Breastfeeding although a basic human instinct can be a little difficult in the early days. We call it an art because it is a learned behaviour that takes a little practice to perfect.
Once upon a time it was thought that the best way to establish breastfeeding was to ‘teach it’ by demonstrating various holds and positions for you and your baby. Recent research has shown that this approach can be counter-productive, causing too much emphasis on a right and wrong way to breastfeed.
There is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. There is no such thing as a perfect breastfeed. There is only what is comfortable and sustainable for you and your baby.
So try and relax, think about how you can help your baby to act on his/her instincts to feed.
* Babies need to feel secure to breastfeed – when a babies weight is completely supported by your body they don’t waste energy trying to control their own limbs, which they tend to flail about making latching difficult. When held close, they are free to concentrate on moving their head back to take the nipple and getting a good deep latch. This is easiest in laid back positions, but if your sitting up, hug them in as tight as you would do if you were standing up holding them.
* Babies need a big mouthful of breast to breastfeed- a really big mouthful, if it helps you can shape your breast to better help your baby latch on deeply, think of squashing down a big sandwhich to try and fit it in your mouth. It also helps if your breast is soft, so breastfeed frequently to avoid engorgement.
* Babies need to be calm to breastfeed- a distressed baby will find it difficult to latch on. Try to avoid waiting until your baby is crying to offer them the breast. Signs that a baby is hungry include head turning (rooting) and sucking in their hands. Placing your baby skin to skin in a laid back position will help calm them, you may find that they bob to find the breast by themselves after some nice relaxing time on mums bare chest.
More information on baby-led breastfeeding is available here
And this article provides a bit of the background.
There are very few reasons why a mother and/or a baby can’t breastfeed, but it can be difficult to learn to trust your instincts, and feel comfortable that your baby is getting enough milk from you.
Nappy output is a great source of encouragement here, what goes in must come out! However it isnt unusual for babies to only dirty on a weekly basis!
A good intake of milk from the beginning will see the thick, sticky black meconium poos passed within 3 days of birth, followed by at least 6-8 wet and 3-5 dirty nappies in each 24hrs. Expect yellow loose, unformed poos at least the size of a 2p coin.
To me it is the most natural thing in the world and I love it and the bonding time we have during these precious and beautiful moments. – Miranda Kerr
Once You Get The Hang Of It, You’ll Love It
If you speak to any mother who breastfed, you will probably hear from them about the joy of gazing into their little ones eyes as the nurse or how they would clasp onto their little finger as they drifted off into milk heaven. The early difficulties they may have experienced would have been pushed aside as soon as they mastered it as once you get to grips with breastfeeding (which some mothers do straight away), you will not look back. Any discomfort, sleeplessness or worries would have disappeared and you will be embracing a new found self worth, bond and way of mothering