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Newborn Breastfeeding: First Day to Two Weeks

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Although breastfeeding may seem natural and require no preparation, knowing what to expect in the first days of newborn breastfeeding can help you prepare for any challenges, correctly interpret the signals your baby and body send, and ultimately ensure successful, long-term breastfeeding.

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The First Few Hours

It is recommended that the newborn be placed on the mother’s bare chest immediately after delivery. This skin-to-skin contact helps your baby transition to the outside world and strengthens the connection between you and your newborn. Studies suggest this can help stabilize your baby’s breathing, regulate their body temperature and blood sugar levels, and encourage breastfeeding. This physical contact with the baby also benefits you, the mother, by stimulating uterine contractions, placenta expulsion, and milk production. 

It is important that the newborn is breastfed within the first two hours and preferably during the first so-called “golden” hour after birth. Newborns tend to be most alert during the first hours after birth, and they’re born with a natural reflex to help them find the nipple and latch on. 

Your first milk, or colostrum, which is thicker than breast milk, is typically all the nutrition your baby needs. Colostrum contains antibodies and other substances that protect your baby against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.

Skin-to-skin contact

Tips for the First 24 Hours of newborn breastfeeding

The first 24 hours of your baby’s life are crucial to a positive breastfeeding experience for you and your newborn. To make it easier:

  • Try to breastfeed within the first hour after your baby is born.
  • Be persistent and consistent. Even if your baby doesn’t take full feeding right away, they are still getting important nutrition. Keep offering the breast.
  • Spend time in direct skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. It can encourage your child to breastfeed more.
  • Keep putting them to the breast every few hours. If your baby is sleepy — you have to wake them up.
  • Talk to your nurse or a lactation consultant. If you are worried your child isn’t getting enough to eat on the first day, talk to lactation consultant.

How often should you breastfeed a newborn in the first days?

Regardless of the time of day, for the first few days, you should breastfeed your newborn 8–12 times (or more) in 24 hours (i.e., not less than every 3 hours) or as often as the baby requires.

You don’t have to stick to a strict feeding schedule. It is best to stay flexible and breastfeed your baby “on demand” in the first few weeks of their life. Breastfeed your newborn as soon as you notice the first signs of hunger. Usually, the newborn needs to be breastfed for 10-15 minutes, about every 1.5-3 hours. It is best to continue breastfeeding your newborn for as long as they want. Let your baby end the feeding. When they are full, they will let go of the breast.

In the early days, some newborn babies are very sleepy, so you may have to wake them up for feeding. wake them up every hour and a half to two hours during the day (if they don’t wake up earlier) and no less than every three hours at night.

On demand feedings help you to increase your supply of breast milk to meet your growing newborn’s nutritional needs. It also helps your baby regain the weight lost after birth, and protect your baby against or treat jaundice. After the first, most intense days of breastfeeding, it will get easier as your baby gets older, and a more routine schedule may naturally evolve.

Tracking breastfeeding sessions with Baby Daybook

How much milk does your baby need?

You may be wondering if you are producing enough milk for your baby. Yes, most likely! A newborn baby’s need for milk and its mother’s ability to produce just the right amount perfectly illustrates the law of supply and demand in nature. The more frequently you breastfeed, the more milk you’ll make. Your body perfectly adjusts to make the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs.

You will only have a small amount of milk for the first day or two after your baby is born. This is normal, and it is more than enough for your newborn. After the first few days of breastfeeding, your breast milk will increase in the amount to match your baby’s growing tummy. It may take from three to five days. Breast milk goes through three stages until it is produced in larger quantities: colostrum, transitional breast milk, and mature breast milk. Each one is vital for your baby’s nutrition. As your milk supply increases, your baby’s stomach grows slowly to be able to hold more milk.

Breast milk stages in the first two weeks

  • Colostrum (1-2 days). In the first days, the baby’s food is colostrum, which usually begins to be produced during pregnancy. Very little colostrum is produced on the first day, however, this is a sufficient amount of food for a newborn baby whose stomach is the size of a cherry. The newborn’s small stomach size is one of the reasons why they need to be breastfed so often.
  • Transitional milk (3-14 days after birth) is a colostrum and mature milk mixture. Transitional milk comes when mature breast milk gradually replaces colostrum. On the third day of life, the baby’s stomach is already about the size of a walnut; at one week, it is the size of an apricot. As their stomach grows, they consume more milk per feeding, and your breast milk continues to grow and increase to meet your baby’s needs.
  • Mature milk appears 10-14 days after birth. At this time, mature milk replaces transitional milk. The composition of milk changes during breastfeeding: as soon as the baby is attached to the breast, liquid, thinner milk flows to quench thirst, and it is gradually replaced by fatter, more nutritious milk. It is important that the baby breastfeeds on one breast for longer, not only to “drink” but also to get fatter milk. When your baby is two weeks old, their stomach is the size of an egg, and they are ready for more milk at each feeding.

Research shows successful lactation depends on eight or more nursings in 24 hours, both day and night, throughout the first month. By establishing this pattern during the first few days, you will get breastfeeding off to a good start.

Breastfeeding statistics

How to endure the newborn stage?

Motherhood can be exhausting, especially when you’re nursing your baby constantly. The first few weeks can be the most challenging with the care of a newborn. You realize what actual sleep deprivation is between feeding and sleeping, diaper changes, and cleaning. You have your hands full, so it’s normal to be tired! It’s easy to forget about self-care when you’re a new mom, but taking care of yourself is crucial for your well-being. Pay attention to your own needs as well as your baby’s needs.

Try these tips to help you feel your best:

  • Rest when you can, eat healthy food, stay hydrated, and try to get enough sleep.
  • Take turns with your partner if possible, and do it as a team.
  • Ask family and friends for help when you need it.
  • Have time alone, read a book, take a bath, do yoga, and get outside, even for a short walk.

If you are having challenges with breastfeeding, ask for help from a lactation specialist as soon as possible. They can help you find ways to solve any problems you have with newborn breastfeeding, answer your questions, and teach you how to breastfeed correctly.

How can Baby Daybook help you?

As a new parent, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your baby thrive and grow. But with so many tasks to juggle, including breastfeeding, it can take a lot of work to keep track of everything. 

Record your newborn breastfeeding sessions using Baby Daybook. Breastfeeding tracking with an app reduces the stress of remembering the last time your baby nursed, which side you used, and how long the feeding lasted. Use reminders for breastfeeding to make sure that your baby is getting enough nutrition.

Using our app, you can track more than just breastfeeding. You can log just about everything: sleeping times, diaper changes, tummy time, doctor visits, symptoms, temperature, medicine, vaccinations, and any other essential data. Using the app, you can also monitor your baby’s weight gain and development.

All this data will be beneficial in the first few days and weeks when talking to a doctor or another medical professional about your baby’s feedings and other daily habits.

The most important rule when breastfeeding a newborn is to trust the signs they send, respond to them, and enjoy every motherhood moment.

Download now!
Download the Baby Daybook app today and easily track your baby’s activities and milestones. We’re here to support you every step of the way!

Note: Our writers strive to maintain accuracy and quality in all content produced. However, it’s important to note that the information provided on our blog should not be considered professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. It’s highly recommended to consult a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions.

Article by
Margarita Grigaliūnė
Margarita is a Marketing Specialist at Baby Daybook and occasionally writes articles for the company. As a mother herself, she understands the importance of providing accurate and helpful information to other parents. Margarita likes expanding her knowledge of parenting and sharing tips with other families. Writing for Baby Daybook allows her to do just that. She enjoys creating reliable, valuable, and beneficial articles for new parents.
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