Breastfeeding is unique for mothers and babies. Breastmilk is perfectly designed for your baby and changes to meet your baby’s growing needs. Lactation is the process of producing breastmilk for your baby and it can take up to six weeks to be well established.
Breastmilk is produced using a ‘demand and supply’ principle.The more your baby feeds, the more breastmilk is produced. It is normal for a newborn to feed at intervals of two to five hours and feeds may take 45 minutes to an hour. In the early months your baby needs a minimum of 6-8 feeds in 24 hours.
Good positioning and attachment is the important.Position yourself comfortably with your back well supported.
Allow your breast to fall naturally.Unwrap your baby to allow easy handling, skin contact and avoid overheating
Your baby’s chin is touching or tucked into the breast.Support your breast using your free hand with fingers well back from the nipple/areola, aim your nipple towards your baby’s nose.
As your baby’s mouth opens wide, bring your baby to your breast, aiming the nipple towards the roof of the mouth with the chin coming to the breast.After an initial short burst of sucking, the rhythm should be slow and even with intermittent pauses and deep jaw movements.
A change in breast fullness indicates transfer of milk (breast emptied) in the early weeks.You may hear your baby’s gulps at the start of breastfeeding as the let flow of high volume milk is swallowed.
Increased nipple and areola sensitivity (discomfort) is normal whilst feeding is being established. Nipple sensitivity when you start a feed should ease after a minute or two if your baby is attached properly.Constant discomfort can indicate that your baby is damaging the nipple. In this situation it is important to gently detach your baby from the breast and reattach. To detach baby, place your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth, and push down onto the breast to break the suction.
How do I know if my baby is hungry?
Early hunger signs include your baby licking lips, opening and closing his/her mouth or sucking on lips, tongue, hands, fingers or fists.Active hunger signs, fidgeting or squirming a lot or clenching fingers or making a tight fist over the chest or tummy or trying to suck on the person who is carrying them.Late hunger signs include your baby crying and/or moving their head frantically from side to side.
How do I know if my baby is full?
Some babies may detach from the breast abruptly and will quit feeding suddenly when full. For other babies, it can be a gradual process as their sucking becomes slower and slower until they are full.A healthy baby knows how much milk they need so let your baby dictate the frequency and length of time for each feed.
Is my baby getting enough breastmilk?
If your young baby has 6-8 wet nappies per day and 1 or 2 soft bowel movements, (a bit less in an older baby), is gaining weight, has good skin colour and is alert and not wanting to feed constantly, it is likely you have enough milk.
How can I increase my breastmilk supply?
The key to increasing your breastmilk supply is to increase the number of times you feed your baby and therefore effectively drain your breasts of milk. (maybe also express between feeds).Look after yourself with enough rest and good nutrition
Top tips for breastfeeding
Babies go through growth spurts during which they need to breastfeed more frequently. It doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk or your milk isn’t good enough. The more frequently you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will make.
If you have concerns about breastfeeding it’s always best to take the advice of a lactation consultant, your local child and family health nurse or an early parenting organisation .
If you should wish to further discuss or clarify any of the information contained
in this submission, please do not hesitate to contact me