Breastfeeding a Newborn Tips

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How Often Do I Feed the Baby?

Although after a week or so your baby will develop patterns similar to a regular feeding and sleeping routine, do not limit feedings to these times. If your baby is showing signs of hunger, regardless of the hour, you should try to feed him or her. The most commonly demonstrated signs of hunger are rooting, in which the baby nuzzles his or her head around you as if searching for something, putting hands into the mouth, restlessness and crying. Just because the baby is not crying does not mean he or she is not hungry. Calm babies may not cry until they are very hungry and might have trouble nursing by then due to frustration. If the baby shows these signs but is not hungry, the baby will show you by not nursing when offered.

   

Swallowing or not?

If you are a new nursing mother or just not sure if you are being used as a pacifier and want to know if the baby is really eating or not, listen for swallowing. The baby will not gulp but with each swallow, let out a soft sound similar to what you hear if you gently clear your ears. It might even sound as if the baby is whispering 'kuh.' You'll need to have quiet time and wait a few seconds to hear it as the baby doesn't swallow every time it sucks.

   

Breastfeeding Log

Keep a breastfeeding log the first week with your new baby. The log should contain the following information: at what time the baby nursed, how long they nursed for, and which breast they were on. With the lack of sleep new mothers will experience, a breastfeeding log will help you get in the routine of nursing and also ensure that the baby develops a good nursing schedule and habit. Most hospitals and midwives will provide a sample one for you, but if not, make sure to ask for one or at least a sample you can refer to.

   

Wanting to Nurse Constantly?

If your newborn wants to nurse constantly, you will likely be given the advice to only allow them to nurse every two hours so that they do not use you as a pacifier. However, when dealing with a newborn, we have to remember that newborns do not have a schedule yet. They might be hungry every 20 minutes and then not again for three hours. They might not be eating until they are full as they adjust to nursing. Although it is best to at least offer every two hours if your child isn't nursing a lot, a newborn should not be rejected when they want to nurse. This is also the time they are bonding with you, in which feeling secure is just as important.

   
Why is it that one breast produces more milk than the other? How can the breast that produces less milk make more?

Breastfeeding Techniques Can Help Balance Production

In many women, it is common for one breast to produce more milk than the other. This happens for anatomical reasons, such as the number of milk ducts. It can also result when mom or baby has a preference for one breast over the other. While this can cause some breast size difference, it is usually not noticeable. If you are bothered by the discrepancy between the two, you can try certain techniques to increase production on the slower producing breast.

Try starting your breastfeeding sessions on the smaller breast first. This will encourage baby to thoroughly empty the breast, thus causing it to produce more milk. Also consider pumping for 5-10 minutes after a feeding, only on the side that produces less milk. Finally, try adding an additional pumping session between feedings, but only on the smaller breast.

   
Should I limit the amount of time my baby is nursing?

Nurse Baby Early and Often

Your baby should be fed, on cue, at least every two to three hours. Nursing your baby early and often helps to keep your breasts soft and helps to lessen or even prevent engorgement. Watch your little one for signs of hunger, such as sucking sounds and/or lip movements, rapid eye movement during the light sleep cycle and changes in facial expression. Try to anticipate your baby's hunger by watching for these signs. Nursing on cue stimulates your breasts to produce plenty of milk. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you will make.

   
What can I do to heal or soothe dry or cracked nipples?

Easy Care for Cracked or Dry Nipples

Many nursing mothers have been discouraged and even stopped nursing due to the pain caused by dry and cracked nipples. When nipples are in this condition, severe pain can result when an infant latches on to the breast to feed. This is relatively normal but not always mentioned by the doctor after the birth of a child.

The constant sucking of a nursing child and presence of digestive saliva can cause the breast to dry and crack. The best cream to apply is a natural lanolin. It can be found at any local pharmacy where baby bottles are sold. When the infant is done nursing, simply wipe the breast clean and dry and apply lanolin to the nipple area generously. Use nursing pads to protect clothing from lanolin. Next time the infant latches onto the breast to feed, the pain will be minimal to nonexistent. The lanolin will moisturize and heal the nipples.

   
Do I need to feed my baby on a schedule?

Floating Beyond Schedules

During early days with your baby, when you're not trying to manage a work schedule, enjoy the floating quality of time. Nurse your baby whenever he or she is restless or fretful, without counting minutes or even really giving any thought to time.

Allow yourself to drift and daydream, letting those early days and nights wrap around you and your baby like a blanket. If the baby stays latched on for a long time, be creative with positioning so that you can read or half-nap yourself. Let your body ease into this new relationship without worrying over ounces or minutes, and you'll both enjoy the shared relaxation.

Your baby will associate eating with ease, and his or her digestion will benefit from this sense of well-being. Your ability to bond with your baby will be strengthened by finding personal coziness together.

   
What is the best diet while breastfeeding?

Best Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding mothers should choose a healthy and nutritional food to ensure good health. A mother can still successfully breast feed and have a not so healthy diet, but it is best for a breastfeeding mom to eat healthy.

The diet for a breastfeeding mother should include the following:

-Fresh fruits and vegetables, any types cooked the way you like them, but not fried.
-Whole grains, rice, wheat, corn, and barley. Whole grains are much healthier for everyone; not just nursing mothers.
-Lean proteins, chicken, turkey, dairy products and eggs.
-Limit fat intake

Foods for nursing mothers should be fresh, unprocessed and have little additives in them.

At one time, breastfeeding mothers were believed to need around 500 extra calories a day. However, this has recently been determined to be too much for some women. Therefore, it is important that all nursing mothers maintain a healthy diet and be aware of caloric intake throughout the day.

   
What should my nipples look like after nursing?

Appearance Of Your Nipples

Are your nipples round and pink in color? Check your nipples as your baby comes off your breast. If they seem crunched or creased, or if your nipples appear white at the tip, it can indicate a problem with positioning or a sucking difficulty.

   
How can I tell if my baby is sucking properly?

Regular Suck-Swallow Pattern

Do you hear a regular suck-swallow pattern, with occasional pauses once your baby is well attached? A good let-down can be recognized by this pattern of sucking and is a good indication that your baby is getting plenty of your milk.

   
What do I Do If I Suspect There Is A Problem?

What do I Do If I Suspect There Is A Problem?

If you suspect that your baby is having a problem nursing, it is important not be afraid to ask for help. Often this is the difference between succeeding at breastfeeding or failing. The best person to go to is a LLL leader or a board certified lactation consultant.

   
How should my baby´s lips be positioned?

Positioning of Baby's Lips

Your baby's lips should look like "fish-lips" and should not be folded in.

   
What do I do if my baby is too sleepy to nurse?

Sleepy Babies

It is very important to make feeding your baby your number one priority. When a baby is not getting enough calories, he/she gets more and more tired. Sleepy babies need some stimulation during the day. When your baby naps, watch for signs of wakefulness, such as sucking on fingers or fist, rapid eye movement and little sounds. This is a good time to feed him/her. Skin-to-skin is stimulating for babies and will help your baby to stay awake for a good feed.

   
Is it normal for breastfeeding to hurt?

Pain

It is important to not try and just 'nurse through the pain.' Breastfeeding should not hurt. If you are experiencing dry or cracked nipples, try letting breast milk dry on them and apply lanolin frequently.

If the problem is not caused by dryness, the most frequently problem is a shallow latch. To check for a shallow latch, examine your nipple after needing. A shallow latch will result in a flat looking nipple. To try and rectify the problem sit belly to belly with the baby, graze their bottom lip to get them to open their mouth, compress the breast with your hand, and try to help them take as much of the breast into their mouth as possible. It may also be helpful to work with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding professional.

Pain can also be caused by a condition know as tongue tie. If correcting the latch does not help with the pain, have the baby's pediatrician examine the baby for tongue tie. It is a relatively common problem that can often be corrected in the doctor's office.

   
How can I get comfortable while breastfeeding?

Getting comfortable

When breastfeeding a newborn, find a comfortable position either seated or lying. Have some pillows handy for comfort and support as needed. Place your feet on a low footstool (you can also use a large telephone book) to raise your knees a bit above hip level.

   
How do I position my baby at my breast?

Positioning

In order to position the baby to your breast, use your hand to support the back of the neck, rather than the head. Newborns usually don't like having their heads forced into a particular position. With the opposite hand, hold your breast in the "C-hold" (thumb on top and finger cupped underneath breast, keeping fingers back from your areola). Tickle the lower lip with your nipple until he/she opens his/her mouth wide, like a yawn, and then hug him/her in quickly to your breast.

   
How should my baby´s tongue by postioned?

Positioning of Baby's Tongue

Your baby's tongue should be visibly cupping your breast. This is often very difficult to see for yourself. Ask your partner to check the positioning of your baby's tongue during a feed to be sure it is cupped underneath the breast as she nurses. If she is sucking on her tongue it may not be visible.

   
When is the best time to start breastfeeding my baby?

Early Initiation

Research has shown that in the two hours following the birth, infants are in a state of alertness, which is accompanied by a strong sucking reflex. These early feeds have an imprinting effect and help to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Although breastfeeding without delay is best, it is not a bad thing if circumstances don't allow it. Many moms whose babies have gotten a delayed start at nursing have gone on to establish a very successful and rewarding nursing relationship.

   
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