Important steps for successful breast-feeding

by Jessica Burr, ARNP, Certified Lactation Consultant

The American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization and Institute of Medicine all mutually recommend exclusively breast feeding for the first 6 months of life, with continuation of breast feeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.

Breast feeding can be one of the most rewarding and exciting benefits a mom can give to her newborn.  Unfortunately, there are times when it can also become one of the most frustrating.  In order to keep it a happy and successful time here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

The first 24-48 hours after birth can be a crucial time to getting breast feeding off to a great start.

The World Health Organization has come up with steps to help moms have the best possible breastfeeding outcomes.

Step 1: Initiate breast feeding one hour (or as close to possible) after birth

Step 2: Practice rooming in: Allow baby to stay with you 24 hours a day

Step 3: Breast feed on demand 

Step 4: Limit artificial teats and pacifiers 

One of the most powerful steps in influencing breastfeeding outcomes is skin to skin contact. To get the most benefits moms should request that baby goes skin to skin immediately after birth and stay there for as long as possible. When babies are immediately placed skin to skin, they begin to use their sense of smell to reach the breast and this promotes correct suckling.  Studies also show that skin to skin promotes less crying and it is the best-known practice for keeping newborns warm.  In the event the baby cannot immediately be placed skin to skin after birth, mom should request to do so as soon as it is medically approved.  Even after the first hours of life, skin to skin time remains an extremely important part of the bonding process.   

Rooming in is another important step in getting breast feeding off to a great start.  Babies that stay in the room with their moms can be kept skin to skinWellness 04/2019 more.  Rooming in is also a great way for moms to start learning and observing for feeding cues.   Moms should not be watching the clock to see when it is time to feed, instead they should be watching baby. Feeding cues are signs the infant does to show mom that it is time to feed, some examples are suckling, rooting, and hands to mouth movements.  Moms can also be learning about their infant’s sleep/wake cycle.   It is best to feed the baby when they are in a light sleep or quiet alert stage.  This means the infant has not reached the crying stage, if they have mom should place them skin to skin for about 30 mins or until baby calms down before trying to latch. By using the infant’s cues for signs of when to feed, moms will feed more often, which leads to more enough milk production.  A general rule of thumb is that moms should be feeding 10-12 times in a 24-hour period. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP recommends delaying the introduction of artificial teats or pacifiers until breast feeding is firmly established, usually 3-4 weeks. 

If supplementation is medically necessary, it is best done by using hand expression of breast milk which is then fed to infant via medicine cup. 

Breast feeding provides babies: the perfect nutrition and everything they need for healthy growth and brain development.  We are here to help you get off to the best possible start. Celebration pediatrics now offers lactation consulting. Give us a call at 407-566-9700 to schedule your lactation appointment.