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Breastfeeding

Most asked questions

How often should I bath my baby?

Bathing baby can be a special time for you to have with your baby. You don’t have to bath baby every day, every 2-3 days is plenty. If your baby enjoys it, bathing daily can be incorporated into an evening routine. You may choose to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom without putting them in the bath – this is called top and tailing and can be handy for a quick wash.

 

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How to establish a routine for feeding my baby?

Newborns have tiny tummies and so need to feed frequently.  Feeding frequently in the early days and weeks helps make sure you have a good milk supply.

Because breastmilk is easily digested, it is normal for breastfed babies to feed 8–12 times in a 24-hour period. This usually means that your baby will breastfeed on average every 2–3 hours around the clock (day and night), with possibly one longer stretch between feeds somewhere in a 24-hour period. The length of time between feeds can vary greatly from baby to baby. The time between feeds is from the beginning of the last feed, not the end. Newborns also tend to have periods each day where they feed very frequently for a few hours (cluster feeds). So often baby’s cluster feed late afternoon into the evening, this is very normal and healthy. They are preparing your milk supply for the night time. Often these cluster feeding periods are followed by a longer stretch of sleep.

In most cases, healthy, thriving newborns will wake of their own accord for feeds and so get all the milk they need. Feeding your baby when he/she is showing early feeding cues can help him to feed better.

However, there are some reasons why a newborn may be extra sleepy. It may be necessary to wake your baby for feeds to ensure he/she gets the milk they need. Some of the reasons are medical (eg jaundice or perhaps medications/pain relief used during labour/birth) others may be related to their weight or general health. It is important to be guided by your doctor or midwife in these situations. They will communicate openly with you about why your baby’s needs are different, how to meet their needs and when to ask for help.

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More questions

What is engorgement?

Engorgement tends to happen to all breastfeeding mothers at some point as the hormones fluctuate and milk production increases.

Your breasts may feel - warm, heavy, sensitive and sometimes painfully full and tight. If you noticed that your breasts are engorged, then try to treat it early. Feed your baby frequently 2-3 hourly, don't limit baby's time at the breast. Check baby is positioned and attached correctly to ensure the breast is draining well during the feed. It may be helpful to take your bra off to feed baby and use gentle massage on the breast during the feed. A warm shower can help relieve some pressure just before feeding. If you’re struggling to latch baby because your breasts are engorged, hand express a little to soften them. Use cold compresses in between feeds for 15-20 minutes- pop a cup of water into a nappy and freeze it.

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Can my nipples become damaged?

A baby who is attached correctly to the breast will prevent problems such as damaged nipples. Correct positioning of your baby and attachment to the breast are key to avoiding nipple damage.  Position baby with her tummy facing towards yours and with her body  in a straight line. Your hand should be supporting them with your palm across their shoulders and index finger and thumb behind their ears. Ensure your baby has a wide mouth before latching onto the breast.

 
Once baby's mouth is wide open, bring baby to the breast so her chin touches the breast first and head tipped slightly back. Baby's mouth will take in the nipple and some areola (the darker area) so that they are latched to the breast, not just on the nipple. The nose will be clear of the breast when latched.

With a deep latch the baby’s tongue goes under the nipple and works to drain the breast. You will see the jaw moving rhythmically as this happens, they should begin swallowing as the milk begins to flow.

The latch should not be painful. If the nipple comes out of the baby’s mouth misshapen, try and get the latch even deeper. 
Ask a midwife or lactation consultant to check the latch if you are unsure.

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What is mastitis?

Mastitis refers to inflammation of the breast and is often due to a blocked milk duct that hasn't drained. Some women will get mastitis without any sign of a blocked duct. There may or may not be infection present as well. The first signs can be redness and tenderness on the breast. Flu like symptoms can occur quickly where you may have the shivers or feel achy. If you think you have mastitis you should see your health care provider, don't wait until you feel really unwell. Your doctor may prescribed antibiotics to treat the mastitis. You should take them as per the instructions and complete the entire course of antibiotics as directed by your doctor.

Make sure you keep draining both breasts as much as possible, the milk is safe for baby to drink. Start the feed from the sore breast first and drain it well before switching to the other breast. Feed baby more often and don't skip feeds or limit baby's time at the breast. Relax while you’re feeding and massage the breasts with gentle strokes to efficiently drain them. Using cold compresses in between feeds can help relieve the heat, swelling and pain- if you don’t have face cloths then try putting a cup of water on a nappy and pop it in the freezer until it’s frozen. Rest is important when you have mastitis so sleep when baby sleeps.Keep your fluids up and eat well.

Prevent mastitis by ensuring baby is latched well so she drains both breasts as much as possible. Try to avoid missing feeds. Check for lumps and redness each day and work to massage these out if they are there. Talk to your midwife or lactation consultant if you have concerns about positioning and attaching baby to the breast.

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Do I need to burp my baby?

You can burp your baby when you swap between breasts or when you have finished feeding her. You may find that some babies’ don’t burp and others will every time. Breastfed babies tend to need burping less than bottlefed babies. If you put baby down and she wriggles and grunts this is a sign that she is uncomfortable with wind and needs burping.

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Should my baby be awake when I feed them?

If your baby keeps falling asleep on the breast try to keep her awake to ensure she gets enough milk. You can do this by using breast compression as she is feeding, switching between breasts regularly and offering the other side, also try to feed her more regularly during alert periods. You can also try to unwrap her so that she isn’t too warm and sleepy.

In the early days baby should be feeding 8-12 times in 24 hours.

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