First day of life...

How much does a newborn eat? Obviously that answer varies depending on the age of the baby, the size, and the amount of milk we have available. But something that might surprise you (at least it surprised me after teaching breastfeeding classes for the past 8 years).

The conference I attended yesterday with Molly Pessl explored the newest study on how much infants receive on the first day of life. It revealed that the total for the first 24 hours is only about 15 mls. Yep, 15. Not 150 (like we might offer if the baby was formula feeding), just 15. And it seems that it doesn't matter if the infant feeds 15 times that day, or only 3, the amount is still the same. Interesting...

So when I hold up that shooter marble in breastfeeding class to tell new parents about the size of the infant's tummy at birth, I will now be able to emphasize that it only needs to be 'filled' about 2-3 times. Since the tummy can only hold about 5-7 mls, really just a few drops offered several times, or a few longer feedings will suffice.

Does that take the pressure off the first day of feeding for anyone?

Remember that just having the baby skin to skin is beneficial (if not crucial) to infant behavior as well as stimulating for the milk process.

So get those babies on the mamas (or daddies or partners if mama isn't available) and then get them near the breast. Follow their lead, and don't worry so much about the intake on day 1. Day 2 will follow with a lot more interest in the breast, and hopefully a nurse will teach you hand expression to get the baby more colostrum if there is any need for supplementation.

And relax. Babies are born (for the most part) how to get to the breast, and even if they only get a tiny amount, it might just hit the spot for them on day 1.