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Congratulations On Your Choice to Feed Your Baby Breast Milk!

Your milk gives your baby powerful benefits and the best start in life because it:

  • Provides superior nutrition that formula can’t match.
  • Protects you and your baby from many illnesses.
  • Builds a strong bond between you and your baby.

The most important thing you can do is believe in yourself. Learn everything you can about chest/breastfeeding. The more you know, the more confident you will be.

Take care for you

Take Care of You

Being a parent can be tiring and stressful at times.
Take time to care for yourself so you can take the best care of your baby.
Be sure to:


regularly and well – your body
is working hard


plenty of water


when your baby is resting

Get active –

take walks or workout

Ask for help

and talk to someone – you are not alone


your baby!

Dad Bottle Feeding

Learning to BreastfeedLearning

Breastfeeding takes practice. It may take some time to figure out what works well for you and your baby. Trust your body and follow your baby’s lead. You are both learning together. Breastfeeding gets easier as your baby grows.

The longer you feed your baby breast milk, the greater the health benefits!


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all babies receive only human milk for the first 6 months. Also called “exclusive breastfeeding,” this means babies are not given any formula, foods or water.

After 6 months, human milk remains the main source of nutrition while babies start to learn to eat solid foods. Breastfeeding should continue for at least the first 12 months of life. Many families continue to breastfeed long after their baby’s first birthday.

Time to Feed
How Your Milk Is Made

The more milk you remove, the more milk is made!

How Your Milk Is Made

Your body is amazing! During your pregnancy, your breasts started preparing to make milk.

After your baby is born, it is important to feed your baby often to tell your body to start making more milk. Each time you feed or express/pump milk, your body knows to make more milk for the next feeding.

You do not need a special diet to breastfeed. Be sure to drink plenty of water and continue taking your prenatal vitamins to keep yourself healthy.

Breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes. Breasts of all sizes, large or small, can make milk – breast size does not determine how much milk you can make and store.

Ask your health care provider, WIC clinic or lactation expert if you have concerns about your breasts or nipples.

The Let-Down Reflex

The let-down reflex is what makes milk flow. As your baby starts to feed, your nipple sends signals to release milk. It is normal if you feel tingling or slightly uncomfortable during the let-down, or you may feel nothing at all when milk is released.

Let Down

A let-down can happen:

When you are thinking about your baby or hear your baby cry.

A few seconds or minutes after you start feeding your baby.

A few times during a feeding.

breast pump

Types of Milk

Your milk will change as your baby’s needs change over time.

Colostrum - Birth to 4 days old

Milk - Thick, yellow milk that is packed full of important nutrients that protect your baby from infections. This is all your baby needs right now.

Baby - Your baby is learning to breastfeed. This requires them to learn how to suck, breathe, swallow.

Mom - Your breasts may feel soft. Your body started making colostrum during pregnancy and your nipples may or may not leak colostrum. The flow is slow so your baby can learn to feed.

Transitional Milk - About 4 to 14 days old

Milk - As your milk increases, mature milk slowly replaces colostrum, becoming cream colored.

Baby - Your baby will want to feed often. As the amount of milk you are making starts to increase, your baby’s stomach is also slowly growing.

Mom - Your breasts will become fuller and may leak. They are in “supply building” mode as they learn how much milk your baby needs.

Mature Milk - 2 weeks and beyond

Milk - Thinner and more watery. It can look white, yellow or blue-tinted.

Baby - Your baby may have a growth spurt when your mature milk comes in. They may want to feed more often, sometimes every hour.

Mom - Your breasts may appear softer and smaller than during the transitional milk stage.

Your milk will continue to change as your baby grows.

Brushing Teeth Baby

How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

Newborn babies have small stomachs. They can only comfortably eat small amounts at a time. This is why they need to eat so often.

It is normal for your baby to lose some weight in the first few days of life. Your baby should be back to their birth weight by 2 weeks of age. If your baby is gaining weight, they are most likely getting enough milk. Your baby will have several checkups with their health care provider to keep track of their weight gain.

Signs your baby is getting enough milk:

  • Relaxed and calm after feedings.
  • Your breasts may feel softer after feeding your baby.
  • Having enough wet and poopy diapers every day.
Health Image

Talk to your health care provider and lactation expert about your baby’s weight and if you are concerned your baby is not getting enough milk.

Daily Diaper Tracker GuideTracker Guide

1 Day

# of Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers

# of Poopy Diapers

Poopy Diapers

Texture & Color of Poop

MeconiumLooks black, thick and like tar

2 Days

# of Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers Wet Diapers

# of Poopy Diapers

Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers

Texture & Color of Poop

MeconiumLooks black, thick and like tar

3 Days

# of Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers

# of Poopy Diapers

Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers

Texture & Color of Poop

Loose, greenish to yellow as the black meconium is passed out of your baby’s body

4 Days

Your milk is increasing

# of Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers

# of Poopy Diapers

Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers

Texture & Color of Poop

Loose (soft to runny), yellow and may be seedy or curdy

5+ Days

# of Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers Wet Diapers

# of Poopy Diapers

Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers Poopy Diapers

Texture & Color of Poop

Loose (soft to runny), yellow and may be seedy or curdy

Every baby is different - your baby may sometimes poop less or at every feeding. As your baby gets older and is growing well, it is normal for some babies to go a few days without pooping. This is not constipation, as long as the stool is soft.

dollarA stool should be the size of a U.S. quarter (2.5 cm) or larger.

Feed Your Baby Often

8-12 Times

Feed your baby when they show signs of hunger. Newborn babies should eat at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, usually every 1 to 3 hours.

15-20 Min

There is no set time limit. Feedings may be 15 to 20 minutes or longer per breast. Your baby will let you know when they are finished eating.

Babies may be more or less hungry at different times on different days - just like you!

Cluster Feeding
There may be times when your baby wants to feed much more often and sometimes for shorter amounts of time.
This is normal, especially in the first few days after birth and before a growth spurt.

Growth Spurts

Growth spurts are short times when your baby is growing faster and may be fussier. Most babies will want to be close to you and eat more often during growth spurts.

Every baby is different, but typical growth spurts may happen when your baby is:

2 to 3 weeks

2 to 3 weeks

4 to 6 weeks

4 to 6 weeks

3 months

3 months

4 months

4 months

6 months

6 months

9 months

9 months

It is important to breastfeed more often during growth spurts. Feeding more often tells your body what to do and it will make more milk over time.

Giving formula during a growth spurt will send a message to your body not to make more milk and may lower your milk supply.

Support Makes a Difference!


Finding the support you need is important for your health and well being. Parents who have support from partners, family and friends are more likely to start and chest/breastfeed longer.

Partners can help by:

  • Holding your baby skin to skin.
  • Limiting visitors in the early days while you are learning to breastfeed.
  • Changing your baby’s diaper, burping and helping to give your baby a bath.
  • Spending time with you and helping with other house work.
  • Reading and playing with your baby.
  • Caring for your other children.

Position and Latch

  • Find A Comfortable Position
    There are many ways to hold your baby while they are feeding. What works well for one feeding may not work well for the next. Keep trying different positions until you are comfortable.
  • Be Prepared
    Prepare a comfortable space in your home to feed. You should be able to relax in this space. Find what works for you and your baby.
For you:
  • Have pillows nearby if you need support under your arms, elbows or back to give you added comfort.
  • Grab water - you may get very thirsty while feeding.
  • Sit or lay in a comfortable position.
  • Bring your baby to you - don’t bend to your baby.
Mom Baby Stacking Wood
For baby:
  • Hold your baby in a position that is comfortable for both of you.
  • Keep your baby very close, facing you and lined up, not twisting - watch that your baby’s ears, shoulders and hips are all in a line.
  • Keep your baby’s hands free - they feel safe when they can touch you.

Breastfeeding Positions

Click on each position to learn more.

Tips For a Good Latch

Latch is the way a baby attaches to the breast. A good latch is important to:

  • Avoid sore nipples
  • Make sure your baby gets enough milk
  • Help your breasts make more milk

It may take some time to learn how to get your baby to latch well in the beginning. Here are some helpful tips:

Get Comfortable

1.Get Comfortable and Position Your Baby

  • Tummy facing and touching your body.
  • Nose across from your nipple.

2.Support Your Baby’s Neck and Back with Your Hand

  • Cup the back of your baby’s neck with your hand. This will make your baby feel safe and supported.
  • Don’t put your hand on the back of your baby’s head. Most babies will push away from the breast if you try to latch them by pushing their head.

3.Touch Your Nipple to Your Baby’s Nose

  • Rest your nipple there. Don’t move it around. Your baby will open their mouth and try to latch.

4.Wait for Your Baby to Open Their Mouth Wide

  • Be patient. If they only open their mouth a little, they are not ready to latch. Wait until they open wide, then pull them close to your breast.
  • Watch to see that your baby’s chin and lower lip touch the breast first. Once on the breast, your baby’s chin will be pushed in against the breast with the nose free to breathe while eating.


To help your baby get a good latch, it may be easier if you shape your breast. Hold behind the areola (darker part around the nipple), gently squeeze your breast like a sandwich and match the sandwich to your baby’s mouth line.

Brushing Teeth Baby
Signs of a Good Latch
  • Nose is free, chin is touching the breast.
  • Lips are curled out wide (like a fish), not tucked in.
  • Cheeks are rounded.
  • You hear your baby swallow. Some babies swallow so quietly, a pause in their breathing may be the only sign of swallowing. You may see your baby’s ears “wiggle” as a sign they are swallowing.

Let Your Baby Use Their Hands
Your baby’s hands are important to them during feedings. Your baby may suck their hands when you are trying to latch. This is a sign they are calming themselves and are ready to eat.

Don’t swaddle them when you are getting ready to feed. They may not want to feed if you don’t let their hands move freely.

Feeding should not be painful.
When you start learning to breastfeed, your nipples may be a little tender or sore. This soreness should last no more than a week. If it hurts when you breastfeed, your baby might not be latched correctly.

Brushing Teeth Baby
Signs of an Incorrect Latch
  • Milk leakage: Weak seal is formed between your baby’s lips and your areola.
  • Clicking sounds: Air swallowing due to the seal not being tight.
  • No swallowing sounds: Sucking, but no milk is swallowed due to poor latch.
  • Pain and/or misshapen nipple: After feeding your nipple is a different than normal shape, flat or has a line down the middle.

Getting your baby to latch can be frustrating at times.

Take a short break and try again. Try to calm your baby and yourself by:

  • Holding your baby in an upright position on your lap, shoulder or on your chest.
  • Talking, singing or making shushing, repetitive sounds.
  • Rocking your baby softly in your arms.

Talk to WIC, a lactation expert or health care provider if you are having a hard time getting your baby to latch correctly.

Increasing Your Milk Supply

Some people may have challenges making enough milk to meet their baby’s needs. It can be upsetting, but don’t give up. First, try to figure out what is causing the issue.

Causes of Low Milk Supply
  • Certain types of birth control or medications
  • Not removing enough milk at each feeding
  • Not feeding often enough
  • Giving bottles of formula or foods when your baby is too young
  • Previous breast surgery
  • Incorrect or shallow latch
  • Not waking up often enough to eat
  • Not feeding often enough
  • Weak suck or tongue tie
baby Sleeping
Tips to Increase Your Supply

Many parents worry about making enough milk. Your body makes milk in response to how much and how often milk is removed. Increase the amount of milk removed and your body will slowly increase the supply.

Remember - Any amount of human milk is better than none!


Feed often -
make sure you are removing milk from your breasts 8-12 times every 24 hours.


Offer both breasts for each feeding and remove as much as you can from each breast. Remember, your breasts are never truly empty.


Express milk between feedings with hand expression or a pump. You can also express/pump after your baby is done eating to remove more milk.


Express milk every time your baby eats from a bottle.


Try massaging your breasts when you pump or express to help release more milk.


Try to relax at every feeding/pump session - relaxing helps to release more milk. Practice deep breathing.

Learning About Your Baby

Every baby is different and it may take some time for you to get to know your baby. Keep your baby close to you, and you will start to notice your baby’s signs - this is how your baby tells you what it needs. Responding to your baby's signs can help your baby be calm and happy.

Understand Crying

Understanding Crying

All babies cry. They cry for many reasons. It can be very upsetting for parents when their baby cries. Crying is normal and can be one of the only ways your baby can tell you they need something.

If you have concerns about your baby’s crying, talk to your health care provider.


  • Be patient and stay calm.
  • Hold your baby close to your body. They like to feel your skin touch theirs.
  • Speak softly or sing to them. Babies like to hear the same noises, sounds or words over and over again in a rhythm.
  • Gently rock, sway or pat your baby.
  • Rub their back, arms and legs gently.

If you start to feel overwhelmed or angry, put your baby down in a safe place and take a break. No matter how angry you may feel, never shake your baby.

Hunger Signs

Your baby will tell you what they need without words, by using body movements. Watching and responding to your baby’s hunger signs can help them be calm.

Time to Feed
I am hungry
“I Am Hungry” Signs
  • Waking from sleep or becoming more alert
  • Brings hands to the mouth
  • Makes sucking noises or sucks on hands
  • Moves mouth or tongue
  • Turning head or searching for the nipple (rooting)
  • Bends arms and legs, moving more
  • Crying is not the first sign of hunger

Now is the time to feed, before your baby gets too hungry.

Stop Feeding
I am full
“I Am Full” Signs
  • Sucks slower or stops sucking
  • Relaxed hands and arms
  • Turns away from the nipple
  • Pushes away
  • Falls asleep

Your baby is full and is ready to stop eating.

Tips for Making Breastfeeding Work for You

Tips for Making Breastfeeding Work for You

Being a parent can be stressful at times. With patience and planning you can make your chest/breastfeeding experience work for you and your family.

Know Your Rights - Colorado Lactation Laws

Breastfeeding in Public
A person may breastfeed openly in any place they have the right to be. You do not have to cover up unless it helps you to feel more comfortable.

Workplace Accommodations
Requires all employers to provide a private space (not a restroom) and time (paid/unpaid break/meal time) to express milk during a workday until your baby is two years old.

Delay of Jury Service
A person who is breastfeeding a child is eligible for two, 12-month delays of jury service.

For more information and support, visit the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition at

Returning to Work or School

It is normal to feel nervous about returning to work or school after having your baby. Plan to chest/breastfeed when you are with your baby - it is a relaxing way to return home and stay close to your baby.

With planning and support, you can make breastfeeding work for you and your family.

Talk to your employer or school before returning. Find a place where you can pump in private and plan your breaks. Remember to pump as often as your baby would eat.

Feed your baby right before and after work to reduce the number of times you may need to pump during your workday.

Practice pumping and storing your milk at least two weeks before returning to work or school.

Prepare your baby to eat from a bottle - try having someone else feed your baby. Some babies may be more willing to take a bottle if you are not in the room.

Find a Breastfeeding Friendly child care provider or share the Colorado toolkit with your child care provider. Visit

Pumping and Expressing Milk

You can use hand expression or a breast pump.

  • Pump or express milk just after/between feedings.
  • When you first start expressing/pumping, it is normal if you do not get much milk - most people only make ½ to 1 ounce of milk per hour.
  • Store your milk in 1, 2 and 3 ounce amounts so the person caring for your child can feed your baby until they are full and waste less of your milk.
  • For more helpful pumping and storing tips, talk to WIC.

Look and Smell

Human milk does not look like formula or cow’s milk. It can change in appearance with each pumping session and during storage.


It can be yellowish, bluish, greenish or even brownish.


Human milk naturally has an enzyme called lipase, which helps to break down fats for your baby. During storage (including in the freezer), lipase works and can cause the milk to have a soapy smell. This is not harmful and most babies do not notice this mild change in taste.


In storage, it is normal for human milk to separate into layers with the fat rising to the top. If the milk separates, swirl gently to mix before feeding.

Feeding Your Baby From a Bottle
Feeding Your Baby From a Bottle

Feeding Your Baby From a Bottle

  • To get your baby used to using a bottle, start with only a small amount of your milk (1-2 ounces) and offer it when your baby is calm.
  • Only use a slow flow bottle nipple (newborn or size 0), no matter your baby’s age, to help the bottle act more like your breast and prevent overeating.
  • Try having someone other than you feed your baby from the bottle.

Paced Bottle Feeding

When feeding your baby with a bottle, practice the technique of paced bottle feeding. This allows the baby to control the feeding. Teach others that care for your baby this feeding technique.

Hold your baby

1.Hold your baby close to your body in an upright position, not lying down flat. Never prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth.

Hold the bottle

2.Hold the bottle in a flat, sideways position so the nipple is only half full of milk.


3.Touch the nipple to your baby’s lip and wait for your baby to open wide. Let your baby draw the nipple into the mouth. Do not shove or force the nipple into your baby’s mouth.

Encourage your baby

4.Just like with breastfeeding, encourage your baby to take breaks. After a few sucks, lower the bottle down so the nipple is empty but remains in the mouth. Bring the bottle back up once your baby starts sucking again. This helps your baby from eating too quickly.

Fullness Signs

5.Watch for fullness signs and allow your baby to be done even if there is some milk left in the bottle.

Breastfeeding Challenges

Tender and Sore Breasts
While chest/breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, it is common for your breasts and nipples to feel sore and tender in the first few days after your baby’s birth. This pain should go away once your baby learns to latch correctly and you have found feeding positions that are comfortable. If you feel pain or discomfort, get help from WIC or a lactation expert as soon as possible. Here are some reasons your breasts might be sore:

Incorrect or Shallow Latch

A good latch helps your baby get enough to eat. Pain in your breasts or nipples while feeding is not normal. This can be a sign that your baby is not latched right and may be sucking only on the tip of your nipple.

See signs of an incorrect latch section above.

What you can do:

  • Remove your baby by breaking the suction from your breast
    • Slide a clean finger between your baby’s upper and lower gums
    • Slowly pull your baby away from your breast
  • Help your baby latch again correctly

It is normal for your breasts to become larger, heavier and more tender as your breasts begin making more milk 3-4 days after your baby is born. If your breasts become hard and painful, this is called engorgement. Engorgement can also happen if you have missed or delayed feedings or pumping sessions. Your milk needs to be removed from your breasts, however it can be hard for your baby to latch well onto engorged breasts.


  • Swelling, throbbing and tender
  • Very full and hard feeling
  • Flattening of the nipple
  • No fever

Engorged milk

What you can do:

  • Use heat before feeding - take a shower or use a warm compress on your breasts. Try filling a disposable diaper with warm water and hold it against the breasts.
  • Hand express or pump a small amount of milk to soften breasts - this can help your baby to be able to latch.
  • Make sure your baby has a good latch, and be sure you are breastfeeding often.
  • Place a cold pack on your breasts to help reduce pain and swelling between feedings. You can use bags of frozen vegetables.
  • Don’t offer pacifiers, formula, skip feedings or stop breastfeeding. This will only make the engorgement worse.
  • If your breasts are too hard to latch your baby, call your WIC clinic, lactation expert or health care provider immediately.
Plugged Milk Duct

A plugged or blocked duct is caused by milk not being able to fully drain from your breast.


  • Small, swollen lump in your breast that can be painful
  • The plugged duct feels painful before a feeding and less tender afterwards
  • Your baby may seem fussy when feeding from one breast
  • No fever

breast lobe

Plugged duct

What you can do:

  • Use heat before feeding - take a shower or use a warm compress on the breast. Try filling a disposable diaper with warm water and hold it against the breast.
  • Massage the breast before and during a feeding - use small circles toward your chest (not toward the nipple).
  • Have your baby feed from the affected breast first.
  • Try different feeding positions - try a position where your baby’s chin is pointed at the plugged duct.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing and bras (no bras with underwire).
  • Pump or hand express after feeding to help with milk drainage.
  • Place a cold pack on the breast to help reduce pain between feedings.
Breast Infection (Mastitis)

Breast infection, also called mastitis, is an infection of the tissues of the breast.


  • Pain, redness an warmth of the breast
  • Body aches
  • Fever and chills
  • Lump in your breast that does not get smaller after breastfeeding
  • Expressed milk may look clumpy or stringy - the milk is safe to feed to your baby


breast lobe

What you can do:

  • Call your health care provider immediately if you think you may have a breast infection. You may need to be treated in the emergency room if you have any of the following signs:
    • Red streaks moving toward your arm or chest
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Pus draining from the breast
  • Continue to breastfeed or express/pump frequently as it is important to keep removing milk from both of your breasts. Your milk is safe to feed to your baby while you have a breast infection.

Questions and Answers

You may have heard a lot about breastfeeding. There is a lot of information on the internet too. However, not everything you hear is true. Get the facts!

Breastfeeding success is not linked to family history. Breastfeeding success happens with the right information, help and support.

Breastfeeding may be uncomfortable until your baby learns to latch correctly in the first weeks. Talk to your WIC clinic, lactation expert or health care provider if you have pain lasting more than a few days.

Big or small, your breasts were made for making milk. Breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk you can produce. Most people can make enough milk for their baby, but some may need to feed or express/pump more often than others.

If you are having sex, it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding. Unless you are ready for another baby, you should talk with your health care provider about birth control options that work for you.

Teaching your baby to breastfeed correctly is important in the first few weeks of life. If you give your baby a bottle or pacifier too soon, it might lower your milk supply.

Try to wait about 1 month before giving a bottle or pacifier or once breastfeeding is going well. When you must give a bottle, it is important that you express/pump your milk every time your baby eats from a bottle to be sure your body continues to make enough milk.

You can take most medicines while breastfeeding, but not all. Medications, antibiotics and herbal supplements pass into your milk in small amounts. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist to get more information, or visit

Your milk is the best food for your baby even if you do not eat perfectly every day. You do not need a special diet. Healthy eating is important for your own body to stay healthy. You should continue taking your prenatal vitamins.

Alcohol passes into human milk. You should avoid alcohol in large amounts. The AAP recommends waiting at least 2 hours after your last alcoholic drink before breastfeeding your baby. You can also pump before you drink and feed it to your baby later.

Finding Support and Information

Having a support system is important to your success. There are many good online resources for information.

You can also call your WIC clinic, your or your baby’s health care provider, a lactation expert or peer counselor.

Connect with WIC today:


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