Breast feeding – The First Few Days

New moms are so vulnerable. And most of the medical community does not know how to support breast feeding. I hope this blog will offer information and support. 

Babies are NOT born hungry. They do like to suck. There are two reasons for a newborn to suck – nutritive and non-nutritive. Remember seeing babies during an ultrasound sucking their thumb?  They are not hungry, they are sucking though. Sucking to calm themselves, to relax. This sucking will continue after birth if the infant is allowed, either on their thumb, a pacifier or the breast. 

a side note here – do not cover a newborn’s hands. If their nails are long and you are worried about them scratching their face, get an emery board and gently brush off the sharp edges. Newborns have their hands for the whole pregnancy, do not take away that comfort in those first days after birth. 

Babies have enough nutrition in their body to last 24 hours without eating. I think this is to allow new moms and babes to rest. Babies will root and suck on their hands. Remember non-nutritive sucking. If they are offered the breast at that time, they might suck a few times, then relax, snuggle and fall asleep. I tell moms, two licks and a suck in the first 24 hours is successful breast feeding. 

the only exception to this – if the newborn is born with low blood sugar, it may be necessary to give some calories. This can be done by putting baby to breast or cup feeding a little formula. More on cup feeding in future blog entries. 

Babies should eat 6-8 times a day for about the first 6 weeks. I suggest moms count feedings for 24 hour periods. Baby may eat every hour for 4 hours and then sleep for 4 hours. As long as there are 6-8 feedings in 24 hours, it is ok. 
Baby should have one wet diaper and a bowel movement for each day they are old for about the first week. Pooping is more important than peeing.
Colostrum lasts for about a week to 10 days. Babies stomachs are about the size of a golf ball and colostrum amount is about a tablespoon. Perfect.
Pumping to find out how much milk you have is useless. Pumps are all different, some work better than others but none are as effective as a baby. On average, a baby gets about 3 times as much as a pump.
More info to follow. Contact me with questions: or write comment.


2 thoughts on “Breast feeding – The First Few Days

    • Try feeding at one breast per feeding. The last milk in the breast, the hind milk, has the most calories (kind of like skim to whole to cream). If baby gets the cream, they stay satisfied longer.

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