Breast feeding is a natural experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy one. Breast feeding for new moms can be overwhelming.
If you’re having questions about breast feeding, you’re not alone. That’s natural, too. Here are answers to a few of the first questions many new moms ask.
How do I know the baby is getting enough to eat?
Top secret: The amount of breast milk a baby gets while nursing is hidden from view. It’s been a concern for many mothers everywhere. Thankfully, there are some great clues that your new baby is getting plenty:
- Content after feeding for 10 to 45 minutes on each side
- Several series of swallowing during each feed
- At least 3 wet diapers every 24 hours
- At least 1 stool a day during the 1st month
- Nursing at least 8 times a day in the 1st month
- Your breasts feel lighter after nursing
Your baby’s weight gain will be the effective-feeding clincher. An average of an ounce a day for the first 3 months, once your milk is in, wouldn’t happen without plenty of fuel.
How do I know if the baby is latching on correctly?
With a good latch, a baby’s mouth is wide open; the gums are on the areola (not the nipple); and the latch is asymmetric. The baby’s lower gum should be farther from the nipple so that the lower jaw and tongue work on the breast, not the nipple.
If you’re interested, you can watch a video teaching The Perfect Latch.
Are there any supplements I can take to increase my supply?
Fenugreek has been shown to help increase supply in some women. Blessed thistle may also help. Some lactation consultants are reporting good results with an herbal supplement called GoLacta.
What can I use for sore nipples?
Sore nipples might be injured nipples, irritated nipples – or both.
Injured nipples may have cracks, blisters, scrapes, or scabs. When babies’ gums close on the nipples rather than the areola they can damage the tender tissue. Working on latch and position can make a world of difference, and working with a lactation consultant is a wise investment not a luxury.
Irritated nipples typically start out bright pink and may feel like they are burning. The irritation might come from rubbing, yeast (thrush), bacteria, chemical sensitivity allergy, or eczema. Again, a lactation consultant can help you pinpoint the cause so you can solve the problem, and choose the right soothing ointment and/or breast shell to protect and comfort your nipples in the short run
How long should I be breastfeeding at a time?
It’s better to watch your baby than to watch the clock. Some babies are focused and finish nursing in 10 minutes or so. Others enjoy a more leisurely meal and take 45 minutes or so for a meal. Soon you’ll be able to tell when your baby is done.