With the right information, support, and practice, breastfeeding is comfortable and satisfying for mothers and babies.
Women & Infants Hospital supports the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that babies should be fed breast milk for their first year of life and into their second year. This information will help you get started and answer many frequently asked questions about breastfeeding. If you have other questions about breastfeeding, please call the nurses on our Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. They can provide advice and information, and make referrals to our lactation consultants if needed.
What will my milk be like?
The first milk, called colostrum, is very thick and sticky and may look like cloudy water or the color of butter. It has millions of living cells that protect against infection, and is easy to digest for a baby learning to nurse. Your baby's stomach is about the size of his or her fist, so each feeding will only be about a teaspoon the first day and about a tablespoon the second day.
Your breasts will feel heavier and fuller by day three or four as your milk changes to mature milk. There will be more milk. This looks like skim milk and provides all the nutrients your baby needs for the first six months of life. This is all your newborn needs in the first days after birth.
When do I feed my baby?
Feed your baby on cue, at least eight to 12 times in each 24 hour period. Remember the phrase "8 or more in 24." Look for these signs that he or she is ready to nurse:
- Eyelids fluttering
- Bringing hand to mouth, sucking motions
Crying is a late sign of hunger. A crying baby needs to be calmed before feeding. To calm your baby, do skin-to-skin. Let your baby suckle on your clean finger with your fingernail touching his or her tongue. Stroke your baby. Talk to him or her. Swaddle or rock the baby.
» Preview the feeding cues for preterm and full term infants.
How can I get my partner involved in breastfeeding?
Having a new baby can be as overwhelming for dads and partners as it can be for moms. They often wonder how they can help. Dad/partner can:
- Do skin-to-skin with the baby. It is a nice way to calm the baby and allow the baby to learn dad/partner's scent and touch.
- Hold the baby when he or she cries, change the diaper and bring the baby to you to nurse.
- Talk to the baby so he or she gets to know their voice.
- Massage/bathe/dress/change the baby.
Help is available on all aspects of breastfeeding and its
impact on daily life – from starting to stopping and all the variations in
between. Baby Café drop-ins are run by a range of staff including health
professionals such as board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs), midwives,
and nurses, and other qualified and accredited breastfeeding counselors.
All pregnant or breastfeeding moms are welcome to drop in at
any time during open hours. The Baby Café is open most Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm and is located at the Scalabrini Dukcevich Center, 300 Laurel Hill Ave. Providence, RI 02909.
For more information call 401-632-4770 or email RIBreastfeedinginfo@gmail.com. Join us on facebook for updates and information https://www.facebook.com/groups/705550569500160/.
Women & Infants WIC Program
Provides Lactation Support for all WIC Eligible mothers
through our Lactation Support Line at 274-1122 ext. 42791. In addition,
we provide both prenatal and postpartum breastfeeding support for all WIC
eligible participants. Support provided in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.