Breastfeeding at Home
Your baby may not always give you the "I'm hungry" signals or always breastfeed well by the time he or she leaves the hospital, but the Woman's lactation consultants will be able to work with you to develop a discharge breastfeeding plan. Your breastfeeding plan will be designed with you and your baby's unique situation in mind. However, the plan may include all or some common features.
Common Features of a Breastfeeding Plan
- Wake the baby to breastfeed every 3 hours, or at least 8 to 10 times per day if he or she has not yet mastered signals that tell you "I'm hungry." Some of the "I'm hungry" signals include rooting, sucking on hands, fussiness, and crying. Crying is a late sign of hunger.
- Nurse your baby whenever he or she gives you the "I'm hungry" signals, even if it has not been 3 hours since the last feeding.
- Monitor latch on, nutritive versus non-nutritive sucking patterns before, during and after milk let-down, and the length of feedings.
- Chart the number, amount and color of the baby's urine and stools for wet and dirty diapers on a daily record. Your baby should produce six or more soaking wet diapers in 24 hours with a bowel movement following two or more feedings each day.
Tips for Breastfeeding at Home
- Our printable breastfeeding chart may help you mark daily feedings and diaper counts until your baby is gaining weight appropriately.
- Skin-to-skin contact may help you continue to produce milk and bond with your baby.
- If your baby sometimes chokes during breastfeeding, he or she may be having difficulty controlling the milk flow during let-down. Most babies learn to handle milk let-down as they mature. Until then, you might try pumping through the let-down immediately before a feeding. Another option is to take the baby off the breast until the milk flow slows. Some mothers find it helps to position the baby so that the back of his or her throat is higher than the nipple. The milk then travels uphill during a let-down, which slows the flow.
- Get support by staying in touch with the hospital lactation consultants and contacting a local breastfeeding support group.