Asian baby drinking breastmilkA mother’s breastmilk is made specifically for her baby. The components of breastmilk change as the baby grows, which is why breastmilk is a perfect match for the baby.

Colostrum, or the first milk, is often called “Liquid Gold” because of its color and value to the infant. Colostrum is very high in protein and easily digested. It helps prevent low blood sugar in infants, protects the infant against infection, and coats the infant’s gut with good bacteria.

Some mothers are concerned they do not produce enough milk for their infant initially and want to supplement until their milk “comes in.” This is a common misconception because the baby’s stomach size is matched perfectly to his/her mother’s milk supply.

We encourage mothers to breastfeed at least eight times a day, but as often as baby wants to eat. Keeping baby skin-to-skin will help encourage the baby to breastfeed.

By day two or three, the infant will begin to cluster feed, meaning he or she will feed multiple times close together. This is normal and does not mean mom does not have enough milk! The more frequently mom breastfeeds, the quicker her supply will come in and the more she will get. It’s a perfect match.

Additional tips for breastfeeding:

• Feed the baby when you see early feeding cues. These may include:
o Opening mouth as if to search for the nipple
o Smacking lips
o Tongue thrusting
o Putting hands to mouth
• Crying is a late sign of hunger. It much easier to breastfeed an infant who is calm, rather than frustrated and crying (the same applies to mom too), so make sure the baby is consoled first.
• Gently massage the breast prior to nursing infants.
• To get a good latch:
o Hold infant belly-to-belly and align nose-to-nipple. This ensures when the infant opens his/her mouth he/she will get a deep latch that will be comfortable to mom.
o Baby’s mouth should be open wide with flared out lips (think fish lips).
o There should not be any biting or pinching pain.

If you have difficulty breastfeeding, call our lactation consultants for support 502-562-6081.

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Teri Spurling, RN, IBCLC

Teri Spurling, RN, IBCLC, has worked at UofL Hospital for 42 years, even since graduating from UofL’s School of Nursing in 1977. Within the Center for Women & Infants at UofL Hospital, she served in the newborn nursery for 28 years, and was on the Mother/Baby unit for two years before becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2012. She also serves on the Baby-Friendly committee for the hospital.

All posts by Teri Spurling, RN, IBCLC
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