[My goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of what is a normal in a newborn so a new Mom who wishes to breastfeed her baby can accomplish that which she has set out to do. It is not my desire that this post cause pain or guilt to those, who for many reasons, find that they cannot nurse such as those on medication or chemotherapy.] ~J
Being a visual learner, I have always done better with a picture!
When I saw Katie’s infographic from Babies First Lactation, it was my hope that lots of people (Moms, Dads, and extended family members) could gain understanding of volume and size from it. The La Leche League also has a valuable visual here.
There is also thought that some newborns need more volume and so I add this graphic (below), not to be confusing, but so that you pay attention to your newborn baby’s satisfaction after nursing to guide you. The summary of this post is,”There is no single right answer to this question because each baby has a different weight and unique caloric requirement. By just weight alone, a 6.6 pound baby has an average size stomach of 20 mL on day 1 and would require 40 mL or 1.3 oz (volume) of breast milk or formula every 2 hours to meet their basic metabolic needs or 60 mL every 3 hours. But babies should also be fed by infant cue to satisfaction.”
As an RN, I have had lots of occasions to talk with new Moms who felt their newborn was not getting enough volume of milk or maybe not good quality milk. They felt their milk supply was inadequate somehow and so they began to question their ability to supply it.
If a mom were to stop nursing at this point, their babies would miss the colostrum God designed to pass on antibodies to build the baby’s immune system.
So listen to your baby and follow your God-given instincts. This is how you hone your instincts…by day in and day out experience. One day you will be able to help other young moms. Our culture is losing this valuable gift of experience and older moms willing and able to teach (Titus 2:3-4).
When well-meaning family members say “The baby is crying again, he must be hungry” or “she (the baby) just ate an hour ago; you must not have enough milk if she is hungry already”, this can create, or further feed, an insecurity you, the new mother, may already be feeling.
What a perfect scenario to cause doubt, open the door to formula when your newborn may be doing well on breast, and possibly lose your milk supply.
Actually, your newborn baby may be hungry again, as they are rapidly growing and developing. Sometimes that robust hunger is a GOOD sign!
I urge you to persevere with good counsel from a lactation specialist.
Leaders accredited by La Leche League International are available around the world to help mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies, or contact a leader anywhere using the map. There is also an active Facebook group you can go to for specific questions and support.
Also, Nursing Mothers Counsel are available between 9AM and 9PM, PST, 7 days a week. and you can leave a message and they will get back with you! Call 503-282-3338. (This # updated 2/7/2019).
Finally, consider asking for guidance or support from an experienced Mother or two who have breastfed their children.
I believe they would be honored to come alongside you and would likely be a huge help to you.
Studies Show Potential Health Advantages For Breastfeeding Mothers
~prevent postpartum hemorrhage
~promote uterine involution (return uterus to a nonpregnant state)
~delays menstruation which has the important benefit of conserving iron in the mother’s body and often provides natural spacing of pregnancies
~physical recovery of the mother between pregnancies
~optimal increased metabolism, giving an edge on losing weight gained during pregnancy
~lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
~reduced risk of various cancers and heart disease
~produces a special hormonal milieu for the mother. Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, appears to produce a special calmness in mothers.
Mother’s milk also confers untold lifelong health benefits to your newborn.
No one could ever make a more perfect food.
Understanding how crucial these benefits are for long term good health, you may want to work extra hard to not lose that beautiful and womanly art of breastfeeding. How do you measure the peace of mind of having a healthy baby who is developing optimally? Where do you factor in the financial burden of formula prices and increased medical costs?
In my humble opinion, many man-made formulas are problematic. Here are infant formulas which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and processed free aspartic acid – both neurotoxins.
A newborn is tiny for only a short time, their stomachs grow quickly and they become much more efficient which means breastfeeding sessions become shorter and less frequent. For now enjoy those cuddles. Be encouraged that your newborn baby is feeding frequently and doing a fantastic job of “demanding” a healthy supply of breastmilk. The great effort you and your baby put in during the first few days establishes a solid start for a happy and healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Do you have a story to share?
Mother and Three daughters by an Open Window by Giuseppe Magni
“Breastfeeding is a natural “safety net” against the worst effects of poverty. If the newborn survives the first month of life (the most dangerous period of childhood) then for the next four months or so, exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence…It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.” ~James P. Grant, former Executive Director, UNICEF
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Thanks for reading!