What to Expect the First Few weeks at Home

A Sleepy Baby:

Many newborns sleep a lot during the first days after birth.  A sleepy baby doesn’t necessarily mean that the baby doesn’t need to eat, just as crying should not be interpreted as hunger.  To ensure adequate intake and promote sufficient milk supply your baby should be encouraged to eat every 1-3 hours during day and every 3 hours during night for the first 2 weeks of life.  This also minimizes engorgement and decreases the potential for jaundice in your baby.

Signs of Hunger:

Tight Fists, drawing hands into mouth, rooting, unsatisfied with other consoling techniques.  The last sign of hunger is crying.  Responding to the early signs of hunger will promote a more relaxed feeding and a milk supply that meets the infant’s nutritional needs.

Babies Cry:

Babies cry to communicate.  If your baby cries, it is not always hunger, it may be your baby’s diaper is dirty, your baby is bored, has a burp, is tired, is under or over stimulated (or many other things).  Do not presume that because your baby is crying that he/she is hungry.  You can always offer the breast, and the baby may suckle, but this does not mean the baby was hungry or you’re not making enough milk he or she may want to suck for comfort.

Sign of a good latch on:

Mouth wide open before latch on, once positioned-mouth should still have a wide angle from the side view; lips should be flanged/flared on the areola – not pursed.  Infant’s chin should be touching mothers breast; about 1” to 1½” of the areola (dark part of nipple) should be in the infant’s mouth.  The infant’s cheek should not dimple when he/she sucks and the jaws should make long regular movements.  You should hear swallowing (Ca sound) after milk production.

Signs of Milk Transfer:

Regular sucking pattern of long jaw movement bursts of 10-20 sucks with brief pauses.  As your milk becomes more plentiful you will hear the pattern of suck swallow: 1 to 2 sucks per swallow.  “Let the baby determine the length of the feeding.”  Leave your baby on breast until the baby takes himself or herself off the breast or until you can no longer feel a strong suck/swallow.  If your infant has fallen asleep after less than 10 minutes on the first breast, take him/her off the breast, awaken again and attempt to feed again on the same breast.  Physically stimulating your baby may be necessary to keep the infant awake during that feeding.  The more quality sucking your infant does at each feeding, the more milk he/she will receive.

Counting Diapers:

After the milk begins to increase (postpartum day 3-5) and your infant feeds for the recommended 8 to 12 times per day, your infant should have an increase of in wet diapers.  Counting diapers will let you know baby’s getting enough.  The number of wet diapers is the number of days old the baby is IN THE FIRST WEEK; after that expect 6-8 wet diapers in 24 hours.  The baby should be stooling at least 3 times a day by day 4 of life.  The stool should change from black to green, then to a yellow, loose, seedy stool by the 3rd to 4th day.  Many babies have several loose stools a day.  To make sure your baby is getting enough use the Daily Breastfeeding Log.

Keeping Up a Milk Supply:

Remember breastfeeding is a supply and demand system.  Growth spurts happen frequently and many moms become concerned they are not making enough milk.  But their supply hasn’t changed; THEIR BABY’S NEED HAS CHANGED.  Two or three days of more frequent feedings or cluster feedings are usually all that is needed to increase the milk supply for your baby.  Trust your body.

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