he wants to. If she is healthy and requires no medical attention, then you can postpone all baths, Vitamin K, and measurements until after this momentous two-hour period.
#2 Keep your baby skin-to-skin (in her/his diaper, upright on your bare chest) and covered with a warm blanket as often as possible. Babies who are held skin-to-skin cry less, stay warmer, breastfeed better and longer, have less risk of jaundice, and have a reduced risk of illnesses. Moms who hold their babies skin-to-skin are more relaxed, often produce more breast milk, and have increased confidence in parenting. Dad can also hold the baby skin-to-skin.
#1 Feed your baby on demand for the first couple of weeks. The more stimulation your breasts get, the more milk you will have in the future. Babies do not know how to read the "Baby Handbooks", so feeding every three hours is unrealistic. Feeding 8 or more times in a 24-hour period allows your baby to eat frequently during certain periods of the day and to go longer stretches during other times (hopefully at night.) You cannot spoil a baby....nor can you expect a baby to be on a schedule in the first few months. Those schedules will make more sense for you down the line.