When you are a new parent and/or new to breastfeeding, sometimes there is information overload and you may not know what to pay attention to and you can let go. Well, I cannot speak for all the info you might get from doctors and nurses about your care or your babies care, BUT I can speak about the important stuff you need to know for early breastfeeding.

You can check out my website for info on breastfeeding classes. The best time to take a class on breastfeeding is in your last trimester. There is a lot of good information that is covered in the two hour class, so I don’t want to leave you with the impression that what I am about to say is ALL you need, But what I am about to say IS very important information that you definitely do need to pay attention to. So, at the very least, please know:

1. Breastfeeding should not hurt at all. If you are experiencing pain during breastfeeding, it may mean that your baby is not latched on well. If your baby is not latched on well, this can greatly affect your babies ability to get a good feeding, gain weight appropriately, and for you to build a good milk production.

2. A well fed newborn baby will typically be waking up on his/her own about 8 times a day and coming to one or both breasts for a feeding. Your baby should spend most of the time at the breast sucking and swallowing… in other words, actively eating. A baby that is mostly sleeping at the breast is a baby that is not eating well. On average, most new babies need to suck actively for a good 15-20 minutes on at least one side and usually both ( in the first week or so of life), in order to get a good feeding.

3. By the 4th day, your breasts should feel full with milk before a feeding, and after your hungry baby is done feeding, he/she will appear content and your breasts will be much softer.

4. A well fed newborn baby should have 4 heavy wet diapers a day – at the very least- and the color should be clear to light yellow. Anything less than 4 heavy wet diapers a day and/or a strong odor or dark color to the urine is a sign that your baby is not getting enough food.

5. A well fed newborn baby should have transitioned from the dark, black, sticky meconium on the first day, to a lighter and lighter color and less sticky by day 3 and, by Day 4, the stools should be at least 3 quarter size amounts and a yellow, mustardy color to them. If the stools on Day 4 or later are far and few between, dark in color, this is a sign that your baby is not getting enough food from the breast.

Again, there is much more to know, but 1-5 is the very basic, but very important information. If you feel that you baby is not having good feedings at the breast, please call and schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant who can help guide you through this time and help you succeed at breastfeeding. If you are local to the Phoenix area, I hope you will call or email me – 623-362-2511 or aabreastfeeding@hotmail.com

If your baby is not having good breastfeedings, they will typically lose weight instead of gain and more than likely you will have difficulty building your milk production. The early weeks of lactation are very, very important to helping build your supply. Feel free to share this information with every breastfeeding mother you know!