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Breastfeeding Often for the First Few Weeks

The first few weeks of breastfeeding are very important! Knowing your baby and following a few simple steps can put you and your baby on the path to breastfeeding success!

It’s all about the latch! A good latch will help you feel comfortable and baby will get the most milk. It takes practice, but it should be comfortable and pain free. Hand expression helps if you become engorged (breasts are overfull with milk)!

Image Source: USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support

How do you know if your baby is getting enough milk?

  • Baby is satisfied and content after feedings, unlatches themselves, has relaxed hands & feet
  • You will have soft breasts after feedings
  • Baby breastfeeds at least 8 to 12 times every 24 hours, including at night
  • You can hear or see your baby swallowing
  • Baby is growing and gaining weight
  • Baby has enough wet and dirty diapers
  • Feed often! As often as baby wants to feed. Let baby set the feedings and nurse until they are full, remember to watch for those hunger cues to know when to feed again! 

Watch for early signs that your baby is hungry and then feed them right away. Common hunger signs or cues:

  • Fists moving to mouth, sucking on hands or lip smacking, opening and closing mouth
  • Head turning to look for the breast
  • Becoming more alert and active

Most hungry babies will show signs of hunger long before crying! Watch for and respond early to baby’s hunger signs. Once baby is at the later stage of hunger and cries, latching can be a challenge!

Reach out for breastfeeding support in the first days and weeks if you need it! WIC has Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors that are available 24/7 to text, call, email or Zoom. There are also statewide Zoom breastfeeding classes and lactation support groups.

WIC will share many great resources to help you meet your breastfeeding goal. One is the HUG Your Baby Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success. The Roadmap shows important changes that take place throughout the first year as baby grows and develops.

For example, increased crying at 2 weeks old or the restless sleep of a 1 month old.

Each of these changes, or stages, is a sign of normal behavior and development. However sometimes normal baby behavior can be misread as a breastfeeding problem. Being prepared for each stage will help you meet your breastfeeding goal!

The Roadmap includes short videos for each stage of development. Check out these videos to prepare for developmental milestones that occur at 2 weeks and 1 month of age.

Video Source: HUG Your Baby by Jan Tedder