Breastfeeding

It’s best for your baby, and it’s good for you, too. It will help get your uterus (womb) back in shape. If you need help or advice about breastfeeding, call your local WIC clinic, the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-445-6175 or La Leche League at 1-877-452-5324. You also can go to their website at www.llli.org.

Tips for getting breastfeeding off to a good start:

  • Woman breastfeeding babyAvoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. They are not healthy for you and can harm your baby when passed through your breast milk.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, and drink six to eight glasses of water and other liquids each day.
  • Learn about breastfeeding during pregnancy from classes, videos, books or the Internet. 
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery.
  • Ask for help to get correct positioning. Many hospitals have specialists, called lactation consultants, on staff that can help you.
  • Nurse often, at least every three hours or eight to 12 times every 24 hours.
  • Listen for swallowing sounds during the feeding to make sure everything is going down well.
  • Let your baby be the judge of when he’s had enough. He should seem satisfied and look relaxed.
  • Your baby should wet and soil at least six diapers every day.
  • The number of wet and soiled diapers should increase each day during the first week of life.
  • If you are breastfeeding, your baby needs to be seen by his pediatrician within 48 to 72 hours after you leave the hospital. During this visit, your baby will be weighed and examined, and your breastfeeding technique can be evaluated. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions.

For help with breastfeeding, contact your local WIC clinic, call the Arkansas Department of Health WIC Breastfeeding Helpline at 1-800-445-6175 or visit www.HealthyArkansas.com/breastfeeding.

What happens if you get sick while you’re nursing?

Most experts agree that the best thing for you and your baby is to continue nursing. Your body will produce antibodies to the bug causing your illness, and fortunately you will pass those antibodies along to your baby through your breast milk. If your baby does get sick, he will probably only get a very mild case of the illness.

Very few diseases or illnesses require breastfeeding to stop. Talk with your doctor or refer to www.familyresource.com/pregnancy/breastfeeding/when-a-nursing-mother-get...

If you’re sick, there are some over-the-counter medicines considered safe for nursing mothers and others that are not. Always ask your doctor before taking any medicine while you’re nursing. For a detailed list of over-the-counter medicines that your doctor may recommend, go to www.familyresource.com/pregnancy/breastfeeding/when-a-nursing-mother-get...

Storing and preparing expressed breast milk 

Breast milk is perfect straight from your breast, or it can be expressed and stored for later use. Follow these safe storage and preparation tips to keep your expressed milk healthy for your baby:

  • Wash your hands before expressing or handling your milk.
  • Use only clean containers to store milk. 
  • Freeze milk if you do not plan to use it within 24 hours. Frozen milk is good for at least one month in a freezer.
  • Carefully label the milk with the date and time that you expressed it. Use the oldest milk first. 
  • Freeze between 2–4 ounces of milk per container, to avoid wasting milk after you thaw it.
  • Do not refreeze your milk.
  • Do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk in a storage container.
  • Thaw milk in the refrigerator.
  • Use milk thawed in the refrigerator within 24 hours.
  • Do not save unfinished milk from a partially used bottle to use at another feeding.
  • Never use a microwave to heat bottles. Uneven heating can scald your baby, and excessive heat can destroy important proteins and vitamins in the milk. 

 

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