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Breastfeeding

Revised: Tuesday December 23 2014

Breastfeeding in the First Weeks

Knowing your baby is getting enough

 

    The latch
  • Your baby’s sucking pattern changes from quick and shallow sucks to slow and deeper sucks early in the feed.
  • You may or may not notice signs of the milk ejection reflex or letdown (e.g., a tingling sensation and/or your other breast leaks).
  • You can see and hear your baby swallowing.
  • Your baby’s cheeks do not dimple or pucker.
  • Your baby does not make smacking or clicking sounds during breastfeeding.
  • Your breast does not slide in and out of your baby's mouth when he sucks or pauses.
  • Your baby is content and settled between most feeds.
  • Your nipple is not misshapen or compressed when your baby unlatches.
  • Your breasts are softer after the feeding.
  • The number of wet and dirty diapers is appropriate for your baby's age (see chart below).
  • Your baby is gaining weight according to the guidelines below

How to tell that your baby is breastfeeding well


Baby's Age First Week
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 - 6 and older
Breastfeeding Frequency On demand or 8 or more times every 24 hours
Wet Diapers (“Pees”) 1 or more WET 2 or more WET 3 or more WET 4 or more WET 6 or more WET
Bowel Movements (“Poos”) 1 or 2 BLACK or DARK GREEN at least 3 BROWN, GREEN or YELLOW at least 3 LARGE YELLOW
Weight Gain Normal weight loss is up to 7% of birth weight in the first week

After the initial weight loss, normal weight gain ranges from 140-245 grams every week (20-35 grams per day)


Baby's Age 2 Weeks to 3 Months 3-6 Months 6-12 Months
Breastfeeding Frequency On demand or 8 or more times every 24 hours On demand On demand with addition of other foods
Wet Diapers (“Pees”) 6 or more wet diapers every 24 hours 6 or more wet diapers every 24 hours 6 or more wet diapers every 24 hours
Bowel Movements (“Poos”) 2 or more soft, yellow bowel movements every 24 hours. May be less after the first month. After 6 weeks old, some breastfed babies may have 1 soft large stool every 1-7 days. This is normal. Soft, yellow bowel movements. There may be several every day or as little as 1 large yellow stool every 1-7 days.
This is normal.
Soft bowel movements. Colour may change. There may be several every day or as little 1 large stool every 1-7 days. This is normal.
Weight Gain 140-245 grams every week (20-35 grams per day) The average birth weight doubles by 5-6 months By 12 months, baby weighs 2.5-3 times birth weight

References:

Best Start (2012). Breastfeeding matters: An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families. Toronto, ON Retrieved from http://www.beststart.org/resources/breastfeeding/pdf/BreastfeedingMatters_2013_low_rez_reference.pdf

Mohrbacher, N. (2010). Breastfeeding answers made simple. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.


Techniques to improve breastfeeding:

  • Ensure that your baby is latched well and that you can see her sucking and swallowing breast milk. If you think that your baby is not getting enough milk, attempt to re-latch her. See Common breastfeeding positions and Latching your baby.
  • Massage your breasts gently before and/or during feeds to improve the flow of milk to your baby.
  • Stimulate your letdown by using a warm compress and/or hand expression before latching your baby.
  • Switch your baby to your other breast when her sucking and swallowing decreases or when she is no longer sucking effectively.
  • Have your baby skin-to-skin with you while nursing.
  • Use breast compressions to increase your baby's milk intake especially if she is sleepy or has a weak suck:
The latch
  1. Hold your breast with your hand in a 'C' or 'U' position (see diagram).
  2. Gently squeeze (compress) and hold your breast when your baby's sucking slows down or becomes less effective. Compressing your breast helps your milk to flow while your baby is still latched.; Releasing the compression after your baby stops sucking helps stimulate another letdown.
  3. Repeat compressions if your baby does not start to suck effectively again after a few seconds.
  4. Compress different areas on your breast to drain as many milk ducts as possible.
  5. Continue with breast compressions until your baby is full or sucking effectively on her own. Switch your baby to your other breast when compressions are no longer effective.



Make an Informed Decision | Breastfeeding in the First Weeks | Six Weeks to Six Months
Six Months and Beyond | Your Questions Answered | Breastfeeding Resources | Contact Us

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