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Breastfeeding 101: continued again...

• Second Night Fun

So now you're past your first day, into your second, and night falls upon the world. Ah, all is calm and quiet, except for your baby. So, I won’t lie to you, the second night of life usually blows. Parents are exhausted. Remember, you probably still haven’t slept more than an hour or two since before labor. Your baby has had a nice long rest to recover from labor and they wake up the second night like a rocket. Really fussy, wanting to nurse every 20 minutes, for hours at a time, totally normal! If you know this going in, you’ll feel much calmer when it happens, and better prepared. Oh, and by the way, this little party tends to happen again the third night too. Cheers!

This is definitely the time to throw out all the stuff that culture has taught us and tune in to your inner cavewoman. You’re already doing tons of skin to skin, now you just need to know what a feeding cue is. Putting hands to the mouth, pecking at you like a baby bird, open their mouth wide and toward the direction of your breast, pretty much everything that’s not pooping or sleeping at this stage is baby telling you, “I want a breast in my mouth”. Newborn babies nurse A LOT! After the first 24 hours has past you really want to make sure your baby is going to breast at least 8 - 10 times in 24 hours. That feeding pattern will continue for the first couple of weeks and the mellow out a little.

Don’t freak out when your baby loses some weight at the hospital, its normal. Remember they have lots of fluid to pee out and they are supposed to lose some weight. When a baby’s weight is taken right after birth it’s not a “real weight”. Baby’s weight should be taken after the first 24 hours to be accurate. Anything less than a 10% weight loss is normal. Burn this in your brain because if you’re giving birth at a hospital that doesn’t have “Baby Friendly” status, which is the vast majority at this time, they will probably weigh the baby very soon after birth. Weight loss is only a concern when it accompanied by other symptoms such as lack of urine and stooling, signs of dehydration, and/or high bilirubin numbers.

What the heck is bilirubin? Glad you asked. The Mayo Clinic’s definition: Bilirubin (bil-ih-ROO-bin), an orange-yellow pigment, is a waste product of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver and eventually out of the body — mostly in feces, a small amount in urine. Before reaching the liver, bilirubin is called unconjugated, meaning uncombined.

In English, your baby’s liver is very immature, it needs to start working by ridding the body of old red blood cells now that your body isn’t doing everything for him/her. The way to get rid of these old cells is to start pooping them out, the best way to poop a lot is to take in small amounts of colostrum many, many times per day. The more they poop, the lower the bilirubin numbers, hence no newborn jaundice. Starting to see a pattern here? Lots of skin to skin = baby breastfeeding more = more soiled diapers = less weight loss and lower bilirubin = happy hospital staff and happy parents!

So, some weight loss (less than 10% at 48 hours), OR some bilirubin, OR a diaper with some orange crystals (an early sign of dehydration), are not necessarily a reason to freak out. If all of those things come together, that can be cause for concern, but those symptoms alone are quite common.

Remember: Skin to skin at least 5 hours per day, Breastfeeding at least 8-10 times per day (24 hours), keep track of diapers, they are your best clue as to what is going on with your breastfeeding. Don’t watch the clock, or your phone! You don’t need an app to learn this. WATCH YOUR BABY AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Here is a link to wonderful website by Lu Hannessian, it’s charming and very helpful.

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