Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Top 3: Lactation consultant answers three questions she gets from new moms

Posted June 13

A new study says breastfeeding can cure ear infections and diarrhea. But that's not the only thing your child will suffer from. (Deseret Photo)

How much is my baby really eating? Should it hurt? Is it OK that my baby seems hungry every hour?

When Lorraine Rocco, a registered nurse and lactation consultant at Baby + Co. in Cary, fields questions from new moms about breastfeeding, these are three of the top ones.

"I always say, 'breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn't mean it's easy,'" Rocco said. "Especially in our culture where predominantly we are bottle feeding. ... There's a lot of bad information and not enough support."

"It can be challenging," she said. "Finding your village and finding your local experts can be the lifeline to get to the other side. It can take nothing to weeks sometimes to find that pleasure in a relationship, to feel the sweetness that you can have when you feed your baby."

I'll be chatting with Rocco during a Facebook Live video on Go Ask Mom's Facebook page at 10:15 a.m., Wednesday. We'll be talking about common questions and problems. We welcome your questions!

But I thought I'd share some more information here from Rocco, who works with expecting parents from the first trimester through the postpartum period. At Baby + Co., she's involved in postpartum groups, which anybody can attend, regardless of where they delivered, for support.

Let's answer those top three questions ...

How much is my baby really eating?

Rocco says the key is to pay attention to your baby's body and your body.

With your baby, she said, "what goes in, must come out."

Keep a count of the number of dirty diapers. On the first day, expect one wet and one poopy diaper. On the second day, expect two wet and two poopy diapers ... and so forth.

"By the end of the first week, you should see six to eight wet diapers and four poops - generally," Rocco said.

Also, keep track of the baby's weight.

"They should regain their birth weight within 10 days to two weeks," she said.

During a feed, pay attention to both your baby and you. The baby, Rocco said, is typically tense when they first start eating. Eventually their little bodies relax into what some call a "milk coma."

While they are nursing, moms should feel a gentle tugging, but not pain, and should hear their baby swallowing. Moms also should notice that their breasts are softer after a feed. Another sign for moms: Some cramping or slight bleeding is to be expected during breastfeeding sessions as the uterus goes back down into the pelvis. This can take six to eight weeks.

Should it hurt?

There can be some tenderness in the beginning, Rocco said. After all, your body may have never done this before (or at least had a year or more break). Your baby isn't a pro at it either in the beginning.

"Initially, when you latch your baby on, you'll feel a little bit of that tenderness," Rocco said. "Then it should settle. Count to 10 and it should be gone. That's in the first week or two."

If you experience toe-curling pain - so much discomfort that you dread the next feeding - then it's best to visit with a lactation consultant, who can help with any latching position issues or diagnose other problems.

"Sometimes, very rarely, there are moms out there who will struggle for weeks and weeks and weeks and there's so much to work out and it takes a while for them to actually enjoy it," Rocco said. "Breastfeeding takes persistence sometimes, but it does get better with help and support."

Editor's note: That was me. It took me a good three months to get the breastfeeding thing down with both of my kids. And I only got there thanks to some great friends, a great husband and some fantastic lactation consultants.

Is it OK that my baby seems hungry every hour?

In the beginning, Rocco says, yes.

Everybody wants a schedule and wants to know when things are going to happen," she said. "But baby doesn't have a clock."

In the first six to eight weeks, babies have two things working against them - they aren't very efficient eaters and they have tiny tummies.

"They, often times, are going to be hungry very frequently," Rocco said.

As they get older, they'll begin spacing their feedings out every three to four hours. But, in those first six to eight weeks, the focus, she said, should be on a mom's heeling and a baby's feeding.

"You just have to let loose in those early weeks and give in to it," she said. By six to eight weeks, when many new moms head back to work, "there seems to be a patten that emerges that feels a lot more doable" for moms.

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