10 Tips For Breastfeeding In The Hospital

One of our favorite suppliers of breastfeeding information comes from Noodle Soup of Weingart Design.  They are a great company that makes wonderful, informative, and easy to understand information regarding not only breastfeeding but also loads of baby friendly information.

I would like to share one of their pieces of information regarding 10 tips on breastfeeding in the hospital.

1.  Take a Breastfeeding Class

This is so beneficial for every mommy (and daddy!).  It is helpful to families to gain as much knowledge before baby is born to assist with a lot of questions you might already have or not even know that you might have until you take said class.  At North Georgia Breastfeeding Center, a lot of our clients are prenatal visits which really sets the road to success with not only breastfeeding knowledge, but to help you become an advocate for yourself at the hospital during delivery and also during feeding times.

2.  Get Help From a Lactation Consultant

This is crucial to all breastfeeding mommies.  A great IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) will assist you with feeding techniques, proper latch, answer any questions, and put both mommy and baby at ease.  It is imperative that you request to see an IBCLC at the hospital before discharge (the sooner the better) and also follow up with one after discharge if needed.  A common misconception is that lactation help can only be found at the hospital.  THIS IS NOT TRUE!  There are many resources available to you in the community that are established to assist with breastfeeding success.  Hospital IBCLC’s usually assist mostly with their in patients.  We hear a lot of times from mommies that have had difficulty getting in touch with their hospital IBCLCs and are fearful that this is the only place they can receive lactation services.  Some services in your community besides hospital IBCLCs may include your local WIC clinic, the La Leche League, or a private practice IBCLC, such as our practice.

3.  Hold Your Baby Skin-to-Skin

Skin-to-skin contact with your baby is critical for the bonding time after baby is born.  Most of the time, while mommies see us in our clinic, we encourage them to nurse their babies skin-to-skin.  Skin-to-skin offers so many benefits to babies.  Some of which include: helping baby to adjust to the world outside of the womb, reducing crying, keeping them warm, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, promoting bonding, & promoting breastfeeding.  Your body is miraculous when it comes to taking care of babies.  Our body temperature, especially in the breast area, will regulate itself to make baby comfortable, raising if baby is too cold, and lowering if baby is too warm.  The sound of your heartbeat also comforts baby.

4.  Breastfeed Within the First Hour

Most healthy babies are ready to breastfeed within the first hour of birth.  It is helpful to have an IBCLC available to assist with any questions or concerns.  Breastfeeding is natural and instinctive to babies.  It’s mommies that overthink the process a lot of times.  Your breast is where baby wants to be.  It’s warm and cozy, and smells like their familiar environment.  Breastfeeding within the first hour of life helps baby to adjust to their new environment.

5.  Breastmilk Only

It is your right to refuse formula, water, or sugar water at the hospital.  With so many hospitals becoming Baby Friendly hospitals, many are becoming much more supportive of breastfeeding.  There are times at the hospital that you might find it difficult to breastfeed baby.  The latch might not be quite right, your nipples may become painful, etc.  If this is the case there are other options to feeding your baby your breastmilk.  You can start by hand expressing some colostrum (this is your early breastmilk that is packed full of nutrients and antibodies) and feeding baby with a spoon, syringe, finger, or dropper.  An IBCLC will be able to offer assistance with these methods.

6.  Room-In

This means keeping baby with you 24 hours a day.  There are many benefits to rooming-in with your new baby.  You will be able to have more skin-to-skin contact, learn their hunger cues, and have more bonding time.  You will also have baby readily available to offer them the breast, thus ensuring further breastfeeding success.

7.  Limit Pacifier Use

We believe that pacifiers will not destroy a breastfeeding relationship and are important for baby’s development, especially if there is a situation where baby might not have had time to develop sufficient suckling skills in utero.  However, during the first few days, it is encouraged to bring baby to breast at least every two hours or more frequently if baby desires to offer sufficient stimulation to encourage milk production and encourage bonding.

8.  Nurse on Demand

Newborns need to eat every 2-2.5 hours.  Rooming-in with baby will allow you to be readily available to baby to ensure their feeding needs are met during these times.  Each baby will have their own set of hunger cues.  Most include rooting (turning their head towards the breast and opening their mouth), chewing on their fists, or acting fussy or fidgety.  It’s important to know that these cues can be signs of hunger, but can also be signs of just needing to snuggle with mommy, or wanting something to suckle.  As you learn the cues for when your baby is hungry, you will quickly find out that it is easier to be proactive than reactive.  It’s much easier to feed a baby before they start crying and pitching a fit.

9.  Don’t Take Free Formula Home With You

Luckily, with more and more hospitals becoming Baby Friendly hospitals, this is becoming a thing of the past.  Baby Friendly hospitals will usually not even offer formula samples to families when they leave the hospital and formula is only being used in hospitals when absolutely necessary.  Sometimes when you are tired or frustrated, it might seem easier to have baby taken to the nursery to have the nurses feed them formula, or to offer a bottle during the day when all you want is a nap.  It is best to refuse any samples  and stick with breastfeeding which is far superior for your baby.

10.  Get a Phone Number for Support

Before leaving, make sure you have the contact information for a Lactation Consultant for help after discharge.  Also know that Lactation Consultants are not just here to get “baby to breast.”  They are feeding specialists.  They can help with a multitude of feeding, oral, prenatal, and digestive issues.  They are always here to offer support, give advice, and answer any questions.  In fact, I’ll make it easy for you.  Here’s our phone number for North Georgia Breastfeeding Center: (678) 965-0103.  Please call us at any time.  We are here to help!


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