By Dr. Sally Robinson and Dr. Keith Bly
agree that breast-feeding is the ideal way to feed your newborn.
Breast milk has the perfect mix of nutritients; it's always fresh,
clean and the right temperature; it contains antibodies that will
protect your baby from infections; and it's easy for the baby to
that breast-feeding is so natural, you might think that every mother
and infant would get the hang of it instantly. But, in fact, it's
a learned skill.
moms can prepare for breast-feeding early in their pregnancy by
learning about it through their doctor, books or classes,"
said Suzan Anderson, lactation consultant at UTMB. "Such preparation
can increase the chance of nursing successfully."
the first days after delivery, your breasts produce colostrum, a
precursor to mature milk. After three to four days, with the stimulation
of your baby's suckling, your breasts will start to make mature
first weeks of a baby's life are the most crucial to establishing
breast-feeding. You and your baby need to learn this skill together.
It's important for him or her to have at least six feedings every
24 hours. According to Anderson, the baby should nurse every three
to two hours, though the infant may have one four- to five-hour
stretch of sleep at night. "The time interval between feedings
is measured from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of
the next," she said. "Frequent nursing will ensure that
your baby won't get too hungry, and your breasts will get enough
stimulation to produce an adequate amount of milk."
sessions should last 15 to 20 minutes per breast. This may be difficult
at first as newborns tend to fall asleep but stick with it. Keep
in mind that it may take some time for your baby and you to get
into the routine.
nursing mothers worry that their baby isn't getting enough milk,
since they can't tell how many ounces are being consumed,"
said Anderson, who is board certified in breast-feeding education.
"We always tell the moms 'what must go in must come out.'"
In other words, your baby should be wetting six diapers a day and
having three to four loose bowel movements a day. By five to six
weeks, as your baby's digestive system matures, the number of bowel
movements may decrease.
it may take a little work to establish a solid nursing relationship,
but when you do, both you and your baby will reap the rewards,"
Sally Robinson is Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Keith Bly is
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical
Branch at Galveston Children's Hospital. For more information, visit: