If you’ve been a long time reader here, you know that I used to talk about breastfeeding. A lot. Like every week. I surprised myself when I first had Hudson by absolutely falling in love with breastfeeding. So much so that I started a Breastfeeding Diaries series, where each week a mom wrote a guest post detailing her breastfeeding journey. You all taught me so much. And it was amazing.
1. Feed on demand. During those first weeks with a new baby, I feed them whenever they are hungry….usually every 2-3 hours. You will have a night or two where your baby just wants to use you as a pacifier and be on your breast ALL NIGHT LONG. That is normal. And I promise you it will pass. Now that my third baby is 8 months old, she typically eats every 2-4 hours, but she only feeds for about 4-5 minutes. She’s fast! I used to spend 20 minutes to an hour feeding my baby. See, I told you it gets better! She also sleeps 12 hours straight at night. I wish I could tell you how I got her to do this but I really have no clue. She’s just a good sleeper and it has nothing to do with me.
2. Drink lots of water. Remember how you were chugging water like a pro when you were pregnant? Well, that was nothing. Have a water bottle on you at all times….you never know when you’ll suddenly be dying of thirst. A good job for your husband is to fill up several water bottles and stash them in your favorite nursing spots for you before he goes to work. That way you’ll always have one handy! Whenever I don’t drink enough water I notice a drop in my milk supply.
3. Eat protein. Your body needs the energy to support you during those long days and nights….and it helps you maintain your milk supply too! Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories, so make sure you are eating enough.
4. Say no to pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established. This usually takes about 3 weeks or so. I know you are probably anxious to try out all your new pacifiers with your baby (or use them to STOP THE CRYING) but try to resist. Baby needs to learn he gets his nourishment and comfort from you. Once you have established nursing then you can try a pacifier. Hudson and Sadie couldn’t care less about a pacifier. Belle (#3) is the same but unlike the other two she’s a thumb sucker.
5. Don’t pump just yet. Unless you have to, obviously. (If you are in the hospital and your baby is in the NICU ask for a pump asap!) This advice is for healthy, full-term babies. You may be anxious to start pumping so that you can get a break from all the feedings…..but try to resist until you have established breastfeeding. Pumping can be overwhelming. I waited until Hudson was 4 weeks old and I felt a little more like myself to give it a go. Our wedding anniversary was coming up and I wanted to be able to go out to dinner with my husband. I gave myself a week to learn how to pump so that I wasn’t too stressed. Pumping that first time was awful. But it got easier!
6. Don’t skip a feeding. If your baby has a bottle of pumped milk your body still needs to replace that feeding. You may think it’s awesome that you can sleep in one day while your husband feeds the baby. Don’t get me wrong…it is totally awesome….but you need to replace that feeding. Any time you skip feedings your brain is sending a message to your body that you can make less milk. It’s probably not a big deal if this only happens occasionally, but if it is frequent then your body may start to make less and less milk. So….either nurse the baby or pump. Your choice.
7. Wet and poopy diapers + weight gain = baby is getting enough. At some point during those first weeks you will probably worry about if your baby is getting enough to eat. Baby should have at least 5-6 soaking wet diapers a day and about 3-4 yellow poops a day. If your baby is peeing and pooping enough it is totally a sign that he is getting enough to eat. My kids have always had way more dirty diapers than this so I never really kept track. Also, talk to your pediatrician about how much weight your baby should be gaining. If the numbers on the scale are going up it means baby is also getting enough to eat.
8. See a lactation consultant. This is one of the best things I did. Ask to see one in the hospital as soon as you have that baby. Even if you are not having difficulty breastfeeding, it’s always nice to hear that you are doing it right. New moms (and new breastfeeders) need lots of re-assurance! Also, a lactation consultant will weigh your baby before and after your feeding…so you’ll know roughly how many ounces he is eating. Husbands usually like to know this type of info! Ask your baby’s pediatrician for a referral, or call the hospital where you delivered (usually they send you home with this info).
9. Find a breastfeeding mentor/cheerleader. I was lucky that my mom is a nurse and very pro-breastfeeding, so I turned to her with most of my questions and for support. And my husband was (and still is) extremely supportive of breastfeeding. He was there when my boobs were rock hard and hurt…and he was there when my baby just wanted to be attached to me all night long.
10. Don’t feel pressured to give your baby formula unless it’s medically necessary. Trust your mom gut on this one. Also, keep in mind that many pediatricians are not very educated in the area of breastfeeding. Their focus is on the health of your baby…not the ins and outs of breastfeeding. Pediatricians know breast milk is best for the baby, but usually they are sort of wishy washy about it and may suggest supplementing with formula before you really need to. Obviously if your baby is struggling this does not apply. Make sure you see a lactation consultant asap. They know more about breastfeeding and can help you.
11. Make sure you baby’s gut is healthy. Every mother wants to give her baby all that she needs to grow up healthy and strong. We all do. I recently was introduced to Evivo, the first and only probiotic that is clinically proven to restore a baby’s gut microbiome to its original, natural state.
The results of over a decade of research and clinical trials at The University of California created Evivo. They learned that the presence of B. infantis, the good bacteria, reduces the potentially harmful bacteria linked to eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity. Unfortunately, due to modern medical practices and lifestyles, the vast majority of American babies no longer have it. And that’s why moms like me want to find a way to restore it in my baby’s gut right from the start, so my baby can be healthy from day 1.
The first and only baby probiotic of its kind, Evivo is clinically proven to restore a healthy gut in your baby. Evivo is a daily probiotic powder that you mix with breast milk and feed it to your baby. It helps release nutrients in breast milk to create a protective internal environment in your baby’s gut. It also helps develop baby’s metabolism and immune system and builds the foundation for good health that can last a lifetime.
No wonder Evivo is the best probiotic for babies! You can feed your baby Evivo every day for as long as he or she is consuming breast milk.
Want to try Evivo? Use code BLOG4131 for $10 off an Evivo Probiotics Starter Kit of 4 weeks or more!
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Codes expire 1/30/18
If you want to read more about breastfeeding, be sure to check out my Breastfeeding Diaries landing page here.