Secrets to successful breastfeeding

A newborn feeds differently from a 6-month-old, so here’s how you can breastfeed effectively at every stage.

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Most new mums will give breastfeeding a go, but whether or not you stick with it — and for how long — really is a matter of personal choice and circumstances.

Besides the 6-month mark, it’s common for mums to give up breastfeeding when bubba is 6 weeks or 3 months. Sioned Hilton, a UK lactation consultant, says that many mothers start mixed feeding or switching over to formula entirely at 6 weeks.

At 3 months, babies tend to have a growth spurt, so mothers often (incorrectly) perceive that they have insufficient milk and stop breastfeeding. It’s also around this time that fatigue creeps in and they want others to help with feeding.

When to breastfeed

Follow the baby’s lead, says Di Bustamante, international director of ParentLink which conducts parenting and childbirth courses. If you wonder if your baby is truly hungry, Bustamante notes, “When your baby suckles at his fist, licks his lips, and roots for the breast ― these are the early signs of hunger. Crying is actually a late sign of hunger. At the beginning of a cry, you will hear a “neh” sound. This is an indicator of hunger. Newborns usually feed feed every one-and-a-half to two hours.”

“When your baby suckles at his fist, licks his lips, and roots for the breast ― these are the early signs of hunger.”

If your baby is getting enough milk and content, she cries less and gains weight. She adds, “Where there is input, there is output. At the end of the first week, parents should see at least six wet nappies and three poos daily — the more the merrier.”

Here’s your stage-by-stage guide to nursing your baby successfully.

NEWBORN

* Feed as much as your baby wants to stimulate your milk supply But if your baby is suckling for 45 minutes, then hungry an hour later, your latch may need some work. As this is exhausting and may cause cracked nipples, consult a lactation expert.

* Look for a good latch Your baby’s top and bottom lips should both be spread out and her cheeks will look full. You should see her jawline and ear moving, and hear swallowing. Her chin and nose should be touching your breast.

* Go skin to skin Nikki Khan, a midwife with 25 years’ experience, suggests skin-to-skin contact and cups of fennel tea. “Both are great for stimulating your milk supply. And take your baby to breast, not the other way around, remembering to support her neck.”

6 weeks old

* Introduce a bottle If you’re thinking of introducing a bottle of expressed milk or formula, do it now. “Breastfeeding should hopefully be established and your baby will take it more easily now. The best time to express is in the morning,” Khan notes.

* Don’t worry about nipple confusion Some lactation experts say introducing bottles too early creates nipple confusion and can result in a baby rejecting the breast. UK maternity nurse Tess Randall reassures, “In my experience, this just doesn’t happen. If you don’t introduce a bottle early on, your baby may refuse to take one a few months down the line when you want dad to do a feed, or stop breastfeeding altogether.”