Breast Cancer : Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding your child is one of the best things you can do for your newborn. It offers a variety of healthful benefits. Here are some tips on how to make it easier for you to do.
This process may take up to an hour
or longer, but the mother and baby should be given this time
together to start learning about each other. Babies who
"self-attach" run into far fewer breastfeeding problems. This
skin-to-skin contact will also help keep the child warm.
Try to get some professional help, such as a lactation
specialist. In the hospital, you can ask if a lactation
consultant or a nurse who is knowledgeable about breastfeeding
can observe your technique. If you leave the hospital before
receiving any guidance, make sure that someone with
breastfeeding expertise evaluates your technique.
Limit visitors to allow more nursing opportunities. This may
mean limiting visiting privileges at first to just your spouse.
This is probably better anyway, since it allows the three of you
to bond right away.
Mothers and babies learn how to sleep in the same rhythm.
Thus, when the baby starts waking for a feed, the mother will
also start to wake up naturally. The baby shows long before he
starts crying that he is ready to feed. His breathing may
change, for example. Or he may start to stretch. The mother,
being in light sleep, will awaken, her milk will start to flow
and the calm baby will be content to nurse.
A baby who has been crying for some time before being tried
on the breast may refuse to take the breast even if he is
ravenous. Mothers and babies should be encouraged to sleep side
by side in hospital. This is a great way for mothers to rest
while the baby nurses. Breastfeeding can be relaxing, not
If possible, try not to use artificial nipples.
Babies will take whatever method gives them a rapid flow of
fluid and may refuse others that do not. Thus, in the first few
days, when the mother is producing only a little milk and the
baby gets a bottle from which he gets rapid flow, he will tend
to prefer the rapid flow method. Just because a baby will "take
both" does not mean that the natural method is not more
Nurse on demand, up to twelve feedings a day. This will keep
your baby happy and will increase your milk supply to meet the
demand as it grows. Also, don't let your baby sleep through a
feeding. If it's been three hours since your newborn last fed,
then it's time to wake him or her up.
Nurse for as long as the baby wants. Most newborns require
ten to forty-five minutes to complete a feeding.
Try not to impose too many restrictions on the length or
frequency of breastfeeding.
A baby who drinks well will not be on the breast for hours
at a time. Thus, if he is, it is usually because he is not
latching on well and not getting the milk that is available. Get
help to fix the baby's latch, and use compression to get the
baby more milk.
Don't try and feed your baby if she is screaming. If crying
has begun, do some rocking and soothing before you start
nursing. You can also try offering your finger to suck on until
the baby calms down.
The key to successful breastfeeding is a proper latch.
Before you leave the hospital you should be shown how to get
your baby latched on properly. You should also know that he is
actually getting milk from the breast.
Position yourself comfortably with back support, pillows
supporting your arms and in your lap, and your feet supported by
a footrest or a telephone book.
Position baby close to you, with his hips flexed, so that he
does not have to turn his head to reach your breast. His mouth
and nose should be facing your nipple. If possible, ask your
helper to hand you the baby once you are comfortable.
Support your breast so it is not pressing on your baby's
chin. Your baby's chin should drive into your breast.
Attach or latch baby onto your breast. Encourage him to open
his mouth wide and pull him close by supporting his back (rather
than the back of his head) so that his chin drives into your
breast. His nose will be touching your breast. Your hand forms a
"second neck" for your baby.
If you are feeling pain, detach baby gently and try again.
As long as you are comfortable and baby is nursing
successfully, use whatever works for you. There are a variety of
breastfeeding positions to try.
It is very important to bring the baby to your nipple height. Leaning over your baby can cause backaches, neck and shoulder strain, or sore nipples.