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Most newborns are very sleepy the first 24 hours or so after birth. It is essential to wake your baby for feeding every two to three hours to ensure that he or she adjusts to the process and starts to eat.
A feeding and changing log will be given to you in the hospital so you can track how much and how often your baby eats during the first few days to ensure proper nourishment. If you are breastfeeding, these frequent feedings are also the best way to encourage your milk to come in.
The milk in your breasts at birth is very special milk called colostrum. It is a concentrated form of nutrition. Although colostrum is small in quantity it is rich in nutrients and immunities. It is all your baby needs for the first few days. Colostrum alone is present until the third or fourth day after birth when the milk begins to come in. This is when your body begins to shift into the production of what is called mature milk, a transition that takes about two weeks to complete.
Breastfeeding is a natural process but, for most new mothers and babies, it is a learned skill. It’s important to hold your baby and encourage your baby to breastfeed as soon as you can. Some babies will get the hang of it immediately and others may spend time getting acquainted. Even if you baby doesn't start nursing right away continue to gently encourage your baby while you talk, touch and, most of all, enjoy these very special first moments together.
Many new mothers either cannot or choose not to nurse their babies, for a variety of reasons. If you are unable to breastfeed, or you choose not to nurse, it is important that you feel comfortable with your decision. There are several good formulas available that provide excellent nutrition.
Before you go home from Chandler's Family Birth Center our nursing staff and lactation consultants will make sure you have the education and skills needed to care for and feed your baby at home. For information on our prenatal, birthing and breastfeeding classes, please call 480.728.5414 or visit our classes and events section.