Being well informed will help you get breastfeeding off to a good start. Breastfeeding may be as new experience for you. It’s also new for your baby so you’ll learn together. Your LMC will help you get off to a good start.
How you hold your baby, and how you offer your breast all affect how baby latches on. This will determine how comfortable you and your baby will be during breastfeeding read more.
There are no hard and fast rules. It is advisable not to let your newborn baby sleep for longer than six hours at one time. Follow your baby’s cues for feeding. These might be:
Don’t worry about timing your baby’s feeds. Like adults, babies may take different amounts of food at different times of the day. The volume of milk is higher in the early morning feeds and lower at night. The emptier the breast the higher the fat content. This is the rationale for baby’s feeding frequently later in the day to satisfy them for longer at night.
At times, your baby may want to breastfeed more often. These times of extra feeding usually last two or three days and are due to your baby’s increased growth. This is normal. As your baby takes more milk through extra feeds, as more milk is ‘requested’ so your body will make more milk (it may take between 12-48 hours for your body to adjust) but then your baby will return to her normal feeding pattern.
Spicy or gas-producing foods eaten by breastfeeding mothers do not bother most babies. A few babies will develop gas or act colicky when their mother eats certain foods. However, there are no certain foods that create problems for all babies. Unless you notice that your baby becomes unsettled every time you eat a certain food, there is no need to avoid any particular foods.
If you are on a vegetarian diet you may like to discuss your diet with your midwife or discuss seeing a dietitian to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Providing vegetarian women are eating well-balanced diets, they are likely to have adequate nutritional intakes to maintain maternal and infant health. Women eating vegan or macrobiotic diets may not have enough vitamin B12 and may require supplements.
Avoid using a dummy or teat in the early days of breastfeeding. Your baby uses a different sucking action when sucking on a teat, and may become confused and find breastfeeding more difficult. Expressed breastmilk can be given on a spoon, in a cup or with a syringe, if for any reason you are unable to put the baby to the breast.
Check these web pages for information on how to get help: www.breastfeeding.org.nz and www.moh.govt.nz/breastfeeding
A good diet, gentle exercise, sufficient rest and support from your friends and family will all help you breastfeed successfully.
If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, it’s important not to give extra feeds of formula milk, which can interfere with breastfeeding:
Expressed breastmilk is much better than infant formula, both for your baby and for maintaining breastfeeding. Your LMC will show you how to hand express, or you can use a breast pump.
If you have had a caesarean, you might need help with holding your baby for the first few feeds. Use a pillow on your abdomen to cushion your wound and spread the weight of the baby, or ask your partner or LMC to help.
Holding your baby close is a really important part of getting to know each other. It also helps keep your baby warm and helps regulate his temperature, heart rate and breathing. Ideally, this bonding should: