The Maternal and Newborn Care Center at St. Dominic Hospital recognizes that new parents are faced with many decisions. There is so much to do to prepare for the birth of your baby, such as choosing a name for your child, getting the nursery ready, and deciding how you are going to feed your baby. Breastfeeding provides many benefits for you and your baby.
If you have never breastfed before – and even if you have – it is natural to have some questions. Our lactation staff is an available resource to expectant and breastfeeding mothers. Our consultants will assist you with questions you may have about breastfeeding before, during, and after delivery.
Before your baby is born, learn as much as you can about breastfeeding:
Frequently Asked Questions about Breastfeeding and Lactation:
These are some of the most common breastfeeding questions. If you have a question that isn’t covered here or need additional information, contact our Lactation Consultant at (601) 200-5995.
A baby isn’t born with a functional immune system of his own. He relies on the antibodies that the mother passed on during pregnancy. When he is about 6 weeks old, his immune system begins to kick in but won’t really get started until he is 6 months old. When a baby is breastfed, he receives all the immunities he needs until he can make his own.
Your breast milk is made especially for your baby! The milk changes as he nurses, changes as he grows and is perfect for what he needs for brain development. He can’t be allergic to your breast milk. Formula doesn’t change with the babies changing needs, and the baby can be allergic to it.
Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt. Some mothers tell us they experience some slight tenderness for a couple of days after the baby is born, but it soon goes away. If it does hurt, the baby may not be positioned or latched on well. Take him off and begin again.
When the baby is born you have a special milk (colostrum) that lasts for two or three days. Then your milk supply increases the more the baby nurses. A good way to check to see if the baby is getting enough is to count soiled diapers. By the time the baby is 5 days old, he should be having 4-6 wet disposable diapers and 3-4 bowel movements in 24 hours.
Breastfeeding moms have found if they wear two-piece outfits and they lift their shirt from the bottom, their breast doesn’t show. Other mothers use a cloth diaper or baby blanket draped over their shoulder for more coverage. Practice makes perfect!
A smarter, healthier baby who is less likely to be allergic relieves a lot of concerns for the family. The woman who has breastfed has less chance of developing breast, ovarian and cervical cancers. Breastfeeding women also lose weight faster and get back into shape faster after the baby is born. Breastfeeding is also convenient .. nothing to fix, buy or clean! And most importantly a wonderful, enduring bond with your baby.
Most babies are not upset by what mother has to eat. So that you have plenty of energy to keep up with your little one, it is a good idea to eat a well-balanced diet. Eat the foods you enjoy. If you find that after eating some particular food, your baby is fussy, try starting a food journal to track any patterns of certain foods and fussiness in your baby. You will probably find that the baby’s fussiness didn’t have anything to do with the food. *Always contact your pediatrician if fussiness continues.
During the first few months, it is easy to travel with a breastfed baby. Just pack a few extra diapers and maybe a change of clothes for the baby and you’re ready to leave! Later, you may want to express or pump some of your special milk to leave for your baby while you’re away.
Remember all the benefits of breastfeeding to you and your baby! These are not lost if you have to work and some are enhanced (bonding, baby is less ill, you lose weight faster, etc.). You can either leave breast milk or you may decide to leave formula with the baby while you are away. Either way your breasts will adjust to the new schedule.
What can he do so he won’t feel left out? First, fathers can be satisfied in knowing that their baby is getting the best possible milk and protection from certain illnesses! Second, there are lots of fun things dads can do with a baby besides feeding him. Bathing provides lots of skin-to-skin contact. Rocking, holding, cuddling, singing, reading and playing with the baby are ways he can bond with his new baby.
When you get sick you produce antibodies in your milk to help protect your baby from the illness. If the baby does get sick, he probably won’t be as sick. If you have to take medication, check with your health care provider or get information from your lactation consultant. Most medications are safe to take, but always check.