Breastfeeding is normal, natural, and instinctual, but it’s also a learned process for both moms and babies.
All parents experience breastfeeding or chestfeeding differently.
The first few days, nursing your new baby is like learning a new skill such as driving a car. You start out feeling overwhelmed and unsure but with practice, patience and good support you and your baby will learn together.
Remember that none of us started out as a confident race car driver!
It’s normal to have questions, especially in the first week.
A breastfeeding buddy can help. Request a match here.
Here are some tips:
- Keep your baby close to you by doing skin-to-skin
- Breastfeed/Chestfeed every 2 hours (or more often!) – this is very normal
- Learn how to hand express milk
- Spend time with your baby to learn their feeding cues; rooting, fist-to-mouth and lip smacking. Crying is the last sign of hunger.
- Check diaper output: this chart can help!
- Find a feeding position that is comfortable
- Your baby’s latch should be pain free – if not seek help immediately
The newborn baby will have only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.
-Dr Grantly Dick-Read
Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to be. When your baby is skin-to-skin, your baby can hear you, smell you and see you. Skin-to-skin can help you get to know each other. Preterm babies and those delivered by C-Section also benefit from skin-to-skin. As your baby grows continue to cuddle your baby skin-to-skin. If you are feeling tired while holding your baby skin-to-skin, place your baby in a safe sleep environment.
Hand expressing is using your hands to get milk out of your breasts. Colostrum is the first milk. It is important your baby get your colostrum because it helps your baby’s immune system and is very rich in nutrients. In the first 2-3 days after birth you will get a small amount of colostrum. Hand expression is an important skill for mothers.
Hand expressing colostrum is important because it helps you to:
- Express a few drops of milk to get your baby interested in latching
- Prevent soreness by gentle rubbing a few drops of milk onto your nipples
- Soften your breasts near your nipples, before latching your baby, if they are very full.
- Make your breasts comfortable if they are full and baby is not feeding.
- Express milk for your baby if you are going to be away from baby or need to feed your baby other than directly at your breast or chest.
- Increase your milk supply