THE FIRST FEW DAYS:
If possible tell your birth staff of your intention to breastfeeding & let them know you'd like to nurse ASAP. Ideally you will breastfeed within the 1st hour after birth. Babies have a very strong reflex to latch right away & are normally very alert & calm in that 1st hour. Here is some great info on what to expect when nursing right after birth: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/rightstart-techniques/tips-breastfeeding-immediately-after-birth
Now over the next few days HOPEFULLY latching goes well. Some babies will nurse very very frequently, others may need a little encouragement if they are drowsy. On day one in particular there may be a lot of sleeping. After day 1 try to make sure to put baby to breast at least 8 times every 24 hrs and aim for closer to 12, even if baby isn't seeming to cue. You want to attempt to offer about every 2-3 hrs, even with sleepy babies, in order to get your milk established. Most likely this won't be an issue as most
babies will cue to eat often enough on their own, not all
If you experience any significant pain or soreness enough to make you want to avoid nursing, get help. Latch is not something you grin & bear it. If it is not right, it won't magically become better. You will continue to see pain increase. About day 3 or so many babies "perk up" and your previously docile baby will start to nurse more often, wake more at night,e tc. this is COMMON, not a sign that anything is "wrong".
On day 1 baby needs at least 1 wet diaper. Day 2 baby needs 2 & about day 4-5 this will change over to about 4-6 every day from then on. "Wet" is about 45ml of fluid. You can put 3 tablespoons of water into a dry diaper if you want to feel what that feels like. By day 4 the poop should change over from tarry & sticky to looser & yellowish with some curds in it. Early on babies often poop with every feed. For the 1st month baby MUST poop daily. After 4 weeks ANY stooling pattern is normal...5 times a day all the way out to not pooping for 7-10 days...no joke. This has to do with the maturing of baby's intestines & the high digestibility of breastmilk. But in that 1st 28 days (the neonate period) pooping daily is what should be expected from a breastfed baby & if baby is not pooping daily, then a trip to a lactation consultant is in order.
Weight loss - this seems to be of large concern to many....so bookmark stuff to help you remember this. If you get IV fluids before birth, your baby is likely to experience MORE weight loss. Ask your staff to do your baby's baseline weight 24 hrs AFTER delivery. When baby carrie sextra water weight from the IV's, it spends the 1st 24hrs doing diuresis....or excessive urination in order to rid the body of excess fluids. By 24 hrs your baby has likely gotten rid of all the extra fluids & is now at it's baseline weight. If the weight is taken before this point, you can get alarmist reactions from staff that your baby has "lost too much weight" when in fact your baby is doing just fine. You can find the info to back that up here: http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/content/6/1/9
I actually printed stuff out like that & took it with me. Many of you ladies are so handy with your laptops you can likely link right from your room at the hospital.
PLEASE read info on jaundice before delivery. It impacts 50-70% of all babies & therefore IS something you want to be aware of beforehand so you can know what it means, what to expect & what to do (and not do).
Here is EXCELLENT INFO on it from Dr. Jack Newman: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79:breastfeeding-and-jaundice&catid=5:information&Itemid=17 (can't get it to let me imbed the link for some reason).
Basically this article explains why supplements are normally never necessary or desirable. If you have a jaundiced babies, it is common to be pressured into using supplements. If you have proper info on your side you *can* avoid this. I did not have proper info the 1st time. They easily talked me into supplementing because I was overly fearful & not at all informed about the real protocol, what the real "dangers" were & weren't, etc. With #2 I came equipped with a much better understanding & he was never supplemented & his levels were higher than #1's were & came down faster. Go figure. :/ You live & learn.