• Breast milk is considered medicine for your baby. It’s the best way to feed your baby if you are able to breastfeed.
  • Smarter babies
  • Perfect nutrition for babies
  • Less infections
  • Mom will lose weight quicker
  • Babies don’t have a problem digesting breast milk whereas some babies are lactose intolerant and therefore can’t digest cow’s milk (formula) very well
  • Reduced health care costs
  • Helps shrink uterus back to original size for mom
  • Decreases the risk of ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer in the mom
  • Premature babies who are breastfed get healthier more quickly, so they are therefore discharged from the NICU faster as well as have less relapse time
  • Saves time and money
  • Creates strong bond between mother and baby
  • Good for the environment
  • Breastfeeding protects against some conditions including:



    It hurts!
  • Breastfeeding may hurt and/or may be uncomfortable when you first start. If it’s still hurting once you get used to breastfeeding, then the baby is typically not latching on properly. If this is the case, talk to your doctor and/or a lactation consultant.

  • It makes your breasts sag and shrinks your breasts!
  • This is not the case. Breasts may sag and change shape on their own, but this is not due to breastfeeding. It is due to aging and gravity.

  • Formula is just as good as breast milk!
  • Formula will never be as good as breast milk. Human milk is specifically designed for human infants just like cow’s milk is specifically designed for baby cows. Human babies will almost never be allergic to breast milk; however, it is extremely common for babies to be allergic to cow’s milk.

  • You have to watch what you eat!
  • While breastfeeding, there is no particular diet you have to follow. However, you should eat like you did while you were pregnant. You can still eat spicy foods and such. You should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Also, pay attention to what you eat and how it affects your baby. Foods that cause you to be gassy may cause the baby to be gassy. Also, certain foods may affect your baby but may not affect all babies. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Exercise is still encouraged during this time.

  • Absolutely no alcohol!
  • You can drink a little while breastfeeding. Try to pump before drinking. If you have one drink, once you can no longer feel the effects of the alcohol, then it is safe to breastfeed your baby again(typically one to two hours per drink). Absolutely no drugs while breastfeeding!

  • Absolutely no smoking!
  • Smoking is bad for both you and your baby, but if you are a smoker, make sure to smoke after you breastfeed or pump. You should also change your shirt after smoking before holding your baby again. Do not allow others to smoke around your baby, and make sure other smokers change shirts after smoking if they want to hold the baby.

  • Can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding!
  • If you are only feeding your baby nothing but breast milk, then this can be true 98% of the time. Once the baby starts sleeping through the night and is eating solid and/or supplemental foods, then there is a much higher chance of getting pregnant. You should not rely on breastfeeding as a form of birth control. Please talk to your doctor about birth control methods that are safe while breastfeeding.

  • Time consuming!
  • You will actually spend more time formula feeding, because you have to mix up the formula, make the bottle, heat the bottle, wait for the bottle to cool, and then finally feed the baby. While breastfeeding you can just pick the baby up and feed him or her. You will also spend more time burping the baby if you formula feed.

  • Won’t have enough milk!
  • If you are breastfeeding properly, then this should not be a problem. It is recommended that a woman feed her baby 8-12 times a day. Also, starting to breastfeed as soon after delivery will help with milk production. You should typically try to breastfeed within an hour of delivery.

  • Can’t breastfeed if have a C-section!
  • This is not true. You can definitely breastfeed after having a C-section. It is best to start as soon as possible while you both are still in the hospital.

  • Can’t breastfeed in public nor at work!
  • The state of TN has laws that allow women to legally breastfeed in public. Also, all jobs are required by law to provide a place (and not just the restroom) for a woman to pump her milk. So, talk to your employer about being able to breast pump at work. You can be paid for the breast pumping break like you would for a normal 15 minute break. Explain to your employer that if he/she allows you to breast pump at work, you will miss less work later on due to your baby being sick. For more information, visit:

  • Milk will “come in” right after delivery!
  • It usually takes a couple of days for your milk to come in. The first milk to come in is known as colostrum which is a clear liquid. Go ahead and start breastfeeding as soon as possible, because this will help the milk come in faster.

  • Colostrum is bad for the baby!
  • Colostrum is excellent for the baby. It has antigens in it that will help protect the baby from infections, so go ahead and feed the baby the colostrum while waiting for the milk to come in.

  • Doesn’t allow for anyone else to feed the baby, so baby does not build bond with father and other family members!
  • Physicians recommend that babies be breastfed by the mother for the first 6 weeks in order to avoid nipple confusion and volume issues. The baby’s stomach is extremely small (about the size of a marble) on day one. You need to slowly increase the amount the baby eats as the stomach expands, which the baby will do on its own if you are breastfeeding. Many times, people give too much food when bottle feeding causing the baby's stomach to stretch too quickly. When the baby goes back to the breast, the mother may not make enough milk, because the baby’s stomach has grown too much. This teaches babies to overeat, so try not to overfeed the baby. After the first 6 weeks, the mom can start pumping and let other family members feed the baby.

  • WIC is not for breastfeeding moms!
  • All mothers are encouraged to join WIC if eligible. Make sure to tell WIC staff that you are a breastfeeding mom because that will change your food package (you need usually around 500 extra calories while breastfeeding including more nutrients such as calcium and protein). WIC does strongly encourage breastfeeding, so if you are a breastfeeding mom, you can join the WIC program.



  • Embarrassment about breastfeeding

  • Lack of support from the baby's father, family, friends, and sometimes healthcare providers

  • Lack of confidence/unease about breastfeeding

  • No time to get things done/no freedom

  • Concern about eating a healthy diet

  • Going back to work

  • *If you have any of these concerns, please talk to your doctor and your lactation consultant about how to get past these barriers.

  • ACOG. "Breastfeeding: Maternal and Infant Aspects." Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women Committee on Obstetric Practice. January-February 2007; Vol. 12, Issue 1 (Supplement): Special Report From ACOG.
  • Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, Nutrition Services, Oregon Department of Human Services, Nutrition & Health Screening – WIC Program, Oregon Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group. “Nutrition Practice Care Guidelines for Preterm Infants in the Community.” August 2006.
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute. "African American Women and Breastfeeding."

Breastfeeding for African American Women

  • Breastfeeding rates are lowest in African American communities in the United States. There are several reasons for this, but the most influential factor in a woman’s decision to breastfeed is the support of the baby's father, your mother, your friends, etc. Breastfeeding is not seen as “normal” in our society, and it is your decision to make and your choice to educate others about the choice you have made. Learn about breastfeeding from everyone you can before you make a decision.
  • When you find out you’re pregnant, you should start thinking about how you will feed your baby once it is born. At your first doctor’s visit, you should ask your doctor to speak with you about breastfeeding. It is always a good idea to bring up the subject of breastfeeding, because sometimes your doctor might forget. Your doctor should be able to give you information regarding the benefits of breastfeeding, and you can then make an informed decision on your own.
  • Family support makes a big difference in whether or not you will breastfeed. Many women were not breastfed by their mothers, and still others have never seen another woman breastfeed her infant. In addition, the father of the baby may be unsupportive or not understand why breastfeeding is so important.
  • It is up to you to ask questions about breastfeeding to your doctors and nurses, to find books about breastfeeding, and to find women who have breastfed before to give you support in your decision. Once you are armed with the information on the benefits of breastfeeding, you can spread that information to your mother, grandmother, friends, and the father of your child. You can always bring a family member to your doctor’s appointment and ask the doctor to explain the benefits of breastfeeding to your support person as well.
  • Tell your doctors and nurses when you go to the hospital to deliver that your baby is a breastfed baby, and the baby is not to receive any pacifiers or formula while there. Try to breastfeed in the first hour of your baby’s delivery.
  • It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all women should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue breastfeeding while introducing solid foods for at least one year. After the first month of exclusive breastfeeding from the breast, a woman can begin pumping her milk for her baby. It is best to wait until the baby is one month old to avoid “nipple confusion” in which the baby prefers the faster food delivery system (the bottle) over the breast.
  • Remember that the State of Tennessee has laws that protect breastfeeding mothers. It is your right to breastfeed in a public place without discrimination. It is also your right to breastfeed at work in a private place (not just a bathroom) without discrimination. If you have a problem, contact FirstRight. Their website is

Benefits for African Americans

  • Studies have shown that African American women are at a much greater risk for developing breast cancer than other ethnic groups, and studies have also shown that breastfeeding reduces the chances of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer.
  • Breast milk contains the perfect amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein for the baby for the first six months. You don’t have to supplement with anything, because your breast milk is the perfect food for your baby.
  • African Americans have the highest rates of premature babies and premature babies do better and are discharged from the hospital sooner if the mother breastfeeds.
  • Breastfeeding is cheaper than bottle feeding. You don’t have to buy bottles, formula, pacifiers, or bottle warmers.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible for certain special benefits through WIC.
  • Breastfeeding moms can pump milk so that other family members can help feed the baby.

  • Top Reasons Why African American Women Don’t Breastfeed

    No one else can feed my baby:
  • Not true. You can pump milk so that other family members can help feed the baby. If you’re enrolled in WIC, ask about using a breast pump after the first month of exclusive feeding from the breast.
  • Breastfeeding would tie me down too much:
  • Not true. You can go about your daily activities as usual for the most part. When you are planning to go out, pump ahead of time, so the baby has food while you are away. You can breastfeed in public places while being discreet.
  • Breastfeeding is painful:
  • Not true. Breastfeeding should never be painful as long as the baby is latched on correctly. Once you give birth in the hospital, ask to see a lactation consultant for guidance on a how to get your baby to latch correctly. If you have other problems, contact one of the organizations listed below.
  • My breasts will sag if I breastfeed:
  • Not true. Sagging breasts are due to age and gravity, not breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding is old fashioned:
  • True. Breastfeeding is how all of our ancestors fed their babies. It is the way our babies were intended to be fed. Formula will never be close to the nutritional and protective qualities found in mother’s milk.

  • Sources
    • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute. "African American Women and Breastfeeding."

    • Where to Find Help with Breastfeeding

      To get a free copy of An Easy Guide to Breastfeeding for African American Women, visit

      National Breastfeeding Hotline 1-800-994-9662 (Available 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. M-F, EST)

      African American Breastfeeding Alliance 1-877-532-8535

      International Board Certified Lactation Consultant—To find an IBCLC near you, visit

      La Leche League International 1-800-LA LECHE or 1-847-519-7730 or visit

      La Leche League International has trained mothers who have breastfed their own babies known as La Leche League Leaders. These women are available to answer any and all questions about breastfeeding. The local La Leche League contact information for Memphis, TN is:

      LLL of Memphis East Melanie 901-324-8215

      LLL of Germantown Emily 901-685-8832

      Phone Help from LLL: Anne 901-251-9036 - phone help only

      LLL of Memphis East meets on the first Thursday of each month at 10:30 a.m. at the St. John's Episcopal Church - Family Life Center, 3245 Central Avenue, Memphis, Tn.

      LLL of Germantown meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Spirit at 2300 Hickory Crest Drive in Memphis.

      For more resources, please visit the Resource Guide.

    When Not to Breastfeed

    Most all women can physically breastfeed; however, there are cases when a woman should not breastfeed. Some of these include:

    • If she's taking illegal drugs

    • If she has an alcohol problem

    • If she's on certain medications (talk to your doctor and the lactation consultant if unsure)

    • If she has certain infections such as HIV, TB, Chicken Pox, Herpes with lesions on the breasts, or Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus Type I or Type II

    • If the infant is lactose intolerant

    • If the mother is being treated for breast cancer

    • If you have any concerns about breastfeeding, please talk to your doctor and/or a lactation consultant


    Feeding Baby

    • Physicians recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Babies should still be breastfed up through the first year of life, but after the first 6 months, you can start introducing supplemental foods as you continue breastfeeding. Any amount of time you can breastfeed even if it’s only the first few weeks of life is still better for the baby than not breastfeeding at all. Babies rarely need vitamin supplements while breastfeeding, but talk to your doctor about this, because each case is different.

    • Make sure you get a good, supportive bra. Also, you should alternate between breasts while feeding. Physicians recommend feeding the baby 8 to 12 times per day with around 10 to 15 minutes on each breast.

    • You can also breast pump. Milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can be stored in a normal freezer for up to 3 months and can be stored in a deep freezer for up to 6 months. Be sure to write the date on each bottle before storing and use the oldest milk first.

    • Please talk to your doctor early in the pregnancy about breastfeeding. If you decide to breastfeed, make sure when you go to labor and delivery that the nurses know you want to breastfeed. You should write on the paper work that the nurses are not to give your baby a bottle or pacifier while in the hospital.

    • Every hospital has a lactation consultant. If one does not come to see you, make sure to request that the lactation consultant visits your room. The earlier you can start breastfeeding the better. If possible, take a class about breastfeeding before delivery. Make sure the lactation consultant sees you before being discharged.

    • Once you leave the hospital, if you have problems breastfeeding, don’t give up. You can contact the lactation consultant at the hospital. If you are a member of WIC, there is a lactation consultant on staff there who can help you. There are also various other community resources for breastfeeding women. See the resource section for more resources.

    • Make sure to let your doctor know that you are a breastfeeding mom. Talk to your doctor and/or your lactation consultant before taking any medications. Many drugs such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and antibiotics are all safe while breastfeeding.


    Weaning and Solid Foods

    Most physicians recommend to begin weaning by cutting out one feeding per week. Try cutting out a midday one, because some of those are typically smaller in quantity; therefore, your breasts should have less of a problem adjusting. You can also breastfeed a shorter amount of time at each feeding or even feed the baby a little later at each feeding. Most women cut out the night feeding last.

    Do not completely stop breastfeeding all together, because it could cause some serious problems including the following:

    • Mother’s breasts begin producing milk after birth causing the breasts to become swollen.
    • Breasts can feel heavy, tender, and warm
    • Some mothers may experience a low fever as well as being achy.

    • Treatment:
    • Before breastfeeding, use a hot compress to warm the breast which will ease the flow of milk.
    • After breastfeeding, use a cold compress to cool the breast which will help to reduce the tenderness and swelling.
    • If engorgement becomes severe, see your doctor immediately because if left untreated, your breasts could become infected.

    • Mastitis:
    • Infection of the breasts.
    • This happens when the areas around the milk ducts become swollen and tender causing redness and pain in the breasts.
    • Fever and body aches can also occur in some mothers.

    • Treatment:
    • Keeping the milk flowing is the best prevention and treatment.
    • Milk that sits too long in the breast becomes thicker and can clog the ducts which can lead to infection.
    • If you feel that your breasts are infected, seek help from your doctor.
    • Simple antibiotics will cure the problem.
    • *If mastitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems.

      Clogged or Plugged Ducts:
    • May feel a sore lump in the breast behind the nipple or surrounding area.
    • Plugged ducts prevent milk from flowing.

    • Treatment:
    • The best way to prevent plugged ducts is to keep the breast milk flowing.
    • Using a hot compress before nursing can help to increase milk flow and reduce the chance of a plugged ducts.

    • Introducing Solid Foods:

      The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says to give the baby exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months of life (so no water, formula, pacifier, etc.). After six months, the AAP says you can begin introducing other foods but to continue breastfeeding for up to one year. They recommend weaning when your baby is one year old. You may begin introducing solid foods at 4 to 6 months. When you begin introducing solid foods, use a baby spoon instead of putting the food into a bottle.

      4 to 6 months
    • Give baby rice cereal mixed with either formula or breast milk at 1 feeding per day.
    • Gradually thicken cereal.
    • Gradually increase feedings.

    • 6 to 8 months
    • Give baby rice cereal without the formula or breast milk mixed in at 2 to 3 feedings per day.
    • Give baby mashed fruits and vegetables at 2 to 3 feedings per day. Start out with a very small amount and then gradually increase.
    • Introduce each new fruit and vegetable one at a time with 3 days in between each one to make sure the baby is not allergic to any particular food.

    • 8 to 10 months
    • Give baby same as 6 to 8 months gradually increasing fruits and vegetables at each feeding
    • Give baby cereals still (rice, wheat, barley, oats)
    • Give baby soft dairy (No cow’s milk)
    • Give baby small amounts of protein (mashed meats, egg yolks, mashed beans)
    • Non-citrus juices (pear, apple)
    • Introduce all new foods one at a time with 3 days in between each one to make sure the baby is not allergic to any particular food.

    • 10 to 12 months
    • Give baby same as 8 to 10 months
    • Give baby cut up pieces of food (toast, bagels, banana, crackers, etc.)
    • Introduce all new foods one at a time with 3 days in between each one to make sure the baby is not allergic to any particular food.

    • For a list of more exact foods and amounts for each month, please visit:


    • *If you are having problems weaning or introducing solid foods, please talk to your doctor and/or lactation consultant for more help. Check out the resource guide for local Memphis places that may be able to help as well.



    Healthy Diet and Exercise

    Doctor’s recommend using the food pyramid. For a personalized version, go to

    Make sure to check the box that says you’re breastfeeding if you choose to breastfeed.

    This site will tell you for your body weight, height, age, and activity level exactly how much of each food group (grains, vegetables, fruits, meat & beans, and dairy) you need during each trimester.

    Make sure to also click on the food groups and the tips for more information including lists of foods that are good to eat during pregnancy and how to make better food choices.

    • If breastfeeding, you will need around 500 more calories per day than normal.
    • Exercising is encouraged for many reasons including losing the baby weight, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping in the healing process after delivery.
    • Fresh fruits and vegetables are still best.
    • Make sure to get plenty of calcium.


    For more information on specific nutrients needed while breastfeeding, see the Nutrients Page.

    Nutrients Needed During Breastfeeding/Lactation


    Alcohol Use
    • A woman who breastfeeds her infant must be aware that all chemicals that she puts in her body can be transferred to the infant when breastfeeding.

    • It is recommended that women not drink alcohol while breastfeeding. If a woman chooses to drink, she should limit herself to two alcoholic beverages on special occasions.

    • If after delivery, a woman wants to drink alcohol, make sure the baby is not fed breast milk for at least 1-2 hours after each alcoholic beverage consumed. Therefore, if you drink two glasses of wine, make sure your baby is not fed breast milk from the breast for about 2-4 hours. If you know that you will be drinking later in the day, you can always pump breast milk for the baby before hand to ensure the baby will receive the best nutrition possible.

    • A woman who consumes excessive amounts of alcohol and then breastfeeds her baby may cause the baby to become sleepy, grow more slowly, and become physically weaker. Alcohol consumption can also cause a decrease in the amount of milk a woman is capable of producing in a given period of time.



    Birth Control

    Birth Spacing

    • If you are interested in having more than one baby, it is recommended that each woman wait at least eighteen months between pregnancies. It is also recommended that each woman have another baby within five years of your last pregnancy.

    • These recommendations have been made, because evidence suggests that women who have another baby before eighteen months or after five years are at a much greater risk for preterm labor and for having a low birth weight infant.

    • There also seems to be a connection between having another pregnancy within six months of the last pregnancy and higher rates of neural tube defects. Therefore, waiting to have a second child until after eighteen months may reduce the chance of your child being born with anencephaly or spina bifida. For more information on neural tube defects, visit the Folic Acid section of the website.

    • It has been suggested that proper birth spacing could reduce infant deaths in the United States and worldwide dramatically.


    Once Your Baby Comes Home


    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or "Crib Death") is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 month to 1 year. No one knows what causes SIDS.
    • A woman can reduce the chance of her baby dying with SIDS both during pregnancy and after birth. During pregnancy, don’t smoke or be around second-hand smoke. Tell others to smoke outside or leave the room if someone decides to smoke indoors.
    • Once the baby is born, don’t smoke around the infant. If you choose to smoke after delivery, smoke outside and wear a jacket that can be taken off once you return to your infant. Do not allow others to smoke near your baby. Tell them to smoke outside or in a different room from the infant.
    • Breastfeed your baby if possible. It has been scientifically proven that breastfed babies have less of a chance of dying from SIDS than formula fed babies. It is recommended to feed your baby exclusively for six months and to breastfeed in conjunction with other foods until the baby is at least one year old.
    • Always place the baby on his back when it’s sleep time. Babies that sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS. Do not place the baby on his side, and never place the baby on his belly to sleep. Instruct anyone who baby-sits to place the baby on his back to sleep. Make sure the crib has a firm mattress. Also, make sure there are no toys or stuffed animals in the crib. Only a light blanket should be put in the crib if necessary to keep the baby warm. Always tuck the blanket under the armpits of the baby.
    • When you are playing with your baby, allow the baby to crawl around on his stomach. This allows the baby to build neck and shoulder muscles.


    “Back to Sleep”

    To reduce the chances of your baby dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it is recommended that you place your baby to sleep on his back. Here are some recommendations when placing baby to sleep:

    • Do not place the baby on his stomach or side when sleeping

    • Keep baby in a crib or bassinette in your bedroom

    • Never allow the baby to sleep with you in the bed

    • Do not keep stuffed animals or toys in the crib with the baby

    • If using a blanket, tuck the blanket under the armpits of the infant

    • Keep the room cool enough for an adult to feel comfortable when wearing light clothing

    • Tell ALL caretakers or babysitters about putting the baby on his back to sleep

    • Don't allow anyone to smoke near the baby


    New Baby Information

    After delivery, the baby will be:
    • Scored
    • Weighed
    • Cleaned off
    • Footprints taken
    • ID tag put on ankle or wrist
    • Umbilical cord cut and clamped
    • Suction mucus from baby's nose and mouth
    Physical exam will be done including checking the baby's
    • Ears
    • Eyes
    • Nose
    • Throat
    • Heart
    • Lungs
    • Abdomen
    • Genital areas
    • Arms
    • Legs
    • Reflexes

    Laboratory tests will also be done on the baby before being discharged.

    **Most if not all of these tests can be done while the baby is resting with you. Skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery is beneficial for both the mother and baby and is strongly recommended, especially if you plan to breastfeed. There is also no reason why the baby should be removed from the mother’s room. A mother rests more comfortably when the baby remains in the room with her. Therefore, tell your doctor that you want to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby following delivery in order to initiate breastfeeding and also ask for the baby to remain in your room with you if desired.

    • Should be done in first 10 days of life
    • Some physicians use anesthesia (numbs pain), but others do not. It has been proven that babies feel pain during this time, so check with your physician to make sure the baby will be given anesthesia.
    Bathing Baby:
    • Do not have to bathe everyday. A couple of times a week is good.
    • Sponge baths are good in between baths.
    • Do not get umbilical cord wet until it falls off. Give baby sponge baths until then, but be sure to clean baby's head everyday. If you get the cord wet, use rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip or cotton ball to dry it up. Do the same for your babb's circumcision until it is healed.
    • Only need a few inches of water in the tub.
    • Make sure water is not too hot. Test the water by using your wrist to make sure the water is not too hot.
    • Support baby's neck and head.
    • Wash baby's body first. Dry baby off and either clothe or wrap a baby towel around him/her.
    • Then, wash the baby's head. Always make sure you wash the baby’s head last and use baby’s shampoo.
    • Wash baby's head everyday to avoid cradle cap.
    • Do not need soap – can just use water or regular soap.
    • No bubble bath or scented soaps.


    For Mom

    After Delivery For Mom:
    • Nurses check uterus
    • Massage uterus
    • Hold baby if possible
    • Begin breastfeeding if possible

    Mom's Episiotomy:
    • Stitches should dissolve on their own
    • Ways to relieve soreness:
    • Ice pack
    • Heating pad or lamp
    • Soaking in tub
    • Talk to doctor if having problems
    • Nurse should discuss everything with you

    • No heavy lifting
    • Try walking as soon as possible – move slowly
    • Get plenty of rest
    • No driving for 2 weeks
    • No sex for 6 weeks
    • Use pillows to prop yourself up especially while breastfeeding
    • Limit visitors
    • Drink lots of water

    • Wash breasts and nipples everyday NO soap on nipples
    • Take daily shower or baths
    • May bleed for 4 to 6 weeks after delivery
    • If extremely heavy or lasts longer that 4 to 6 weeks, talk to your doctor.
    • Period will return within 4 to 10 weeks, if breastfeeding, could be longer
    • Rest nap when baby naps
    • If you feel sick or have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor:
    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Heavy bleeding
    • Flu symptoms
    • Hard time urinating


    6 Week Check-up

    It is recommended that women take their infants for a well-baby check-up within 2-4 days of delivery. During this time your doctor will do a physical examination of the infant to ensure good health and will discuss upcoming vaccinations and other important information. However, don’t let the doctor do all of the talking. Before your visit, write down a list of questions or concerns that you may have and be prepared to ask the doctor on this visit.

    Remember that in the postpartum period you will need to sign your baby up for insurance. Your baby is only covered for 30 days under your insurance, so it is very important to contact your case worker in the first 30 days to make sure your baby has insurance.

    At your six week check-up, your doctor will want to make sure that you are healing correctly after delivery, but this is also a time when you can ask your doctor questions. Again, write a list of any questions or concerns you may have about your new baby or your body, and discuss those questions or concerns with your doctor on this visit.

    During your check-up, you should discuss:

    • Any concerns or questions you may have concerning breastfeeding
    • Any pain or tenderness you still feel
    • Vaginal discharge
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Problems with urination
    • Constipation
    • Weight loss
    • Exercise
    • Concerns about postpartum depression
    • When to resume sexual activity and contraception

    • Postpartum Depression is more than typical baby blues. Most women experience some sort of anxiety or sadness following the birth of their baby, but if these feelings continue for more than about 7-10 days, contact your doctor. Baby blues should not last past a few weeks and should not get progressively worse.


    Infant Check-ups & Vaccinations

    When should my baby be seen by a doctor?
    • 2-4 days after delivery
    • Age 1 month
    • Age 2 months
    • Age 4 months
    • Age 6 months
    • Age 9 months
    • Age 12 months
    • Age 15 months
    • Age 18 months
    • Age 24 months
    • Every year afterwards until the age of 21.

    • *All information obtained from TLC’s Important Well-Child Visits Pamphlet

    Immunizations your baby needs:
    • Birth to two months: Hep B
    • 1 to 4 months: Hep B
    • 2 months: DTaP, Hib, Polio
    • 4 months: DTaP, Hib, Polio
    • 6 months: DTaP, Hib, Hep B
    • 12 months: MMR, Hib, Polio, Chickenpox
    • 15 months: DTaP

    Hep B: Protects against Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease
    DTaP: Protects against diphetheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough)
    Hib: Protects against haemophilus influenza type b
    Polio: Protects against polio. This vaccine is given as a shot.
    MMR: Protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles)
    Chickenpox: Protects against chickenpox.

    *All information obtained from
    Know when to take your baby to the doctor:
    • There is swelling or drainage from the eyes, belly button, or circumcision
    • Cannot stay awake while feeding
    • Vomiting two full meals in 24 hours
    • Skin that looks yellow in the sunlight
    • Less than six wet diapers in 24 hours (after the first few days of life)
    • No bowel movements for more than 24 hours
    • Diarrhea that is mostly water
    • Breathing that is very fast and baby is turning bluish in color
    • Very irritable and cannot be calmed down and/or crying that will not stop
    • Thrush (white patches in the mouth that cannot be wiped away)
    • Soft spot that is raised or sunken in
    • Changes in eating
    • Temperature that is greater than 99 degrees (taken under the arm)
    • You do not have a good feeling about your baby’s well-being

    • *All information obtained from TLC’s Welcome Home Mom & Baby! Handout


    • Stands for Women, Infants, & Children.

    • The WIC Program provides nutritious foods, healthy eating information, and doctor referrals to low income women and their children up to the age of 5.

    • Vouchers are given to buy certain foods each month including items such as milk, eggs, and cheese.

    • WIC does support breastfeeding, so breastfeeding moms are strongly encouraged to join the WIC program.

    • To find out if you’re eligible and for more information about WIC, either go to or contact WIC at the Memphis/Shelby County Health Department.