Breastfeeding: The Early Days
1- Most mothers produce enough to meet their baby's needs. Offering both breasts at least 10 times in 24 hours will help milk production
2- Wake baby if necessary for feeds – in the early days newborn babies should be woken every 2-3 hours to ensure effective feeding
3- Watch for rooting head or fist sucking. Crying is a late stage of hunger
4- Check baby is latched on well - position baby tummy to mummy with their body against yours
5- Make sure baby has a large mouthful of breast (aim your nipple towards their nose to make them tilt their head back)
6- Listen for swallowing as baby feeds
7- Get support if breastfeeding is difficult or painful
8- Plenty of skin to skin
9- Best way to increase milk production is to take baby to bed with you for a day or two focusing solely on nursing and caring for him.
10- If baby doesn’t seem to be getting enough you can add in breast compression
This can encourage a baby to breastfeed actively and take in more milk.
1- Support your breast with one hand thumb on one side, finger on the other.
2- Wait whilst baby breast feeds actively (sucking their jaw moving all the way to their ear). When baby stops swallowing, compress your breast firmly to increase milk flow. Hold it squeezed whilst baby continues swallowing, then release your hand.
3- Rotate your hand around the breast and repeat step 2 on different areas of the breast. This shouldn’t hurt
4- Try switching breasts at least 2-3 times during each feed when baby comes off first breast on their own or when breast compressions no longer keep baby breast feeding actively. As baby gets older you’ll find you don’t need to do this.
Is Baby getting enough?
Signs that baby is getting enough milk are as followed:
1- Wet Nappies (around 6 per day)
2- Dirty Nappies (see below)
3- Seeing/hearing baby swallowing
4- Weight gain
5- Moist Mouth
Age vs Dirty Nappies
1-2 days: Black Meconium poop
3-5 Days: At least 3 greeny poops
5+ days: At least 3-5 yellow unformed poops around the size of a 2p
6+ weeks: Less frequent larger poops
Aka Bunch feeding – the time between feeds becomes shorter and feeds can become longer, can feel almost constant. Baby may only nurse for a few minutes, pull off, fuss and then feed for a few minutes and repeat. Fussing may be baby crying, wriggling and squirming at the breast. These are ways for the baby to communicate at the breast for an increase in supply. This tends to happen around Growth Spurts and Developmental leaps.
· Baby wear! A sling can be a godsend in the early days. This will free either one or both hands so you can still get on with daily tasks or get food and drinks. Finding a sling you can feed in will help! Most areas have baby sling libraries where you can try on slings and even rent them! Read our guide.
· Change of pace – Let Dad, Partner, Grandparents etc have a hold of baby whilst mum takes a shower or relaxes to regroup. If mum is frustrated baby will pick up on this.
· Go outside! This relaxes mum and baby either go for a walk or just sit and enjoy.
· Rhythmic Motion – walking, swaying, bouncing, dancing etc. Vibrating bouncers or swinging bouncers may come in handy!
· Soothe with touch – Hold or bath baby, skin to skin contact or even baby massage (great for partners to do to bond with baby)
· Vary nursing positions – Laid back, cradle hold, rugby ball, side lying etc
· Reduce Stimulation – Dim lights, lower TV volume or turn off, swaddle baby etc
- Rebecca O'Connor, Founder of Breastfeeding Guidance and Support UK: Facebook - click here to follow.
For more information on breastfeeding, check out our page.