World Breastfeeding Week

Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC

AUGUST 04, 2016

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August 1-7 is world breast feeding week! Many new moms are sometimes surprised and a little overwhelmed in realizing that breastfeeding does not necessarily come naturally, and one of the biggest learning curves for new moms is learning to breastfeed. As BIDMC Lactation Consultant, Sarah Massey says, “You may have taken a prenatal breastfeeding class, but your baby may not have been paying attention!”

Typically, it takes a couple of weeks for mom and baby to begin feeling more comfortable with breastfeeding, and in fact, most moms find a postpartum visit with a lactation consultant to be a necessity. BIDMC offers breastfeeding support during your hospital stay and continues to be available for telephone support and referral after you leave the hospital. BIDMC lactation support can be reached by calling 617.667-5675.

Sarah Massey, RN, IBCLC also offers the following tips:

  • Babies don’t feed by the clock. Allow your baby to come off the breast on his/her own (typically between 10-30 minutes) before offering the other breast.
  • Newborns need to have between 8-12 feeding sessions in 24 hours. Some of these feedings are close together, and some are spaced a bit further apart. Newborn breastfeeding does not follow a fixed schedule.
  • Start feeding when you see the first feeding cues such as eye movements under the lids, stirring/stretching or making sucking motions. It’s best to start feeding when baby is calmest. Crying is the last feeding cue. 
    It helps to keep a written diaper record the first few weeks, so that you can be sure that baby is getting enough breast milk.

After a few nights of interrupted sleep, it’s hard to remember what you did five minutes ago, so write it down!

If you delivered at BIDMC, you were given a packet of information titled “Breastfeeding Your Baby: General Information.” This packet provides a wealth of information including a sheet to record the number of wet and soiled diapers, and how many of those diapers you should see in order to know if baby is getting enough. Between day 3-5 of life, baby should be producing 3-5 wet diapers and 2-3 bowel movements per day. By day 6 of life baby should be producing between 6-8 wet diapers and 3 or more yellow bowel movements per day. If this is not happening, call your pediatrician as they may have you come in for a weight check.

Breastfeeding is going well when:

  • You’re getting 8-12 feedings in a 24 hour period.
  • You are not experiencing nipple pain throughout the feeding. You may have initial latch pain, but as the feeding continues, you should just feel a pulling sensation, not pain, not cracked or bleeding nipples.
  • When baby comes off the breast your nipple should look like it did at the start of the feed, just longer.
  • Baby is in good alignment throughout the feed, that is ears, should and hips should face the food!

We are proud to say that at BIDMC we look forward to supporting your breastfeeding goals both during your inpatient stay and after you leave our postpartum units. Beginning in the Fall of this year we will be offering a free postpartum breastfeeding support group available to any new breastfeeding mom! Stay tuned for further announcements in the coming weeks!

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.