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*Baby shouldn’t nurse more than every 3-4 hours or you’ll spoil her. In the first few weeks, baby should eat at least every 3 hours-this is a minimum. It will often be closer to every 2 hours, as breastmilk digests in approximately 90 minutes. An increase in nursing time and frequency will happen during growth spurts, changes in routine, etc. Nurse on demand, as nursing is also a source of comfort for baby. You can never nurse too often; you can nurse too little. It’s a common thought that babies under 6 months cannot be spoiled.
*Switch breasts every 5-7 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. Never watch the clock when you are nursing. Baby will tell you that he is done by pulling off of your breast or falling asleep. When baby is finished with one breast, offer the second, though baby may or may not take it.
*You must not have enough milk, your milk must be bad, you should use formula if: baby is nursing so often, for such long periods, you don’t think you are pumping enough, etc. Baby will go through growth spurts, may cluster feed, or have some ‘marathon’ nursing sessions for any number of reasons. It does NOT mean your supply is low or that your milk is ‘bad’. These increases in frequency will come and go, but they will not last forever. Continue to feed on demand.
Never, never, never look to length of time nursing or pumping output as a reliable indicator of your supply. To see if baby is getting enough milk, watch her number of wet diapers and if she’s content after eating. Weight gain and meeting developmental milestones is also a good indicator that she’s getting enough. Your baby nursing is much more efficient than even the best breast pump.
*It won’t hurt to give one bottle of formula, a pacifier, etc: Both bottles and pacifiers can cause nipple confusion. With a bottle, baby may also decide he likes the faster flow of a bottle and may refuse the breast. Artificial nipples should only be introduced once nursing has been well established for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Milk production is a supply and demand process. If you give baby that one bottle of formula, your body will think baby doesn’t need as much milk, and will decrease your supply. With a lower supply, you will have to supplement with more formula, your body will continue to decrease your supply, and you’ll soon be down to nothing.
*Give baby a little cereal in a bottle; it will help him sleep through the night. Babies need NOTHING but breastmilk until at least 6 months of age. This cuts down on developing food allergies and gives the digestive tract time to mature. All babies are different, and giving cereal will not always guarantee sleeping through the night.
*There are no benefits to nursing past 6 months. The six month mark recommended by the APA, WHO, etc. is a minimum. The benefits to baby and you will continue as long as you breastfeed. In cases where food allergies are expected, breastfeeding is recommended a full year.
*If you have a sore breast, don’t nurse with it for a day or two. This can lead to a supply problem. Unless it’s very, very painful, you should nurse even a sore breast. It’s best to offer the healthy breast first, as baby will then be more gentle with the second breast. It’s best to see your doctor if you develop any problems ASAP.
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