Birth – 2 Weeks

  • Get ‘clued up’ beforehand: books, leaflets, web sites etc, best of all other breastfeeding mothers.
  • The type of labour and delivery you and your baby experience will affect how you feel and how your baby responds. Be flexible and patient in your approach.
  • You should be helped to cuddle the baby immediately after the delivery, maintain skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed within the first hour.
  • Continue cuddling the baby lots over the first 3 days.
  • Allow baby to feed whenever he/she stirs; don’t wait for baby to cry with hunger.
  • Ensure the baby is deeply latched on and it feels comfortable for you.
  • Remember: tummy to mummy, nose to nipple, chin to breast.
  • Allow baby to feed for as long as he/she wants.
  • Be prepared for very frequent feeds in the early days after the birth (including in the night). 8-12 feeds in 24 hours are to be expected. Feeding freely at this time will prevent your breasts getting too full and feeling tight and painful and will ensure a good milk supply. Later, feeds will start to space out.
  • Do not allow baby to have any other drinks at this stage – later you can express and involve others.
  • Make sure you get enough naps during the day to make up for lost sleep, even if it means restricting your visitors! Over-tiredness is often the reason things start to go wrong.
  • If medical staff says additional feeds are essential, these should be given by cup or spoon or tube.
  • If you have any problems, seek expert help as soon as possible
  • If you are unable to put baby to the breast in the first hour after the birth, ensure that you ask for help and start expressing as soon as you are able. If possible start within 4-6 hours and continue every 3-4 hours, including once in the night.
  • If your are unable to have skin to skin contact at the time of the birth, just make up for it later with lots of extra cuddles

How to recognise that things are going well:

  1. Baby is alert when awake.
  2. Baby latches on deeply, sucks with concentration and looks relaxed while at the breast.
  3. Baby is contented after a feed.
  4. Mothers nipples feel comfortable at all times.
  5. Mothers nipples do not look pinched and flattened at the end of the feed.
  6. Baby’s dirty nappies:
  • black and tarry – day 1 and 2
  • green/khaki – day 3 and 4
  • yellow/mustard – day 5 and 6 onward.

    If you have any concerns at all, seek help as soon as possible.

    References: Sue Saunders – Lactation Consultant

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