Getting started – It’s important to inform yourself about breastfeeding before baby arrives by attending ante-natal classes, reading, watching videos, visiting websites that contain relevant information to prepare you. Also locate or visit your local breastfeeding support group/clinic in the event that you need their help when you get home. Your partner can also support you in preparing.
Feed baby as soon as possible after delivery. Ask the Midwife or Lactation Consultant for help to latch baby on for the first few feeds to ensure you get it right from the beginning. Failure to get it right can lead to nipple tenderness/damage which can cause difficulties establishing feeding. The latch – baby needs a wide open mouth with all the nipple and most of the surrounding areolar in baby’s mouth.
Correct positioning of baby is also important with baby’s body facing mum and the nipple in front of his mouth. Bring baby to the breast and not breast to baby. Try different positions to find the one that suits you and baby best. A breastfeeding pillow can be a useful aid.
Colostrum is available in small amounts in the first few days which is rich in nutrients and immunities. It has a laxative effect to eliminate meconium from baby’s bowel. Milk usually arrives on/after 3 days. The more you feed the more milk you produce. Feeding 8-12 times a day is normal as breastmilk is digested rapidly. Empty the first breast before offering the second in order to get a balance of foremilk and hindmilk.
Always break the suction before unlatching baby from the breast, even if baby is sleeping, as the nipple can be damaged if you do not. Using a lanolin cream after feeding is soothing for the nipples.
Make a record of the time and breast you feed on for the first week
Make a record of the time and breast you feed on for the first week(s) until you get your milk supply established.
Wind baby after feeding as breastfed babies can swallow air when feeding especially if let-down, milk flow is rapid.
Making a note of wet and soiled nappies is a way of knowing baby is getting sufficient milk ie 6-8 wet and 3-4 soiled nappies is normal once the milk comes in.
A well balanced diet is necessary to ensure you produce quality breastmilk. An extra 500 calories is required when breastfeeding. Avoid alcohol.
Rest and relax – easier said than done, but lying down when feeding is a good way of napping with baby in the early days and also at night.
Practice makes perfect. If any feed feels painful, then stop, take baby off and start again.
Keep a goodie bag beside you when feeding- include a drink, energy bar, TV remote control, phone, pen & paper, as you might be sitting for lengthy periods in the early weeks.
For more breastfeeding tips or if you have any questions, please contact our Careline.