We at UK Birth Centres are passionate about breast feeding and hate to hear stories about women struggling to have their baby gain weight when breast feeding, this can be a real worry for all concerned and even lead to the Mum switching to formulae feeding and ceasing to breast feed altogether. Here is some information that may be worth considering if you are in this position.
There’s a story somewhere about a doctor who wrote the mother a prescription that said ‘take your baby to bed and feed it’ and suggested she spend about 48 hours making that more or less her only occupation as well as enjoying herself, bonding and eating (food prepared by someone else). Some babies will feed nearly constantly for these few days. Remember a baby’s stomach is small and breast milk is usually fully digested in 1-2 hours so you need to keep feeding very frequently to maximise weight gain.
A “baby moon” is describing the time you spend as a new Mother, mostly skin-to-skin with your baby. It helps bonding, getting to know each other, increasing your milk supply and can help a baby learn to latch on. Get someone else to help out with cooking, housework, etc. and just do enjoyable and relaxing things like lying around in bed, sleeping, having a bath together or having a walk with little one in the sling or carrier. Some mothers find that they remember this as a very special time in their lives, even years later although it’s only a few days.
Combined with very frequent feeding this technique as described by Dr Jack Newman can increase your milk supply very effectively. This technique is excellent for a sleepy baby as it helps him to get rewarded well for sucking and so wakes up! It is in fact well worth trying as Dr Newman says it’s great for those babies with an ineffective latch, so an all-round ideal trick to acquire!
Yes if your baby isn’t gaining weight when breast feeding then increase the feeds. Try a MINIMUM of 8-12 in 24 hours for a normal newborn. Where weight gain is the goal feed your gorgeous newborn much more often. Breast milk is the Bespoke Super food prepared by your body for your Baby, so let’s make the most of it. Remember that breast milk is digested within 1 to 2 hours and therefore it is natural that a breast fed baby feels ready for more. It is the indigestible constituents that are found in artificial milk that stay for longer in the stomach that mean that bottle fed babies sometimes go longer between feeds.
These techniques are really easy relaxing things to do with your baby. They can help to awaken your baby’s latching on instincts especially if used repeatedly. Babies often like to sleep like this and you can spend as long as you like together bonding and hanging out like this. It will also help you increase your milk supply. You can also try it in the bath and pour warm water over your baby’s back to keep them warm if some of their back and shoulders are not in the water. Make sure you have another adult with you though if you take a newborn in the bath as you will need help getting in and out and they can make sure you don’t fall asleep
Baby Body language:
Be on the look-out for very early feeding cues such as your baby moving his arms and legs, moving head and opening his mouth. This would mean there is a relaxed baby at the start of feeds, and by picking up the signs that your baby is getting ready to feed will help you to make a better effort at latching him on.
Remember that your body has nourished your baby for 9 months and once your baby is born it is your milk that will continue to supply your babies every needs! We are here to help so contact us if you are having breast feeding problems.