Friday, December 5th, 2014
Some helpful tips on breastfeeding by Mum Expert Caroline Shiels
The birth of your new baby is such an exciting time, after months of waiting you are finally getting to meet your special little one. Being a mum with all its demands and caring for a small baby is a great achievement however you choose to feed your baby. Breastfeeding for any length of time is worthwhile and the longer a mother breastfeeds the greater the benefits for her and her child.
It is essential to be prepared for breastfeeding if you choose to do so. Arm yourself with information and talk to others who have experience in breastfeeding. Some hospitals and local health centres run breastfeeding classes.
The more help you can enlist, the more successful you will be. It is very important not to put yourself under any pressure. Breastfeeding is a very personal choice and is not for everyone.
The first few days
These are often the most difficult and you can feel almost like you are feeding continuously. This is important in establishing your supply and your milk should “come in” on day three or four. Don’t worry, the feeling of feeding incessantly will alleviate once your supply is established.
Latch techniques and positions
Your midwife and breastfeeding classes can be so valuable when learning about techniques and positions.
It is important to make sure baby latches correctly. Here are some tips that can be beneficial:
- Ensure you are comfortable before feeding and have everything to hand including a fresh glass of water
- Make sure baby’s head and body are in a straight line to ensure ease of swallowing
- Hold baby close supporting neck, shoulders and back allowing the head to tilt back easily without baby having to reach out to feed
- Baby needs to get a full mouthful of breast from underneath the nipple. By placing baby with nose level with the nipple he or she will reach up and attach well
- Allow baby’s head to tilt back a little so that the top lip can brush against the nipple helping baby to make a wide open mouth
- Ensure baby’s chin is touching the breast
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Lots of women worry themselves about this as they are unsure how much their baby is getting. The most important thing is that your baby is healthy and gaining weight after the first two weeks.
Other signs that your baby is getting enough:
- In the first 48 hours, your baby is likely to have only 2 or 3 wet nappies. They become more frequent, with at least 6 every 24 hours from day 5 onwards
- At the beginning, your baby will pass a black tar-like poo called meconium. By day 3, this should be changing to a lighter, runnier, greenish stool that is easier to clean up. From day 4 and for the first few weeks, your baby should pass at least 2 yellow stools every day. Remember, it’s normal for breastfed babies to pass loose (and explosive!) stools
- Your breasts and nipples should not be sore. If they are, do ask for help
- Your baby will be relaxed and satisfied after most feeds and will come off the breast on their own
How long for and how often should I feed?
There are no indicative answers to these questions. In the first few days and weeks you may need to nurse on demand to meet your baby’s needs. You will find that baby may settle into a pattern. Here are some tips to ensure your baby is feeding as efficiently as possible:
- Do not limit your baby’s time for feeding. Your baby should be allowed to finish when he or she is satisfied
Foremilk and hindmilkג¦
- Foremilk refers to the first milk that your baby will remove which quenches thirst
- Hindmilk refers to the fattier milk that your baby will remove after the foremilk. It is important to allow your baby to “empty” the breast to ensure he or she is getting the hindmilk as this will ensure baby is fuller
Breastfeeding is a wonderful choice for your baby whether you choose to feed for a day, a week, a month or a year so best of luck, relax and enjoy x