Breastfeeding in the first few weeks
Newborns: A simple guide to get you through the first few weeks
Breastfeeding in the early days is such a special and important time for both you and your baby. But it can also be a time of worry. It helps to remember that all babies are programmed to breastfeed and with a little bit of guidance most will comfortably and easily find their way to the breast.
When your baby is born try to avoid separation where possible, sometimes in a hospital setting it is difficult but you can ask your midwife to put your baby skin to skin after he is born. The WHO recommends at least 1 hour of uninterrupted skin to skin immediately after birth.
Skin to skin has multiple benefits for you and your baby. It calms and relaxes both you and your baby, it regulates your baby’s heart rate, temperature and breathing, its stimulates his digestion and his feeding behaviour and protects him from infection by allowing friendly bacteria from your skin to colonise his. Skin to skin goes way beyond the delivery room, it is something that can be used throughout your breastfeeding experience, and is especially helpful in the early days to stimulate a sleepy baby to feed.
Newborn babies need very frequent feedings. There are few reasons for this; firstly they have very small tummies.
Recognising your baby’s feeding cues is very helpful for your breastfeeding experience, crying is a late feeding cue. Trying to latch a crying baby can be difficult; therefore trying to offer the breast when your baby is calm is always helpful.
Early Feeding Cues:
When latching your baby to the breast try and ensure a deep latch. This will prevent sore nipples and help your baby to transfer milk effectively. Breastfeeding should not be painful, some mothers will feel some discomfort when their baby latches initially but if this pain continues for 30 seconds or more you should take your baby off and relatch him.
There is no time limit on each feed, let your baby decide how long he wants to feed on each breast. Every baby is different, some will always feed from both breasts and others will feed from one. You will soon get to know your own baby’s needs. It is normal for newborns to cluster feed in the evening anytime from 6 or 7pm. Sometimes if you are prepared for this it can make things easier.
Most new mums are concerned if their baby is getting enough milk. Usually what goes in must come out! Therefore your baby’s wet and dirty nappies are a good indicator of milk transfer. By about day 5-6 you should expect 3-4 yellow seedy poos and 6 wet nappies. If you are concerned about your baby’s needs ask for help, you can contact your PHN, La Leche League, Cuidiu or an IBCLC.
Nightime feeds are always a challenge, but are very important for your baby’s growing needs and your milk supply. Night feeding is very normal newborn behaviour, keeping your baby close can make it easier.
Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby, its convenient free and easy, but always remember to ask for help, Good luck.
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