During the first few days of a baby’s life, it’s important to start healthy breastfeeding. If you don’t get it at first, take a deep breath and keep trying. Ask your doctor or a lactation specialist for help. A lactation specialist is an expert on breastfeeding.
Here are some general guidelines to follow
The first few days:
- It’s important to put your baby to your breast as soon as you can after birth.
- At first, your baby will need to nurse 10 to12 times in a 24-hour period (every two hours).
- Frequent breastfeeding will help your body make milk. Breastfeeding will help your baby gain back any weight lost just after birth. It will also help with jaundice that sometimes happens after birth. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Once your milk comes in, every 24 hours your baby should have:
o Five to six wet diapers
o Two to five bowel movements
This may take a few days to start.
Tips for helping your baby latch on:
- Sit back comfortably.
- Support your breast with one hand.
- Place your baby’s head on your forearm. Hold your baby level with your breast.
- Tickle your baby’s lips. Wait for your baby to open wide.
- With your baby’s head slightly tilted back, bring your baby to the breast.
- The best way to hold your baby during breastfeeding is with your baby’s chin pressed into your breast. Your baby’s nose will be slightly away.
Signs of a good latch:
- If it feels comfortable, it’s probably a good latch.
- Much of your areola should be covered. Your areola is the round shaded area of skin around your nipple. The amount of your areola that is covered will depend on the size of both your areola and your baby’s mouth.
- You may feel your baby’s tongue cupped under your breast.
- You will hear or see your baby swallow.
How to make sure you have a good milk supply:
- Finish the first breast first.
- Offer the other breast if your baby still shows signs of being hungry.
- Press down on your breast to keep the baby interested. Feel free to tickle your baby or touch your baby’s face if he or she begins to fall asleep.
- Sore nipples: The most common cause of nipple pain is a problem with the latch. Review the tips above. If nothing changes, ask your doctor or lactation specialist for help. Ask your doctor if:
o Your nipple skin cracks. Lanolin may help.
o Your breast or nipple skin is red or inflamed. You may have a yeast or bacterial infection. An infection is a medical problem caused by germs that requires a doctor’s care
- Blocked duct:
∙ Small, hard, tender lump on breast
∙ Breast area may also be red with somewhat warm skin
∙ Nurse or pump as often as you can. This will help get rid of blockages.
∙ Warm compress or wet cloth on the area should help
o Look for signs of infection (mastitis):
∙ If you feel worse, achy or get a fever
∙ Ask your doctor if you see any of the above signs.
- Growth spurts: These can happen at any time, but usually happen when your baby is two weeks, six weeks and three months of age.
o At first, your milk supply may to be too low to feed your baby as much as he or she wants. Try to stick with it and give your baby as much as he or she wants to eat.
o Nursing longer and more often will quickly build up your milk supply. It’ll also get you back into your normal day-to-day routine in no time.
For more tips and suggestions, ask your doctor or lactation specialist. You might also wish to join a local or online mother’s support group for more help.