A key to a successful breastfeeding practice is the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour of birth. Learn more about essential newborn care through this video. A must know for every pregnant and future mom.
All over the world, breastfeeding advocates are gathering to celebrate Breastfeeding Week. From breastfeeding mom meet ups to opening of breastfeeding rooms, this week works to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and to give kudos to all those who support moms to have a successful breastfeeding practice.
But not to forget! We salute you Breastfeeding Pinays who were and are able balance home, work, and personal life and still breastfeed. You’re all super!
1. Get informed. Breastfeeding is best for you and your baby. Allowing yourself to be aware of its benefits provides you the “I can do it attitude” to start and continue breastfeeding. Ask a supportive health professional who can provide you the how tos of breastfeeding and discuss with you other related concerns. They can also suggest to you breastfeeding books and materials that allow you to recognize and overcome breastfeeding problems.
2. Inform your caregiver. The first milk that comes out of your breasts after you give birth, called colostrum, is packed with anti-bodies that serves as your child’s first immunization. Since you will still be in the hospital when your first milk comes out, inform your doctor and the hospital staff that you want to breastfeed so that your baby will be put to your breast immediately after delivery and needs to room it with you.
3. Enlist your partner’s support. A child’s nutrition is a shared responsibility. Getting your husband, and even your whole family, supportive of breastfeeding allows you to be motivated and be able to do it. There are breastfeeding meetings that couples can attend that offer practical ideas on how fathers can contribute with breastfeeding.
4. Know your breasts. Regardless of shape and size, almost all women can breastfeed. Most women find comfort in having their breasts examined. A check-up provides reassurance that their breasts are normal and preparing to produce milk for their baby. If your nipples are inverted or you had previous breast surgery, the consultation allows you to discuss ways to make breastfeeding possible.
5. Nurse within the first hour after birth. Try breastfeeding your baby soon after birth. If you had a Caesarean birth, ask your caregiver to lay your newborn across your abdomen and help him latch on. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies who are nursed within the first hour of birth are more likely to become successful breastfeeders.
6. Nurse often. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Learn to interpret your baby’s hunger cues and feed him before he cries. Common signs that your baby is hungry is looking alert, putting hands near his mouth, and whimpering. Frequent nursing in the early days helps you and your baby to get comfortable with breastfeeding and allows you to establish your milk supply.
7. Express breastmilk to keep up your milk supply. Some mothers find that they produce plenty of milk and their breasts easily get engorged. When this is the case, expressing milk manually or with a pump is recommended to keep up your milk supply and relieve your breasts from the pressure. You may use expressed milk for your baby’s next feeding or store it for future use. Breastmilk is good for 24 hours in room temperature and can be stored for 6 months in a deep freezer.
8. Hold off the pacifier. Introducing a pacifier can cause nipple confusion. Hold off their use until your breastfeeding routine is going well and your milk supply is well established, which is usually three to four weeks after delivery.
9. Encourage your baby to latch on. Stroke your baby’s cheek or lower lip to stimulate latching. To determine if the baby is latched on correctly, make sure your areola and nipple are both in they baby’s mouth and positioned above his tongue. The baby’s lower lip shouldn’t be drawn into his mouth and his chin is touching your breast. Do not be discouraged when your baby has difficulty latching on. It does take practice for both mother and child.
10. Get comfortable. When breastfeeding, find a quiet spot to nurse. Sit in a comfortable chair or listen to soothing music. Studies show, and as most nursing mothers share, that a calm mind, body, and surrounding allows for a more pleasant breastfeeding experience.
Even with the availability of books and manuals on breastfeeding, most new moms usually seek the help of family or friends who have breastfed and even breastfeeding support groups to get them started and continue breastfeeding.
Latch refers to the way a baby is attached to the breast. A good latch allows your baby to extract milk efficiently. Because milk ducts extend beyond the nipple, your baby needs to have most of your areola in his/her mouth in order to properly drain milk from your breast. A baby who sucks only the nipple gets very little milk and becomes easily frustrated.
Before attempting to latch your baby to the breast, make sure his mouth is open WIDE (like in a yawn). You can get him to open wide by brushing your nipple against his lips. Once the mouth is wide open, pull baby’s chest and neck towards you (his head should follow). His mouth should cover most of your areola (the dark area around your nipple) so that when you look down you should see only a little bit of dark skin surrounding his mouth. Baby’s lips should be everted/turned outward when properly attached to your breast. Some babies will turn their lower lip inward when latching on. You can
correct this by pulling down on your baby’s chin to bring the lower lip out.
Signs of a good latch:
1. It doesn’t hurt. The initial attachment to your breast may hurt but this should be more of discomfort than real pain. Any painful sensation should be temporary. Persistent pain is a sign that your baby is not latched on properly. If you experience this, remove your baby from your breast and try again.
2. Baby’s lips are everted and very little areola is visible beyond the baby’s mouth.
3. You don’t hear a sucking noise. Although some babies may be noisy feeders – you may hear gurgling sounds, swallowing sounds, guzzling sounds, particularly in babies who are a few days/weeks old – you shouldn’t hear sucking sounds. Sucking sounds indicate the seal between the baby’s lips and your breast is not good/tight. If you hear sucking sounds, remove baby from your breast and try again.
4. You see part of your breast tugging as the baby sucks. This proves that baby is milking the breast and not just your nipple.
5. Baby is not easily removed from your breast. Try tugging backward lightly on your baby’s head. A baby that is latched on well doesn’t come off the breast easily. If your baby slides off the breast when you tug, take him off and try again.
Continuing to feed with an improper latch can cause damage to your nipples. It also keeps your baby from getting enough milk. To properly remove your baby from your breast, try stroking the side of his cheek (this stimulates the rooting reflex) or inserting one of your fingers into the side of his mouth to break the suction on your breast.
Getting your baby to latch on properly can sometimes take several attempts. Be patient. If your baby becomes fussy, calm him down then try again. As you will soon discover, obtaining the perfect latch can be its own reward!
Many new mothers who are trying to breastfeed for the first time will tell you that it can be a very awkward experience. You hold your new baby in your arms, expect things to go on automatically, and then are at a loss when baby doesn’t start to suck the way you see other babies sucking in pictures or in movies. How exactly should you hold your child and how do you make sure he/she is extracting that precious colostrum from your breasts?
Learning how to hold your baby so that you are both comfortable and he/she is able to latch on to your breast without difficulty is a crucial first step. There are different positions a new mother can use when learning to breastfeed. Finding the right position for you and your baby can make breastfeeding easier and more successful.
No matter what position you choose, make sure:
- You are seated properly, preferably in a chair with armrests, and use as many pillows as you need to make yourself feel comfortable.
- You don’t lean over or bend forward to bring your breast to the baby. Instead, raise your baby and turn him/her as needed to bring him/her closer to your breast.
- You always keep your baby’s head and neck aligned with his/her trunk. Instead of turning your baby’s head to your breast, turn your baby’s entire body to face you.
- You assist your baby in latching on by squeezing your breast/areola to get more into his/her mouth but do not push on your baby’s head to bring it to the breast. This will only make the baby push back against you and will make feeding unpleasant for you both.
CROSS CRADLE HOLD. This is probably the most popular position for mothers who are just learning how to breastfeed. Sit upright in a chair and make sure you are comfortable. If you are feeding from the left breast, hold your baby with your right arm. Support his back with your right forearm and his neck with your right hand. Turn him so that his tummy is touching your tummy and/or his chest is touching your chest. Use your left hand to guide your breast into your baby’s mouth.
To switch to the opposite breast, transfer your baby to your left arm and use your right arm to support your right breast as needed.
CRADLE HOLD. This is similar to the cross-cradle hold but the arm you use to support your baby is on the same side as the breast you are feeding on. To nurse on the left breast, hold your baby in the crook of your left elbow, supporting his trunk with your left forearm. You can cradle your baby’s lower body closer with the help of your right arm. As in the cross-cradle hold, make sure you are seated comfortably. Do not stoop or bend to accommodate your baby. Instead, bring baby up to your breast, using pillows on your lap if necessary. Again, as in the other positions, make sure baby’s entire trunk is turned towards your breast as well.
FOOTBALL HOLD. This position may seem awkward at first, but it works well for mothers who are recovering from a Cesarean section, those who have large breasts, those with flat nipples, and those who are feeding more than 1 baby at a time.
Make sure you are seated comfortably in bed or in a wide chair with low armrests. To feed on your left breast, hold your baby at your left side with your left arm. Your elbow should be bent (like you are holding a football). Your baby’s back is on your left forearm and your left hand supports his/her neck. You can use your right hand to support your left breast if needed. A pillow on your side can help support your baby’s body as well.
SIDE-LYING. This is a good position for mothers who are tired, are recovering from a Cesarean birth, or for some other reason are unable to sit up. It is also a great position for nighttime feeding.
To feed on your left breast, lie on your left side. Your baby should be lying on his right side facing you. With your left arm, bring baby closer to your breast. Use your right hand to guide your breast into your baby’s mouth. Once your baby is latched on properly, use your left hand to support your head and your right hand to keep your baby close. To feed on your right breast, lie on your right side.
Infant stomach capacity. A day old baby only has a 5-7 ml stomach capacity, or the size of a marble. The amount of colostrum that comes out from the mother’s breast is enough to satisfy the baby. The stomach becomes the size of a shooter marble by day 3. After a week, the stomach capacity reaches 2 oz, or the size of a ping pong ball.