Breast feeding preparation

Establishing successful breastfeeding:

START BREASTFEEDING SOON AFTER DELIVERY:

  • You will be provided with an opportunity to breastfeed your baby within an hour of birth when babies are most alert.
  • Your baby will be placed skin-to-skin with you to allow bonding.
  • Your baby may only lick and nuzzle at first, or may latch and suckle well.

ENCOURAGE FREQUENT, UNRESTRICTED, BABY LED FEEDINGS.

  • Babies breastfeed best ‘on cue’, which is usually every 2 or 3 hours throughout the day and night (a minimum of 8 times in 24 hours).
  • The length of nursing time will vary but most babies will take 20 to 30 minutes to complete a feed in the first week. However, you should watch the baby and not the clock!
  • Your baby should be allowed to breastfeed as long and as often as they want for the early feeds to stimulate milk production.
  • Offer both breasts for each feeding as breastfeeding is getting established.
  • Gently wake the baby and provide the opportunity to breastfeed at least every 3 hours if the baby is not cueing on its own.

INFANT FEEDING CUES INCLUDE:

  • Waking and stretching.
  • Hand-to-mouth movements.
  • Rooting reflex - a reflex seen in normal newborn babies, who automatically turn the face toward the stimulus and make sucking motions with the mouth when the cheek or lip is touched.
  • Sucking and licking.
  • Remember... crying is a late cue!

Waking strategies include:

  • Undressing the baby.
  • Placing the baby skin-to-skin.
  • Changing the baby’s diaper.
  • Gently stroking the baby’s arms, legs, and back.
  • Gently running your fingers up and down the baby’s spine.
  • Avoid waking if the baby is in deep sleep. Wait 30 minutes and try again.

Expect feeding frequency to decrease as the infant gets older and more efficient/effective at breastfeeding.