If you are a new mother or soon to be new mother, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how much there is to learn. You have probably thought for hours about what diapers are best, what toys you need, which car seat is safest, and what is my baby going to eat. Fortunately, there are many options out there for families to choose from when it comes to deciding how you are going to feed your baby. Your options and decision will depend on several factors including availability and medical concerns. Breastmilk has been the number one option for many families for many years. If you are a new mom or soon to be mom, you probably have many questions about breastfeeding. Let’s dive into some breastfeeding basics to get you started.
How is Breast Milk Made?
When a female is pregnant there are several changes that happen within the body. The breasts have cells that respond to the pregnancy hormone changes and they will start to get ready to make breastmilk. When the baby suckles, these cells will make breastmilk.
How Do I Know If I Am Making Enough Breastmilk?
In most cases, the more your baby suckles, the more milk your breasts will make. The best way to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk is by counting the number of wet diapers they have in a day and if they are gaining weight. From birth to three months old, infants normally gain about one ounce a day. Remember that it is also normal for a baby to lose a small amount of weight in the first days after birth.
How Often Should I Breastfeed?
You should breastfeed as soon as possible after birth. After that, you should breastfeed your baby every two to four hours throughout the day and night. Each baby is different and some could require more frequent feedings. There is no time limit or set time for how long a feeding is. Some babies feed for five minutes while others feed for twenty minutes. As time goes on you will learn your baby’s specific habits.
How Long Should I Breastfeed For?
The amount of time you breastfeed will depend on many factors such as work schedules and medical needs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastmilk should be the only source of food for the first six months of a baby’s life, and to continue breastfeeding until the infant’s 1st birthday or even beyond if preferred by the baby and mother.
Where Can I Learn More About Breastfeeding?
An OB/GYN healthcare provider, pediatrician, and / or certified lactation consultant are the best resources for learning more about breastfeeding. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
- Making breastmilk. Making breastmilk | Office on Women’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2023
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