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The First Days of Breastfeeding

This page of advice is for the breastfeeding mom during her hospital stay from moments after delivery to the seventh day.


  • Babies often are sleepy the first 24 hours. Offer your breast every two to three hours, but do not be concerned if your baby seems uninterested.
  • After the first 24 hours, it is normal for babies to nurse frequently. Let the baby feed as often as he likes day and night.
  • Feed the baby as soon as he or she shows signs of hunger. Head turning from side to side, fist to mouth, and lip-licking are all signs of hunger. Do not wait until the baby is crying.
  • Do not let more than 3 hours pass between feedings/attempts.
  • The more often you feed, the more milk you will have.
  • Breast milk takes up to five days to "come in." Until then your breasts produce small amounts of colostrum, which fits perfectly in your baby's small tummy. Colostrum is all your baby needs the first few days.
  • Allow the baby to finish the first breast before offering the second. Do not rush. Depending on appetite, he may or may not feed on the second breast.
  • For greatest breastfeeding success, avoid the use of bottles, pacifiers, and formula.
  • Expect one wet diaper on day 1one (one day = 24 hours), two wet diapers on day two, three on day thee, and so on, up to day 7seven.
  • Ask for help. The first few days of breastfeeding can be a challenge. Call your nurse for assistance or request a Lactation Consultant, 343-5186, if a problem persists.


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