Helping Moms Achieve
Our staff and physicians believe in
the many benefits of breastfeeding...
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Helping Moms Achieve Breastfeeding Success
At the Dignity Health hospitals, our staff and physicians believe in the many benefits of breastfeeding. At each of our Sacramento area hospitals, breastfeeding help and support is available to all mothers following delivery. At Mercy Hospital of Folsom, an appointment is made for new mothers to bring their baby to the hospital's outpatient lactation clinic within two or three days of hospital discharge. At the clinic, certified lactation consultants spend time with moms and babies teaching proper techniques, answering moms' questions and offering personalized support. The purpose of these consultations is to minimize the difficulties new moms may experience with breastfeeding and encourage long-term breastfeeding, as promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
One question that comes up often between new moms and lactation consultants is how to know whether your baby is getting enough milk. It is an understandable question since there is no clear way of seeing exactly how many ounces is going from breast to baby. Fortunately there are other signs that moms can watch for.
In the first few days after your baby's birth, he or she is receiving colostrum – the thick immunity-boosting substance that is present until your breast milk comes in. During that time, it is normal for your baby to have just one or two wet diapers a day.
Your milk should come within a few days of delivery. Once it does, your baby should begin having 5-6 wet diapers a day. (If you are using cloth diapers, that number should be higher – 6-8 diapers per day.) Your baby will also typically have anywhere from 2-5 bowel movements every 24 hours after your milk comes in. That number will begin to decrease after about six weeks.
Another tactic to ensuring your baby is well-fed is to keep an eye on the clock. Newborns should be fed every 2-3 hours, even during the night. If your baby is sleeping longer than that or is generally lethargic when awake, you should talk to your pediatrician.
Other signs that your baby is receiving enough milk:
- Baby breastfeeds, on average, 8-12 times per 24-hour period
- Baby determines length of feeding, which should be 10-20 minutes long
- Baby is swallowing loud enough that you can hear it while feeding
- Baby is gaining 4-7 ounces per week (after the first four days of life)
- When awake, baby is alert and active, with good color and firm skin
If you have any concerns about your baby's feeding habits, talk with a professional lactation consultant and/or your pediatrician. If you are concerned about your milk supply, a lactation consultant can offer helpful advice.
For more information on the Dignity Health birth centers and lactation services, visit our website.