Things that can happen and what to do!
Baby is suddenly eating a lot: It could well be that you feel that you have everything down pat, it is all going great and thats it the baby is eating ALL the time. Many mums panic that this could be because they do not have enough milk, that their supply has suddenly dropped. What it could well be is a growth spurt which generally occur at two and six weeks, as well as three and six months. Babies may also cluster feed after vaccinations. If the baby is not happy and alert between feeds and this has been going on for a few days then see your doctor. If this ravenous appetite does not stop after a day or so then ask for help from a breastfeeding or lactation consultant.
Baby not feeding well: Signs that your baby is not feeding well
- Not enough wet or dry nappies. Think of it as a wee for every day of life (in those first days) and two poos in 24 hours
- Very sleepy baby
- Baby not sucking often and falling asleep on the breast
- Baby feeding frequently for long periods of time
- Baby makes loud noises when feeding such as clicking, slurping
- Mum has sore nipples
- Baby looses weight or weight gain remains static
Not latching on: Things you can try to help
- Skin to skin
- Stay calm (I know!)
- Observe babys cues for hunger – crying means ‘I’m starving,’ so it may be that they have got so worked up they don’t know what to do
- Hand expressing
- Syringe feeding
- Cup feeding
- See a breastfeeding counsellor for further advice
Mastitus: If you feel feverish and have a red patch/lump on your breast then you may have mastitis.
- Caused by sore nipples/plugged ducts/missed feedings/stress/exhaustion/lack of nursing
- See a doctor and get some antibiotics – you should be able to carry on breastfeeding
- Massage the red patch as you feed to clear the blockage
- Keep on nursing to clear the infection
- Change positions when you feed to make sure that as much of the breast as possible is stimulated when you feed.
- Apply oil (olive or almond are light enough) and using a comb, gently comb towards your nipple – this can help break up the infected duct.
- Take sunflower supplements
Its ok for the baby as you are sharing germs when their saliva touches your nipple and they need these to help with their own immune system. It is also fine to take antibiotics to help clear it up as long as they are breastfeeding safe so make sure your GP knows you are feeding.
Engorgement: Just when you’re starting to think that this breastfeeding is sorted your milk will come in and BOOM you’re engorged! This can also happen if your breasts have not been emptied during a feed or if you’ve forgotten what side you are on and feed twice from the same breast. This is something that should not last too long but here are some ways to help relieve it whilst its there.
It is important to note here that breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. So you be feeling really full and uncomfortable in those first few days but if you pump you stimulate your body to produce more milk. Only pump if you are really really uncomfortable and then only do it for as long as that first let down.
- Warm water. Either warm a wash cloth or lean into a bowl of warm water and wet your nipples – this will help encourage let down before feeding.
- Massage your breasts whilst the baby is feeding
- Cabbage leaves inside your bra (really really) work to cool you down so just ignore the smell!
- Cold wash cloth or bag of frozen veggies on the breast in-between feedings
- Wear a well fitting but not too tight bra around the clock to help give you support. Loose clothing won’t rub your sensitive nipples
- Encourage your baby to nurse for at least ten minutes on each breast.
- Do not time feeds. Newborn babies will need to be at the breast a lot and all that contact is great for stimulating supply.
- Keep feeding – the more you feed, the more milk you produce, the less engorged you become
- Hand express a little before feeding which will help get the milk flowing and soften the nipple – you may not need to do this every feed.
- Try different positions. When you feed your baby using a different hold then their mouth will be on a different part of the nipple which will help relieve any pressure.
- If your baby is sleepy or feeding less then the 8-12 times we would like in 24 hours then wake them. They need to eat and you need to feed them!
- Stay hydrated!
- If need be take a mild painkiller
Baby makes clicking noises when feeding: If your baby makes a clicking noise when they feed then it is a good idea to get them assessed by a lactation consultant (a medically qualified breastfeeding consultant) to check for a possible tongue. This is where the bottom of the tongue (the frenulum) comes to the tip (or very near) of the tongue. It makes it harder for the baby to feed but can be helped either with advice on technique or in more severe cases, a very small operation to release the tie.
Fussing at the breast: All babies will at one time or another get fussy and not want to feed (even though you know they are due!). This is something that is quite normal and can be caused by a variety of things such as change in the taste of the milk, tiredness, illness, position, latch amongst others. So what to do?
- Have an assessment down to check if there is a medical reason such as tongue tie, stiff neck, sore ears for example.
- Feed frequently – observing the signs that the baby is giving you that they are hungry. We recommend this so the baby does not become too upset and is kept calm.
- If flat nipples are an issue then we can look at ways to draw them out.
- If your milk is coming out too slowly or too fast then again there are ways to stimulate or decrease supply.
- Keep calm (I’ll keep saying it!) it can be really frustrating and overwhelming for you as a new parent when your child is upset but their crying is the only way they can communicate with you that there is a problem.
Leaking milk: This is completely normal. Some may have a fountain, others may just get a few drops, others may leak whenever they hear a baby cry (even if its not their own!) other may only leak if the baby extends their sleeping schedule. It is also normal to not leak so don’t think you have an issue with supply if this doesn’t happen! If it does happen to you then here are some tips:-
- Buy some breast pads – you can buy reusable ones which are better for the environment
- If you tend to leak more at night then use a towel on your bed to protect the mattress
- No matter how tempting pumping won’t help – in fact all you’ll be doing is increasing supply which can potentially increase the problem.
- If it does not settle down after a few weeks then try pinching your nipples to stop the milk leaking out (only do this once your milk is in and supply established)