If you have made the decision to breastfeed, congratulations! That’s the first step done. Preparing yourself for breastfeeding is the second. While it is one of the most natural things in the world, educating yourself on the ins-and-outs of breastfeeding will help you achieve feeding success.
While you are in the hospital, your nurse or doctor will be happy to answer your questions and assist you with feedings. Ideally, nurse your baby within the first one to two hours of life. If possible, it is best to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. Research has shown that for the first two hours following birth, a baby is in a state of quiet alertness. Putting your baby to breast as soon as possible after birth begins a great bonding process between you and your baby. Make breastfeeding your baby a priority over visitors and other non-emergency events such as daily weighs, baths and photographs.
Getting your baby to latch correctly is one of the most important steps in successful breastfeeding. The baby must open his mouth wide enough to get a good amount of areolar tissue into his mouth. It is the proper compression of the areolar tissue from the baby’s suck and the baby’s tongue resting on top of the lower gum that allows him to draw the milk out through your nipple. Therefore, if your baby latches on to just the nipple, you will develop sore nipples and your baby may not get enough breast milk. If your baby is latched on and sucking correctly, you should not feel any painful pressure on your nipple. Rather, you should feel a tugging sensation. If your baby does not latch-on or if you feel pain, stop breastfeeding and repeat the latching-on procedure. You may have to repeat the procedure several times. Be patient with yourself and your baby. You are both learning new techniques. Feel free to call your nurse for help and for answers to any questions.
In most cases, rapid sucking is first observed when a baby goes to breast. This is followed by a slow, deep rhythmic sucking pattern with audible swallowing sounds. It is very important to learn what swallowing sounds like. These sounds can vary from a soft “Ca-Ca” sound to a gulping sound. Swallowing sounds indicate that your baby is latched on properly and is actually getting milk. Clicking or smacking sounds or dimpling of your baby’s cheeks may indicate an improper latch. Most newborns will not suckle continuously, but will suckle in bursts followed by pauses or brief resting periods. Some babies are vigorous nursers, while others tend to take their time. Each will take a different amount of time to complete a feeding.
Removing Baby from Breast
Once your baby is on your breast, you will probably notice the strong suction they can create. To take your baby off the breast, slide your little finger into the corner of his mouth between his gums and your breast to break the suction. Never pull your baby off your breast without first breaking the suction. This will traumatize your nipples and lead them to become sore and cracked.
Ideally, your baby should be burped when he finishes nursing at one breast and at the end of a feeding. Not all babies will burp within the first few days after birth. Some breastfed babies swallow very little air and may not burp. After a few minutes of trying to burp your baby, resume with the feeding. Usually the pressure on the baby’s belly is enough to bring up the air. Pat baby’s back gently or stroke his back with an upward motion.
Effective ways of burping:
- Over the shoulder
- Lying belly down across your lap
- Sitting in your lap with his chin supported
Toptots Early Learning SA