Yay! Your wee baby has arrived so your feeding journey has begun.
While most women plan to breastfeed from the start, and most can, in some circumstances this isn’t always possible.
Breastfeeding takes practice, teamwork, confidence, persistent and patience, and yes it will seem like all you do is feed. At the beginning your baby is likely to have 7- 12 feeds on average over a 24 hour period.
At the beginning your goal is to get them latched. Baby’s mouth should be wide open, chin dropped and touching your breast, tongue down, with their lips flanged—not puckered in—on the areola. Look at the shape of your nipple. It should look the same before, during and after feeding. If it looks flattened, creased or pinched let someone know. Head here for more info on getting latched and positions.
On night two most newborns are unsettled and also feed frequently, this helps bring the milk in. Get through the night as best you can and try getting some rest the next day.
Try and do as much skin on skin (kangaroo care) in the early days, not just with you but Dad too. Head here to learn the benefits.
It’s important that baby is latching and staying focused. Also check for wet and dirty nappies, and listen for milk transfer (swallowing) at the beginning while you are both learning.
Many mothers feel anxious thinking about when their milk will come with only 30% of women’s coming in within 2 days. Try to relax, once it comes it you may wake up feeling like Pamela Anderson and be engorged, however, you may not. Head here to find out more about engorgement.
If your baby is little, sleepy, jaundiced or premature and finding it hard to breast feed you may have to pump to bring in your milk. Head here to find out more about pumping.
You may be experience sore nipples, and yes it may be so sore that you want to stop. Many women will experience tender nipples at the beginning. If they are not getting any better or the pain is getting worse, seek and get advice quickly; the most common reason for sore nipples is due to the latch. Head here for more advice about sore nipples.
For those of you whose journey has not started as you wanted or expected, be kind to yourself, feed without guilt. Your baby needs to be feed and no matter how you are doing it be proud, you’re doing an amazing job. Head here to find out more about bottle feeding.
And most importantly don’t forget about you, look after yourself, make sure you’re getting rest and as much sleep as possible, keep hydrated and eat well. Head here for ideas on how to fuel you.
Remember to listen to your mummy gut, get advice and most of all be kind to yourself. X
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