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.