Tips for Breastfeeding the First Few Days at Home

Institutes & Services > Women's Services
  • It is important for all new parents to get rest as they are learning about their baby. Try sleeping when your baby is sleeping. Don’t be afraid to accept help from others.

  • Babies will breastfeed frequently in the first few days at home. This is because they are working hard to build your milk supply. It may seem like you are feeding all the time but this is normal.

  • Babies may breastfeed more often during the night. This, too, is normal. They are used to being up at night when you are pregnant. This is when your milk making hormone, prolactin, is highest for making milk. Our bodies are designed to know exactly what to do.

  • Babies need to breastfeed at least 8 -12 times a day in order to grow and gain weight. They may feed as frequently as every 1.5 hours. Keep track of feedings, beginning from their starting time.

  • Keep track of baby’s output so you know if he or she is getting enough to eat. By the end of  baby’s first week of life he or she should have 6-8+ urines and 4-6+ stools in 24 hours, for the first six weeks of life.

  • Your milk will “come in”, or increase in volume, around days 3-5. When it does, you may become uncomfortably full. If your breasts become too hard for your baby to latch on deeply, use ice packs on your breasts for 15-20 minutes to reduce some of the swelling before breastfeeding. Then, either hand express or pump your breasts until your nipple and areola are soft and stretchy like your earlobe. This will make it easier for the baby to latch on. Feeding baby frequently will help to reduce engorgement. (Related post: Breast Engorgement: What You Need to Know)

  • All babies will lose some weight right after birth. They may lose up to 10% of their birth weight. It usually takes about two weeks for them to return to their birth weight. Babies typically gain about 1 ounce per day.

  • If your baby is not breastfeeding 8-12 times per day and/ or not meeting daily goals for urines or stools please contact your baby’s doctor as well as the TriHealth Breastfeeding Help Line to speak with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at 513 862 7867, option 3.

Source: International Lactation Consultant Association (2005). Clinical Guidelines for the Establishment of Exclusive Breastfeeding.

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