What to Expect When You Are Breastfeeding

New mothers are often very skeptical about breastfeeding and what it would entail. Questions such as ‘Will I be able to offer enough feed to my baby?’ and ‘Will my baby latch on correctly?’ are quite common among breastfeeding mothers.

Let’s get you out of this misery by addressing a few key questions about breastfeeding and what you can expect out of the experience.

Frequency of nursing
Nursing frequently will promote a good amount of milk supply and minimize engorgement. Mothers can aim to nurse a minimum of ten to twelve times each day. It is important to strike a balance between nursing too much and nursing too little.

It is vital to nurse as soon as you start seeing the hunger signs. Such signals typically include putting hands in the mouth, stirring etc. Don’t wait for the baby to cry before you start feeding.

The baby should be given an unlimited amount of time when he/she is sucking actively at your breast. After that, you need to offer your other breast to the baby. You will notice that some newborn babies are very sleepy in the beginning. Wake them up for feeding if 2 to 4 hours have already passed without a feed.

Changes in the breasts
Typically, new mothers will start lactating between two to five days. This is the time that there is an increase in milk production and the colostrum gives way to mother’s mature milk. For reducing engorgement, it is a good idea to avoid skipping feeds, even during night time and nurse often. Try ensuring proper latching and allow the baby to finish feeding from the first breast and then offer the other.

To minimize engorgement discomfort, make use of cold compresses in between feeds. In case your baby is facing problems related to latching, use express milk till the nipple becomes soft. Then, latching can be tried again.

Growth spurts and weight gain in baby
Growth spurts basically refer to the time when the baby starts nursing more often as compared to its usual requirement. This can happen for days together and baby might act quite fussy during this time. Usually, growth spurts happen in the initial few weeks when the baby comes home.

How do you know that the baby is getting a sufficient amount of milk?
On an average, every breastfed newborn baby usually gains about 6 ounces or 170 grams of weight every week. You should contact your baby’s pediatrician or a lactation consultant in case the baby isn’t gaining the desired amount of weight.

A lot of mothers are constantly worried about the milk supply. So long your baby continues to gain the required amount of weight on your milk alone, there is absolutely nothing to stress about. Besides checking the weight of the baby, a decent number of dirty and wet diapers will signify that your baby is being fed sufficient amount of milk.

You can also express your milk using a breast pump and feed through a bottle later. Breast pumps are typically covered under your medical insurance plan.

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding breastfeeding.*

Article Reviewed By: Crystal Ibetoh MD, MBA reviews each article and ensures the accuracy of the health information. Dr. Ibetoh has strong medical interests in women's health and preventative medicine. She is also a mother of three and uses her medical expertise in addition to personal experience to provide advice about breastfeeding.

Featured Blogs

Importance of Breastfeeding ...

Both mother and child can reap numerous benefits from exclusive breastfeeding for the initial six months... Read More

The Perfect Breastfeeding ...

Isn’t it everyone’s dream to burn all those calories while sitting comfortably on their lounge chair... Read More

Featured Products

Ameda Ultra

Purely Yours® Ultra Electric Breast Pump

Item No: 17085MT

Breast Pumps Available Through Insurance