Q&A: Will I need a breast pump when I give birth?
What do I need to know about breastfeeding while in the hospital? Do I need a breast pump?
Suffice it to say there are entire books devoted just to this subject, and I will not even begin to cover all there is to know. But the best advice I can give is to keep a sense of humor and relax!
Will you need to buy a pump for your hospital bag? Probably not. The reasons why you might need a breast pump in the hospital are:
- Your baby is born premature or sick and cannot latch on properly
- Your baby is unable to latch because of an anatomical issue (with either you or your baby)
- You experience engorgement (although nursing is still best here!)
If your baby is nursing well, she will be your best pump. (Any baby is better than the current number-one selling breast pump on the market!) If you want to express or pump some milk for others to feed her, I recommend waiting about three weeks. Why? This will give you and your baby a chance to practice and perfect breastfeeding and get your milk supply well established. You will also be very busy with your newborn, and finding the time to pump in the early weeks after birth can be frustrating and challenging.
Here are some important key points to keep in mind regarding your early days of breastfeeding:
- Yes, there is milk in there: Colostrum! This super-charged early milk begins forming in the second trimester—just in case you deliver early—your baby will be fed!
- Nurse the baby soon after delivery and often—if the baby shows cues (such as rooting)—go for it!
- Your body has a surge of prolactin after delivery (this is your milk-making hormone)—it will continue to rise with the stimulation provided by breastfeeding your infant.
- About 48 to 72 hours after giving birth your milk will come in.
- Expect to feel awkward. This is a new skill and you need to give yourself time to adjust.
- The more you feed the more milk you make. Milk supply depends on demand. The more the baby demands it—the more your body will supply it
- Don’t try to get the baby on a schedule! Let your little one lead you.
- Ask for help. Nurses and lactation consultants are there to help you get started. They will work with you to help you properly position the baby.
- Try different nursing positions, and get yourself comfortable first before sitting down to nurse. Empty your bladder, take pain medication if you need it, sit in a comfortable chair or bed, and use pillows to help prop up your baby.
- Learning how to latch the baby deeply is the key to both your and your baby’s happiness. A deep latch makes feeding comfortable for you, and your baby will drink milk with much greater ease.
- Nurse eight times a day.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Eat a healthy diet!
- Keep track of the pees and poops (what goes in, must come out—so if the baby is feeding well—the output will be good.) Have your nurse or LC provide you with a log to track the feeds and diapers.
- Make sure the latch is comfy. If it feels pinch or painful—take the baby off immediately and re-latch.
- Know whom to call when you go home if you are experiencing problems or the baby is not feeding well.
- Check in with your pediatrician a few days after discharge for a weight check.