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Breast-feeding is a
learned skill that becomes easier over time. You are more likely to succeed
with long-term breast-feeding if you plan ahead, learn the basic techniques, and know where to get help and support.
Plan ahead for breast-feeding
while you are pregnant. Doing so before you deliver allows you time to think
about how to manage the daily logistics of breast-feeding before you become too
busy with caring for your newborn.
breast-feeding class while you are pregnant. These classes usually are offered
through your local hospital or birthing center.
Be ready to start breast-feeding soon after you deliver. A baby is
typically very alert during the first couple of hours after birth. This is the
best time to start breast-feeding. A nurse or other doctor will help you with
proper latching and getting started.
After this alert wakeful time, your baby will become sleepy and
less likely to eat regularly for the next several hours. Be sure to try breast-feeding your
baby every 1 to 3 hours (even if you have to
wake your baby). Usually, a hospital
staff person checks in with you routinely. If available, a lactation consultant
may help you learn other breast-feeding
tips and positions.
You'll want to plan to breast-feed your baby on demand rather than setting a
strict schedule. Learn how to recognize your baby's hunger signs. For the
first few days, be prepared to breast-feed every 1 to 3 hours, or about 8 to 12 times
in a 24-hour period. Wake a sleepy baby to feed, if necessary. More frequent
breast-feeding stimulates your breasts to produce more milk.
Taking care of yourself will also help you to establish your milk supply.
Eat right and get rest when you are able. Also, avoid bottle-feeding your
baby breast milk until breast-feeding and milk supply are well established.
If a minor problem arises that does
not quickly resolve, get prompt assistance from a breast-feeding specialist
such as a lactation consultant or other doctor who is knowledgeable about
breast-feeding issues. Quickly addressing breast-feeding issues helps solve
problems and increases your likelihood of successful long-term breast-feeding.
If possible, arrange to have a specialist visit you at home, or make plans to
visit the specialist's office.
Have a list of resources available
to call, such as:
April 3, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Mary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
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