The intimate art of breastfeeding - Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

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The intimate art of breastfeeding

Keys to successful breastfeeding

Feed as soon as possible after birth

Breast milk not only contains all the nutrients a baby needs for the first months, it also includes substances that protect your baby against illnesses.

Allow infant to feed as often and as long as he or she desires

Offer your breast at least every 2-3 hours, about 8-12 feedings in 24 hours.

Breastfeed at least 8 times a day

Breastfeeding at least 8 times a day will decrease the chance of excess weight loss and jaundice in your newborn.

Time feedings from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next

Avoid introducing bottles for at least 4-6 weeks

Babies use their whole mouth when sucking at the breast. Some babies get confused if given both the breast and bottle since getting milk from the bottle is so much easier than from the breast. Flow-control bottles should be used. Feeding should take as long as breastfeeding, at lease 10 minutes.

Feed at least 15 minutes or more at the first breast every feeding

Letdown may take up to 5 minutes or more to occur from the time the infant starts sucking, so you should feed at least 20 minutes or more at the first breast every feeding. Feeding may take 30-40 minutes each time. The average for each breastfeeding session varies from 20-60 minutes.

Listen for your baby's first swallow. This is evidence your baby is getting milk.

Breastfeeding class

Learn how to get breastfeeding off to a good start for you and your baby in this class. Information includes prenatal preparation, nutrition, problem prevention, and strategies for success. Fathers/support persons are encouraged to attend. 

This class is FREE.

Register now


That special designation from UNICEF and the World Health Organization means we have adopted practices that offer mothers help and information to gain the skills and confidence for successful breastfeeding.

For more information, please call our Lactation Support Service at (831) 625-4987.


Our Family Birth Center ranked in the top 10 out of 251 California hospitals for successful breastfeeding efforts, according to a new report  by the California WIC Association and UC Davis Human Lactation Center.  Read the news release.

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