Should we pump during our first month of breastfeeding?

This is a question that is frequently being asked especially for new mommies.

There is no quick and fast rule for this. It all depends on your condition and circumstances.

If your baby is in NICU, incubator etc, how would you be able to direct feed? So, consider yourself lucky if you are able to carry your baby in your arms and fully seize the opportunity to bond with your baby through direct breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding by definition is to nurse a baby at the breast.

It means directly feeding your baby at your breast, by letting him/her to latch at your nipple.

This is the best practice.

If you are one of those who are lucky enough to be able to latch your baby directly, please continue to do so.

You do not have to pump during the first month. Why?

1. COLOSTRUM
During day 1, colostrum that contains significant amount of antibiotic is present. This is one of the most important foundation for your baby’s immune system. Your baby’s strong immune system also translate to an easier upbringing in their later life as they will not fall sick as easily compared to those who did not receive the colostrum. Good news for mommies. 🙂

2. STOMACH SIZE
The stomach size of a newborn is as tiny as a cherry. It can only hold 5-7ml of milk each time. During the first 2-3 days, the stomach of the baby does not stretch. Anything more, baby will just vomit it out, causing a mess for you and baby. By 3-5 days, the stomach will start to expand. This is when your milk will start to kick in. With frequent feedings, your supply will increase correlating to the amount your baby’s tummy can hold. Usually by 7th day, it can hold 30-59ml per feeding, roughly
280-567ml (10-19oz) per day. By 2nd-3rd week, 59-89ml per feeding and baby is taking 591-750ml (20-25oz) per day. By 4th-5th week, baby is able to take in 89-118ml per feeding and total about
750-1035ml (25-35oz) per day. By the end of first month, your production will be as much as your baby will ever need.

Is-Your-Newborn-Baby-Getting-Enough-Milk-NO-text

Should you be pressured on the frequent feedings and suggesting that your supply is not sufficient, this information will help them understand, on baby’s schedule, is exactly what your baby’s tummy and your supply needs.

3. YOUR SUPPLY
The production of your milk is directly proportionate to the suckling of your baby. The more you allow your baby to suckle,
the quicker your milk will kick in, the more milk you’ll get.

4. YOUR SANITY
Baby suckles not just for milk, but also for warmth, comfort and love. During the first month, they are still in a shock being out of the warm and cuddly uterus. Most of the time, baby will continue to suckle even after they are full just for the comfort. When they feel loved, secured and safe, usually they will cry lesser, or even not cry at all. Babies cry only for a few reasons. Hunger, discomfort, insecurity. When they cry lesser, you will feel more relaxed, and production will automatically be more.

5. YOUR CONFIDENCE
Trying to pump during the first month will only shake off your confidence as a new mommy. Your pump yield will definitely be little if you have direct fed your baby before you pump. It will be fruitless trying to compare your yield with other mommies due to differences in circumstances. If they had not direct fed their baby, definitely their yield will be better.

6. FEED YOUR BABY, NOT YOUR FREEZER
That says it all. Feed your baby, not the freezer. As long as your baby is full, satisfied, feel safe in your arms, that are all that matters. It does not make sense having a fridge / freezer full of expressed breastmilk filled to the brim to show off if your baby is crying, vomiting, or feeling insecured.

7. BABY’S PSYCHOLOGY
Babies who feels safe and secured during their early days, cry less, feels more confident and this translates to less tantrums and a more lovable baby in the future. Good news for mommies. 🙂

8. CONCLUSION
Direct feed, whenever possible. Should circumstances do not allow, then pump. Switch back to direct feed once circumstances allow. Babies have natural instinct to latch on your nipple. It is the mother to find out / learn the correct technique, position of holding the baby, bundled with lots of persistence and determination that makes breastfeeding successful. If you bump into an obstacle, do seek help.

Well, that’s it. I hope you got the answer. Keep calm and enjoy breastfeeding! ☺

The feeling of your baby cradling in your arms, are the best feeling as a mother. -MommyLove, Jen-

💜

References:
1. La Leche League Canada. Thursday Tip: Newborns have small stomachs! 2015 May 21.

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