Personal Health Division

WIC - Techniques of Breastfeeding

What to do in the hospital:

  • Nurse within the first hour after delivery.
  • Keep baby in your room to allow for frequent nursing.
  • Take time to position yourself correctly. Sit in a chair if possible. A pillow on the lap or on your side may be helpful.
  • Put baby to breast at least every 2-3 hours to help your body produce milk.
  • Keep of a record of baby's wet and stool diapers.
  • Avoid formula, water, bottle nipples and pacifiers and allow baby to get comfortable with feeding from the breast.
  • Breastfeeding should not hurt- if it does, a lactation specialist can adjust the baby so that the baby will latch onto the breast correctly so there will be no pain.

What to expect in the 1st week:

  • Sitting in a chair or couch with arms makes latch on and correct positioning easier.
  • Every baby is different, but most will nurse at least every 1-3 hours.
  • Wake baby to nurse if it's been longer than 3 hours during day and 4 hours at night.
  • You should hear baby swallow during a feeding. Feedings can last 15-45 minutes.
  • Baby should end the feeding by letting go. If not, insert a finger to break the suction.
  • You should notice more wet diapers and stools as your milk supply increases.
  • Stools become bright yellow and liquid. This is normal and not diarrhea. Please ask WIC staff if you would like a handout of pictures of normal baby's stools.
  • Some weight loss in the first week is normal. The doctor's office or WIC office can do a weight check for your baby within the first week.

How to tell if baby is getting enough to eat:

Day Nursings Wet Diapers Stools
One 6-8 1 or more 1 or more
Two 6-8 2 or more 2 or more
Three 8-12 3 or more 2 or more
Four 8-12 4 or more 3 or more
Five 8-12 5 or more 3 or more
Six 8-12 6 or more 4 or more
Seven 8-12 6-8 or more 4 or more

Taking Care of Mom

  • Rest or sleep when baby sleeps.
  • Have something to drink when sitting down to nurse and remember to eat.
  • If the nipples become sore: Apply a warm wet cloth after nursing. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or lanolin.
  • If engorgement happens (full hard breasts): Cover the breasts with an ice pack. If ice doesn't help, wrap the breasts in warm, wet towels or take a hot shower. Hand express or massage the breast to soften the breast enough for the baby to latch on.
  • Manual hand expression of milk can also help when you are separated from the baby or if the baby has trouble latching. Jane Morton, MD developed a video in collaboration with Stanford School of Medicine in 2009 that shows manually hand expression. To see video, visit this website.

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Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email: 

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