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The first weeks of breastfeeding may be the most challenging. It’s normal to have fears and questions. Don’t worry. The two of you will learn what you need to know together. You’ll be surprised how much you and your baby will teach each other. Here are answers to some questions new mothers often ask:
When it comes to feeding your baby, what goes in must come out. You can tell how much milk your baby is getting by keeping track of the baby’s diapers:
By the first 24 hours after birth: The baby should have 1 to 2 wet diapers and 1 to 2 soiled (poopy) diapers.
The second and third day after birth: The baby should have 3 to 4 wet diapers and 2 to 3 soiled diapers.
After the first 4 or 5 days: The baby should have at least 5 to 6 wet diapers and 3 to 4 soiled diapers a day.
Don’t wait until your baby cries to feed her. Newborns should be nursed as soon as they show any hunger signs. These include:
Increased alertness or activity
Rooting reflex (nuzzling against your breast)
Smacking her lips or opening and closing her mouth
Sucking on her hand or fingers
Feed your baby as often and as long as she wants. Make sure you’re nursing every 1-1/2 to 3 hours. Your baby may spend 10–15 minutes or more on each breast. You may need to wake your baby for some feedings. Newborns tend to be very sleepy. But don’t let your baby sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. And if your baby fusses when feeding, don’t worry. Some babies get distracted easily. To calm your baby, choose a quiet place for feeding. It may also help if you breastfeed in the same place in your home each time.
Infants can’t be spoiled. When your baby needs comfort, food, or holding, she’ll try to let you know. When you respond to your baby’s needs, you help her trust you. This is a time to shower your baby with love and attend to her needs.
Babies eat a lot. This is even more true during a growth spurt. Growth spurts usually happen at 2 and 6 weeks of age. They happen again at 3 and 6 months. During these times, your baby will breastfeed more often. Don’t be alarmed. Your baby will not need formula or supplements.