Notice the position of the baby relative to mom’s breast. The baby is slightly under the breast and her top lip is aligned with the nipple. Mom waits for the baby to open wide. When latched correctly, baby’s top lip barely covers the nipple. See “Claire’s Breastfeeding Story” for more detail about this video clip.
Infant mammals have one thing in common. They all breastfeed. In addition, they are all equipped to squirm, crawl or swim to the breast and latch and happily suckle without the help of their mothers.
But human babies are different than other mammals, right? Don’t they need someone to “latch them on”?
Yes, human babies ARE different from other mammals. They are smarter and even more capable than their furry counterparts. After some help to get to mom’s torso, a newborn will have no trouble finding the breast and suckling comfortably and effectively. Just like other mammals, your baby has an innate need and an intense drive to breastfeed. To your baby it is not a choice. It is simply survival. Continue reading
Wouldn’t it be nice if your breasts were equipped with little gauges that indicated how much milk was removed when your baby ate? Fortunately there are other ways to measure milk intake when a baby is breastfeeding.
Your baby should eat at least 8 times every 24 hours. If your baby is eating and not just sucking, you will be able to observe swallows. Swallows will be infrequent immediately after birth, but will gradually increase to about 1 swallow per second around day 4 or 5. Continue reading
As I’ve stated many times to anyone who will listen, nipple shields can be helpful if a baby is having trouble breastfeeding. In the wrong hands, however, they can be downright dangerous. Just today I saw 2 moms who were given nipple shields in the hospital within 48 hours of their babies’ birth. Their 2 stories had very different outcomes.
Story number 1: Three -week- old baby. Mom given nipple shield day 2 because baby was having a hard time latching. Baby was able to latch with the shield, but he nursed for 45 minutes to an hour each feeding and never seemed satisfied. Things seemed to go OK the first week, but at a routine check-up 2 weeks later, baby hadn’t gained any weight. The pediatrician told mom to start supplementing immediately and referred her to me. I saw her the next day. Continue reading
Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for you and your baby! If either one of you is not having a good time, something is not right. As a new mom, you have instincts to guide you. Your baby has instincts and very strong reflexes to guide him. But neither one of you has ever done this before and, most likely, you have never seen a baby breastfeeding. It’s likely you will need some help.