The 1st 2 weeks when starting out with breastfeeding, pumping or a combo of the 2 are the most challenging. Here are some tips by Bex @Health2mama who has just gone through this for the 2nd time to make your experience much easier.
1) LEARN THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF LACTATION
In the 1st couple of days you will just produce a very tiny amount of Colostrum which usually is thick, yellow and sticky (but can be thin, white or orange in colour). This colostrum is very dense in nutrition and usually all that the baby requires in the first few days of life. You can also try squeezing your boob (hand express) to remove the colostrum out which makes it easier for your baby to take or remove it from the nipple with a syringe to give to the baby. It is nicknamed ‘Liquid Gold’ due to all the protein, antibodies and growth factors it contains and also helps prevent jaundice.
The milk is called the ‘Transitional Breast Milk’ and is a combination of colostrum and mature milk. This milk starts about 3-5 days after delivery and as a result your boobs will swell quite dramatically and you may feel hardish lumps form within the boob particularly near the armpit. There can be general tenderness of the boobs due to all the swelling. The milk will become less and less yellow and more white and thinner and the quantity should increase. Normal amount of milk to produce in this stage is about 2-4oz
Milk becomes Mature Breast Milk when the baby reaches about 2 weeks old where becomes lower in protein but higher in fat and carbs.
2) LEARN THE DIFFERENT POSITIONS TO TRY
3) WORK ON GETTING THE BABY LATCH CORRECT
Signs you have the perfect latch
- Babys chin touches the breast & lips are curled outwards like a fish
- Babys mouth around as much of your areola as possible
- Your nipples are not uncomfortable
- You can hear swallowing
Tips how to achieve the perfect latch
- Bring your baby close to you tummy to tummy
- If baby does not open her mouth wide naturally brush your nipple over their lips
- Baby needs to put her chin and lower jaw on the breast first and then you can help her latch if you tilt the head back
- Can help her then put her upper jaw onto your breast by tilting the head
4) KEEP UP THE FREQUENCY OF BREASTFEEDING OR PUMPING?
By removing milk from the boobs you will stimulate your body to make more milk. It is recommended in the first few weeks to pump for approx 15 mins every 2-3 hours throughout the day to keep milk supply up. The stimulation of the baby feeding from the breast does have a positive effect on increasing more milk so if you are doing a combination of both breastfeeding and pumping and you find issues with your milk supply try increasing the ratio of breastfeeding to pumping.
5) FOR NIPPLE RELIEF
When starting out with trying breastfeeding or pumping the most important thing to remember is ‘IF YOU FEEL PAIN SEEK HELP’. There should not be pain when feeding or pumping and this can be cured by seeing a Lactation Consultant.By leaving pain it will only become worse if the latch is not right and lead to you possibly giving up. The Lactation Consultant can try different latches with you or correct issues with your pumping technique and tools that will stop the pain. There also may be issues such as inverted nipples or that the baby is experiencing such as tongue tie or a tight top lip that make latch very difficult. These will need to be addressed ASAP and your Lactation Consultant will be able to recommend the right people to help.
If you just have some soreness in the nipples when starting out this is very common and here are 3 things that you can try to help
- Lanolin Cream
- Silverette Nursing Cups
- Cooling Gel Pads
6) LEARN SELF MASSAGE
Massage will help to improve the milk flow and also clear blocked milk ducts which commonly occur when breastfeeding or pumping as a side effect. Click here to see video that will help you learn a good technique to do in the early stages – try to do for 5 mins before each feed or pump.
7) IMPROVING MILK SUPPLY
As mentioned earlier the best way to stimulate milk supply is frequent feeding or pumping but there are some herbs that you can take to help with milk supply such as Fenugreek.
If milk supply is really an issue it may be worth asking your doctor if Motilium tablets will help which need to be prescribed.
8) LEARN HOW TO KNOW YOU ARE GIVING YOUR BABY ENOUGH MILK
Wet nappies are a good guide – below is a guide to ideally how many wet nappies to expect a day:
- Day 1 – 1 nappy
- Day 2 – 2 nappies
- Day 3 – 3 nappies
- Day 4 – 4 nappies
- Day 5 to end of 2nd week – 6 nappies
9) LEARN EFFECTIVE BURPING
Your baby will always need to be burped during and after a feed to relieve any gas and tummy pain that may result of swallowing a little air when feeding.
10) SEEK THE RIGHT HELP ASAP WHEN NEEDED
Please seek help asap if you are experiencing any of the following issues. If left the issues are only likely to become worse:
- Pain in the Nipple – see a Lactation Consultant
- Issues with the Baby Latching – see a Lactation Consultant
- Pain in the Breast That Occurs When Breastfeeding or Pumping – see a Lactation Consultant
- Areas in the boob which are painful, hardened or look red which do not resolve with feeding, pumping or with self massage – see a Physio experienced in Lactation relief who can help with ultrasound therapy and massage .
- Lasting engorgement – see a Physio to help with ultrasound therapy and massage
Health2mama offers Lactation Relief by physios for mums including home visits. Click here to book https://health2u.sg/lactation-relief/
Follow @health2mama on Instagram for regular tips for New Mums