August 11, 2016
Your baby is finally here! You get through the first 24-48 hours at the hospital with the nurses everywhere and offering assistance at every turn. Then you go home. You nurse your precious baby, she drifts off to sleep and all is right with the world. Then what seems like instantly baby is hungry and nursing again. Ok, no big deal. Maybe baby just fell asleep before being finished a little bit ago. She nurses for a while and dozes back off. Awesome, now you can get some rest. Less than hour baby is awake and wants to nurse already. This goes on all day, and night, then into the next day and night. So you start to wonder “Is baby getting enough? Do I not have enough milk? Am I starving my baby!?”.
Short answer, No. That is highly unlikely that baby is not getting enough. Very rarely can a woman not supply her infant with breastmilk of some amount. A newborn baby’s stomach is so very small at birth, only 5-7 ml, the size of a small marble. This gradual grows to about the size of a ping pong ball within the first week. So, not only does baby has an itty bitty tummy that fills very quickly, breastmilk is the perfect food newborns so it is digested faster than formula. This is why it seems like baby is always hungry, because they are. They are growing at some crazy rates and need the nutrition to help grow big and strong. Keep in mind that babies will lose some of their birth weight and can take up to 2 weeks (or a little longer in some cases) to get back up and surpass that. So weight may not be a good indicator that baby is getting enough right away. You want to look for several wet and dirty diapers per day as a good sign of nutrition and hydration. Some like to weigh baby before a feeding and then immediately after to show the amount that baby has taken in.
It is very good for a newborn to nurse frequently and have lots of skin to skin time with mommy. This is how baby is building your milk supply. It is all about supply and demand. Baby will demand a lot, and I mean A LOT, and your body CAN supply it. It may seem tempting to give baby a bottle of formula or a pacifier in that first few weeks but this can derail your plans of breastfeeding exclusively (if that was your plan).
Before baby comes is the time to think and plan for this immediate postpartum time when baby will be attached to you from the outside. Find a pediatrician that is knowledgeable about breastfeeding if possible, find out where your local lactation consultants are, read some books on breastfeeding and stock up on nursing pads and other essentials. Any time you hit a bump in the road do not be afraid to reach out.
Trinity Doula Services offers lactation support as well as a monthly Breastfeeding Support Group for moms near the Harrisburg, IL area. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding these services.