Breastfeeding - a brief overview
As soon as your baby is
born, place your wet baby on your chest - chest to chest,
skin to skin.
Cover with a warm wrap, cuddle and recover.
Once baby has recovered and starts looking
for the breast, give your baby the chance to lick, search,
find and attach its self to your breast, without assistance
Before being weighed, measured or bathed
If baby is unexpectedly unwell or after
a C/Section, this may not be immediately possible, however
once baby is well enough or in post op., proceed as
above and keep baby skin to skin and chest to chest.
When baby recovers from the journey
of birth, they instinctively start seeking what ever
their cheek is resting on (many babies start searching
within a few minuets to 1 1/2 hours after birth). Liquor
being the favourite drink and if that is on mums chest
then that is what baby aims for. Their tongue starts
sticking out and tries to lick mums skin and they will
instinctively start searching for the nipple and areola.
This helps the baby to get their tongue in the right
position for feeding. Once attached, the baby will draw
the nipple back in their mouth and their gums will be
in mum’s breast tissue. There is normally no discomfort.
Baby can stay attached for some time,
and while baby may appear asleep, if you touch baby
they will continue to suckle, until they have had enough
food or sucking time.
While it is an idea to have a idea about
when baby may be due for a feed it is not helpful to
clock watch during the feed. Allow baby to feed until
they fall off full up. That also means feeding not sleeping
on the breast.
You have a job to do, which is to produce
milk and feed your baby.
Your baby's job is to drink the milk,
so that you can make more.
If for some reason your baby is unable
to feed, as often as necessary, then you have to express
frequently and save for baby.
Your breasts work on demand and supply.
If you or baby does not demand the milk
from your body, then you will have insufficient milk
for when baby is ready
Anticipate approximately 8-12 feeds
in a day (24 hours), and anything up to an hour at a
time (some may prefer more frequently but not as long).
So learn lots of positions, especially how to feed and
sleep lying down. This will not last for ever. As baby
grows their sucks is stronger, your breasts will know
to let the milk down quicker.
Medications and stressful births can
certainly have an impact on baby, so it may be necessary
to help baby attach, and occasionally we all need some
assistance, but if baby is too sleepy then you may need
to hand express and gather up the milk in a small syringe
to be able to dribble into baby's mouth.
The midwives in hospital will assist
you, they will teach you as much as you want to learn.
We are all individual and all have techniques
that work very well for somebody.
However you can be overwhelmed with
advice, the trick is that if you are having a problem
and someone offers assistance, try it, if it works for
you then continue, if it doesn’t then throw that
out and try another technique. Do not try to do everything
However you may prefer to get one consistent
advisor, and while some of the hospitals have their
own Lactation Consultants on staff, you may prefer to
contact a private one who will visit you in hospital,
and continue your care at home.
It is a great idea to join the Australian
Breastfeeding Association as they have a wealth of information
to share. Through a webpage, 24 hour phone counselling
service and meetings in most suburbs.