Your health visitor can help with…..
Checking your positioning and attachment, it is important to get this right so that you make enough milk for your baby and to avoid sore nipples and other complications such as blocked ducts and mastitis. They can also show you how to hand express, it is useful to learn as it can help soften your breast making it easier for baby to attach, help prevent/treat blocked ducts and mastitis and is a cheap and convenient way to collect milk for you baby if you are going out or back to work. If you are having problems please contact Cherubs (details on reverse of this sheet)
Getting feeding off to a good start….
You should feed as often as your baby wants and for as long as she or he wants, look for feeding cues, becoming more alert, sucking hands, rooting, wriggling, moving arms or legs and making small noises. Crying is a late sign and best avoided when possible. You can also wake and feed your baby when you feel full and when you just want to rest as well, you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby.
Close and loving relationship
By keeping your baby close day and night it will help to increase the hormones that make and deliver milk for your baby and it will help your baby to feel secure and support their brain development. Having lots of skin to skin contact can help with this, or you could consider a sling/wrap or carrier, you cannot spoil your baby with love and cuddles. Babies that are responded to quickly, cry less, are more content, and it will help with their brain development allowing them to grow up to achieve their full potential in life.
Signs that breastfeeding is going well
Your baby will be alert and awake for feeds and they will be generally calm and relaxed when feeding and content after most feeds. There should be 8-12 feeds in 24 hours lasting around 5-40 minutes but can vary, and there will be deep rhythmic sucks with pauses, and you will hear or see swallowing. The infrequent ‘flutter’ sucks at the end of the feed are important as this milk is high in fat and calories, your baby is not using you as a dummy and they should come off the breast spontaneously themselves. Your baby has at least 6 wet nappies and at least 2 dirty nappies in 24 hours with soft yellow stool (£2 size). After 6 weeks this pattern may change, they may have a dirty nappy with every feed or can go a week or more between dirty nappies, both are normal. Weight gain is also a sign but should be part of a whole feeding assessment.
Avoid introducing a dummy or bottle too early
Using a teat/dummy can cause a baby to be confused in the first few weeks and could have a negative impact on breastfeeding. It is best to wait until feeding is established around 6 weeks. Dummies can interfere with demand feeding and your baby may feed less often which will affect your milk supply.
Breastmilk is the only food and drink your baby needs for the first six months
Your baby does not need anything else other than breastmilk, this includes water, formula or solid food until they are 6 months. They are not developmentally ready before that time, the digestive system is not mature and it can lead to allergies and obesity.
Night time feeds are important to maintain your milk supply
It’s easier to manage night time feeding if your baby sleeps in the same room as you. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a basket or cot in your room for the first 6 months. Some women find lying down helps them to manage night time feeding and means they are less tired – ask your health visitor how to do this. Co-sleeping can help breastfeeding at night, making it easier to manage, if you are considering this please ask your health visitor how you can do this safely. You should never share a bed with your baby if either you or your partner have been smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs or medication or excessively tired.
Confidence for breastfeeding in public
Clothing can help, either a loose top you can lift up or two tops, one loose to lift up and a vest top you pull down, keeping your tummy covered. Also a scarf or muslin cloth can be used but breastfeeding in public is protected by law – no one can ask you to stop or move. See the Cherubs website for a list of local breastfeeding friendly places. Avoid toilets! You would not want to eat your lunch there so don’t feel your baby has to. Come along to one of the groups to help build up your confidence and meet other mums.