Jessica Haupt, RN, IBCLC gives new parents tips on helping to increase breastmilk production.
Helping to Increase Breastmilk Production
One of the things that will really help establish breastfeeding is a rested, non-stressed out breastfeeder! For this reason, designate your partner or other caring adult to mother *you.* This person should make sure you are hydrated, eating nutritiously and resting when you can.
Additionally other adults should learn baby's early hunger cues such as stirring, rooting or mouth opening. This way they can bring baby to you if you're somewhere else or resting so baby can begin feeding before they get into a frustrated state of hunger. Being calm helps latching and let-down happen naturally.
While breast is best, a baby who is screaming from hunger is a baby that needs to eat. If the baby is not making enough wet diapers, losing or not gaining weight, supplementation with formula is needed, and it's a good thing when baby is nourished! Temporary supplementation does not mean that breastfeeding is over. Many, MANY mother baby duos go on to have an exclusive breastfeeding relationship.
What are your breastfeeding tips? Let us know in the comments.
Early breastfeeding often comes with questions about if baby is getting enough milk, especially if milk production seems low or they have an unexpected challenge such as baby being in the NICU. Amy Black, IBCLC answers the two questions she is asked most in the hospital in Breastfeeding Newborns.
By Amy Black, IBCLC
FAQ's about supplementation
A breastfed newborn typically is at their lowest weight at the 5-6 day mark. Mature milk can take up to 5 days to come in, so this can contribute to infant weight loss at the beginning. Most pediatricians would like to see a newborn return to his or her birth weight by the two- week mark. Unless there is a medical reason, supplementation does not have to be done by formula. You can supplement your baby with your own milk! If your doctor would like to see an additional X amount of ounces, you can use a breast pump and/or hand expression to remove this amount from your breasts to feed the baby.
If you need help with infant weight or milk supply, a multi-user hospital grade pump is recommended for the first few weeks. A single user breast pump is wonderful for an established milk supply, but the first few weeks are better served by a hospital grade pump. You can rent breast pumps from lactation consultants and/or hospitals for a period of time to get you over the hump.
Let Mommy Sleep medical advisory board member and pediatrician, Dr. Holly Pfeferman Spanier, states, "If baby loses more than 10% of birth weight, supplementing is highly suggested. Moms need to realize that because you supplement with formula, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to exclusively breastfeed later." It is just important to establish and keep up with your milk supply.
When supplementing a breastfed newborn with formula and/or breastmilk, some lactation consultants recommend finger/syringe feeding, cup feeding or spoon-feeding the infant to not interfere with the integrity of the breastfeeding relationship.
Please note, if there are true concerns about the quantity of milk you are producing, a visit to a lactation consultant in the early days can benefit the breastfeeding relationship by troubleshooting causes of weight loss. Some common issues may be a bad latch that is contributing to insufficient milk transfer from the breast or health problems with either the infant or mother.
Remember that for all of those who are breastfeeding, milk comes in around Day 4 so don't think you're doing anything wrong if milk isn't flowing before then. As always, a visit with an LC or your pediatrician can only help.
Even with so many websites and books dedicated to baby care, almost every new parent asks, How much should I feed my baby? To new parents it may seem like breastfed babies are "constantly nursing" in the first month or two. And for parents of formula fed babies, baby bottles are so much bigger in size compared to an infant's tiny stomach that it might seem like baby should be drinking more based on wha the bottle can hold.
In both situations, it's helpful to remember that a baby's stomach is tiny! So yes, baby is most likely nursing quite a lot because s/he can only take in a small amount during each feeding. And formula fed babies won't need near what even a tiny bottle can hold for at least a few weeks.
Please see the chart above for a helpful visual on how big a newborn's stomach really is to understand how much feeding is normal.
Remember, it's also completely natural for newborns and infants to fall asleep while feeding. Newborns are notoriously sleepy in the early days, so unless your pediatrician has directed baby be woken to feed there's no need to fight this natural cycle.
There's also no need to worry about creating a bad habit of falling asleep at the breast or bottle. It's normal after so many months in the womb! For parents who are concerned that this will set the baby up with “bad habits,” Heidi Streufert, RN explains that, the only 'rule' is that nursing should not serve as the only tool for putting baby to sleep. Just as the pacifier, bouncer or sleeping in the car should not be the only ways baby knows to go to sleep.
For more feeding information and to share your own tips, let's connect on Twitter or Pinterest!
Newborns need to eat often. In the first few weeks of baby's life, breastfeeding will probably happen 8-12 times every 24 hours. Sometimes, baby will want to nurse even more often. When feedings are bunched together, especially in the evening, this is called cluster feeding.
It may seem like a lot of nursing but it's completely normal!
Don't forget that in addition to helping baby get nice and full in the nighttime hours, cluster feeding also helps increase milk supply, helping to get nursing off to a good start and keeping up milk production. The baby to breast relationship truly is symbiotic! Cluster feeding typically ends for baby between 3 and 4 months old but there are times when it may resurface such as during a growth spurt. Again completely normal!
Reflux is a backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus that causes heartburn. It's one of the most common conditions newborns face and is often caused by the esophageal sphincter valve not being fully developed. This causes milk to come back up the esophagus through the throat and causes baby to spit up and vomit. When the contents of the stomach come back up, it is usually mixed with some stomach acid, which creates a burning sensation.
Over the counter medicines may be prescribed by baby's pediatrician but it's important to remember that while they may help soothe the burning sensation, they do not "cure" reflux and are not always recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Here are 5 Tips to Help Your Reflux Baby:
1. Keep baby elevated while feeding. Gravity helps hold contents in the belly, and reduces the amount of spit up. Do not place baby where he/she can easily slide down or be in a "scrunched up" position.. This puts pressure on the belly and force contents up.
2. Burp frequently during feeding. This helps keep air out of the belly. Air bubbles can force milk back up the esophagus, causing pain and discomfort. After each ounce of feeding or even more often can be considered frequent.
3. Have smaller and more frequent feedings. When baby is too full, it can put pressure on the sphincter valve forcing the baby to spit up. This can cause pain and also lead to choking.
4. Fill the bottle nipple with fluid. If baby is bottle-fed, make sure the entire nipple on the bottle is filled with fluid to avoid swallowing excess air.
5. Try Coleif drops. Some babies have reflux not only due to immature sphincter valves, but because they have trouble digesting lactose in milk. This can lead to bloating, gas, discomfort, and a lot of crying. Coleif is a natural lactase enzyme that helps to break down lactose in an infant’s breast milk or milk-based formula . (This isn't sponsored, we've just seen it work!)
If baby is still fussy, view this comprehensive article about why baby may be crying after feeding, and for more tips on soothing baby please visit Top 10 Ways to Calm Your Baby.
Many parents report that their baby is gassy or uncomfortable after feeding, or just plain fussy. While this is normal, one of the most common reasons we see babies exhibit fussy behavior is not enough burping happening during feeding.
This video shows several effective burping techniques. View more like this at youtube,com/letmommysleepusa