Knowledge and Support Key for Breastfeeding Success

Woman-BreastfeedingNew breastfeeding moms typically have two big questions during those first days after a baby’s birth, according to Marlene Rahe, RNC-NIC, IBCLC, who works in the Family Maternity Suites at Memorial Medical Center.

  • How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
  • When can I start pumping?

“There’s a fear of the unknown,” said Rahe. “You can’t see what’s going into the baby each time so there’s some self-doubt. I encourage new moms to concentrate on nursing frequently and monitoring baby’s output.”

Plenty of wet and poopy diapers are a sure sign that baby is well-fed. Once the milk volume increases, mom should be able to hear the baby swallow and recognize the breast softening as it empties during feeding.

Often dads and grandparents are eager to help give baby a bottle, but Rahe encourages new breastfeeding moms to wait three weeks before introducing the bottle.

“You want to allow time for the baby to learn how to breastfeed,” said Rahe. “New moms can pump at any point as long as it’s not a chore. My advice is if you don’t have a need or a strong desire, devote that time to taking a nap in the early days rather than pumping. However, pumping for comfort occasionally is perfectly acceptable.”

Memorial Medical Center offers a “Get-Real Breastfeeding Guide” class that provides parents with information about breastfeeding and offers positive support for new breastfeeding families. Fathers and grandmothers are encouraged to attend to learn what breastfeeding is about and what to expect.

Topics include:

  • How breastfeeding is initiated in the hospital
  • Correct and comfortable positioning of the baby during breastfeeding
  • How to assess adequate feeding: Is baby getting enough?
  • What to expect those first several weeks after you go home
  • Pumping and safe storage of breast milk
  • Tips for breastfeeding after a return to work

For more information or to register for an upcoming class, visit Memorial’s Calendar of Events and search for the Get-Real Breastfeeding Guide.