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Guide for Breastfeeding
Tips on Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can seem like a bit of a mystery. Additional knowledge may help boost your confidence level to better assure success at breastfeeding your baby.
If you have immediate concerns and questions, please consult with a physician.
Interruptions in nursing by supplementing with formula from bottles may have an effect on the instinctual level that has to do with production, supply and the let-down reflex, particularly during the first month or two when milk and feedings are being established.
Your Baby's Weight
Parents are told the weight of their baby at the time of discharge. It is normal for the weight to drop a few ounces during the first week as some waste is expelled and intake is altered. The same scale should always be used and balanced before weighing.
Babies have extra weight at birth to carry them through the first 3 to 5 days consuming colostrum before milk develops. The colostrum is a clear liquid that has an abundance of nutrients for the newborn baby's health. Breast-milk has more fat compared to colostrum. They lose weight during the first week of about 7% for breastfed, 5% for formula fed and an average of 10% maximum.
When the mother is hooked up to I.V. fluids during labor the fluids may shift to the fetus. If a large amount of fluid was taken in during labor, it may inflate the baby's birth-weight. The excess fluid intake may then cause a surplus of fluid loss to occur between the time of birth and when discharged two or three days afterward.
There is heat that radiates from the isolette for a number of hours directly after birth which may also cause fluid loss in some babies. This heat makes babies sleepy during nursing sessions. Either the birth, or discharge weight will be reached again between two to three weeks of age.
Always calculate weight-loss from the lowest known weight, about three days after birth, instead of the weight at birth. Infants generally gain on average of 24 to 32 ounces each month over the first three months.
Babies supplemented with glucose water lose more weight compared to babies who are fed the mother's colostrum. Colostrum is the first liquid the mammary glands produce that is exceptionally nutritional for the newborn's first three days after birth. Milk is then secreted after about four days. The colostrum is a perfect food source for newborns.
Too Much Milk
Mothers with an over-abundant milk supply are prone to plugged ducts and breast infections from inadequate drainage. Babies can become stressed because they are not getting their comfort needs met. Your baby may get too much that causes a struggle to keep up with. You notice he or she wants to nurse but becomes fussy when the milk lets down turning the peaceful nursing session into a fretful experience. Feeding less amounts by adding more feeding sessions throughout the day and night will keep breasts from getting too full.
A mother’s milk supply can be over-abundant for many reasons. It is possible to reach a point where an over-supply has occurred by using a breast pump to relieve engorgement. The removal of much more milk than baby can comfortably hold can result in building a supply too large for baby's needs. A cycle of pumping, once established, may be difficult to break, but the supply can be re-adjusted according to what is needed.
Balancing milk supply on both sides.
When your baby has a preference of one breast or side over the other, that one will produce more milk. Some mothers bring the two back into balance by pumping in addition to nursing on the side with the slower flow for a while to increase its flow.
When the milk flows too quickly there may be a reluctance to nurse. The temporary use of a nipple shield may help slow it down. Strategies such as these assure there is demand to drive the supply on both breasts. The favored side, whether because it's faster or slower, can change now and then. Breathing difficulties can also present a challenge, particularly a fast flow that interferes with finding time not only to breathe, but also to swallow.
To nurse by the clock or more frequently.
Some, and perhaps many if not most, mothers are not able to make enough milk without very frequent feedings. Some, if not many, babies are simply not able to adjust to fewer and larger feedings. They become fussy and cry a lot needing to nurse either before it is time on the clock or before the breasts are thought to be 'full' enough.
The spaced apart breastfeeding schedule may not produce an adequate supply of breast milk. Babies may begin to show slower growth development. Mothers are then compelled to supplement with formula which further decreases the milk supply. Expelling milk with a breast pump may likely be needed in order to continue producing an adequate supply and to avoid having to wean from breast-milk to formula.
Following a scheduled method of breastfeeding imposed by our culture may work for some mothers and their babies but it isn't for everyone. When mothers begin breastfeeding their newborns by spacing the sessions two and a half to three to four hours apart, it often results in the mother's body not making enough milk. Babies may take in too much or too much too fast, and/or can swallow air while nursing.
Hind milk after Fore milk
Babies need to stay on one side long enough to take in the hind-milk that is behind the fore-milk to prevent colic or intestinal discomfort. Upsets cause baby to need to nurse and the more fore-milk without hind-milk the more discomfort. This can begin a cycle lasting four to five months.
Longer durations between feedings creates more fore-milk, so baby will have to nurse longer on the same side before receiving the richer hind-milk. Breastfeeding for only a few minutes on each side prevents the infant from consuming the hind-milk before getting full.
Lactose is important for energy, thirst and brain development. Hind-milk carries enzymes that help synthesize lactose and is important for growth. Additional information can be obtained at Breastfeeding-problems.com.
The mammary glands go into action to form milk when the breasts are empty. The supply will usually match the needs of the infant's stomach size and is a very rich food source containing high percentages of protein, fat, sugars (especially lactose) and some vitamins and salt. The hormones prolactin and growth hormone stimulate the production of breast-milk which are secreted during suckling.
Breastfeeding your baby often enough every day will satisfy hunger and maintain a comfort level without overfilling. It is a common error in our culture to expect that feeding every two to four hours should be adequate. Breast-milk and baby formula are distinctly different. Breast-milk metabolizes at a faster rate and more nutrients get used compared to formula. Breast fed infants need to nurse more often compared to formula fed.
Satisfying hunger and thriving well.
Some new mother's have difficulty producing a sufficient amount of milk for their baby's needs. There should be seven to nine wet diapers every day. It is vitally important that your baby is getting enough milk and not going hungry.
Have your baby weighed more often between doctor visits:
- if it seems that the milk supply is not satisfying hunger
- if he or she is irritable more often than content
- if your baby does not seem to be gaining enough weight for his or her age.
Disclaimer: If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's health and well-being, please don't hesitate to consult with the baby's physician.