-Continuous, immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth and until baby is latching and nursing well is the best help for initiating breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact also keeps baby warm, regulates blood sugar, and stimulates inborn feeding reflexes.
-Hand express at least 6-8 times a day in the first three days if baby isn’t latching or latching well. You can also hand express after any feed and use a small plastic spoon to feed colostrum to the baby.
-Do not use a nipple shield for any reason until your supply increases. Babies cannot remove colostrum with a nipple shield and it is better to hand express and feed colostrum than to try a nipple shield.
-Avoid sitting up straight when latching, this just makes latching more difficult. Try laid-back breastfeeding (www.biologicalnurturing.com) Lean back comfortably and place baby on your chest with his head above and between your breasts. Allow baby to find his own way to the breast. Baby will know what to do when he/she gets there. Make lots of eye contact and stroke your baby. If your baby is frustrated or needs help finding the breast, you can place his cheek on your nipple. Keep your hands away from baby’s head and do not push your baby onto the breast.
-If you have had any IV fluids at all, be aware that this can inflate baby’s birth weight and cause edema in your breast. Use reverse pressure softening (developed by K. Jean Cotterman RNC-E, IBCLC) before feeding baby or expressing milk, if you feel any firmness around your areola. RPS held for one minute also stimulates a let-down making latching and milk expression easier. Consider baby’s weight at 24 hours to be the true birth-weight when assessing for the need for supplementation.
-Formula supplementation in the first few days is unnecessary and can make baby less interested in breastfeeding. If you need to supplement for any reason, hand express colostrum and feed by spoon.
-Consider practicing hand expression in the last few weeks before birth. You can save the colostrum in the freezer and use to supplement baby later if your baby has a medical need for supplementation. Do not give this frozen milk unless you are unable to express colostrum after birth.
© 2102 Laura Spitzfaden
Feed the Baby LLC