To celebrate National Breastfeeding month, we’ve asked Jarrah Foster, San Diego’s first private practice Black IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) for recommendations. Here are Jarrah’s top 5 things parents should know about lactation.
- Visit a Lactation Consultant or Support Group
Schedule a visit with a lactation consultant or go to a support group when you get home from the hospital to ensure things are on track. Breastfeeding in the first 1-3 days can look and feel a lot different than it does once your body begins making mature milk. Correcting a problem early can reduce the risk of supply issues down the road.
- Record Your Baby’s Output
Record your baby’s output for the first 2-3 weeks. Baby should have 1 wet diaper and 1 solid diaper on day 1 of life. That increases by 1 each day until about day 5, when the baby is consuming more mature milk. After day 5 the baby should have 6+ wet diapers and most have at least a few mustard-colored/seedy stools per day.
- Maintain Your Milk Supply
To maintain your milk supply, it is important that you are nursing or pumping about 8 or more times in 24 hours. Failing to express or pump between the hours of 12am and 5am on a consistent basis will result in a decrease in supply for most women, especially within the first 4 months.
- Watch Your Baby’s Feeding Needs
Watch the baby, not the clock. Babies need to eat a LOT in the first 6 weeks of life. They go through 4 growth spurts and sometimes want to eat all the time for days at a time. All of that feeding and time at breast will also help to increase your supply.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding can be wonderful and it can also be challenging. Trust your intuition, you know your baby best. How you decide to feed your infant should not negatively impact your mental health. There are many resources to help support you. If you are struggling, please reach out!