Feeding Newborns

Feeding newborns is a fascinating phenomenon.

We’re conditioned to think that it is our job, as mothers, to latch the baby.

All sorts of complications arise, and many mothers have issues latching their babies to their breast – sometimes to a point where they give up.

But what if the opposite was meant to happen? In nature, shouldn’t babies latch onto the mother and begin sucking with no problem?


Isn’t it magical? A friend of mine commented on how she wished she had seen/known this before her daughter’s birth… because it seems like so many women (including my friend) have one issue or another when it comes to latching.

Here are some great resources for breastfeeding help:

Breastfeeding-BFF.com – Working 9 to 5 (or later!) can throw a wrench in your breastfeeding schedule – that is, without the right preparation. Check out this site’s useful ideas and suggestions for busy working mothers of newborns!


Help or encourage your baby to latch on immediately after birth. If this doesn’t work, keep trying, and do not wait more than four hours to start breast feeding your newborn. You will not have “milk” right away – but a more nutrient dense yellow liquid called “colostrum”.

Have a comfortable breastfeeding place. Breast feeding can be awkward at first, despite how natural the action should seem. Have a pillow propped up for your back (if you are on a chair). Also try a pillow under the arm that is cradling the baby’s head. Try lying down and feeding the baby on your side if this is more comfortable.

Make sure the baby’s mouth is around the full nipple. If your baby is sucking just the tip, it may seem like it is having a hard time latching, or coming on and off. This is also more painful. Yes, for many women breast feeding is very painful at first – this is absolutely normal. Your nipple is tender and not accustomed to the hard tugging. Bear through it and you will be rewarded – you are a hero!*

Expect spit-up. Spit up is completely normal after feeding newborns, and most baby’s tend to spit-up a tiny bit of milk. Hold the baby upright when you are finished, and do not jostle or shake it too much for at least 5 minutes to reduce spit-up. Don’t lie it down on the stomach right after. Pat your baby very gently on the back if you feel it needs a burp. Have plenty of cloths on hand to wipe the spit up!

Also expect spray. What’s spray? Some women have a ton of milk ready for their newborn in the first few weeks, and once the baby starts sucking, the other breast starts spraying out milk as well! You can have a towel or cloth handy to press against your breast, which should reduce the spray. If you are feeding newborns in public, use breast pads.

Watch what you eat. Newborns are so sensitive to what’s going into their bodies through your milk. If you eat spicy food or deep fried food, your baby may experience digestive upset, which means you are up all night listening to painful cries.
A healthy breast feeding diet includes plenty of water, which will also help with milk production. Also drink herbal teas (fennel will help with the baby’s and your digestion) and fresh squeezed juices. Eat nutrient dense foods such as spinach, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potato, blueberries and alfalfa sprouts.

Newborns digest quickly, and should make a pee or poo shortly after the feeding (5 minutes or so). So be prepared!

*I can’t stress this point enough – feeding newborns is often painful at first. I’ve had five children and it hurt to nurse for the first week or two with every child! Clearly, it was not lack of technique that caused this – merely a need to ‘toughen up’ delicate skin. Please don’t feel disheartened by books that tell you that – done correctly – breastfeeding doesn’t hurt. It does!