The decision to breastfeed is sometimes a difficulty for new moms to make. There are many doubts and fears that new moms have and they have to learn breastfeeding a newborn.
Breastfeed a Newborn – Getting Started
As soon as the new mom holds her newborn in the delivery room, it is a great opportunity to start breastfeeding. The new mom’s body starts producing small amounts of colostrums that helps the baby fight infection. This is something that cannot be found in formula.
When positioning the baby, turn his whole body towards you, chest to chest. Touch his upper lip with the nipple and when his mouth opens wide, pull him into the breast. Make sure to hold the breast for support. His mouth should cover only the nipple but at much of the areola as possible.
Newborns are unsteady and may have trouble finding and staying on the nipple. Breastfeeding will require patience and persistence. Ask the nurses in the hospital to show you what to do and also ask for a lactation consultant to visit with you. Also, seek advice from other mothers who have recently breastfed. They will be a wealth of information.
Nursing should not be painful. If when the baby latches on and it hurts, break the suction and try again. To break the suction, insert your little finger between the baby’s gums and the breast. Keep trying to get the baby to latch on properly to stop any pain. Once the baby latches on properly, he will do the rest of the work.
How Much to Feed
Newborns must eat frequently and as much as possible. It is common for a breastfeeding mom to nurse a newborn eight to twelve times within a twenty four hour period. Follow the cues of the baby and nurse when the baby shows signs of hunger. It is best to start feeding the baby before the crying starts.
Newborns may need to be gently awakened to nurse as they will not be a vigorous as an older baby. Make sure that the baby is eating at least every four hours. If the baby is sleeping, wake him to nurse. Feedings can take up to 40 minutes for the baby to ingest enough milk.
The actual amount of milk that the baby eats at each feeding cannot be measured when the baby is being breastfed. The best way to measure that the baby is getting enough food to eat is by weight gain and contentment. Breastfed babies should be weighed every few days to ensure that they are not losing weight. If they are steadily gaining weight then the baby is eating enough food to properly grow. The baby’s contentment level will also be an indicator of a full belly and enough food at each feeding.