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Breastfeeding 101

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive Breastfeeding for first 6 months of life, then combining solid foods with Breastfeeding until 1 year of age. But why…

What are the advantages of Breastfeeding?

For Infant

  • Reduces incidence of infection (especially a reduction in ear infections, respiratory infections, and diarrhea)
  • Provides superior nutrition- considered the "Gold Standard" (unable to reproduce it)
  • Human milk composition adapts to changing needs-(ex. Mothers who deliver premature infants produce milk higher in protein, sodium, chloride and magnesium
  • Promotes bonding (increases skin to skin contact)
  • Provides easy to digest food
  • Enhances cognitive development
  • Prevents constipation
  • Reduces risk of chronic diseases (ex.-childhood cancers-leukemia and lymphoma; diabetes and reduces or delays allergies, Obesity decreases 8% for every 3 months of nursing)
  • Develops jaw muscle for solids at 4-6 months

For Mother

  • Convenience
  • Cost
  • Delays return of ovulation, but should not be used as method of birth control
  • Elevation of hormone Prolactin promotes feelings of closeness-(mothering hormone)
  • Elevation of Oxytocin promotes relaxation-(nature's tranquilizer)
  • Reduces risk of hemorrhaging after delivery
  • Aids in weight loss (burn an additional 200-500 calories)
  • Reduces incidence of osteoporosis, pre-menopausal breast cancer, and ovarian cancer (for every 12 months of nursing decreases rate of breast cancer by 4.3% and an additional 7% for every pregnancy)
  • Self-satisfaction-(only mom can provide for infant)

For Society

  • Decrease in infant morbidity and mortality
  • Reduction in health care costs and loss of time at work

Important Steps for Success in Breastfeeding

The good start

  • Nurse 8-12 times every 24 hours
  • Skin to skin is especially helpful before feedings for sleepy babies
  • Wake baby for feedings if necessary
  • Room-In while in hospital so you can learn and not miss feeding cues
  • Avoid pacifiers and bottles until breastfeeding is established if possible
  • Nurse first side longer (up to 20 minutes is ok) before offering second side

Signs your baby is getting enough to eat

  • Count wet and dirty diapers
  • You should see 6-8 wet, and 1-3 or more dirty diapers by the end of day 4-5
  • Stools should transition from black/green to loose watery yellow by day 4-5
  • Listen for swallowing
  • After milk is in, breasts feel softer after nursing
  • Your baby should act satisfied

How to prevent breastfeeding problems

  • Do not skip feedings
  • Use stimulation techniques to wake baby if necessary
  • Avoid engorgement; Milk usually comes in by about day three
  • Nurse frequently.
  • Use breast massage, warm packs or shower before feedings.
  • Express milk by hand before latch to soften around nipple/areola; pump milk out if too full.
  • For severe engorgement use ice packs to decrease swelling and provide comfort.
  • Prevent plugged ducts and breast infection (mastitis)
  • Massage any congested areas to promote drainage, pump if needed
  • Call your doctor for any signs of mastitis (any area that is warm, hard, tender to touch, flu-like symptoms fever or chills); You may need antibiotic treatment.

Sore Nipples

  • Ask for assistance if you experience painful or sore nipples
  • Use expressed breast milk on nipples after nursing
  • A deeper areolar latch will improve comfort

Not enough milk?

  • Drink fluids, get rest, and eat a balanced meal with protein
  • Nurse more, pump more, to make more. Pump between or after nursing (Principle of supply and demand)
  • Avoid giving baby supplements (water or formula)
  • Avoid antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills
  • Manual hand expression has been proven to increase milk supply


  • Notify baby's doctor of all medications including over the counter, prescription, or herbal supplements
  • No illicit drugs like marijuana and cocaine
  • If you suspect any herpes blisters around the breast, avoid nursing and contact health provider for instructions

Covenant Cares

Covenant Women's and Children's Hospital wants you to succeed in breastfeeding your child. Here are a few of the opportunities that Covenant offers so that we can help you to continue in your breastfeeding journey.

Free Out-Patient Laction Consultation: Contact the Lactation Specialist/Parent Education Office for Assistance: 806.725.6403. If no answer, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible (Calls after 5pm will be returned the following morning). If you need immediate assistance, call the nursery hotline at 806.725.6471.

Free Baby Weight Check Clinic: Every Monday from 11am-12 noon at Covenant Women's and Children's Hospital (4000 24th st.) 5th floor Education Classroom

Breastfeeding Support Group: Second Thursday of each month from 11-12:30. This is a fun, informative group where stories and questions are welcomed. Bring your lunch and your little one! Drinks provided. Call 725.6403 or 725.6667 for more information.

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