The Key to Building your Breast Milk Supply: Breastfeeding a Newborn

I’ve partnered with registered dietitian and friend Kaitlyn LeBrun to chat about some tips for breastfeeding. I shared my breastfeeding journey which you can read here and when Kaitlyn and I decided to collaborate, I knew I wanted to ask her the tips she has for successful breastfeeding! Though it doesn’t work for everyone, me included, her tips will be really helpful for moms out there struggling with getting the hang of things. Thanks Kaitlyn for the great tips..and just remember bottle or breast, fed it best. ❤️

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You want to breastfeed. You know how healthy it is for both you and your baby. But you’re overwhelmed and not sure what to expect. 

Today I’ll be sharing with you the 8-step guide to breastfeeding a newborn. But before that, there are two things you need to know. 

You need to believe that you can be successful with breastfeeding. And you need to be flexible.

Newborns, especially if it’s your first, are anything but predictable. Learn to go with the flow, and have confidence that it’ll all turn out well in the end with a happy, healthy mom and baby.

This guide focuses on the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding because these weeks are the most important for setting up success! They will likely be the most difficult as well, but I’m giving you the guide to help it go smoothly! 

Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. The more your baby takes from you, the more your body will make. And the less your baby takes from you, the less your body will make. 

The first 6 weeks are so important because you and your baby have to figure out how breastfeeding is going to work for both of you. Remember, every child is different, so breastfeeding each child will be a new experience. Your baby also goes through a lot of changes in these 6 weeks. Your body will need to learn to keep up with growth spurts and changing sleeping patterns. 

Remember, you gotta be flexible! But YOU CAN DO IT!

Here is your 8-step guide to feeding a newborn:

1. Have confidence in yourself. 

Go into breastfeeding believing that you will be successful.

2. Expect your baby  to lose 10% of her body weight after birth. 

Babies should be back to their birth weight by 2 weeks. 

3. Feed your baby whenever he’s hungry. 

Newborns typically feed every 2-3 hours, so breastfeeding 8-12 times per day is normal. 

4. Expect your baby to go through a growth spurt at around 2 weeks and 4 weeks. 

During this time, your baby may want to feed every hour. This is completely normal! It’s not that your body isn’t making enough milk for your baby; it’s that your baby is growing rapidly, but her tummy is so tiny that she needs to eat more frequently. Don’t worry, this will only last a couple days.

5. Track wet and dirty diapers because what goes in must come out! 

By the time your baby is about a week old, he should be having at least 6 wet and 3 dirty diapers a day. Poop should be yellow, seedy, and runny. 

6. Limit  bottles as much as possible, even if it’s with pumped breast milk. 

This can cause what’s called nipple confusion. Bottles flow faster than your breast, and your baby may prefer this. 

It’s important to have your baby latch on to your breast as this the best way for your body to make milk. Our bodies typically aren’t as efficient at making milk when we use a breast pump. But of course pumps are quite handy and helpful when necessary.

7. Minimize supplementing with formula. 

If your baby isn’t taking that milk from you, then you’re body won’t make as much. Mothers who supplement with formula in the first 6 weeks are less likely to be successful breastfeeding long term. 

If you do need to supplement because of low milk supply, add in a pumping session. You’ll want to pump for an additional 2 minutes after the last drop of milk comes out to help your body know to make more.

8. Take care of yourself! 

Drink plenty of water. Take your vitamins. And eat. Breastfeeding burns an additional 500 calories each day! In comparison, you only need an extra 300 calories during pregnancy.

Related: Does your breastfed baby need a vitamin supplement?

And don’t forget to believe in yourself! You can be successful with breastfeeding. Life will throw you curve balls and a newborn will be throwing lots, but be flexible, try not to stress, and enjoy the experience.

If you’re worried about your supply, contact your lactation consultant. They can help you determine the best course of action to keep your baby happy and fed while building your supply up. You can also contact me directly at SimplifyingNutrition@gmail.com if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

Kaitlyn LeBrun is a Registered Dietitian and nutrition counselor helping moms with topics ranging from breastfeeding to dealing with picky eaters. She also blogs at SimplifyingNutrition.com, where she provides quick and easy nutrition tips, workouts, and recipes for busy women. 

 

Thanks Kaitlyn for the great tips! Breast feeding is certainly a rollercoaster ride..I’ve been there! Don’t be too hard on yourself, be positive, and seek help if necessary!

3 comments

  1. Great tips! I’m a labor and delivery nurse and mom of 3. I wasn’t able to nurse my first because we never got a good latch. It turns out he was tongue-tied, but we didn’t figure it out until he was three months old and by then I’d given up on the idea of nursing (I was young then and didn’t know what I do now). I was able to nurse my second well into her first year with an amazing supply, despite being in nursing school and having the pump frequently while away from her. With my last baby, I struggled from day one with supply. I nursed and pumped extra just to try to build supply. I tried every herbal supplement out there, changed my diet, pumped more … still not a great supply. I eventually found a doctor who was willing to prescribe me domperidone, a medication that can increase milk supply. It’s not sold in the US, so I had to order from an overseas pharmacy, but it gave me enough milk that we were able to nurse to my goal of 1 year. So, if you’ve tried everything, know there are some other options out there as well. (And being and L&D nurse, I just have to add that the important thing is that baby is being fed … if you can nurse, great, if you can’t, your baby is not going to harmed by having formula. Too much mom-guilt in the world!)

  2. Your blog is so cute – I love it! So fresh and inviting! Love this post, it’s very informative and facts are the best way to go! Thanks for sharing xo

    1. Hi Sarah! Aww thank you so much! :))

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