Your breastfeeding action plan and stuff to keep your eye on when feeding
If you have struggled with breastfeeding and need some help to get things back on track, try these helpful tips from Gurgle's modern guide to breastfeeding:
Think about the 'latch'
How baby sucks on your nipple affects how much he gets and how you feel during feeding. This may mean trying different positions, different cushions or even in the beginning asking someone to help position his head while you learn the knack.
Inverters and nipple creams are all worth a try if you think they may help. Try one thing at a time and see for yourself if they work for YOU. People have strong opinions on nipple shields but if they help you to feed comfortably, that's all that matters.
Make it easIer for yourself
Do not attempt to breastfeed surrounded by thousands of onlookers while you try to preserve your modesty. Stick to feeding at home while you learn the basics.
Relax yourself to relax her
When breastfeeding is hard, each feed is a source of stress and anguish. Ask dad or granny to sit with you to keep you calm, or put the radio on to distract you from worry.
Only ask one person for help at a time
Try each solution in turn. If it's not working, move on to a new solution after a few days. I see panicked new parents trying every potential solution at every feed and it doesn't work.
Give yourself time
Remember, it can take a while to master the skills, even if it is natural.
Feeding baby: stuff to keep an eye on...
1. Baby gets bigger. You can see this and feel this. You're holding him all the time, and you'll soon notice the change.
2. Wet, soggy nappies Good feeding means your baby is well hydrated and will be making wet nappies 6–8 times a day.
3. Pooing: nice healthy poos.
4. He'll be chilled/contented/ a bit 'drunk' after a feed.
5. He can wait a good 2–3 hours before the next feed. Obviously, this spaces out even further after the first few weeks.
6. The boob is empty – you will get to know pretty quickly the difference between a full boob, and a soft, floppy, empty one. 7. The bottle is empty – I don't need to explain that.
Not feeding well
1. He's not getting noticeably chubbier or rounder in the face.
2. You can't feel a distinct boob difference before he's fed and after.
3. He doesn't seem chilled and contented after feeding.
4. He can't wait 2–3 hours for the next feed.
5. He doesn't produce regular, soggy nappies.
6. He does dry, dark poos.
7. He seems generally irritable.
If instinct or any of the above signs tell you your baby may not be getting enough milk, see your midwife, health visitor or GP quickly. This is not a time to wait. Feeding babies also involves hydrating them, and they get dehydrated very quickly. If you think your baby is under-feeding, see your GP or midwife the same day. This is even worth an A&E trip if you can't get hold of anyone.