The World Health Organization (WHO) says that feeding your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months of its life is the best way to keep your baby healthy. WHO also suggests continuing breastfeeding along with other foods for the second 6 months.
Breastfeeding Support from Your Midwife
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to care for your baby and breast milk is perfect food for babies. It has all the right nutrients in just the right amounts. The Oregon Clinic Midwives are here to guide, educate, and support you in breastfeeding your baby so they have a healthy start. During your prenatal visits we provide counsel on what to expect in the first days and weeks so you feel prepared when your little one arrives. And once your baby is here, we’ll help you with proper positioning and latch, coach you through any issues, and offer tips for balancing the demands of breastfeeding and working.
Breastfeeding Support with a Holistic Approach
The Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) at The Oregon Clinic are well trained in many areas of women’s health especially as it relates to family planning, pregnancy, and newborn infant care. All encourage skin-to-skin contact and provide breastfeeding support, education, and coaching to help you and your baby get a healthy start.
What to Expect: Breastfeeding Support from Your Midwife
When you work with the Midwives at The Oregon Clinic, your breastfeeding education begins during prenatal visits so you feel prepared when your baby arrives. After giving birth, your Midwife will be your breastfeeding coach to:
- Help you prioritize time for breastfeeding during the newborn period
- Encourage skin-to-skin contact time
- Offer tips on proper positioning and latch and troubleshoot any breastfeeding-related issues or pain
- Provide ongoing support for your breastfeeding goals for at least the first 2 years of baby’s life – including tips on when and how to start birth control again (if you desire) and how to balance the demands of breastfeeding and working
If you are a first-time mom and aren’t sure what to expect as far as breastfeeding goes, here are some general guidelines from the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the Midwives at The Oregon Clinic:
What to Expect - Right after Birth
- Holding your baby skin-to-skin is the best way to start breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact helps smooth out the baby’s heartbeat and breathing rate. Your baby should be wearing nothing but a hat and a diaper.
- Many babies will begin to look for the breast within the first hour after birth. Move your baby close to the breast to help him or her latch on.
- Breastfeeding should not be painful. If the first feeding causes pain, ask for help.
- Just after birth, it is very common for babies and mothers to be wide awake for a few hours, and then to have a long, restful sleep. This sleep helps you and the baby to recover.
What to Expect - The First Few Days
- Many babies are very sleepy in the first few days. You may need to wake your baby to feed. Your baby should be awakened to breastfeed if he sleeps more than 4 hours.
- Your milk will probably “come in” about 3 to 4 days after your baby’s birth. Your breasts will fill with milk, and you may even leak milk through your clothes. You may also feel a bit weepy at this time: these are normal changes after birth!
What to Expect - The First 4 to 6 Weeks
- After your milk comes in, your baby will probably want to feed 10 to 12 times in 24 hours.
- Every baby is different. Some babies may need to feed more often. Others may be able to go longer between feedings.
- Lots of women feel like all they do in the first weeks is breastfeed. It takes a while for moms and babies to get nursing down. However, if feedings take a long time, seek help from your midwife or physician.
- Try to make your life a bit easier during this time. Carrying your baby in a sling or pouch, and keeping the baby’s bed near your own will allow you to move around and sleep more easily. Ask family and friends to help with food and house chores. Get help so you can focus on your baby and not worry about anything else.
- By 6 to 8 weeks, you will find that you and your baby have gotten into a rhythm. Your baby will usually be able to go longer between feedings. You will begin to get more sleep. And your baby will begin to smile!
Frequently Asked Questions about Breastfeeding
If you are having pain or any other problems with breastfeeding, get help right away. Some sources of help include:
- Your health care provider or the baby’s health care provider – come see your Midwife for support, coaching, and trouble-shooting!
- A lactation specialist. Many hospitals have these special care providers on staff. The Oregon Clinic has Reb Huggins CNM, WHNP available for lactation support.
- Your local chapter of La Leche League. These groups of women help each other with breastfeeding.
Watch your baby to learn the signals that say, “Feed me.” When you see your baby do these things, offer your baby your breast:
- Moving her hands near her mouth
- Clenching his fists
- Making sucking motions with her mouth
- Rooting (turning his head and mouth toward something that strokes his face)
Do not wait until the baby cries to start a feeding. A great time to offer your baby your breast is just as the baby is waking up.
The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will have. At first, you will probably need to breastfeed your baby 10 or 12 times every 24 hours. This will give your body the message to make lots of milk. Spending more time skin to skin with baby also helps increase your milk supply.
To discuss other steps for increasing milk supply including safe supplements to take, schedule a lactation consultation with Reb Huggins CNM, WHNP.
Yes. Human breast milk is not like cow’s milk. Your breast milk has a better mix of fat and proteins, which is perfect for human babies!
Right after your baby’s birth, you will have a special type of breast milk called “colostrum” which is very rich. Colostrum is all the food your new baby needs. If you are breastfeeding your baby often during the first 2 days, about 3 to 4 days after your baby’s birth your regular breast milk will “come in.” Your breasts will feel fuller at this time. One of the best ways to tell that you have enough milk is how often your baby has a bowel movement. After your milk comes in, your baby should have more than 4 bowel movements every day. Weight gain is another good way to tell that your baby is getting enough milk. It is normal for babies to lose weight in the first few days after birth. But your baby should gain weight after your milk comes in.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to care for your baby. Breast milk is perfect food for babies. It has all the right nutrients in just the right amounts. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that feeding your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months its life is the best way to keep your baby healthy. WHO suggests continuing breastfeeding along with other foods for the second 6 months.