newborn breastfeeding
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Breastfeeding Your Newborn: What To Expect In The First Week

In particular, the first week with your baby can be exciting and intimidating if you have never breastfed before. To help you start nursing successfully, read our suggestions. 

How do I know when to feed my baby?

Life after childbirth may be somewhat confusing since you are getting to know your new baby while you are healing from the delivery. Your feelings may be all over the place, particularly between days two and five when many women experience the “baby blues” and their milk “coming in,” a double whammy. Additionally, there is frequent pressure to get up and go right away and to generally be a supermum. However, one of the best things you can do this week is just to spend time with your infant and resume nursing.

When should I start breastfeeding my newborn?

The first hour after birth is the ideal time to try to breastfeed your child. He begins by latching on and rhythmically sucking, turning on the breast cells that will produce milk. It isn’t known as the ‘magic hour’ for nothing!

“In order to provide your kid access to the breast, you should put him on your chest as soon as he is born. Give him the chance to feed, advises Cathy Garbin, an internationally known lactation expert. He might or might not do so.

“Support his body and let him make an effort to self-attach to your breast (you may view recordings of this procedure, known as the “breast crawl” online). However, medical personnel is often quite good at assisting mothers with placement if their baby doesn’t attach. A nice place to start is with baby-led attachment when the mother is newborn breastfeeding in a semi-reclined position.

Don’t weigh or dress your baby during that crucial first hour, or at least wait until after the first feeding. Enjoy a lot of relaxing nude skin-to-skin contact and cuddling with him. The release of your first milk, colostrum, depends on the flow of oxytocin, sometimes known as “the love hormone,” in both of you.

The midwives allowed my husband, me, and our new baby time to bond as a family as soon as they were certain our son was healthy. He fed twice during that precious hour with us, and it was messy, emotional, and totally lovely,” recalls Ellie, a mother of two from the UK.

Did you also know that your baby is aiding in your recovery from childbirth while he breastfeeds? This is due to the fact that oxytocin also causes uterine contractions. This lessens blood loss and aids in your placenta’s spontaneous expulsion in the early postpartum hours.

What if the birth doesn’t go to plan?

Skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding during the first few hours may still be possible even if you deliver through c-section if there are other issues.

“Skin-to-skin contact with your partner is preferable to holding your infant if you are unable to do so. Until you’re ready, this will help keep your baby feeling safe, loved, and warm.

It’s a good idea to start expressing your milk early and regularly until your kid is able to do so if he or she is unable to breastfeed. “Direct nursing is a fantastic start for mom and baby, but it’s not necessary,” Cathy reassured Cathy.

“What’s more crucial is to start producing milk so that, if necessary, you may strive toward nursing afterward.”

To assist start your milk supply, you can manually express and utilize the hospital breast pump. The priceless colostrum you collect can then be given to your baby. Because your breast milk provides so many excellent health advantages, this is especially crucial if he is preterm or sick.

If your kid is premature or has medical issues that prevent him from nursing at first, don’t think that breastfeeding is impossible. Because of preterm birth or other issues, “I’ve worked with many, many moms whose kid didn’t suckle directly from the breast at all in the first six weeks, and they’ve gone on to breastfeed well,” adds Cathy.

Is my baby latching on correctly?

Since your baby’s latch influences how effectively he eats the milk and, in turn, how he grows and develops, the excellent connection is essential for a successful breastfeeding experience. Never be afraid to ask a medical expert to examine your attachment, even if you’ve been assured the latch is normal and you don’t detect an evident problem – especially while you’re still at your birth facility. A bad latch can cause uncomfortable or damaged nipples.

According to Emma, a mother of two from Australia, “every time I fed in the hospital, I buzzed a midwife to check the latch.”There were a couple of occasions when I thought I did it correctly, but it hurt, and the midwife helped take my kid off and do it correctly. It meant I was self-assured enough to carry it out at home.

Aim your nipple towards the roof of his mouth while your infant is latching on. He will be able to grab onto the nipple and a portion of the areola below it in this way. This implies that he can successfully feed while bringing both the nipple and some breast tissue into his mouth. 

The latch shouldn’t hurt and should feel more like a tug of war, according to Cathy. “Your infant’s mouth will be gaping wide. His upper lip will rest easily on your breast, despite the fact that his bottom lip may be flanged outward. His nonverbal cues will indicate that he is at ease. Your kid will be sucking a lot and eating often, but there won’t be a lot of milk around at this early stage, so you won’t notice much swallowing.

How often should a newborn feed?

n the first week, breastfeeding frequency and duration might vary greatly. “Babies’ first 24 hours vary greatly from one another. Birth is exhausting, therefore some newborns sleep a lot, while others nurse regularly, according to Cathy.One of the things that new mothers find the most perplexing is this variety. It’s crucial to keep in mind that each mother and baby are unique since different people will give you different suggestions.

“Colostrum is generated in lower quantities and is thicker than mature breast milk, but it is rich in nutrients. Before your milk starts to come in in larger amounts, your baby may learn to suck, swallow, and breathe by drinking your colostrum, according to Cathy.

Around days two to four, when your milk begins to produce, your baby will usually be feeding eight to twelve times (perhaps more! ), including at night. As your baby is still growing, these early feeds may last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to an hour. This is because your baby still lacks the muscles and coordination he needs to suck effectively.

The majority of new mothers are surprised by how intense it is at first, frequently more so than they had anticipated, according to Cathy. They rarely have enough time to use the restroom, take a shower, or eat something. That often comes as a surprise.

Camilla, an  United States mother of one, had the following experience: In the first week, she recalls, “Frankie fed for a half-hour to an hour at a time, day and night, every two hours.” “My partner and I were both permanently exhausted!”

Do I need a newborn feeding schedule?

The good news is that regular feedings assist in starting and increasing your milk supply. Therefore, you will produce more milk the more your baby feeds. Planning a newborn feeding schedule might therefore limit his possibilities to eat, therefore you shouldn’t worry about it. When your infant offers you signs that he or she is hungry, such as:

  • stirring from his sleep
  • opening his eyes
  • turning his head when he feels something on his cheek
  • poking his tongue out
  • making cooing noises
  • sucking his lips
  • trying to eat his hand
  • getting grizzly
  • starting to whine
  • crying

Offer your kid your breast if in doubt because crying is a delayed symptom of hunger. When your baby starts crying, it might be more difficult to continue breastfeeding him, especially at this young age when you are both still learning. It should get easier to breastfeed as he gets older since he will probably feed more quickly and less frequently. 

Will breastfeeding hurt?

Despite what you may have been taught, many mothers experience discomfort during the first few days of nursing. It makes sense given that your nipples aren’t accustomed to the kind of frequent, vigorous sucking your baby engages in.

“As your body and the baby adjust to breastfeeding, the first few days may be uncomfortable. The experience is similar to wearing a pair of stiff, new shoes if your infant isn’t connected properly and stays on the breast for too long, according to Cathy. “Your nipples may get hurt, just like your feet can. If discomfort persists beyond the first few days, see a lactation consultant or nursing expert since preventing harm is preferable to treating it.

Mariah, a Canadian mother of one, concurs: “Even though my son’s latch seemed okay, he was hurting everything during feeding. It turned out that a tongue tie was the problem, and our city’s breastfeeding clinic provided us with wonderful assistance in diagnosing and fixing it.

In the first few days, particularly if this isn’t your first child, you could also have period-like cramps (sometimes referred to as “afterpains”) after feeding sessions. This is due to the fact that when your womb begins to shrink back to its normal size, the oxytocin released by nursing will aid in the process.  

How often will my newborn poo and wee?

You get out what you put in! Your baby’s first poop, known as meconium, is encouraged by the laxative-like effects of colostrum. Its tar-like blackness and stickiness might make this a little shocking. But don’t worry, this is not how his diapers will always be; in fact, the poop of breastfed newborns often smells mildly delicious.

The frequency of dirty diapers, when to anticipate them, and what to expect from their contents are listed below:

Day one

  • Number: one or more
  • Colour: greenish black
  • Texture: sticky and tar-like

Day two

  • Number: two or more
  • Colour: dark greenish brown
  • Texture: becoming less sticky

Day three

  • Number: two or more
  • Colour: greenish brown to brownish yellow
  • Texture: no longer sticky

Day four to one month

  • Number: two or more
  • Colour: yellow (they must be yellow by the end of day four at the latest)
  • Texture: seedy (like English or American mustard with a little whole grain mixed in). Loose and watery.

Your infant’s poop should be a light yellow color. A typical infant pees once per day up until around day three, at which point he should pee about three times per day, and then at least five times per day by day five. Over the first several days, you should also notice that these diapers are becoming heavier. 

Is my baby getting enough breast milk?

You might be concerned that the initial milk you produce will not be enough to satiate your infant. But if you’re feeding your kid on demand, you ought to be providing for his or her requirements. Check the amount of soiled and wet diapers he’s creating, as illustrated above if you wish to keep track. Consult a doctor if he isn’t acting in accordance with this pattern.

“The majority of newborns merely eat and sleep throughout the first three to four weeks. Consider seeing a healthcare provider if your infant isn’t content and has to eat frequently, advises Cathy.

It’s normal for your baby to vomit up milk after a feeding, and this shouldn’t worry you. However, if his vomit contains any of the following colors: orange, red, green, brown, or black, or if he is projectile vomiting, consult a medical expert. The same rules apply if your baby is not back to his birth weight by two weeks of age, has a high temperature, has blood in his poop, or has a sunken fontanelle (the soft region on his head). 

But if he is growing as expected and exhibits none of these symptoms, he is receiving adequate milk. Both of you will quickly adjust to nursing and fall into a more regular routine.

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