Advantages of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Rooming In While in the Hospital

breastfeeding while in the hospitalThere’s nothing better for your baby than your breastmilk but what if you get tired and just want to have the baby stay in the nursery overnight and be given formula? Every time your baby goes to the breast to nurse, they are not only getting colostrum but also immunities to fight off infections and calories to prevent excessive weight loss. Colostrum is a natural laxative so when babies nurse frequently in the hospital, the tarry meconium stools will be flushed out faster which helps prevent severe jaundice. Breastfed babies get 1 to 2 teaspoons of colostrum their early feedings after birth but their tummies are only the size of a walnut so this supplies all their nutritional needs.

Babies get practice latching on to a soft breast the first 2 to 4 days so they can adjust to the fuller breast better when the mature milk comes in. Frequent early feedings prevents your baby from losing too much weight and stimulates the breast to get the mature milk in sooner. It’s a matter of supply and demand. The more your baby nurses in the hospital, the easier it will be when you go home since the baby has had a lot of practice in the hospital and the nurses are there to help you. Frequent feedings in themselves won’t make your nipples more sore. Baby latching on incorrectly is what causes nipple soreness.

Babies have a different sucking technique on a pacifier and artificial nipple so supplementing can cause nipple soreness for mom if baby doesn’t latch on correctly. When babies are given formula, they can get used to the faster flow from the bottle and then become fussy and impatient at the breast when it doesn’t come fast enough. Babies given formula in the hospital can become sensitized to cow’s milk and may develop cow’s milk allergies or intolerances.

Keeping baby in the room with you promotes bonding and helps you to get to know each other. Then when you are home, you know how to meet your baby’s needs better. While breastfeeding, your prolactin levels rise making you drowsy and helping you to fall back to sleep faster. Night time breastfeedings can be a short interruption in sleep. If your baby is fussy and you need a break, have your partner cuddle baby skin to skin or let the nurses take baby for awhile to give you some rest.

You’ve waited your entire pregnancy for this baby to arrive so cuddle up and enjoy!