Our Austin obgyns help with breastfeeding techniques
As your milk begins to flow after delivery, you’ll establish a regular feeding practice with your newborn that starts when she first latches onto the breast. Here’s what to expect.
Breastfeeding techniques for when baby latches on
To encourage your baby to latch on, hold her upright (not tilted) in front of you with her torso against yours. Tickling the baby’s lip with your nipple can encourage her mouth to open wide for a few seconds as if she’s yawning. If this doesn’t happen, or if she turns away, gently stroke her cheek to bring her attention back toward the breast.
As your baby’s mouth opens, bring her toward your breast, but don’t put the breast into her mouth; let her reach out and make the first move.
Maintain a grip on your breast until you’re sure you have a proper latch. The baby’s lips should be flared outward, not tucked in, and you should notice a steady pattern of suck, swallow and breath. If you hear clicking sounds, the latch isn’t quite right just yet. If it isn’t working, gently break the suction and start again from the beginning. Don’t expect perfection on the very first try.
Making sure your breastfeeding baby is getting enough to eat
An average breastfeeding session can last about 30 minutes. If you can, allow the baby to get all the way through to the last milk, called the hind-milk, which contains a higher density of calories and fats. Try to drain one breast fully before offering the next one.
Breastfeeding tends to bring better results when babies are fed on demand instead of a regular clock-based schedule, but this can cause confusion if your baby doesn’t express hunger during the early stages (many don’t).
If your baby never seems to be hungry, you can feel free to push feedings during the first few days after delivery. At the same time, don’t wait too long for unmistakable signs of hunger, like tears. Initiate feedings when your little one starts to suckle her hand or your shirt, or she begins to nuzzle against you while opening her mouth.
Staying comfortable while breastfeeding
In the hospital, our Austin obgyns and support staff will show you some useful breastfeeding holds, like the classic cradle hold and the side-lying hold. If these work for you, perfect; but you can also develop your own holds as long as they allow the baby to swallow freely and don’t exacerbate strain for you.
Too often, new mothers assume that nipple pain and chapping are caused by the frequency of the breastfeeding process, when they are actually caused by imperfect positioning. Experiment until you settle on the most comfortable position for you.
Most babies will need to engage in breastfeeding about 10 times per day, which means about every two to three hours around the clock during the early stages. Keep an eye on your baby’s weight and disposition to make sure she’s getting enough nutrients.
Austin obgyns and lactation consultants can be an excellent resource when you aren’t sure the breastfeeding process is working as it should.
Don’t hesitate to contact Renaissance Women’s Group for advice and guidance while you’re in the hospital and after you bring your new baby home.