Feeding your baby provides nutrition and a time to bond and relax with your newborn. But it can also seem like a daunting task that doesn’t always work out the way we’d like. Use these breastfeeding tips below to help the process go more smoothly for you and the baby. For more questions, contact your local Orlando pediatrician.
Alcohol passes through your milk to your baby, so it’s best to avoid habitual use while breastfeeding. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so just after you nurse or pump milk. Allow at least 2 hours per drink before your next breastfeeding or pumping session. Obviously there are concerns about long-term, repeated exposures of infants to alcohol via the mother’s milk, so moderation is definitely advised.
It is best to use refrigerated breast milk within 4 days, but it can be refrigerated for up to 8 days. And frozen up to 12 months. For best results, store in 2 to 4 ounces batches to prevent waste. Freshly expressed milk can remain at room temperature (up to 77°F) for 4 hours, but of course refrigeration or even a cooler is best.
You can keep your body healthy for breast feeding both by your food intake and from vitamins and minerals.
Calcium is one important mineral. By consuming three servings of dairy (8 ounces of milk is one serving) per day, your calcium level should be at a good level. If you dislike milk, or are allergic to dairy products, try calcium-fortified juice or dark leafy greens, beans, cereal, or calcium tablets.
Vitamin D, folic acid, and iron are all important vitamins and minerals as well. If you are unsure about whether your diet contains enough vitamins and minerals, stay on your prenatal vitamins.
Protein is another component of a healthy diet while you are breastfeeding. Protein builds, repairs, and maintains body tissues. You need more than 5 ounces a day when you’re nursing. Eggs, peanut butter, nuts, or dried beans are also great sources of protein. Make sure to include some of the fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These types of fish are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acid that is found in breast milk and helps the growth and development of an infant’s brain and eyes. One note on peanut butter and nuts. Monitor your baby for any reactions after you’ve eaten a serving of either.
If you have to take a medication, make sure to take one with the shortest duration. For example, stay away from 24-hour medications that stay in the body for a long time. Even birth control can cause a decrease in milk supply. So whether you are taking prescriptions or over-the-counter, make sure to consult your pediatrician.
Keep your finger ready to break the suction and remove your breast as soon as the suckling stops. If a bite comes down, say “no” firmly and then remove your baby from your breast. Keep it calm, but firm. Don’t create any excitement out of the biting. Once they realize that biting means no more breast, you can be sure there will be no more teeth.
There are several ways you can tell whether your baby is getting enough milk. Your baby should have frequent wet and dirty diapers. They should not be fussy after feeding. And your newborn should be gaining weight after the first 4 to 5 days of life (Note that in the first few days before day 4, they may actually lose a bit of weight). And usually, over the course of the day, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times a day. They will let you know when they are hungry and when they are finished.
Don’t get frustrated when breastfeeding. Always remember to give your local pediatrician a call. And most of all, enjoy this time with your baby.