13 signs you're succeeding at breastfeeding

Don’t panic — wise up to reassuring signs that let you know breastfeeding is well established for bubba…

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Breastfeeding may look very easy to the unacquainted — after all newborns possess a natural reflex to help them find and attach themselves to your breast. So all you need to do is position your kewpie to your breast and wait for the magic to happen, right?

Not quite. Effective breastfeeding is a form of art and science. You’ll need to get into a comfortable nursing position, master the perfect latch and make sure you eat right and stay hydrated.

Even after settling the basics, your newborn may suffer from biological problems like a tongue-tie or cleft lip or palate, can make it difficult for them to feed effectively from the breast.

To complicate matters, unlike bottle feeding, you won’t know the exact amount of milk your kewpie is drinking each time you breastfeed them, either.

Fear not, however, Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s ParentCraft coordinator, Loh Lee Lian and senior ParentCraft Lactation Consultant at Thomson ParentCraft Centre, Dr Wong Boh Boi, point out the signs of successful breastfeeding to look out for…

FOR MOTHERS…

1) You’ll feel a tugging sensation on your boobs You will also likely notice your breast moving as baby sucks on them, notes Loh. Also, you shouldn’t be feeling any pain or discomfort as bubba feeds.

2) Your breasts will also feel lighter Your breasts will feel pretty heavy before feeding and as your baby suckles, you can feel it become lighter and being emptied.

As long as you are breastfeeding your child, you’ll be feeding your kewpie every two to three hours throughout the day.

3) You’ll experience the let-down reflex It’ll take about 10 days for your body to supply milk on the regular. After your milk supply has stabilised, you may experience the let-down reflex — an involuntary bodily reaction which causes milk to flow freely from the breast. Dr Wong points out that some women may feel milk leaking from their breasts whenever their baby starts crying. Your body’s reflex reaction can only happen when your milk supply is established.

4) You’ll need to feed your baby almost around the clock As long as you are breastfeeding your child, Loh explains that you’ll be feeding your kewpie every two to three hours throughout the day. Only when they’re 18 months or older, their milk feeds will decrease to about three times a day.

FOR BABIES…

5) You’ve settled your infant in an optimum feeding position Mastering the best feeding position will ensure your infant avoid experiencing any feeding problems. Make sure bubba’s upper and lower lips form a good seal around your breast. Dr Wong stresses your mini-me’s abdomen should be aligned with your chest. Bub’s chin is also touching your breast and as much of the areola is being drawn into the baby's mouth, states Loh.

6) They will look relaxed while feeding Dr Wong explains that your infant’s hands will be in a relaxed position, so will their body and posture. Bubba will rest their open palms on your breast as they feed.

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7) Bub’s mouth should also be round not hollow or sunken As your kewpie suckles, their cheeks should appear puffed up and their lips are round in the shape of an “O”.

8) They appear alert and active while awake Their lips and skin aren’t dry and they are also easy to settle. Their fontanelles — the soft spots or gaps in the top and at the back of their head — shouldn’t appear to have sunk in.

9) You can hear your child swallowing Your mini-me’s earlobes will also be wiggling as they feed.

“If the baby is feeding properly, the consistency of the stool will loosen and the colour slowly changes to green, brown and then yellow.”

10) They will have a satisfied look on their face Dr Wong says, “Sometimes they have milk all over their mouth but they won’t bother to even lick it up.”

11) You’ll be changing a lot of diapers daily On the first day of your infant’s life, Dr Wong says you can expect to change their diapers at least once. Twice for the second day and thrice on the third day of life. Their pee should also be pale yellow in colour. From the fourth day, you may get through six to eight diapers daily until they are about 6 weeks old. Loh points out thereafter you can expect to change about five to six diapers a day.

12) Your peewee’s poo will appear yellowish and runny Your child’s first poo, which will appear thick, sticky and of a black or dark green colour — called meconium. Loh adds, “If the baby is feeding properly, the consistency of the stool will loosen and the colour slowly changes to green, brown and then yellow.” Their stools will also be runny, especially once breastmilk flow and breastfeeding established.

13) Baby’s bodyweight will increase gradually Your baby will appear to lose weight for at least the first seven to ten days of life. Dr Wong explains, “The baby will poop a lot and will also lose some water weight as they transition out of the womb into the air.” Their weight will then increase by up to 20 to 30 grams per day. By the end of their first month, they would’ve gained a kilo.

Photos: iStock

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