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Whether your first time is something of a struggle, a breeze or somewhere in between, there is a lot to learn. The more you know about techniques (how to position the baby), mechanics (how to know the baby is getting enough milk) and logistics (how to know when a meal is over and when it is time for another), the more confident and empowered you will feel. Once you start and get past the beginning trial and error days of finding the finest technique, breastfeeding becomes one of the motherhood’s most rewarding responsibilities. And nursing offers a lot of benefits for both you and your little one — giving both of you a prime start on a healthy future.
Latching The Baby Onto Your Breast
In the beginning, it can take quite a few tries to get your infant into the right position — but try it again, and again, and again.
First, it is essential to know a good latch, since irregular latching is the most frequent cause of breast discomfort. Your baby’s mouth should cover both the nipple and the areola, so that the baby’s tongue, lips, and mouth, massage milk out of your milk glands. (Sucking just the nipple will not only leave your child hungry because the glands that secrete the milk will not be compressed, it will also make your nipples cracked and sore.)
Here is how to get that latch going:
- Hold your little one facing your breasts, with the front of his body facing yours, tummy to tummy. His head should be in line with the rest of his body, not turned, to make swallowing easier.
- Tickle your baby’s lip with your nipple to encourage your infant to open very wide, like a yawn. If your little one is not opening up, try to squeeze some colostrum onto his lips.
- If your infant turns away, gently stroke his cheek on the side nearest you; the rooting instinct will make baby turn his head toward your breast.
- Bring your baby forward toward your breast once his mouth is open wide. Do not lean over and push your breast into your little one’s mouth — let your child take the initiative. Keep a hold of your breast until the baby has a firm grasp and is suckling ably.
- You will know you have got a proper latch when the baby’s chin and the tip of his nose are touching your breast. Your little one’s lips will be flanged outward, rather than tucked in. Check baby is not sucking on his lower lip or tongue (newborns will suckle on anything) by pulling your infant’s lower lip down while breastfeeding.
How to Tell if Your Infant is Getting Enough Milk
Many new nursing mums worry at some point that the baby is not full. Your breasts are not calibrated on the outside, after all, so you do not know how much milk you are producing and infant is consuming. If you are concerned, a couple of indicators can help you check that your child is getting him fill:
- Disposition. If your little one seems content and happy after most feedings, then chances are he is a satisfied customer, and he is getting enough milk. If he is crying and fussing or sucking on his fingers frantically after a full feeding, he might still be hungry (though these also can be signs of gas or newborn colic).
- Dirty diapers. Keep a careful count: Your infant should be pumping out 8 to 12 with clear to very light yellow urine and at least five soft, yellow bowel movements though a 24-hour period. For the first several weeks, it is a good idea to keep a written record of nursing frequency and diaper output, which you can bring it to the paediatrician at each visit.
- Weight. Newborns should gain weight steadily each week; 4 to 7 ounces per week is usual for newborns, although weight gain differs depending on age and other factors. Your doctor will let you know if your little one’s growth is on track.
Click here to learn more about the breast milk, how long and how often to breastfeed, signs baby is hungry, nursing positions, and breastfeeding tips.