Lauren Hanley, MD, IBCLC, of the OB/GYN Department at Mass General answers questions about what it means to be a Baby-Friendly Hospital.
Quick Tips for Initiating Breastfeeding
- Plan to exclusively breastfeed. This means your baby is receiving your breast milk and nothing else. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months. If there is a medical reason for supplementation, feeding your baby with your own milk when possible is the best way to protect your milk supply. During your postpartum stay, your nurse will help you with ways to express your milk
- Practice skin-to-skin care immediately after birth. Skin-to-skin care is when you keep your baby dressed only in a diaper and hat against your bare skin. Do this for at least one hour initially and then as frequently as possible afterwards
- Breastfeed within the first hour after birth. This should be done even if you have had a cesarean delivery
- Avoid early introduction of bottles and pacifiers. Introducing these feeding methods early can keep you from establishing a good milk supply. All of your baby’s suckling in the first few weeks should be at your breast
- Keep your baby in the same room with you at all times. Rooming-in while you are at the hospital after birth provides you the opportunity to learn your baby’s hunger cues
Pacifiers—To Use or Not to Use?
What’s wrong with using a pacifier? Nothing, when breastfeeding is well-established, typically by four weeks.
In the early weeks of breastfeeding, pacifier use can:
- Affect the success of breastfeeding
- Take the place of feeding or sucking for comfort at the breast which can decrease milk supply
- Contribute to early weaning
Because pacifier use has been associated with a lower risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that after breastfeeding is well-established, a pacifier can be placed when the infant falls asleep but should not be replaced when it falls out.
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