10 Things You May Not (or Maybe You Do!) Know About the Early Days of Breastfeeding!
By Lisa Grossman, RN, BSN, PHN, CLC, CLEC of South Bay Baby Care
Written for Bump Club and Beyond (unauthorized copying and distribution by other agencies is prohibited)
Taking a breastfeeding class prior to the birth of your baby can really help you understand the physiology and techniques of breastfeeding. If you are short on time and haven’t had a chance to take a breastfeeding class here are some interesting facts that may help you understand those first few days of breastfeeding a bit better!
- Colostrum is the first type of breastmilk that is produced. Did you know that the production of colostrum starts during the first trimester of pregnancy? Pretty amazing!
- Research shows that for unmedicated vaginal deliveries, babies placed on their mother’s abdomen after birth will naturally crawl toward the breast within the first 60 minutes after delivery!
- Immediate skin-to-skin care after birth has shown to increase the success and longevity of breastfeeding!
- Colostrum has a laxative like effect and will help your baby pass their first poop, called meconium! Most babies pass their first poop within 24 hours after birth.
- The initial sucking at the breast that your baby does after birth helps them to pass meconium. By sucking at the breast this increases movement of their intestines!
- During the first few days of life your baby’s stomach capacity is between 5-20mL! This is very small. You can compare it to the size of a marble. This is why they feed frequently and the amount of colostrum that your breasts make is exactly what your baby needs!
- It is healthy and normal for babies to lose between 5 – 7% of their birth weight before they are discharged from the hospital! This is due to fluid loss and the passing of meconium poop.
- Healthy babies typically regain their birthweight back between days 10 -14 of life! Your pediatrician will monitor your baby’s weight to make sure they are on the right trajectory.
- Breastfeeding should not hurt! If breastfeeding is painful for you it is important that you see a lactation professional to help determine why you are experiencing pain. Often times this is due to an improper latch which may require training by a lactation specialist.
- Breastfeeding has health benefits for your baby and you! Did you know that by breastfeeding you decrease your own risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer? Generally speaking, the longer you breastfeed and the more babies that you breastfeed, the lesser the risk of developing these cancers. Check out this article by MD Anderson: https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/breastfeeding-breast-cancer-prevention.h19-1589046.html
You can find more about Lisa Grossman, RN, BSN, PHN, OCN, CLC, CLEC on her website.
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