10 Steps for Breastfeeding Success

Providing milk for your baby in the Hospital is a step-by-step process. If you follow the 10 steps below, you should be able to establish a milk supply and soon, breastfeed your child.

Make the decision to provide milk for your baby

  • Human milk is both food and medicine for your baby
  • It protects your baby in ways that infant formula cannot

Establish and keep up your milk supply

  • Pump every two to three hours for a minimum of 8 pumps per 24-hour period
  • In the first few days of pumping, you will only produce a little bit of breast milk, but it is still important to pump
  • Write down your pumping times and amounts in a pumping log
  • By the end of first week, you should be producing 500 to 1000 mLs of breast milk in a 24-hour period
  • If you are producing less than 500 mLs in 24 hours, talk to your nurse and find out how to make more breast milk

Label and store your breast milk

  • Label all milk that you pump with your baby’s full name, medical record number, and date and time pumped. All milk will be stored in your baby’s bin in the refrigerator or freezer at the Hospital
  • Use orange dots to mark the containers of milk (colostrum) that you pumped in the first four days

Remember to bring fresh milk every day

  • We prefer to use fresh breast milk instead of frozen thawed milk. Fresh milk has more white blood cells
  • Bring your baby fresh breast milk every day if your baby is being fed. Ask your baby’s nurse how much to bring

Start skin-to-skin care (kangaroo care)

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin every day. Ask your nurse to show you how
  • For more information, see guidelines for skin-to-skin care or skin-to-skin care for intubated babies

Start non-nutritive sucking

  • During tube feedings, position your baby skin-to-skin at the breast. Let the baby taste and lick your milk

Practice breastfeeding as much as possible

  • Once the baby is able to feed by mouth, visit as much as possible so you can practice breastfeeding
  • The more breastfeeding practice your baby has, the quicker he or she will learn

Know if your baby is getting enough milk

  • We will weigh the baby before and after breastfeeding to know exactly how much milk the baby takes from the breast
  • We want you to learn how to do this. It is important to weigh the baby exactly the same way before and after feedings (for example: you cannot change the baby’s diaper)

Get ready for discharge

  • Before going home, come and stay all day or all night to breastfeed “on-demand"
  • You will most likely need a Baby Weigh® scale at home (unless your baby is only breastfeeding before discharge). Call 267-426-5325 at least one day before discharge to rent a scale
  • Remember to take home your breast milk from the Hospital freezer and refrigerator

Be patient during your first few weeks at home

  • For the first few weeks at home you need to pump, do pre- and post-weights and possibly give breast milk in bottles a few times each day
  • Be patient; within a few weeks you will both be in a routine and breastfeeding will be easy

Reviewed by Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN on August 01, 2012