Dena - posted on 03/27/2009 ( 39 moms have responded )
Quite often my clients will ask, "How long should I breastfeed and how often?" While everyone has their own preference after making a go at it for a few weeks and between Mommy & Baby you find your own way, I usually share what worked for me. However, in speaking with my former Post Partum Doula, Christine Kealy, of In A Family Way in New York City, this morning she had a couple of additional suggestions.
When I nursed my first child Giulianna, we nursed on demand, no matter what I was doing. I was exhausted and she was quite often just snacking on my breast. When my second baby was born, I hired Christine and her lovely Doulas to come to my home and help me with the day to day errands and they taught me the value of swaddling (OMG) and the ever important value of nursing on a schedule.
Swaddling I'll save for another day, but nursing on a schedule saved me from long nights of sleeplessness. I learned that breastfeeding every 2-2 1/2 hours for 20 minutes on each breast allowed my little one to go beyond snacking and have a complete meal and thus a full tummy. After she nursed, I couldn't skip on the burping (I learned that the hard way), then onto swaddling and in the mouth went a "binky."
Initially I was opposed to the binky but I was asked by my PPD, "Do you want to sleep?" Without too much fuss I gave into her stern look and confidence in what she was saying. Believe me I tried to convince her that "my daughter doesn't take one of those." Well, I was wrong. With some insistence on the PPD's part she got Emma to take the binky and in no time fell fast asleep with a full tummy, and snuggled nice and cozy in her swaddling blanket. Guess who else got some much needed sleep? ME!
For those afraid of the binky, just as I was for fear it would become this terrible habit; I only gave Emma the binky after feedings to help her self soothe into sleep and never for any other reason. After 11 months, she spit it out and never looked back.
Now, this morning Christine told me something I didn't remember her saying five and a half years ago. She said newborns and their mommies should nurse according to the above schedule but once the milk is in she suggested nursing on one breast until it is empty and then offer the other breast. If the baby doesn't take to it, start the next feeding, usually 3-4 hours later on the breast she didn't take and again feed until completely empty. Overall the mommy and baby should be nursing 6-8 times per day as a general rule.
I hope this is helpful to mothers committing to breastfeeding. For more information and helpful suggestions you may go to La Leche League's website at http://www.lllusa.org/. Additionally if you are in need of a Post Partum Doula, Christine's website is http://inafamilyway.com/.
Please feel free to share your experiences and more helpful suggestions!!
In love and service,
Dena the Doula