Getting On a Breastfeeding Schedule
When to breastfeed your baby, how long, what to do about nighttime feedings, and more.
Sleeping Through a Breastfeeding continued...
It's not a good idea to let your baby nap through
feeding time until your milk supply is fully developed -- usually two to three
weeks after breastfeeding begins, says Hanna. The same way your baby needs to
eat, your breasts need to continue to release milk. The more milk that is
expressed on a regular basis during the first few weeks of feeding, the more
milk your breasts will continue to make later on.
"If your baby is not waking up for a feeding, don't
wait more than four hours before waking him or her. If it continues, do mention
it to your pediatrician," says Huotari. By the time your baby is about four
weeks old, you can expect her or him to sleep
up to five hours overnight without requiring a feeding.
1 Breast or 2: Which Is Best for Each Breastfeeding?
In the not so distant past, doctors advised women to
switch breasts mid-feeding, allowing baby to start their suckling on one side
and finish on the other.
Today, doctors know that each breastfeeding consists
of two types of milk. Experts at the American College of Obstetrics and
Gynecology say the first to be expressed is the "fore milk," which quenches
your baby's thirst while supplying sugar, proteins, minerals, and fluid. The
second, more filling, and hardier release is "hind milk." This is the creamy,
high-fat, super satisfying and most nutritious milk, and necessary for baby's
growth and development.
"If you switch breasts mid-feeding, you risk giving
your baby only fore milk and no hind milk. So it's vital that you continue to
feed until your breast is fully drained, then turn to the other breast for the
next feeding," says Huotari.
Here's another bonus to breastfeeding one side at a
time: The more watery fore milk often causes a baby to have cramps or problems
If you stick with one breast per feeding, making certain your baby is getting
hind milk, your baby will likely have less gas and be less cranky as
If, after completing a feeding on one
breast and being burped, your baby is still hungry, Huotari suggests you go
back to the original breast where you started the feeding. Turn to the second
breast only after the original breast seems fully expressed.
Is Breastfeeding Enough?
Among the greatest worries new breastfeeding moms have
is whether their baby is getting enough to eat. In most cases, experts say you
have nothing to fear because it's likely your breasts are producing enough
milk. And if your baby is nursing at least eight times a day, chances are your
baby is happily fed. One way to know for sure, however, is to use your baby's
dirty diapers as a guide.