COMMON QUESTIONS/ DOUBTS CONCERNS WHILE BREASTFEEDING OR NURSING YOUR CHILD DURING INITIAL DAYS.
FAQ 1 MY BABY STAYS DISSATISFIED AFTER BREASTFEED
FAQ 2 MY BABY APPEARS FOREVER CRYING/ FOREVER HUNGRY.
This happens mostly if the baby is not suckling efficiently at the breast.
It’s a good idea to do lots of skin to skin / body to body with the baby.
Offer him /her breasts with early signs of hunger (a baby will start to become alert, take his tongue out, move, make sounds etc when in early hunger. Crying is often a late sign of hunger)
Signs that a baby is efficiently suckling at the breast
- Baby suckles at a large part of your breast (It should not feel as if the baby is biting/gumming at the nipples)
- Breastfeeding is absolutely comfortable, feels like a tug or massage, i.e. absolutely painless.
- Baby passes 7-8 plus urines per day or more?
- Baby passes many stools everyday?
- Baby should gain weight?
Look at this video to get an idea about how to attach your baby at the breast.
Attaching baby to breast.
In this video you can see how good suckling looks.
Is baby getting enough milk ?
FAQ 3 I FEEL MY MILK SUPPLY IS LESS.
FAQ 4 I CAN SEE VERY LESS MILK ON SQUEEZING/ PINCHING MY NIPPLES
When a baby is dissatisfied after breastfeeding it’s commonly assumed that the mother has less milk but more often than not, the reason for the baby staying hungry is that baby is not suckling effectively at breast.
In the initial days all mothers have sufficient milk for their babies but if the baby keeps suckling inefficiently the milk supply starts decreasing in the next few weeks.
Squeezing the breast / pinching the nipple will not give you any idea about milk supply simply because the structure of breast is not like a toothpaste tube!
Unfortunately this is the commonoset way in which milk production is checked even by the health care providers too !
When pregnant, most of the people notice some changes in their breasts that are indicative of body getting ready for a good milk production capacity, like
- Darkening of area around nipples (areola)
- Breasts becoming slightly bigger ( bra might start feeling a little tight)
- Occasional pain in the breast , especially on sudden jerk or pressure.
Correct way when trying to take out your milk from your breast can be seen here
FAQ 5 HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FEED MY BABY?
FAQ 6 MY BABY ASKS FOR BREASTFEEDING VERY FREQUENTLY MUCH EARLIER THAN THE RECOMMENDED 2 HOUR PERIOD, IS SOMETHING WRONG?
FAQ 7 MY BABY DOES NOT GET UP IN 2 HOURS TO BREASTFEED. WHAT DO I DO?
Commonly when families are told to breastfeed every 2 hours, its just an average estimate.
Most new-born babies feed anywhere between 8-16 times per day . It’s a good idea to look at baby’s hunger cues and baby’s outputs rather than the clock, specially in the first few weeks, when both you and the baby are getting adjusted to each other.
Observe if the following are happening…
- Feedings are comfortable (for both of you)
- Baby is comfortable and sleepy post breastfeed.
- Baby gets alert and asks for feed regularly without you having to wake him up.
- The *outputs are good and age appropriate.
- Baby is *gaining weight .
*(look at this breastfeeding basics handout)
If above all is happening then it does not matter what the gap between feedings is. It can be lesser at times and longer at other times.
Good outputs, comfortable baby and mother and weight gain are the 3 signs of things going fine.
FAQ 8 EVERYONE SAYS THAT SOME PAIN IS EXPECTED WHEN BREASTFEEDING
FAQ 9 BREASTFEEDING IS PAINFUL FOR ME WHAT TO DO ?
FAQ 10 MY NIPPLES ARE SORE, WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT ?
Initially when baby pulls breast into the mouth it can feel painful for a few seconds, especially during the first week after birth, but ….
- If it pains throughout the feeding
- If you feel a biting , gumming kind of sensation at your breast/ nipples
- If your nipples feel sore / injured / painful …..
…These are the signs of incorrect / ineffective feeding at your breast.
That also means that your baby is either staying hungry or spending much more time and using more energy to try and withdraw milk at your breast and as a result might have disturbed sleep, more gas / colic, less outputs or low weight gain.
The solution is….
- Working on the latch
( this video shows what to do for nipple pain)…
- Getting opinion on the latch and suckling from a skilled lactation professional if you are not able to sort this out on your own.
(Application of your breastmilk , airdrying and then applying some pure fat like Virgin coconut oil or desi ghee can give some symptomatic relief (alternately some over the counter nipple creams can also be used) but actual healing will come when suckling at breast starts happening.
FAQ 11 I FEEL MY BABY IS NOT LATCHING WELL AND I AM WAITING FOR MY LC APPOINTMENT. WHAT CAN I DO IN THE MEANTIME.
FAQ 12 HOW CAN I DECREASE FORMULA / ANIMAL INTAKE OF MY BABY
- Do lots of skin to skin / body to body with baby
- Put to breast with early s/o hunger
- If breastfeeding is too painful, you can use your hands / a good quality breast pump to take out milk from your breasts and start slowly replacing the formula with your own breastmilk.
See the video about how to hand express here…..
If using a bottle see if you can try to give top ups using a cup , this video will give you an idea about how to Cup feed a small baby………
Author, Dr Shacchee Baweja, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at BLK-MAX Superspeciality Hospital.