When will I begin to produce milk (“when does my milk come in”)?
Technically, your breasts have already produced milk, even before the birth. What has been produced is called colostrum, and it was present about four months into your pregnancy. It is milk. This means that a premature birth does not mean the baby can’t be breastfed. Generally speaking, the surge in milk volume, along with its change in composition, is typically the time known as milk "coming in". For first-time moms, you may begin to notice milk increasing about 3 to 4 days postpartum, signified by your breasts getting fuller, firmer, and heavier. In some cases, milk may be delayed due to a C-Section, or heavily medicated vagina births.
How soon after my baby is born should I start breastfeeding?
If at all possible, start nursing within the first hour of the birth. It is very important to start the bond of breastfeeding as soon as you can. If the breastfeeding does not happen right away, don’t become discouraged, as both you and that baby are learning.
In the hospital, what if nurses give my baby a bottle, or a pacifier?
If you are looking to breastfeed it is best to not give a bottle or pacifier as this can cause nipple confusion. Make sure you let everyone know you plan on breastfeeding, and that you don’t want the baby given these items. If you want other family members to be help with feeding the baby, pumped breastmilk is best. However, it is important give the baby time to perfect the nursing before you do this.
What are the signs that my baby is hungry?
Crying is actully a late sign of baby’s hunger. At this point, you might have trouble calming the baby down, in order to get them to nurse. Earlier signs of a baby’s hunger are:
- moving their heads from side to side
- opening their mouths
- sticking out their tongues
- placing their hands and fists to their mouths
- making quiet, cooing sounds
- puckering their lips as if to suck
- nuzzling their mothers' breasts
- showing the rooting reflex (moving the mouth toward something touching its cheek)
How can I tell that my milk is coming in for a feeding?
Many women can feel the let down reflex.Your breasts might feel full, or you might feel pins and needles. However, some women don’t feel anything, and rely solely on leaking milk. All mothers are different, and you will find what is right for you.
I'm having a bit of difficulty with breastfeeding, what can I do?
If you are still in the hospital, ask the nursing staff for help, or see if they have a Lactation Consultant on-call. If you are at home, just call me.
Is there more than one way to hold my baby during nursing?
Yes. Try different positions to see what is right for both of you.
- Cradle Hold
- Cross-Cradle Hold
- Football Hold (Clutch Hold)
- Side-lying Position
- Saddle Hold (Australian Hold)
- Twin Cradle Hold
- Twin Football Hold
- Twin Saddle Hold
- Twin Cross-Cradle Hold (requires good dexterity)
How long should I plan to breastfeed my baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively (without offering formula, water, juice, non-breast-milk, or food) for the first 6 months, and that breastfeeding should continue until 12 months (and beyond) if both the mother and baby are willing.
According to the AAP, studies on infants show that breastfeeding can lower the occurrence or severity of diarrhea, ear infections, and bacterial meningitis. Breastfeeding may also protect children against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity, and asthma.
Does it hurt to breastfeed?
NO, it should not hurt. Pain would be the main sign that the baby doesn’t have a good latch-on. However, this isn’t to imply that you feel nothing while breastfeeding.
The most important thing to remember is - it takes time for both of you to learn. For any difficulties, there is help available to you.