Breastfeeding basics for baby’s changing needs
six-week-old baby was nursing about every three hours and seemed to be thriving. Now, suddenly he wants to nurse every hour. Could something have happened to my milk supply? Mum of two, Bushland Beach
pregnancy your breasts will have changed and developed to be ready to provide milk for your baby. It usually comes in ( that is, the amount increases greatly) a few days after birth. The first milk in the breasts following delivery and often before it, is called colostrum. It is thicker, yellowish milk which is more concentrated than mature milk. It is also rich in protein and in antibodies that help to protect your baby from disease. The amount of colostrum in your your bloodstream. One of the hormones ( prolactin) activates the milk-making tissues. The other hormone ( oxytocin) causes the breast to push out or let down the milk.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?
If your baby shows two or more of the signs below then it is probable that you do have enough milk.
At least six to eight very wet cloth nappies in 24 hours provided no other fluids or solids are being given. A very young baby will usually have two or more soft bowel movements a day for several weeks. An older baby is likely to have fewer than this. Small quantities of strong, dark urine or formed bowel motions suggest the baby is in need of more breastmilk.
Good skin colour and muscle tone.
Your baby is alert and reasonably contented and is not constantly wanting to feed.
Some weight gain and growth in length and head circumference.
How to make more milk: Demand = Supply. To build your supply, the following suggestions may help.
Provided that your baby is correctly positioned you will find that the quickest and most successful way to boost your supply is to breastfeed more frequently. You may want to offer a breastfeed every two or three hours during the day, for a few days, or at least increase the number of feeds by offering the breast in between your baby’s usual breastfeeds.
Here is an easy way of doing this. If your baby does not settle after a feed, wait 20 or 30 minutes and then offer another quick little topping up breastfeed. Those few minutes of extra nursing and cuddling may be all that is needed to soothe and satisfy. Email your questions to aboutababy@ townsvillebulletin. com. au. Donna Gandini is a general and neonatal paediatrician and breastfeeding adviser. Contact her at 4778 4581, at Health and Wellbeing North Ward or at the Fairfield Waters Medical Centre.
Whenever practicable, let your baby finish the first breast before switching to the second breast. Let your baby decide the length of the breastfeed. Some babies may take up to 20 minutes or longer to drain a breast and obtain all the kilojoule-rich milk.
Alternatively you may find it helps to change sides several times during a feed whenever your baby’s sucking seems to become less vigorous.
You will find that throughout lactation baby will have days when more breastfeeds are needed. This is Nature’s way of producing more milk for your baby’s growing needs.