Whether you supply your baby’s nutrition through breastfeeding or formula, know that whatever is right for you and baby is the right choice. If you do choose to breastfeed, it can be a really incredible experience, but there might be a few bumps in the road as you and baby are adjusting.
If you’re new to breastfeeding, you may be overwhelmed. The good news is that once you get the hang of it and understand how it works, it becomes far more manageable. You may even enjoy it and get great satisfaction from providing your baby with the nutrients he or she needs to grow. Here are some breastfeeding basics that can help you begin your breastfeeding journey on the right foot.
Why Is Breast Milk Good for Babies?
Breast milk is a great way to help your baby grow healthy and strong during their first year of life. It can protect them from a variety of infections and illnesses because it has the perfect amount of nutrients and is gentle enough for your baby’s body.
How Often Will I Need to Feed My Baby?
Even though your newborn will be tiny, they’ll require frequent feeding. In most cases, you’ll need to breastfeed your baby 8 to 12 times every 24 hours. By feeding your baby often, you’ll be keeping your son or daughter well-fed while telling your body to keep producing more milk.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?
The telltale sign that your baby is getting enough milk is frequent poops. If your baby seems happy after you feed them, your breasts feel softer after feedings, and your baby is gaining weight, you are likely doing a great job and should keep it up.
How Is Milk Made?
Your breasts will get ready to make milk while you’re pregnant. This is why you may notice your breasts become fuller and more tender as you progress through your pregnancy. Once you have your baby, your pregnancy hormones will lower so prolactin, your lactation hormone can be released. This hormone and your baby’s sucking will tell your breasts to make milk.
What is Pumping?
The purpose of pumping is to build your milk supply before your baby needs more milk so you can store some extra for the future. It can also give you the chance to donate your milk to moms who are unable to breastfeed on their own but want to give their babies the benefits of breast milk.
Clogged Milk Duct
When milk isn’t emptied from your breast properly, clogged ducts can form. If you feel a small, tender lump in your breast and feeding becomes harder, it’s possible that you have a clogged milk duct. Milk flows through your breasts via ducts to reach your nipple. If a duct is blocked, a clog can form, causing a small, sore lump. Most of the time, a clogged milk duct can be resolved at home, but if it feels like it could be getting worse or it’s not resolving, reach out to your midwife to discuss options. While it is rarer, mastitis is also a possibility and should be addressed quickly. To learn more about clogged milk ducts, visit our blog post on the topic here.
Contact City of Oaks Midwifery
While breastfeeding can be difficult at first, it may turn into one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. If you have further questions on breastfeeding basics, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We are here to help at City of Oaks Midwifery. Call (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment at our Raleigh, NC midwifery practice.