The evidence is in. Studies have shown breastfeeding is best for mother and baby. From a reduction in the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis for women to a decrease in the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, diarrhea, ear infections, leukemias and allergies in children.

And when you figure in the money saved in formula and doctor's visits — about $1,500 and $500 a year, respectively — it's hard to beat this natural way of feeding baby.

For successful nursing, follow these tried and true tips:

  • Nurse frequently and on demand. Babies nurse every 1-3 hours. Feed baby at the first signs of hunger, such as when waking up or sucking on hands. If baby cries before being fed, it is much harder to get her to calm down and nurse.
  • To begin, bring baby toward you, tummy to tummy. Don't lean over baby. Stroke baby's lips with nipple and she will root - open her mouth wide in search of the breast. Pull baby onto breast quickly, making sure baby takes some of the areola, the dark ring around the nipple. If baby takes only the nipple, break the suction with your clean finger into the corner of baby's mouth. Correct positioning is crucial to preventing sore and cracked nipples.
  • Most newborns require 20 to 40 minutes to complete a feeding and should feed on each breast with a burp after each one. Let baby end feeding on each breast. You will hear baby slow or stop sucking and swallowing. Break the suction. Start next feeding on second breast.
  • You will know your baby is getting enough by the number of wet and soiled diapers she produces.
    • Day 1 (before milk is in): One wet and one soiled diaper.
    • Day 2 (before milk is in): Two of each type of diaper. The soiled ones will appear black because of meconium baby is excreting. Breastmilk works as a laxative to rid baby of meconium.
    • Days 3 to 5 (milk comes in): Six or more wet diapers and 2 to 4 stools a day. (But note that some babies pass stools every day, while others will go a day or two before passing stools.)
  • Nursing mothers should take care of themselves, as well as baby. Nap when baby naps and let the housework go. Eat well-balanced meals as you did during pregnancy and try to get some exercise every day, like taking baby for a walk.
  • Don't use street drugs or smoke. A smoking mother predisposes her baby to respiratory illnesses. As for drinking alcohol, the La Leche League states that occasional drinks in limited amounts (1 to 2 drinks) is compatible with breastfeeding. Consult your doctor.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed through their first year and after that for as long as is mutually desired.

Links & Resources

Find a Physician: 844-744-5544

Charlton Memorial Hospital:

    Fathers/significant others/partners: 24 hours
    Family/friends: Noon to 8 p.m.
    Children under 12, other than siblings of the infant, are not allowed to visit.

    508-679-3131 ext. 2436

St. Luke's Hospital:

    Fathers/significant others/partners: 24 hours
    Family/friends: Noon to 8 p.m.


Tobey Hospital:

    Fathers/significant others/partners: 24-hours Family/friends: Noon to 8 p.m.