The first six weeks postpartum are a crucial time for breastfeeding, says lactation consultant Ann-Marie Christian. Knowing what to expect lays the foundation for a successful experience.
- The most common concern breastfeeding moms have, according to Christian, is “How do I know if my baby is getting enough food?” Babies are built for small, frequent feedings. Yours should be eating eight times or more during a 24-hour period. Pay attention to weight gain (after about day 3) and dirty diapers to help you monitor whether or not he’s being nourished.
- Cluster feedings (when baby wants to eat every 30 minutes or so instead of every three hours) are normal and could signal a coming growth spurt, Christian says. They often occur around the 2-week mark and do not indicate that you aren’t producing enough milk.
- Some discomfort, especially with latching at the beginning of a feeding, is typical and should subside. But if pain continues, get help early. You can find a certified lactation consultant at ilca.org
- Consider seeking out a mother’s support group, such as a local chapter of La Leche League International (llli.org). You’ll have a place to ask questions, get advice, and develop friendships with other new moms.