A good breastfeeding schedule will make it easier to provide both emotional and nutritional antibody benefits for newborn babies.
Breast Milk Benefits
Breast milk has benefits for the baby, such as:
- being easily digested
- it is a perfectly matched nutritional source
- it is filled with antibodies that protect against infection
These benefits cannot be naturally duplicated in commercial formulas.
Breastfeeding has benefits for the mother including convenience, economical reasons, and it also aids weight loss. However, many mothers can become frustrated as an "on call" nursemaid.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when developing a breastfeeding schedule:
Babies usually naturally require 8-12 feedings in a 24 hour period. To accomplish this, babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours, with one 4-5 hour stretch in between at night. Try to wake newborn babies by 2 1/2 hours from the beginning of the last feeding time.
The first week or two may be a challenge with regard to keeping the baby interested in the feeding. Some ways to accomplish this include rubbing the bottoms of their feet or back to keep them awake. Also, if you try to unwrap them just a bit so that they are not as cozy, comfortable and warm, they may stay more alert. By talking to your baby while you are nursing, the baby can also stay more stimulated, and thus, more awake. Those tactics will all serve to help to keep the baby interested in finishing the feeding.
nurse the baby until there are signs of fullness. While they can
sometimes doze off during feeding, they may not be full yet. By gently
nudging the baby as outlined above, you should be able to tell if they
Some of the signs that the baby is full can include sucking less vigorously and sleepiness. Also, the breast will feel less full after around 15 minutes.
It is best to try to use both breasts at each feeding. If that is not possible, be sure to begin with the other breast at the next feeding.
Since breast milk contains all of the nutrients required for a healthy baby, it is best to avoid giving water and juice to the infant. Introducing other fluids too soon can also cause diarrhea. It is important to keep the baby as healthy as possible for obvious reasons, but it also helps in establishing and maintaining a breastfeeding schedule.
Both the mother and newborn baby benefit from breastfeeding in that it is a beautiful and intimate way that a mother can bond with her baby, and it contributes to the beginning of a very special and loving relationship overall.
If you follow the above tips, it will be easier to establish a breastfeeding schedule that will reduce breast discomfort, while maximizing mother and infant benefits and fostering milk production.