It’s important to understand that newborns feed frequently. It may be every 1-2 hours, or in 45 minute time spans. Understand early hunger cues and it will be easier to feed baby.
- Early hunger cues:
- Smacking or licking lips
- Opening and closing mouth
- Sucking on tongue, lips, hands, etc
- Rooting (turning head to the side searching for nipple)
Late hunger cues:
- Moving head frantically from side to side
- Fussing and breathing fast
Since the proteins in breastmilk are small, it is a lot easier to digest. A breastfed baby will feed more often than a formula fed baby. Also, a newborn’s stomach is very small. At this time you will be producing about 30 mL of colostrum per day; more than enough to feed your baby. 3-5 days after birth, your milk will increase in volume. Since your baby has retained fluid at birth water is not necessary. Even after baby has lost the extra fluid, your breastmilk is designed to hydrate your baby. Your foremilk is thinner and will quench his thirst. The hindmilk is denser and calorie rich providing baby all the nutrients he needs for the first 6 months of life.
Also, for the first 6 weeks resist the urge to use bottles or pacifiers. This is especially important for mothers that want to exclusively breastfeed. By using a pacifier, you are satisfying your babies sucking need and decreasing the stimulation to your nipples needed to increase milk volume. The use of bottles will create a preference; not confusion. Babies are not confused. It’s much easier to get milk out of a bottle. He has to work harder to massage milk from the breast and may begin to
the bottle over your breast. At about 6 weeks, a good breastfeeding regimen should be established, and introducing any of these items at this point should not interfere with breastfeeding.