Freeman Medical Musings Blog


Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Posted by Lorie Peterman, BS, IBCLC, on November 05, 2015

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, and then gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least the baby's first birthday. The first few days after your baby’s birth are important for establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Try these tips to get the process started:

Breastfeed within the first hour after delivery. Tell your health care provider you would like to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery. The best way to accomplish this and help your baby transition outside the womb is to place your baby skin-to-skin on your chest.

Keep your baby with you in your room at the hospital. Your baby can stay with you from delivery until discharge if both of you are stable. Rooming in allows you to get to know each other. Newborns are often sleepy in the early days and rooming in will help you learn early hunger cues. Additionally, families usually rest better knowing baby is safe and content beside them.

Breastfeed on demand. This means to breastfeed as long and as often as baby desires. Watching for these early hunger cues will help in getting frequent feedings:

  • Starting to wake
  • Smacking or licking lips
  • Opening and closing mouth
  • Sucking on lips, tongue or hands
Try to avoid artificial nipples, such as bottles and pacifiers, for the first few weeks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until breastfeeding is well established, about 3 weeks for most babies, before introducing a pacifier to a breastfeeding baby. Pacifiers can keep you from noticing early hunger cues and can interfere with a baby learning to breastfeed.

Breastfeed exclusively. Only offering breast milk to the baby encourages a better milk supply to be established. The first two weeks after delivery are when prolactin, a hormone that helps make breast milk, increases to produce adequate milk for the baby. Plenty of time spent with your baby breastfeeding and holding him or her will aid in stimulating prolactin levels.

Source: Missouri Show Me Five Hospital Initiative (link: http://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/breastfeeding/showme5.php)