You can help your baby learn to breastfeed by using these key skills right from the start:
Skin-to-skin is a way of holding your baby that both babies and parents find enjoyable. There are benefits of skin-to-skin contact for both babies and parents.
How to do skin-to-skin contact?
Hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible after giving birth. Hold your baby for an hour or more, until after the first breastfeeding or for as long as you wish. Partners or other family members and friends can also do skin-to-skin with your baby. Skin-to-skin is very beneficial for premature babies too.
Talk to your health care provider about delaying routine hospital practices such as weighing, vitamin k and eye ointment, until after you and your baby have had this special time together.
As your baby grows, continue to hold your baby skin-to-skin often and for long periods. There is no age at which skin-to-skin is no longer recommended.
Adapted with permission from the Best Start Resource Centre.
Baby-Led latching, also known as laid-back breastfeeding, is a natural and simple way for your baby to find your breast after birth or any time you are breastfeeding. It is especially helpful when your baby is learning to breastfeed, when your baby is not breastfeeding well, or when your nipples are sore.
How to do Baby-Led Latching
Other Helpful Resources
Jack Newman Breastfeeding Videos
Global Health Media Breastfeeding Video
Breastfeeding Information for Parents - Baby Led Latching
Breastfeed your baby often. Most babies feed at least 8 times in 24 hours. Watch for your baby’s cues, not the clock! Your baby will tell you when she is ready to feed and when she is finished. Your baby will show that she is ready and eager to feed. She will show some signs called feeding cues.
Early feeding cues: “I’m hungry.”
Mid feeding cues: “I’m really hungry.”
Late feeding cues: “Calm me, then feed me.”
If your baby shows late feeding cues, it is time to calm your baby before feeding her.
You can do this by:
At the start of the feed, your baby will have shallow and quick sucks. When your milk starts to flow, the sucks will become deep and slow. You will notice a pause during the suck when your baby’s mouth opens the widest. Your baby is drinking milk during this pause and you probably will hear or see her swallowing.
Hand expressing colostrum or breastmilk is important because it helps you to:
You can practice expressing breastmilk as soon as your baby is born or even a week or two before your baby is born. In the first 2 – 3 days after birth, you will get a small amount of colostrum, maybe 5 – 10 ml (1 – 2 teaspoons) or less. Colostrum, a rich, yellowish fluid, is the first milk. It is important for your baby to get your colostrum, because it helps your baby’s immune system and is very rich in nutrients.
To express colostrum for your baby:
Sometimes a mother may be separated from her baby after the birth. Or your baby may not be able to breastfeed right away. In both cases, it is important to establish and maintain your milk supply. If your baby is not taking milk directly from your breast, you can establish your milk supply by hand expressing or pumping. It is important that you remove milk as many times as a baby would feed, at least 8 times in 24 hours.
Watch this video on how to express breast milk from Peel Public Health: http://www.peelregion.ca/health/family-health/breastfeeding/resources/video/
Watch this video from Global Health Media on How to Express Breastmilk. http://globalhealthmedia.org/portfolio-items/how-to-express-breastmilk/?portfolioID=10861
In this video, Dr. Jane Morton teaches a mother about Hand Expression of Breastmilk. http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html
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