Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. So getting into a good routine is important to establishing and maintaining a healthy supply.
The hospital set to work at getting me into a breastfeeding routine from the first morning. I pumped in the hospital with all three of my kids. For my last baby, breastfeeding was hard. Because she was early and wouldn’t latch or nurse without getting too sleepy, I had to pump until she could get things sorted out.
The nurse had me pump every two hours. This was tricky without a double pump, but it was managable. I continued the routine until my baby got into a routine.
For my sanity, I scaled back with pumping, but only slightly. I was going back to work and knew I needed to start establishing a supply early. It depletes quickly!
My newborn nursing tips
- Nurse every 45 minutes to 2 hours. (No, I’m not joking)
- Baby can have one long session for sleep. Don’t go more than 4 hours without nursing in the early days. The milk is important to help flush out the body and keep baby from getting jaundice.
- I’m had sleepy/jaundice/premie babies who needed to be roused to eat. I always started with a diaper change. If that didn’t wake her up, I strip her down to a diaper and pinch lightly at her cheeks and legs and rub her head. If that still didn’t wake her up, I went to the wet rag method. Sadly, I’ve had to do this more times than I wanted. Just know, they aren’t scarred for life.
- Pump 2-3 times per day, with the most important pumping session happening right after her first morning feed.
- It’s okay to tell guests it’s time to nurse. Everyone wants to meet the baby in those early days, but it’s okay to tell them baby needs to eat. If you aren’t comfortable nursing with a cover in front of people, find a quiet room and take your time. Nursing the baby is the most important task you have right now.
- Ask for help. With our first, I had a hard time getting a good latch so my husband would actually hold up the cover and help me line up the baby’s head for a proper latch. Then he’d place the cover over both of us. His help made me feel more confident.
There is nothing routine in the early days. Sometimes you are up every hour and sometimes you get a few long stretches. You will be tired and sore and ready to give up. That is when you call a friend, your mom, or someone outside of the situation and vent, ask advice or just cry. It’s okay and it’s totally normal.
So, how did I stay up in the middle of the night when I was super tired?
I read. In fact, I was so engrossed in The Time Traveler’s Wife with my second baby, that I was actually excited to get up some of the times. But just some.
I watched Netflix on my phone.
I texted friends.
I ate something.
I watched TV.
If all else failed, I turned on the lights and talked to the baby…not for her, but for me.
I’ve accidentally fallen asleep, but I was sitting in a chair so I always woke up when my head nodded or my phone fell out of my hand. I didn’t feed her in bed because I knew the risk of an accident was too great. NEVER FEED YOUR BABY IN YOUR BED!
I can’t stress enough that everyone’s experience is different, but this is what worked for me. And if you need someone to vent to, I’m always here to listen.
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