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Breastfeeding your newborn baby doesn't always come naturally or easily, especially in the beginning, and nursing can have its share of ups and downs. It can be an intensely loving, bonding experience or it can be filled with tears when nursing sessions don’t go quite as planned.
Getting "the latch" takes practice
For some moms, baby is magnetically attached to the breast starting at birth. But for most, it takes a little more practice to master a proper latch. Once you and baby get the hang of it, latching on does come naturally.
These tips can help:
Get comfortable. Choose a chair or a glider with back, neck and shoulder support.
Line it up. Your baby should always be tummy to tummy with you. You may need pillows to elevate baby to nipple height.
Guide baby into place. Place your nipple around baby’s lips, running it back and forth and waiting for a wide yawn. Bring baby toward the breast instead of leaning in toward baby, which could cause back and neck pain. Baby’s chin and the tip of her nose should be on the breast.
Suckling and sucking are different. You can tell that baby is latched on and suckling (extracting milk from the breast) when there’s a suck-swallow-breathe pattern.
Get help. If you’re having trouble getting baby to latch on, a nipple shield can be an effective tool to give him something larger to aim for at first. Always work with a lactation consultant when using a nipple shield, though, as they should ideally be a temporary solution.
Break the seal. If you don’t get a good latch, try again. Put your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth and pull your breast out. Start the cycle until you get a seal with both the nipple and the areola covered.
Sometimes, mums have to be creative to get their babies to eat healthy
- Kim Whitley
Breast milk comes in three stages
It might surprise you to know that in the beginning, your breast milk changes by the week and each formulation is designed to meet your newborn’s precise needs:
Colostrum. At first, you’re producing a yellowy substance called colostrum. Colostrum helps provide your little one with the nutrients and antibodies he needs to fight infections in the early days. A little goes a long way, so baby only needs a few teaspoons at a time, which might be all you’re producing.
Transitional milk. Three to five days after birth, colostrum is replaced with transitional milk. Just as the names suggests, transitional milk — which looks like a mixture of orange juice and milk — is the stage between colostrum and mature breast milk.
Mature milk. Usually between the tenth day and second week, mature milk finally comes in. It’s white and slightly thinner than transitional milk, resembling watery skim milk, and can appear bluish at first.
It is a moment of pure ecstasy and satisfaction when you see a smile flicker on baby’s lips, just as they gently pass into a deep slumber.