"Nursing, In a Nutshell"
by Ms Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC
(Printed with Permission in Jan/Mar 2000 issue of "Keeping
The more often you nurse, the more milk you will have.
The more milk your baby takes from you, the more milk your body will make.
It's a very simple system!
Enough milk? Most women are capable of nursing twins!
Six to eight heavy/wet diapers a day usually mean there's plenty of milk
"going in". And your milk is the normal food for your baby, always
changing to meet his changing needs.
Some babies are sleepy at first and need encouragement to
nurse frequently, but many newborns like to nurse a lot. Many newborns
like a long nursing every hour or so through much of the day (especially
in the evening!). But as they grow, their "nursing marathon" tapers
Nursing provides warmth, security, body contact, reassurance,
and relaxation, as well as just food. Don't try to put your baby's
favorite activity on a schedule. Forget the clock and enjoy each
other, the way nursing was meant to be.
Big or small,fat or thin, most healthy babies do best with
only mother's milk for the first half year or so. Even water is unnecessary!
And don't worry about overfeeding. There is no evidence that breastfed
babies gain any more than their "programmed" amount, however often they
nurse. You cannot nurse a growing baby too often; you can nurse too
Sometimes sore nipples are a concern. They are most
often helped just by improving your nursing position. Hug your baby
tummy to tummy with you, on his side, his back and neck in a straight line.
Rest his head on your forearm so that his nose, not his chin, is near your
nipple, and pull his hips in close with the same hand. Support your
breast with your fingers well back. When he opens wide, roll or stroke
your breast onto his tongue, so that your nipple goes in last and his lower
lip is as far as possible from your nipple. Pull him in so that his
cheeks touch your breast. If you want extra help, call your Breastfeeding
Support Group or a Lactation Consultant. Breastfeeding is a learned
skill, so learn from successful nursing mothers!
Returning to work? You can still nurse your baby!
It is the only thing you can do for your baby that no one else can.
Check with a Breastfeeding Counsellor or Lactation Consultant on how to
manage the details. Even if you nurse for only a few weeks, you'll
give your baby a great start.
Do your breasts feel "empty"? Don't be fooled!
As long as you are a nursing mother, they will never be empty. And
waiting for your breasts to "fill up" before feeding your little one can
actually reduce your milk supply. After a month or so, your production
will match your nursling's demand and you won't feel full. But the
milk will still be there.
You and your baby are unique. Listen, learn, and sift
out the ideas that feel best for the two of you. Your nursing relationship
will not be exactly like any other.
It's worth repeating: Nursing frequently is the best
way to ensure a good milk supply and a healthy and happy baby. It's
a system as old as humankind, and it works just fine.
(C) Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC 136 Ellis Hollow Creek Road Ithaca,
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