Below are a few questions about breastfeeding that I frequently field during my Breastfeeding Basics Class. Teaching this course affords me the unique opportunity to work with Pregnant Women and their Partners so that they can prepare for breastfeeding well before birth.
What do I do when the baby wants to be on me ALL THE TIME? I wish I could prepare pregnant woman for the amount of time they will spend nursing their babies. It's always a surprise. Though the time is great, it can also be a great time if one can simply surrender to the fact that they are a breastfeeding mom and their primary job is to sit and nourish their baby. In a society where we revere multitasking, it can be a hard notion to digest when I suggest they simply nurse, eat and rest. A baby is transitioning from womb to the world, and her Mother is her constant. She seeks comfort in you, and your breasts not only nourish, but they regulate breathing, heart rate, temperature, assist in the myelination of nerves and literally protect with the antibodies that are produced in your breastmilk. You cannot spoil a baby. A local Doula recently shared a wonderful story of a Russian neighbor who said she was puzzled by the statement "spoiling a baby". Spoiling is what happens when something is neglected and allowed to breakdown. Holding your baby is anything but spoiling.
How do I know my baby is eating enough? We live in a bottle feeding society, and since we dont have milliliter ticks on the sides of our boobs, many of us often wonder if we are producing enough for baby. When baby is first born, you will have colostrum, a thick sticky substance to nourish her. What colostrum lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in antibodies and nutrients. In fact, on the first day of life, your baby eat less than a teaspoon of colostrum per feed! Babies are not born hungry. Their bellies are tiny and they have the stores to sustain themselves for the first days. As your baby learns coordinate sucking and swallowing, your breasts will produce transitional and then mature milk. Look for the following signs of a well fed breastfed baby:
- What goes in comes out. Is baby urinating frequently? Is it light in color?
- Poop tells a story. At first it is dark meconium and then transitions to green and eventually to yellow stool after a few days.
- Does baby look satiated? Does baby come off the breast themselves and does he or she look relaxed after the feed? Is baby nursing 8 or more times per day?
- Hydration is Key. Is Baby's mouth moist? And if you gently pinch the skin, does it bounce back? If so, these are good signs of hydration.