The birth of your baby is a very exciting time for you and your family. After your baby is born you may have lots of questions about how to breastfeed your baby and how often. At Milford Regional, the staff in The Maternity Center is here to assist you and to provide information and support. You will be encouraged to breastfeed your baby on demand. This is also sometimes called Feeding On Cue.
Feeding on cue simply means feeding whenever your baby shows feeding signs. Feeding signs are signs of hunger. Crying is a late hunger sign. Plan to start feedings before baby is crying with hunger whenever possible. Feed your baby whenever and for as long as baby wants. Restricting a baby’s time at the breast may deprive baby of the more nutritious, higher-fat hind milk associated with softer, emptier breasts. Feeding is comfort as well as nutrition. Newborns love constant closeness and snuggling. They cannot be held too much or spoiled.
Some feeding signs are: making mouthing movements, sticking tongue out, rooting and bringing hands to mouth movements. Your milk supply is determined by how often the baby nurses and empties the breasts. Frequent breastfeeding (including overnight) in the few weeks after birth assures a good milk supply for months to come. It also helps babies regain their birth-weight more quickly.
There are many advantages to Feeding On Cue. Babies will often settle into a feeding faster when they are fed shortly after showing feeding cues. Newborn babies have tiny stomachs and need frequent, small feedings in the first days of life. One to three teaspoons fills a newborn’s stomach. Breastfed babies feed around the clock, sometimes every hour. This is also known as clusterfeeding. This frequent breastfeeding also builds their mother’s milk supply. Babies have less jaundice when they are fed frequently and mothers have less breast engorgement.
Feeding a baby on demand instead of on a schedule can be particularly challenging for a society used to clocks and routines. Taking frequent naps during the day with baby, keeping baby close by at night and baby wearing during the day will give you more opportunities to be aware of your baby’s cues. Ask for help and support in the exhausting early weeks.
Lactation consultants are available at Milford Regional to answer your questions at any time by calling 508-422-2960. Our Breastfeeding group is a great place to meet new moms and to feed your baby on demand!