The moment I was handed my newborn daughter, I felt . . . not a lot. I mean, I was happy to see her, of course. But I was also recovering from major surgery and everything was a little surreal. Hi, I'm a new mom — now what? When the nurse asked if I wanted to try and breastfeed, I nodded. But if I'm being honest, I had no idea what I was doing. How do I get her to latch? How should I hold her? How much should my baby eat?
That last question plagued me for much of her infancy. I breastfed, but I was really concerned about how much milk she was actually ingesting. (It's not like you can see inside your breast to watch the ounces disappear.) Pumping didn't help — if I pumped 5 ounces, should I give her all of it? I pumped that amount in 30 minutes and it takes her 45 to actually breastfeed — does she need more? How do I even know if she's hungry?
I know — I panicked. But when it comes to breastfeeding, I think most new moms are in the same boat. It's not like your breasts have a label slapped on them with directions on how much to feed your baby and how often. You have to rely on your baby's feeding cues and you have to be aware of how much milk your child can actually handle. Whether you're pumping milk for your first day back at work or your baby's been sleeping for four hours and missed a feeding, you need some guidance. Below is a chart that breaks it all down for you.