Nursing Your BEST
Nursing Your Baby
Plan to give your BEST
Exclusive nursing (giving your baby human milk and nothing else) for the first few weeks is very important for building a good milk supply. The more you nurse your baby, the more milk your body makes. The first few weeks help your body decide how much to produce. It’s as if your baby calls in an order for just the right amount of milk needed to grow.
Our BEST practices to help you give your best:
Benefits of skin to skin contact
Infants benefit from a parent’s touch: it reduces heart rate, helps improve breathing and sleep, increases oxygen your baby gets, keeps baby warm, helps baby grow, and reduces baby’s stress responses.
Expression by hand
Every expectant parent should know the basics of expressing human milk by hand. It can be used to provide colostrum after baby is born, to help relieve discomfort when your milk supply increases, and to help empty the breast if electricity is not available for pumping. Introducing hand expression in the first 48 hours after birth has been clinically shown to increase milk supply for the long term.
Signs of a good latch
It’s important to make sure your infant gets the best latch possible. Look for these indicators:
- Baby’s body is turned in, tummy to tummy.
- Baby’s nose sits where the nipple lies.
- Baby’s mouth is open wide, like an open V, with no lip touching in the corners of the mouth.
- Baby’s chin is tucked into the breast, and the nose is close to the breast, but not pushed in.
- Baby’s bottom lip rests outward, and the top lip is out or relaxed, not turned in.
Typical newborn behavior
- Babies nurse FREQUENTLY: 8-12 times a day, so it may feel like your baby is ALWAYS eating. Babies know exactly what they need, when they need it. Just like you don’t eat the same amount at every meal, neither does your baby.
- Newborns sleep 16-20 hours a day to help them grow.
- Babies wake a lot to eat at night, sometimes with many feedings in a short time period. This is clusterfeeding, and it’s NORMAL.
- Babies sleep in cycles, from light to deep sleep. During light sleep, they are wiggly, make noises, and my show hunger cues. This is the best time to wake them to feed.
- Hunger cues can include lip smacking, licking lips, opening the mouth, rooting, and sucking on hands: crying is ALWAYS a late cue that baby wants to eat.
- Babies usually have a growth spurt from 1-3 weeks, and again at 6 weeks of age.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive nursing for an infant’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Then, continue nursing as infant begins solid foods, for up to 2 years or longer.