Breastfeeding is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast through direct feeding from the breast or pumping. The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and then for as long as mother and baby want to, alongside solid food.
During the first few days, It may take time for you and baby to get the hang of breastfeeding because you and your baby will be getting to know each other.
Breastfeeding can be challenging especially if you’ve never done it before. if you’re struggling, talk to your community midwife or health visitor, they will be able to recommend breastfeeding classes you can attend or refer you to a breastfeeding specialist.
Getting Baby Latched On to the Breast
Having an understanding how a good breastfeeding latch should look is important. If your baby is not latched properly on to your breast, it can make breastfeeding painful and also make your nipple sore. A good latch will make a difference, it might be helpful to use a nipple cream, oil or balm to ease the soreness. Poor latch also means your baby won’t be getting enough milk which could lead to poor weight gain and also reduce your milk supply. Before you leave the hospital get your midwife to check if your baby is latching on properly and also to check for anything such as tongue tie that could make latching difficult for your baby. When good latch is obtained, breastfeeding can be a truly wonderful experience between mother and baby.
Sign of a good latch:
- No clicking or smacking sound
- Your nipple is not flattened or weirdly shaped when baby comes off the breast
- You can hear baby swallowing
- Baby’s chin is touching your breast
- Latching is not painful or uncomfortable for you
- Circular movement of baby’s jaw
Colostrum is the first form of milk produced immediately following delivery of your baby. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect your baby against disease. Colostrum is low in fat, easy to digest, and full of nutrients. Colostrum is thicker and yellow compare to mature milk. Its composition is different too, because it’s tailored to your baby’s specific needs. Colostrum is very concentrated, your baby will only need a small amount at each feed (5ml to 7ml).
If you’re having trouble with getting your baby to latch, you can express colostrum into a teaspoon or a small container then feed it to your baby. Your baby will only need a tiny amount because their stomach is extremely small.
Your breast milk should come in after two to Five days. Your breast will feel fuller and firmer and your milk will start to change to transitional milk. Transitional milk is white and creamy .
How Often Should I Be Feeding My Baby?
During the first few week, your baby may want to feed every hour, feed your baby as often as they want, as your baby grow the amount of time they feed will start to reduce. On average your baby should feed at least 8 times or more every 24 hours during the first weeks. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby.
How Do I Know When My Baby Is Hungry?
Although babies can’t talk but they can communicate what they need in other ways. During the first week you might not notice your baby feeding cues, but as you and your baby get to know each other you will be able to pick up the cues that will let you know that your baby is hungry and ready for some breast milk. Crying is a late indicator of hunger, babies should be fed when they show hunger cue.
Common signs that your baby is hungry
- Waking up and acting restless
- sucking of fist or fingers and smacking of lips
- moving of head from side to side
- turning toward your breast while you’re holding her
How Do I Know When My Baby Is Full?
- Your breast should feel softer after feeding
- Your baby should look relax and satisfied after feeding
As long as baby has 6 to 8 wet nappies a day and gaining weight that is a great indicator that your baby is getting enough breast milk.
Your Milk Supply
During the first few week, it can feel like you’re doing nothing but feeding your baby. Eventually, you and your baby will get into a pattern, and the amount of milk you produce will settle down. Feed your baby on demand, every time you breastfeed your baby, your body knows to make more milk for the next feed. The amount of milk you produce will increase or decrease depending on how often your baby feeds. In the first weeks, giving your baby formula milk or giving your baby a dummy may lower your milk supply.
It’s vital to breastfeed at night because breastfeeding at night help build your milk supply and produce more hormones called prolactin at night.