What are some good tips for breastfeeding?


Quick Answer

An infant from birth to 3 weeks old needs to nurse frequently, as often as 12 times a day. Each nursing session should last about 30 minutes. Feeding on demand is best for a newborn. When a baby is hungry, she sucks on her hands or clothing, nuzzles those holding her, opens and closes her mouth or cries.

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Full Answer

The baby's sucking helps to encourage milk production, so nursing mothers should let their babies feed as long as possible. A woman's body does not produce milk until two or three days after birth, but it is very important to nurse often during this time. Immediately after birth, the body manufactures colostrum, a blend of immune factors and proteins, which helps a newborn's immune system. A woman's body does not produce much colostrum, but a baby only needs about a teaspoon of colostrum per feeding.

Breast milk digests more easily than formula, so a nursed baby needs to eat more often than a formula-fed baby. The breast milk at the end of a feeding is richer in calories and fat, so a baby should be nursed until a breast is nearly empty before switching to the other one. A well-fitted nursing bra helps to prevent sagging and reduces pain from overfilled breasts.

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