Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 22

Breastfeeding Basics When to Feed Getting Ready Feed whenever the baby show signs of hunger, which may be every 20 minutes to every 2-3 hours. Signs include: acting restless or squirmy, rooting, sucking on their hand, smacking their lips or using their tongue. Crying is a late sign of hunger. If laid back breastfeeding is challenging, use these steps: While holding baby’s neck and back with one hand and your breast with the other, line up baby’s nose with your nipple, tickle the top lip and wait for the mouth to open wide. When it does, gently pull baby deeply onto the breast. Preview Latching and Feeding Baby’s sucking will trigger your let-down reflex, which allows milk to flow from your breasts. For this to happen, a good latch is essential. When latching, baby’s mouth should open wide and should take in a large amount of areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple), with lips flared out, as pictured. As baby sucks, you should feel tugging but not pain. If the latch is too shallow, baby may not be able to get enough milk and you may feel pain. If the latch is painful or shallow, break the suction by pressing on baby’s cheek at the corner of the lips, then take baby off and try again. When a good latch is established, continue to support baby’s neck and back and keep their body close. Feed for as long as baby shows interest and is actively breastfeeding. When activity slows, your baby may be full, or may feed more on the second side. Either is fine. Alternate which breast you offer first at each feeding. Breastfeeding does not always come naturally or easily to every mother-baby pair. If you struggle, a lactation professional can offer expert tips and encouragement. The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) also offers a 24/7 free national breastfeeding helpline (1800 686 268) and extensive breastfeeding support services. Visit for more information. The World Health Organization and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia recommend exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 12-24 months or as long as mother and baby desire. If you use a bottle for feeding, it is still beneficial to hold and snuggle baby during the entire feeding in the same way that you would if breastfeeding. Bottles tend to allow baby to swallow more air, so be diligent about burping and never leave a bottle propped and baby unattended. 68 Life with Baby