So, you’re planning to breastfeed. You’ve read books and blogs, and maybe you’ve taken a breastfeeding class. You know that breastfeeding is “natural,” but you’ve also heard it can be hard. Sometimes, babies don’t latch, or they might latch like a snapping turtle. You’ve chosen a Baby Friendly hospital because they’re recognized for their breastfeeding support.
Nurses at Baby Friendly hospitals specifically focus on giving moms the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully start and continue breastfeeding their babies. They delay weighing and bathing, making bonding, breastfeeding, and baby’s wellness the top priority.
- What if my baby isn’t getting enough milk?
You’ll know your baby is getting enough by how many wet and soiled diapers they produce each day. Your nurses will also help you watch for jaundice (yellowish color in baby’s skin) and whether baby loses any weight (yes, weight loss is normal in the first few days). If baby isn’t getting enough milk, they’ll help you supplement with your expressed milk, pasteurized donor milk, or formula. If your baby needs extra milk from these sources, your nurses will help you pump your breastmilk to maintain your milk supply.
- What if my baby has trouble latching on?
A good latch often results from holding baby in a way that helps them latch; supporting your baby while they come to your breast and using a nipple shield can help baby latch. Your nurse may ask you to try a shield if baby is struggling to nurse. Time, patience, and support are essential! Take a break and try it again. You and baby will get the hang of it!
- What about pacifiers?
Consider delaying pacifiers until you and baby have formed a great nursing routine—that will likely take a few weeks versus a few days. If baby seems fussy, try nursing before giving a pacifier—they’re likely hungry. Each time your baby nurses, your body receives a signal to make more milk. When baby latches onto a pacifier instead of your breast, you’re missing out on the hormonal opportunity to increase your milk supply.
- When will I sleep?
Sleep when baby sleeps, which will be both during the night and day, so daytime napping is necessary. Prolactin (the hormone that makes your milk) peaks during the night, which is when many newborns are wide awake. Ask your nurse to help you learn side-lying nursing, a breastfeeding position that allows you to breastfeed while resting on your side.
You can learn more about Baby Friendly Hospitals by reading our article Whats Baby Friendly Birthing