by Sasha Singh
If you’ve decided you’re going to breastfeed your baby, you’re likely to have lots of questions about it. From how often to feed your baby to understanding if they’re getting enough milk, it can often be a confusing area for new mums.
To help you prepare for your breastfeeding journey, Sasha Singh, EU Professional Marketing Manager at Lansinoh Laboratories, has put together the following guide, providing answers to some of the most common questions new mums ask.
1. What will the first feed be like?
If you and your baby are well, try to breastfeed as soon as possible after the birth as
skin-to-skin contact will stimulate your milk production and your baby’s sucking reflex is at its strongest.
Your body will have started to make colostrum (first milk) midway through pregnancy and it’s this that your baby’s first feed will consist of.
Colostrum ranges in colour from pale lemon to light brown, is thick and contains around three times more protein than mature human milk, as well as antibodies, vitamins and minerals.
It comes in very small quantities at first, gradually increasing as the baby suckles more. An average feed during the first day is only around a teaspoon full, but don’t worry if that doesn’t sound like a lot – your newborn’s stomach is only the size of a marble!
2. When will my mature milk come in and how do I encourage milk production?
The delivery of the placenta triggers the second stage of milk production, and your full-
term milk should come in three to five days later.
Feeding your baby frequently will signal to your body to start producing mature milk, so offer your breast often, even if your baby doesn’t seem hungry. It’s also key to make sure your baby latches onto your breast properly to encourage milk supply – your midwife will help you with this, showing you how to achieve the perfect latch and feeding position.
Once your milk comes in, it’s also important to fully drain your breasts after each feed, which signals to your body to make more milk and encourages ongoing production.
3. How often should I feed my baby?
All new-borns need to be fed regularly – on average, your baby will nurse every one to three hours, which generally equates to around 10-12 feeds a day. The frequency of feeding in the first few days and weeks can be exhausting for new mums, but rest assured it won’t be like this for long. Your baby’s tummy will begin to grow to accommodate greater amounts of milk and feeding will become more spread out as your baby gets older.
4. How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions, because unfortunately breasts don’t come with ounce markers! However, there are lots of ways to determine if your baby is getting enough milk.
Continuous weight gain and alertness are key indications, but the best way for you to actually see what’s going in is to look at what’s coming out!
Check your baby’s nappies every time you change them – wet nappies indicate your baby is well hydrated, whilst soiled nappies signify your baby is getting enough calories.
Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of your baby’s poo, as it will change during the first few days. New born babies pass dark, sticky stools for a few days (called Meconium). It is black and tarry, changing to green then to yellow, seedy and loose. After about day four you want to see at least two soiled nappies and six wet nappies per day.
5. How can my partner support me?
Partners often feel helpless and left out when it comes to breastfeeding, but even though they can’t help physically, there’s plenty they can do to make it as comfortable as possible for you and baby.
You’ll be feeding a lot in the first few months, so your partner can support you by ensuring you have plenty of healthy, nutritious snacks and drinks on hand while you’re feeding. They can also take care of the prep – like bringing you a breastfeeding support pillow and getting milk storage bags out ready for if you want to store any excess milk – so you can concentrate solely on feeding.
6. How can I prevent milk stains on my clothes?
It’s common to experience leaking in the early months of breastfeeding as your body is still getting used to how much milk it needs to produce. While completely normal, it can be embarrassing when you look down and realise you’re sporting wet patches on your clothes!
Breast pads will be your new saviours when it comes to preventing milk leaking through to your clothes – simply pop them in your bra. Lansinoh’s Disposable Nursing Pads with Blue Lock Core are really comfortable, discreet and ultra-absorbent and will keep you dry day and night.
It’s also a great idea to take a spare top with you when you go out, as you can quickly get changed if any leaking accidents happen.
7. What do I do if I get sore nipples?
Whilst your baby is getting the hang of breastfeeding and feeding a lot, it can take a toll on your nipples, causing them to become sore and cracked. Speak to your midwife or health visitor to make sure your baby’s latch is right and regularly apply Lansinoh’s HPA Lanolin Cream to sooth and protect them – it’s safe for babies, so there’s no need to remove it before a feed.
Lansinoh’s Thera°Pearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pads (or other similar products) are also ideal to help relieve engorgement and mastitis, and for encouraging milk let down. They can be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer to provide different levels of comfort.
Trusted for more than 30 years and founded by a breastfeeding mum, Lansinoh breastfeeding products have been the ‘go to’ brand for decades by both mums and healthcare professionals to provide safe, effective breastfeeding support. For further information, visit lansinoh.co.uk.