Each new mother and her family are unique and deserve special attention to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. The Childbirth Center’s nursing and medical staff have years of experience in maternal/infant nursing and breastfeeding education. Our certified lactation consultants are available seven days a week while you are in the hospital and by phone or appointment at our Mom & Baby Care Center after you return home.
Overlake supports each woman's decision to breastfeed. Our goal is to assist families by providing education about breastfeeding's many benefits, initiating and maintaining the breastfeeding process, infant nutrition, and managing breastfeeding in special situations including multiple and premature births.
International board-certified lactation consultants and lactation specialists are available to provide breastfeeding support services upon request from patients, nursing and medical staff. You may make as many lactation appointments with us as needed. In addition, you do not have to deliver your baby at Overlake in order to meet with our lactation consultants; all mothers are welcome to use our services.
To make an appointment to see a lactation consultant, or to get information about what to expect of a lactation appointment or retail breastfeeding supplies, call (425) 688-5389. Lactation consultants are available 16 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support and answer questions.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill for both you and your baby. Be patient as your baby practices how to latch and suck correctly, and as you learn about your baby’s feeding cues, positioning and latching baby at the breast.
How do I know when my baby needs to eat?
Your baby will give you feeding cues to tell you when they are getting hungry, such as:
- Increasing movement during sleep.
- Hand to mouth movements.
- Mouth opening and closing.
- Sucking motions.
- Side-to-side head movements.
In the early days, babies may be extra sleepy. If baby does not cue, wake baby every three hours to attempt breastfeeding.
How often does my baby need to eat?
Be certain baby gets at least eight feedings in a day. Most babies feed eight to 10 times or more per day. They may cluster feed, bunching several feedings close together. Remember, breast milk is made on a supply/demand basis. The more regularly milk is removed from the breast, the more milk will be made.
How long should a feeding last?
Babies can nurse for long periods of time and generally do not have a set feeding schedule in the early weeks. Allow baby to breastfeed until they show signs of fullness, such as sleepiness, less vigorous sucking, or coming off the breast asleep and relaxed. Let baby remain at the first breast offered as long as they are actively sucking and swallowing. Do not limit time at the breast. Each feeding should be at least 10 minutes. If baby falls asleep before then, see information on sleepy babies below.
How do I know my baby is getting enough to eat?
During feedings, listen for swallowing. Notice if baby is satisfied and sleeps between feedings.
Keep track of the number of wet diapers and diapers with stool baby has each day.
- One wet diaper in first 24 hours.
- Two wet diapers in second 24 hours.
- Three wet diapers in third 24 hours.
- Once milk comes in, at least five to six wet disposable or six to eight cloth diapers per day.
- At least one dirty diaper in first 24 hours.
- Meconium (thick, black, tarry stool) in first one to two days.
- Loose brown-green on day two or three.
- Loose mustard yellow on day four to five.
Weight loss should stop around day four. Baby should be back to birth weight in two to three weeks. If it’s taking longer, contact a lactation consultant.
What is a good latch?
A good latch is when baby is at the breast with a good attachment to the areola that allows successful feeding. A good latch is important for baby to breastfeed effectively and also for your comfort. During the early days and weeks, it can take time and patience for your baby to latch well.
Signs of a good latch include:
- Baby’s lips are around the nipple and the areola, not just the nipple.
- The top lip will be closer to the nipple and some areola shows above the top lip.
- More areola is taken in with the lower lip than the top lip.
- Baby has “fish lips”—lips are flared out on the breast, not tucked in.
- You hear baby swallow after every one or two sucks. Some babies swallow too quietly to hear, so listen for a slight pause in baby’s breathing, which shows he/she is swallowing.
- You see a “wiggle” where baby’s ears meet its temples.
Signs of an incorrect latch include:
- You feel pain.
- You hear clicking or sucking noises.
- Baby comes easily off the breast.
- Baby swallows little or not at all while at the breast.
- Baby’s lips are tucked in.
- Your nipple is flattened or creased after feeding.
Sleepy babies typically:
- Wake and unwrap baby for feedings.
- Use waking techniques through the feeding to maintain active sucking (chin push, shoulder rub, rub behind baby’s ear, tickle the feet, rub the back).
How to I stimulate the milk letdown?
- Massage breast briefly before feedings to stimulate the milk let-down reflex. Warm compresses can be used.
- Gently pill roll and stretch your nipple to make latch-on easier. This also stimulates lactation.
- Express a drop of colostrum onto your nipple to encourage baby to latch and suck.
- Provide breast support to allow baby to maintain their latch. Keep thumb and fingers behind the outer edge of the areola.
- Latch baby only when his/her mouth is wide like a yawn with his tongue down and forward over their lower gum line.
- Check your positioning to be certain baby is facing you and in close, nipple to nose. Bring baby to the breast chin first. Focus on getting baby’s gums beyond the base of your nipple and up on the areola.
- Avoid pacifiers for the first two to three weeks.
- Check that the latch is correct—lips curled outward, baby stays on breast after latching, no noise as baby sucks, suck is rhythmic with visible jaw drops, swallowing can be heard, no nipple pain.
How do I prevent sore nipples?
- Note that any nipple discomfort decreases within a minute of baby latching. Reposition and relatch baby as needed until comfortable.
- Break baby’s latch when taking baby off the breast.
- Use expressed breast milk on your nipples after feedings to treat soreness.
After I leave the hospital, where can I go for help?
If you have problems latching the baby, develop sore nipples or become engorged:
- Review the discharge teaching sheets for information.
- Contact an Overlake lactation consultant by calling (425) 688-5516.
Breastfeeding and milk supply is assessed and baby’s growth is assessed. We provide one-on-one consultations and try to meet mom’s goals for feeding.
At your lactation appointment you may expect:
- Baby weight check.
- An observed feeding.
- Troubleshooting of any nursing issues.
- A feeding plan to be established.
- Breastfeeding education.
- Lactation consultant suggestions.
You may make as many lactation appointments with us as needed. You do not have to deliver your baby at Overlake in order to meet with our lactation consultants; all mothers are welcome to use our services.