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Breastfeeding 101

Hello! Another fine day in Ohio. Rain is in the forecast.

So you're considering breastfeeding your baby? You want to learn some information prior to delivering. What should you expect to learn in a breastfeeding class?

First you should look for a class that is interactive, at least to some degree. Each mom present will have concerns and some will be unique to her. Having the ability to ask questions and even challenge information is vital.

You will want to learn about skin to skin, what it is, how it's done and how long to do it. What are the important benefits? This is honestly one of the most important pieces to a breastfeeding relationship, understand why.

How often do babies feed? Babies typically feed 8-12 times in 24hr period. However, there will be days they feed more frequently or stay on longer. This can happen during growth spurts, periods of time when baby is rapidly growing and needs breast time to eat and comfort.

How long should nursing sessions last? Nursing sessions generally last as long as baby needs to be satisfied. Feeds may be 10-40 minutes, no way to say for sure.

How does one know when to feed? One way to tell if babies are hungry are their hands tend to be tight in a fist. As babies fill, their hands relax and fall open, perhaps to the side of their body. Counting minutes is a arbitrary way of measuring feedings. There are babies who are very efficient and feed in 10 minutes and others who are sleepy who take much longer. It's a good plan to focus on the baby, relax and stare at your little darling, and feel the breast before and after feeds to get a sense of how the breast is draining. You should definitely feel a softer breast after feeds.

How can I know my baby is getting enough milk? Two things are important in addition to how baby acts, weight gain and output. Babies generally gain 5-7oz. in the early weeks. Stools are expected 3-4 times each 24hr period after day 5, wets around 6 times in 24hr after day 5. These are the average output for most babies, but some will stool each feeding, that is very normal and a good sign.

Should my baby feed on one breast or two each feed? It depends, is your little one still rooting after one breast? If you drain one side well and baby is still acting hungry, try the other side. If baby is sleeping and satisfied, start on the other side next. Try to begin feeds with the fuller breast and drain well.

What is normal weight loss and gain? Most babies born in hospitals loose weight the first few days, generally between 6-10% of their birth weight. That should be communicated to you before you leave the hospital. You will want to make note of birth weight and discharge weight. Most babies return to birth weight by 2-3 weeks of age.

What if my baby gets gas, hiccups, spits up? These are quite honestly baby things. We all get gas, babies do too. In fact, the first several weeks of life babies are exposed to loads of new organisms. There systems are learning to handle digesting food and gut flora is getting organized. Mom's milk grows good bacteria and gets the bad stuff out. Very interesting learning for another blog! Hiccups are completely normal and happen after most good feedings. Spit up also is normal and most babies will have some. Some babies will have lots of spit up, it always looks worse than it is. If your baby is fussy and arching it's back, speak with your doctor. Otherwise spit up is a laundry issue that generally takes care of itself as baby grows and matures.

What about pumping and bottle feeding? How soon should I begin pumping for returning to work? How is breastmilk stored? How do I thaw and feed? What kind of bottle to use? What bottle feeding methods are useful for continuing to breast and bottle feed?

As you can see, there are many topics on mom's mind. Please find a good class either at a local WIC, hospital or give me a ring! I'm always happy to answer questions and share information.

I enjoy moms and their concerns. Those who know me understand, I'm a mom and NAMA! I really get it. The worries and mom guilt, I get it ALL! Please reach out anytime. My information is on Google, my website and Facebook. Much love to all!