Recognizing Successful Breastfeeding
Breastfeed for as long as your baby does effective feeding or nutritive suckling. Most newborns breastfeed eight to 12 times in 24 hours for 20 to 40 minutes each feeding.
In successful feeding, YOU need to:
- Hold you baby comfortably without straining your back, shoulders, arms or wrists: The use of pillows to bring your baby up to your breast level will prevent arm strain. Support your breast using the “C” hold during the entire feeding. If you have large breasts, use a rolled up cloth diaper under your breast for better breast support. A rolled-up towel under the arm or wrist that is supporting your baby’s head will help to prevent strain as well.
- Maintain proper mouth position for your baby: Your baby will latch on with a wide open mouth surrounding your nipple and areola. His top and bottom lips are rolled outward, not under, and his
nose is touching your breast.
- Breastfeed comfortably:You will feel a tugging or drawing sensation on your nipple and areola. A feeding that is going well is not painful. If you feel pain, stop the feeding and start over.
- See your baby’s jaw, temple and throat move: When your baby is feeding well, you can see his jaw move. You may also notice movement in his temple and in his throat.
- Hear your baby swallowing: Your baby’s suckling maybe rapid at the beginning of his feeding, followed by gulps and short pauses. The suckling pattern should be repeated without constant stimulation.
In successful feeding, YOUR BABY will:
- Relax as you continue feeding: Your baby’s body may be tense at the beginning of the feeding because he is hungry and eager to feed. As he feeds, he will become more relaxed. While feeding, your baby may fall asleep at your breast and/or release from your breast, letting you know that he is full.
- Feel content rather than fussy and tense: Many newborns may wake when moved or placed on
a cold crib sheet that does not smell or feel like mom. Try swaddling your baby and keeping him close. If your baby fusses frequently at the end of the feeding, call your lactation consultant.
- Need plenty of diaper changes: After the fourth day, a baby who is feeding well will have at least 6 wet diapers and three small or one large stool in 24 hours. If his soiled diaper count is less than this, contact his pediatrician or your lactation consultant right away.
- Sleepy Baby? Try some of these wake-up techniques if your baby needs to feed or falls asleep during the feeding:
- Undress your baby to his diaper before feeding
- Hold your baby skin to skin
- Massage your baby, stroking from fingertips and toes towards chest
- Walk your fingers up your baby’s spine
- With a clean finger, stroke your baby’s cheeks, lips and mouth
- Call your baby’s name. Sing and talk to him in a normal voice
- Change your baby’s diaper
- Wipe your baby’s face with a cool washcloth.
- Do slow, gentle baby sit-ups