How to Breastfeed

Even before you have your baby, prepare for breastfeeding by reading about it on your own and talking with a lactation specialist. You will be more prepared for what to expect. Discuss breastfeeding with your doctor or midwife. While at the hospital, be sure to inform your doctor and nurse that you want your baby to be breastfed exclusively.

Breastfeeding for the first few weeks (Spanish) is different than the following months, mostly because your body is adjusting to the new baby. For the first couple of days, a normal healthy baby only needs the breast milk that is produced; this breast milk is produced in small quantities and is sometimes called colostrum. This milk is so important for you baby since it is concentrated with nutrients and immune properties. (Formula does not have this!) This is also a nice opportunity for you and your baby to practice latching and breastfeeding since your breasts are not very full. After a few days, your breast milk changes to a higher volume and your breasts may get very full. As your baby transfers the milk from your breasts to his tummy, the balance between the two of you will occur. Normal feeding of every 1 ½ to 3 hours allows your baby’s small tummy to take what he needs and for your body to produce what your baby needs.

Most babies go through growth spurts (will seem extra hungry and want to eat more frequently) around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months. This is normal and will allow your milk production to increase to meet his growing needs. Being aware of this will help you be patient when the baby wants to eat more at these times. Don’t worry about not being able to feed him enough; you will produce more milk as he desires more. Breastfeed your baby as often as she indicates that she is hungry – watching her feeding cues. Your body will quickly adjust and produce more milk to meet your baby’s needs.

Click on the links for more information about how to breastfeed, exclusive breastfeeding, myths about breastfeeding (Spanish), what to do if you have twins (Spanish), successful strategies to induce milk production, how to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk (Spanish), and how to deal with concerns (Spanish), such as mastitis, engorgement, and sore nipples. Don’t forget that you can always ask a breastfeeding specialist at the hospital, WIC clinic, or other health setting any questions you may have.


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