Content by: NCES, Inc.
A guide for breastfeeding your baby...
Before my baby is born, what can I do to get ready to breastfeed?
You may be getting lots of advice about breastfeeding, including ways to “toughen up” your nipples. The best way to prepare your breast is to do nothing! If you have “flat” or inverted nipples, talk with your doctor. Sometimes this can be corrected by using breast shells before delivery.
I don’t eat right, can I sill breastfeed?
Your body is a miracle worker. It will make wonderful breast milk, whether or not you eat. The way you eat during pregnancy is moreimportant for the health of your baby. The way you eat now is important for you and how you feel. Take care of yourself, eat balanced meals and rest as much as possible. Let family and friends help with meals or cleaning, if they offer.
How often do breastfed babies eat?
Let your baby nurse on demand, usually every 1 1/2 to 3 hours or 8-12 times in 24 hours. If your baby sleeps a lot, wake him/her up to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night. Feeding times may be irregular the first week or two, until your baby gets into schedule. Frequent feeding helps ensure a good milk supply. Babies go through “growth spurts”—times when they grow faster for a few days. Your baby will act hungrier during these times, so nurse more often. Growth spurts happen around 2 weeks, 3 months and 5-6 months.
How long does a feeding last?
Feeding time can last 10-30 minutes at each breast. Every baby is different, so let your baby nurse as long as needed. As your baby learns how to nurse, feeding times gradually get shorter. Try not to watch the clock. Relax and enjoy your baby.