Feeding is a time to nurture your baby emotionally, as well as nutritionally. It is important to hold, cuddle and talk to your baby during feedings. Your baby will give you cues when she is hungry:
squirms or has rapid eye movement while the eyes are closed
roots or turns her head when her cheek is stroked
opens her mouth and searches
smacks her lips
makes sucking movements
puts her hand in her mouth
cries (the last cue).
When your baby shares these feeding cues, put her to your breast or prepare a bottle of formula. For the first couple of weeks, your baby should eat at least eight to 12 times every 24 hours.
Newborns are normally sleepy for the first few days after birth, which can make it seem like they don't want to eat this often. However, being asleep does not mean your baby is not hungry.
A newborn's need to sleep can override her feelings of hunger. Babies do not understand feeding schedules. Trying to keep your baby on an artificially longer pattern can cause frantic hunger.
To do list
Identify who can give you breastfeeding support, such as a friend or family member. If you don't already know, find out what breastfeeding services your hospital or clinic offers.
Buy several nursing bras. Choose cotton cups that are not lined with plastic and two extra clasp-widths for
expanded comfort. The last three weeks of pregnancy are the best time to schedule a nursing bra fitting. Your hospital birth center may provide this service.
If you will be returning to work while you're still nursing, you may want to buy a good breast pump before your baby is born.
Register for a breastfeeding class. Go to allinahealth.org/classes or call Allina Health Class Registration at 1-866-904-9962.