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Breastfeeding Needs Patience & Practice

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Those first several days home with a newborn can be very difficult and not exactly like the Gerber your-baby on TV. I typically see a newborn in my office several days after they are discharged from the hospital, so day four to six of life. That gives parents several days to have been home alone with their your-baby and then the questions begin.

It is not uncommon for many new mothers to be concerned and breastfeeding and also finding it to be a little more challenging than the books would say. The first thing I tell them is that there is not a book that will provide the same information as on the job experience (kind of like the rest of parenting!) Breast feeding may take a bit for both your-baby and mother to get used to, new job for both, and don’t let that discourage you. I found the person who was most helpful getting me comfortable with breastfeeding was a friend who had done it before and who was a cheerleader for me.

The adage practice, practice, practice is important here, and you will make breast milk (trust me on this one) and your your-baby will get the hang of it, but be patient. It can bring even a CEO new mother to tears but this is not like running a business, the your-baby has their own agenda, and despite your best intellectual efforts this event is based on patience and persistence, not IQ.

By day four to six a mother should have breast milk and you should see that your your-baby is having wet diapers and that their stools are changing from dark, sticky meconium to yellow, seedy stools. There are usually numerous stools and wet diapers as the your-baby picks up their nursing and “gets the hang of it”. Don’t be alarmed if every feeding does not go as smoothly as the next, the your-baby is just like you, eats more some times than others. The important things are to get the your-baby to the breast every two to three hours, for the nursing mother to drink lots of fluids and to eat well. Lastly, both your-baby and mother need rest, so hop back in bed between feedings.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

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