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A breastfeeding experience which is enjoyable and beneficial to both mother and baby largely depends on a relaxed, well-nourished mother who approaches the experience positively and confidently. Breastfeeding should not be painful, although the nipples are likely to be tender during the first few days.
It may take time, patience and practice before your realy feel confident in your ability to breastfeed.
- Gather as much information as you can and learn basic skills by reading, attending a breastfeeding course while pregnant, and joining a breastfeeding support group.
- Use your hospital stay to learn as much as possible about breastfeeding and mothering.
- Initial problems and difficulties will resolve themselves as you become more confident with your baby and your relationship grows.
- Support from family, friends and professionals will help enormously.
- Ask your lactation consultant, midwife or clinic sister for advice. Try to establish a relationship with a knowledgeable person to deal with conflicting advice.
- Above all, follow your own instincts - do not be afraid of your baby, rather get to know her and nurture, love and enjoy her.
There will be times when your baby wants to nurse more freqently. The increased demand can last from 3 - 10 days and usually co-incides with a growth spurt, which reflects a development milestone.
The growth spurt can generally be expected:
- Around two weeks
- Around six weeks
- Around three months
- Around six months
- Around nine months
- Around twelve months
The extra feeding for a few days will increase your milk supply to meet your baby's needs. Pay special attention to your diet and try to have adequate rest periods.
INDICATIONS OF AN ADEQUATE MILK SUPPLY
- Your baby is relaxed and suckling well.
- You can see and feel your baby suckling rhythmically and hear her swallowing.
- Your breasts soften as feeding continues.
- She is content most of the time.
- She gains weight adequately - about 120 - 210g per week.
- She has 6 - 8 wet nappies in 24 hours, or slightly less if you use disposable nappies.
- She has 3 - 5 soft yellow stools per day during the first 4 - 6 weeks.
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