Clinical Nurse I, Unit 4-3 Mother/Baby
These are three of the top questions asked about breastfeeding in Women’s Services at Durham Regional Hospital.
Why won’t my baby wake up to feed?
Babies aren’t too hungry the first day of life because they fed continuously for nine months before delivery. Offer the breast when your baby shows feeding cues or every two to three hours. Feeding cues include sucking or bringing hands to mouth, rooting, smacking sounds, lip licking and general alertness. Expect only three to five good feeds during the first 24 hours of life. After that, your baby will “wake up,” and you should be able to get him or her interested in going to the breast every two to three hours or more. Feed on demand as your baby shows cues. You can also try to rouse your baby by holding him or her skin-to-skin and changing his or her diaper before a feed. (Skin-to-skin means no shirt, hat and blanket; only a diaper. This keeps the baby from feeling too cozy and thinking he or she can just settle in for a nap instead of work hard and breastfeed.)
It hurts when I breastfeed. What can I do to keep from hurting?
The initial latch may hurt or pinch for the first minute or so of feedings, and then you should only feel a strong tug. If you continue to be in pain throughout the feeding, question the latch as it may not be deep enough. Ask your nurse or lactation consultant in the hospital for help latching and with positioning. It’s what we are here to do, and we’re happy to help!
My milk isn’t in yet, so my baby must be starving! Is my baby getting enough to eat?
Babies’ tummies are the size of a marble, so it takes only a small amount of nutrient-dense colostrum to fill them up and give them exactly what they need. Colostrum is available for your baby until your milk arrives. You will know if the baby is getting enough to eat by the number of wet and dirty diapers, audible swallows (sounds like a soft “k”) and weight. However, some weight loss is expected—up to 10 percent loss of birth weight is okay.
Do you have questions about breastfeeding? Leave them in the comments below!