This is the second article in a three-part series on breastfeeding.
Now that you’ve been home for a few weeks with your newborn, I hope you have been getting more comfortable with breastfeeding. You may be wondering if your baby is getting enough milk and how to increase your milk supply.
As your baby takes small, frequent feedings, your milk production gradually increases. Breastfeeding follows the "supply and demand" theory—the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will produce.
Normal feeding patterns can vary in the first few days of life. If your baby is sleeping so much that he doesn't wake for at least eight feedings in twenty-four hours you may need to help him. Nursing skin-to-skin is recommended for an optimal breastfeeding experience. Keeping track of the number of wet diapers and stools, and bringing your baby in for weight checks will help reassure you that you are producing an adequate supply of breastmilk.
Breastfeeding should not be painful. Pain means that something is wrong. Proper positioning and an appropriate latch can save your nursing experience. A good latch doesn't compress the nipple. If your nipple continues to be compressed, this can lead to worsening sores and infection. If you are having pain with latching it is very important to see a lactation counselor to assess your baby's positioning and latch.
Your significant other plays an important role by showing support to you. Whether it be running errands, making meals, monitoring visitors, taking care of the baby—their support can make a huge difference to your breastfeeding experience.
Having a baby is one of life's major transitions and learning to breastfeed takes patience and persistence. Remember that the majority of breastfeeding problems can be solved if you are strongly committed to nursing your baby. Many times, talking to a certified lactation counselor or to a friend who nursed her own baby, can reassure you that what you’re experiencing is normal and won’t last forever.
Breastfeeding is truly one of life's special times with your newborn and all your efforts are worthwhile.
Jeanne Koch, RN, is a certified lactation counselor at HFM Women’s and Children’s Center. For more information about lactation support services at HFM, call 920-320-2264.