Breastfeeding newborn baby — The first days breastfeeding at home can be tiring and challenging for both parents and your baby. Breastfed infants will continue to feed 8-12 times every 24 hours. Your infant’s stomach still hasn’t stretched too much so smaller, more frequent feedings is normal. At this point mom should be feeling some difference in her breasts– fuller, heavier, larger. This means your mature milk is coming in. As your baby can slowly take more and more volume, they will start spacing out feedings a little more –- to about every 1 ½-4 hours. It’s still important to breastfeed “on demand” at the first sign of hunger when your infant is just waking or stirring. It may even be important to forgo the diaper change until your baby has nursed on the first breast (this strategy may help conserve some of your infant’s energy), then change the diaper – this should wake your baby up again – and then offer the second breast. With this feeding pattern, you may be able to keep you baby awake longer at your breast, and he’ll be able to take in more volume. A sleepy breastfeeding newborn baby can be a challenge for sleepy parents!
Breastfeeding newborn baby — first visit to the pediatrician
Expect to see your infant’s health care provider within 1-2 days after discharge from the hospital. This is a very important visit to assess your baby’s nutritional intake, hydration, and jaundice level. You’ll be asked how many wet diapers and how many poopy diapers you have changed in the last 24 hours. It’s also important to note if your infant’s urine is dark yellow or orange, or clear to light yellow. Look at your infant’s bowel movements. Do they look – green and loose (normal transitional stool) or already yellow and seedy (normal mature milk stool)? The seediness also tells you that your infant is getting “hindmilk” which has all the good fat content and helps your infant gain weight and is important for brain development. Weight loss in the first few days of life is very common for infants. This is another reason you’ll see your infant’s healthcare provider — to assess the percentage of weight lost from birth. If your infant is born vaginally, then 5-6% weight loss from birth is typical and expected. If mom had an epidural or the labor was induced or augmented by pitocin or the infant was born by C-section, then 7-8% is typical and expected weight loss.
Breastfeeding newborn baby — not having bowel movements
If your infant is not urinating at least 5-6 times and having at least 3 heaping teaspoon sized stools per 24 hours, be sure to call your health care provider – your baby may need to be seen earlier than the scheduled first appointment.
For mom and dad, be sure you are eating regularly and drinking every time your body tells you you’re thirsty. Mom can drink water and eat a snack while her infant is breastfeeding. Making sure mom is fed while she is feeding the baby can be a very important job for dad to do. A little fresh air and a short walk outside may be beneficial for everyone in the family. Vitamin D is manufactured from sunlight through our skin. Therefore, a few minutes walk in the sunshine is good nutrition! A little sunlight can also help eliminate some of the bilirubin (jaundice causing substance) from your infant’s system.
The first few days at home with a newborn infant can be hectic, tiring, and in the end a big blur! Breast feeding newborn baby is a learning experience for all.