How To Breastfeed A Newborn

What To Do About A Painful Latch

How to Breastfeed a Newborn | Breastfeeding

In simple terms: A painful breastfeeding latch means theres a problem. For new moms, there may be some discomfort in the beginning, upon latching Crowe says. But the pain should not continue throughout the feeding. If youre feeling pain after the first few minutes of breastfeeding, thats a signal that something isnt right.

So what could the problem be? Sometimes baby understands how to breastfeed properly right off the bat, but the wear and tear of nursing can cause nipple and breast tissue issues that cause mom pain. Here, some common problems and how to deal:

Cracked nipples. If the injury to the nipples is superficial, sometimes expressing a bit of breast milkwhich has antimicrobial factors in itcan help, Crowe says. Letting that breast milk dry onto the nipple can help promote healing.

Inverted nipples. If youre running into a problem because of inverted or flat nipples, its important to get familiar with your anatomy. My first step is to have mom simply roll the nipple to see if the nipple will revert, Hawkins says. If the inversion continues, using a nipple shield to protect the breast can make nursing easier, but may also cause a reduction in milk supply.

Mastitis.Mastitis is a condition in which breast tissue becomes tender and inflamed, causing pain and irritation, flu-like symptoms and fever. It should be addressed by a doctor.

How To Breastfeed During The First 2 Weeks Of Life

The most important piece of advice: Be easy on yourself.

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This guide was originally published on May 5, 2019in NYT Parenting.

Though breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience for many, it isnt always easy. As you hold your newborn for the first time after enduring one of the most physically and emotionally demanding feats of motherhood, its normal to feel a range of emotions: from joy and elation to stress and anxiety. These feelings can be compounded during the first two weeks of your babys life, which are the most challenging and important for establishing milk supply especially for first-time mothers.

As a 25-year neonatal intensive care unit and newborn nurse, a board-certified lactation consultant and the mother of three exclusively breastfed boys, I know firsthand what basic information is most helpful for nursing mothers, from how to achieve a proper latch to how to recognize your babys hunger cues.

Ive also reviewed the most current scientific research and clinical guidelines, and spoken with a neonatologist, a pediatrician and a neonatal nurse practitioner, to help you recognize what is and isnt working so you can breastfeed with confidence during the first two weeks after birth.

Path To Improved Health

Breastfeeding promotes wellbeing for you and your baby. Although it is a natural part of the birthing process, its not always easy. Many women need help learning how to breastfeed. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that all doctors provide assistance to women during pregnancy and after birth to support breastfeeding. Your doctor may recommend breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of your babys life.

Below are helpful tips to help you get off to a good start.

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How Long To Breastfeed

While you may have heard that short feeds prevent soreness and cracking, that usually doesnt come from feeding too long but from getting into a less-than-ideal position. So instead of setting time limits on each feed, let your sweetie take her time at the breast and expect feedings to be long initially.

Check That Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

How to Breastfeed a Baby

Youâre probably wondering if thereâs an easy way to check that your baby is getting enough nourishment. Here are five tips for checking that your newborn is getting a sufficient amount of breast milk:

  • Listen for your baby swallowing while nursing, typically after several sucks.

  • Keep an eye on your baby to see if he appears satisfied for a few hours after the feeding session. For example, your babyâs arms will most likely be relaxed with open palms, signaling that he is full and content.

  • Before a feeding, your breasts may feel full and firm, but after a feeding they will feel softer. This is a sign your little one has been fed. As time goes by youâll notice this difference less. You may think your breasts are completely empty of milk, but know that your breasts are always in the process of producing milk.

  • A very accurate sign that your baby is getting enough to eat is steady growth. Your healthcare provider will check your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference at each checkup. Know that itâs normal for a newborn to lose up to 10 percent of his birth weight in the first few days, but by the end of his second week, he should be back to gaining weight at a steady pace.

  • If youâre ever concerned that your baby isnât eating enough, call your healthcare providerâdonât wait for the next scheduled checkup.

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    Do I Need A Newborn Feeding Schedule

    The good news is that this frequent feeding helps initiate and build your milk supply.7 So the more your baby feeds, the more milk youll make. Therefore you shouldnt worry about planning a newborn feeding schedule as this may reduce his opportunities to feed. Just concentrate on breastfeeding when your baby gives you hunger cues,8 such as:

    • stirring from his sleep
    • turning his head when he feels something on his cheek
    • poking his tongue out
    • trying to eat his hand
    • getting grizzly
    • starting to whine
    • crying

    Crying is a late sign of hunger, so if in doubt offer your baby your breast. It can be harder to breastfeed your baby once he has started crying, especially at this early stage when youre both still learning. As he gets older, hes likely to feed faster and less often, so breastfeeding should start to feel more manageable.

    On Day 1 Recover From Birth And Master Your Latch

    As soon as youre medically stable and aware after birth, your provider will likely place your newborn on your chest for skin-to-skin time. This, studies suggest, can help stabilize her breathing, body temperature and blood sugar levels and set her up for her first breastfeeding. Make sure you can see her face when she is placed on your chest, said Nancy Forsyth, R.N., N.N.P., a neonatal nurse practitioner at Beebe Healthcare in Delaware. Her head should be turned to one side and tipped back as if she is sniffing something. This is especially important if youre fatigued or on pain meds, said Forsyth, since improper placement can lead to a blocked nose or mouth, which in turn can stop her breathing.

    Babies are most alert during the first couple hours of life and will instinctively begin to root and try to suckle. While youre doing skin-to-skin time, encourage your baby to search for and latch on to your nipple. Your first milk or colostrum, which is thicker than breast milk is typically all the nutrition your baby needs and contains antibodies and other substances that protect her against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. If she is struggling to reach your breast, help her. Its more comfortable to bring your baby to your breast and not your breast to your baby.

    After a successful feed, your baby should produce at least one wet and one bowel movement in her diaper within 24 hours. The first bowel movement should look dark green and tarry.

    Read Also: How Much Oz Of Formula Should A Newborn Drink

    How Do I Breastfeed Lying Down

    One of the best parts of side lying breastfeeding is having the opportunity to rest your body while feeding your baby. Allow us to walk you through some simple steps to make it a comfy experience for both you and your baby:

  • Place your baby on their back in the middle of the floor or on a large bed. If youre on a bed, remember to keep loose sheets, blankets, and pillows away from babys face to minimize risk.
  • Lie down next to your baby, with your stomach lined up near babys head. You can use a pillow under your head, just make sure that its in a place that your little one cant reach it!
  • Slide your little one up so their nose is level with your nipple and your arm is above their head. Or cradle baby with their back along your forearm.
  • Roll your baby onto their side pulling their hips or knees close to your hips. You can put a rolled blanket or pillow behind babys back to support them and prevent them from rolling away from you. Encourage babys nose to make contact with your nipple, but do not squash their face into your breast!
  • Try to position baby so their ear, shoulder, and hip are in one line. This will help them get milk more easily.
  • If needed, use the arm not resting on the bed to shape your breast and guide it into your babys mouth. However, many babies will naturally latch on their own.
  • If your breasts arent fully draining, you should consider sitting up to finish the feed or expressing some milk to make sure that your breasts are appropriately drained.

    Wait With Introducing A Pacifier

    Breastfeeding, tips on how to breastfeed your baby

    Giving your baby a pacifier can help soothe her between feeds however, offering it in those first few weeks can have a negative effect on your milk supply, and discourage your baby from wanting to nurse.

    Experts recommend waiting until your baby has gotten used to breastfeeding before offering a pacifier.

    Of course, you may use a pacifier sparingly to comfort your baby earlier than that, like when sheâs getting a vaccination, but you could also offer her your clean pinky finger to suckle on for comfort during these short periods.

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    Do Babies Need A Breastfeeding Schedule

    Many new moms think that if babys not on a schedule, theyre doing something wrong. But especially with a newborn, theres no such thing as a breastfeeding schedule. Feed a newborn as often as they want to eat. If hes hungry, feed him, Crowe says. Rest assured, as long as baby is eating, pooping and growing, shes doing okayand so are you. Women often think that they dont have enough milk, and occasionally, someone wont, Crowe says. But by and large, they do have enough milk if theyre feeding on babys cues.

    How Your Baby Latches On To Your Nipple

    Ministry of Health

    The way your baby attaches to your breast is important, and its normal to take a while to get your babys latch right.

    Support your babys neck and shoulder with your fingers and thumb spread out so their head can tilt back slightly, rather than being pushed into the breast. This raises their chin off the chest so that they can open their mouth wide, and it keeps their nose clear so they can breathe.

    Tickle your babys upper or lower lip with the nipple or a finger and wait for them to open their mouth wide with the tongue forward.

    Bring your baby onto the breast. Their chin and lower jaw touch the breast first.

    Your babys lips should be turned outward, almost in a pout, and cover more of the areola with the bottom lip than with the top lip.

    When your baby is getting milk, they have a sucking-swallowing pattern. The baby opens their mouth wide, then they pause as they get a mouthful of milk, then they close their mouth. The longer the baby pauses with their mouth open, the more milk theyre getting. You can also see their ears wiggle as their jaw moves.

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    How Often Should You Feed

    You can breastfeed your newborn baby whenever they seem to want to. As you get to know your baby, you will learn the signs that your baby is ready for a breastfeed. When your baby is very young, this will be quite often.

    • Frequent feeding is good for you and your baby. It helps your milk to come in sooner and can prevent some problems occurring.
    • A young baby will want between 8 and 12 feeds over a 24-hour period.
    • There may not be a pattern to your baby’s feeds, especially in the first few weeks.
    • During the first few days at home, your milk supply may appear to lessen and your baby may demand feeds more frequently.
    • Short frequent feeds will stimulate your breasts and increase your supply.
    • Your baby may sometimes want to breastfeed again, only a short time after a feed.

    Take your cues from your baby. Babies may want a breastfeed because they are hungry, thirsty or need comfort and closeness.

    What If The Birth Doesnt Go To Plan

    My Baby Refuses to Breastfeed! Why &  What to Do (Nursing ...

    If you have a c-section or there are other complications, you may still be able to have skin-to-skin time with your baby and breastfeed in the first few hours.

    If you arent able to hold your baby, the next best thing is for him to have skin-to-skin contact with your partner instead. This will help keep your baby feeling safe, loved and warm until youre ready, says Cathy.

    If your baby is unable to breastfeed, then its a good idea to start expressing your milk early and frequently until he is able. While breastfeeding directly as soon as possible gives mum and baby a good start, its not essential, reassures Cathy. Whats more important is to initiate your milk supply so you can work towards breastfeeding later if needed.

    You can hand express and use the hospital breast pump to help initiate your milk supply in the beginning.5 The precious colostrum you collect can then be given to your baby. This is especially important if he is premature or poorly, because your breast milk has so many wonderful health benefits.

    Dont feel like breastfeeding is unachievable if your baby arrives early or has medical complications that stop him feeding at the start, either. Ive worked with many, many mums where their baby hasnt breastfed directly from the breast at all in the first six weeks due to a premature arrival or other difficulties, and theyve gone on to breastfeed successfully, says Cathy.

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    How To Breastfeed: Nursing 101

    Breastfeeding may be a natural thing, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. Here’s how to breastfeed throughout babys first few months of life.

    Women have been breastfeeding their babies since the beginning of time. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s something that just happens on its own. After all, you’ve never breastfed before, and your newborn has never eaten before, from a breast or otherwise. So before you pack your bag for the hospital or get frustrated with breastfeeding postpartum become acquainted with this important new job.

    Nursing may be tough in the beginning, but with patience, effort, and lots of support, both of you will get the hang of it. The best part? Your baby will thrive on your milk and the cuddly closeness that breastfeeding offers. Trust us and trust in your body!

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