Breastfeeding may be a natural instinct in us all, but that doesn’t mean it comes second nature. Most women need a little help helping baby to latch on and drink the first few times, and sometimes things can go wrong. This little guide will help you get over those first-mom jitters about breastfeeding.
How much and how often?
Babies can breastfeed from anywhere between 5 minutes and 40 minutes a feeding. It just depends on how hungry they are! It’s best to let the baby drink as much as they can with each feeding. That will lower the number of feedings and will stimulate your body to produce more milk. Expect to feed your baby between 8-12 times every 24 hours for the first few weeks.
It doesn’t matter how much the baby drinks so long as they are gaining weight and going through about 7 diapers a day by the time they’re a week old.
Signs the baby is hungry!
If the baby is crying for food, they’ve likely been hungry for some time. Increased movement, making suckling faces, or looking around for a nipple are signs that the baby wants to feed. Don’t expect to anticipate your baby’s hunger every time, but make a note to feed more often if it happens.
How to start feeding at first
Turn the baby toward you, front to front. Bring the baby’s upper lip to your nipple. That should get her to open her mouth wide. When babies suckle, they don’t just suckle the nipple but also much of the areola, the dark area around the nipple, as well. They need this part to get a good “latch”. Latching might make your breast sore at first. If it hurts too much, break the baby’s seal around your breast by using your little finger around her gums and try again.
If you have inverted nipples or very small ones, you may need to work with a lactation specialist to get tips for feeding the baby. The hospital should be able to help you in these cases. Also, if your baby is premature you may need to wait before breastfeeding until your baby gets enough strength to latch on.
What can go wrong when breastfeeding your baby?
Sore nipples are common, but should only last for the first minute or so of a feeding. If it hurts for longer than that, relatch the baby. If it persists, see a doctor. Sore nipples are most often caused by the baby not getting enough of your breast into their mouth. Two other problems to watch for are engorgement (too much milk) and mastitis, an inflammation of breast tissue. Speak with your lactation specialist about detection.
If the baby is getting a good latch and you’re feeding the baby often enough, breastfeeding problems should be minimized. Once your child knows how to do it, you can experiment with different positions so you can find the most comfortable one for your arms and for your baby.
One of the things mom's love the most about Amara is that you can mix in breastmilk with Amara when you're transitioning to solids to make the transition with your baby easier.