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Breastfeeding Your Hospitalized Baby

Increasing Your Milk Supply

  • Do skin-to-skin/kangaroo care frequently.
  • While pumping, look at a picture of your baby and smell something with your baby’s scent on it.
  • Keep a pumping log to track 24-hour totals of milk pumped. It can be a paper log or phone app.
  • See below for techniques to help increase milk supply. Watch a video on how to use your hands when you pump.

Transitioning to Breastfeeding

  • Do breast milk oral care when your baby is not eating.
  • Do skin-to-skin/kangaroo care with your baby and pump right after. Any infant contact will spike the hormones that increase milk production.
  • Do non-nutritive sucking/suck training on an empty breast.
  • When your baby starts feeding at the breast, pre- and post-weights will be monitored. If your baby received formula, you may need to continue supplementation until your baby is able to complete full feedings at the breast.

If your baby received formula, you may need to continue supplementation until your baby can complete full feedings at the breast.

No one expects to have a premature or sick baby. Breast milk will provide your baby with many health benefits. Pumped breast milk can be given by alternative feeding methods if baby cannot go to breast.

A support person can help with bathing, burping and diaper changes. Soothing techniques such as skin-to-skin/ kangaroo care will help to relax baby and promote bonding. 

Why Breast Milk is Important

The benefits of breast milk include:

  • Your body knows if your baby was born term or premature and will produce perfect nutrients in your breast milk for your newborn’s growth and development.
  • Breast milk is more easily digested than formula.
  • It contains antibodies to fight off infections.
  • It reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breastfeeding can help prevent childhood obesity, respiratory illness, ear infection, diarrhea, leukemia and gastrointestinal infection.

Pumping Your Breast Milk

Breast milk is made by “supply and demand.” The more frequently you pump, the more breast milk you will produce. When stable after delivery, pumping should begin as soon as possible, perferably before 6 hours.

Supplies Needed

  • Hospital-grade, double-electric breast pump
  • Pump kit • Bottles • Labels • Liquid soap • Basin


  • If you have WIC, we can provide a hospital-grade pump. Call WIC to arrange pick-up.
  • Ask the milk lab if you qualify for the loaner program.
  • Call your insurance provider for breast pump options.
  • Cleaning: Rinse, then soak pump parts in soapy water for 5 minutes, wash, rinse and air dry. Sterilize daily.

Pump 15 minutes with a goal of eight or more sessions every 24 hours. Pump just before sleep, once during the night and first thing in the morning. The goal should be greater than 500 mls per day by day 14.

Your nurse will show you how to set up the pump kit and how to pump.

Label your bottles of milk with the date and time pumped.


  • Visit the milk lab for supplies.
  • We will provide an insulated milk transport cooler bag with ice packs, extra bottles and labels.

Managing Your Milk Supply

Stress and tension can make pumping less productive. To help you produce more milk, consider these suggestions:

  • Make sure you are using the correct size breast shields for pumping. Contact your lactation consultant to help you determine the correct size.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as dim lighting, a quiet area and music.
  • Try to get plenty of rest.
  • Make sure you are getting good nutrition and plenty of fluids.


Lactation Consultant Support Services

HealthPark Medical Center...... 239-343-5186
Cape Coral Hospital ................... 239-424-2246
Milk Lab........................................... 239-343-6403