Breastfeeding knowledge is full of confusing and conflicting information, especially from the interwebs. The introduction of social media has exposed our community to information that is good, really good, bad and really bad, but it is hard to pick out the pearls through the chunky bits.
In order to help point you in a helpful direction here are some Breastfeeding 101 tips, so that if your breasts or your baby are differing from this list then it is worth having a chat with someone. Please note that there is a big range of normal with human babies and human breasts, what is happening with your feeding situation might be absolutely fine for your baby and your breasts.
This list is not new and more information can be found in many great websites such as Australian Breastfeeding Association; Kellymom and Dr Jack Newman. Whatever situation you, your family and your baby find yourselves I can guarantee you that many other women and babies have experienced it, there is always a way forward.
1. Babies under 3-4 months need to be fed at least 8-12 times in 24 hours, if your baby is only feeding 8 times then for most babies and for most breasts this is not enough to maintain long term milk supply. It is important to note that a baby that is being demand fed will feed a lot more times then 12 in a 24 hours (1) and that this is perfectly normal. Many mothers may be feeding 8 times over 24 hours and; remembering your baby and your breasts; while that might be enough for your situation if you miss a feed due to sleep or circumstances and then you miss another etc.. you might find that it is more like, on average 6-8 feeds and the issue is that your milk supply is dependent on milk being removed. The term supply and demand is used frequently in breastfeeding circles, if the milk isn't removed then the milk isn't made. By feeding more frequently you give your breasts and your baby a buffer.
2. Poos and Wees
Poo: A young baby will usually have 3 or more soft or runny bowel movements each day for several weeks. An older baby is likely to have fewer bowel movements than this (1). The poo should be curdy and seedy in appearance once the new born thick black sticky poo has moved through, this should be changing within 2-3 days post birth. If the poo looks like play dough or face mask consistency then this needs to be investigated as it is a possible sign of dehydration.
Wee: In the first five days, baby typically has one wet nappy for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two…). After 5 days expect 5-6+ wet nappies every 24 hours. To feel what a sufficiently wet nappy is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water into a clean nappy. (2)
3. Babies can feed at the 30 minute mark, 1 hourly mark, 2 hourly mark or 15 mins after a breastfeed, all of this is normal and important for maintaining milk supply, baby growth and breast comfort. Watching and learning your babies cues as to when they want a feed will help to feed with your baby's natural cues.
4. Feeling like you don't have it together and you have landed on the Planet Blog after your baby is born is very very normal - you will feel very random and raw (everywhere :) if however you are starting to feel overwhelmed and out of control yell at your people for support. Trust us, no one but you, is expecting you to have it all together.
5. Breastfeeding may take a number of weeks to feel normal and part of your day to day, take the time to get groovy with it. Slow and steady.
6. Take care of yourself by getting others to take care of you. Your job is to feed your baby and recover from the birth. This is the time that you pull in your people and they take care of you. Grab your village and let them care for you.
7. If something is feeling wrong with breastfeeding regardless of what someone is saying about what it looks like, get an assessment - they are your nipples and it is your baby.
8. Weight gains are important, as are length and head circumference. The agreed increases are:
a baby loses 5-10% of birth weight in the first week and regains this by 2-3 weeks
birth weight is doubled by 4 months and tripled by 13 months in boys and 15 months in girls
birth length increases 1.5 times in 12 months
birth head circumference increases by about 11 cm in 12 months (1)
9. Breastfeeding information is in abundance on the interwebs - however it is really hard to figure out what information is good and what information is less than good. These are a few websites that are reputable and with good well researched information:
10. A Breastfeeding Education Class can be a great source of information and knowledge building before the birth these are often run through the hospital or birthing team. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has classes run in the ACT once a month in Chifley.
This is the start of a big journey, this part while it feels immense now will become a moment in time. The Canberra Lactation Centre is able to work with you to develop a plan and point you in the right direction.
Enjoy the day,
Canberra Lactation Centre
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1) Australian Breastfeeding Association: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au
2) Kellymom: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/