Congratulations! You’ve all survived the first 48hours of being a family. By day two I was back in the hospital with mini mumbler panicking that we’d broken her! We hadn’t and I was just like any other sleep-deprived new mum who couldn’t quite believe that they actually let you take them home!
Hi Annie Milk here again, let’s take a look at what you can expect after that first 48 hours between day 3 and 7 of your baby’s life.
Somewhere between day 2 and 5 after birth your milk will ‘come in’.
You may wake up one morning to find your breasts feel heavy, full, hard and much bigger than normal – Hurray! – This is a sign that your baby and your body are doing exactly what nature intended to produce the milk your baby needs.
All that fussiness and feeding over the last couple of days, all that on and off the breast and head bobbing is working and you are now starting to make a much larger quantity of milk to meet your baby’s appetite.
Sometimes this can make latching more difficult, if baby has been going to the breast really well and then struggles it may be that your breasts are ‘engorged’ and baby just can’t get a good mouthful.
Try some gentle hand expression to soften the breast you want to feed from and then try again.
Some mums find it really useful to have a Savoy cabbage (the dark green one with lots of veins) in the fridge – if you scrunch a leaf and pop it in your bra it will help to reduce some of the inflammation and feels amazingly soothing.
Over the next few days, you should expect your baby to be feeding at least 8 -12 times in 24 hours.
Don’t worry if it is more but if it is less then please let your midwife know.
You can keep a check on your baby’s nappies if you are concerned, remember your baby should be having between 3 and 5 wet nappies per day by this stage and you should see 2 poo’s (about the size of a £2 coin) per day.
Poo should be changing colour and be starting to look lighter and more yellow.
Your breasts and nipples should be comfortable whilst you are feeding and in-between feeds too.
If you find you are in pain or your nipples are cracked or even bleeding it is time to ask for some help.
You can talk to your midwife or call Families and Babies (FAB) on 01924 851901 for support, we may be able to come and visit you at home to observes a feed and help you to adjust your position to feed pain-free.
If you go to our website www.familiesandbabies.org.uk and click on Infant Feeding Information you will find lots of links to videos that you might find helpful.
Take all the help that is offered, it might be help with the washing, housework, cooking or support with your breastfeeding.
Any help is good as long as it allows you to concentrate on your most important job this week which is breastfeeding your baby.
It is ok to tell everyone that you need to keep your baby with you (some of the reasons are coming next).
If your partner is around let them know that it really helps to have someone bring you a glass of water at 2am and change a nappy after you have fed for the first few days – it’s not forever.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps, the first few days you are running on hormones and adrenaline after the birth but you do need to sleep and for a while that may not happen at night so if you find your little one sleeps at 2 in the afternoon then do the same, that way you will be able to cope better with the night-time feeds.
Don’t worry about the housework (it’s not going anywhere) and if you don’t brush your hair it’s not going to fall out, remember this week is all about getting your breastfeeding off to the best start possible.
There are two really important things to remember;
- Your baby wants to be close to you – contrary to popular belief, you cannot ‘spoil’ a baby by holding and cuddling too much.
Babies need to be held to feel safe and secure, for you to pick up on the early feeding cues and to respond to their needs. A baby that is left in a Moses basket will waste energy crying and trying to stay warm and will appear to be unsettled.
A baby who is held will feed more often and will use your body heat and your breathing to regulate his or her own temperature and breathing. Your baby needs your smell and touch for comfort, remember your baby has been tucked up tightly inside you for 9 months so you are home to your baby.
Skin to skin is not for just after birth, you will find it’s a great way to calm your baby and encourage feeding.
- Babies want to come to the breast often and for lots of really good reasons – we often think that breastfeeding is all about food; however, breastfeeding is so much more than that.
Every time your baby comes to your breast he or she is doing lots of important jobs;
• Boosting the hormones that are needed for you to produce the right amount of milk
• Staying hydrated
• Boosting the hormones that help you to bond and make you both feel calm and relaxed
• Regulating their temperature
• Comforting themselves (and you)
• Creating brain connections that help them to grow into a secure confident child
These things cannot be put into a routine – do you wait 4 hours for a drink, a hug or to put on a sweater if you feel cold?
Because of all the reasons babies need to be at the breast you will probably find that your baby will be doing lots of cluster feeding (often in the evening).
Don’t panic, it doesn’t mean there is no milk it’s just what your baby is programmed to do.
Throw your ideas of a ‘good’ baby out of the window and try to respond to your baby’s needs.
A ‘good’ baby is one that feeds often and gets your milk production off to an amazing start.
Your baby hasn’t read the books he or she is going on instinct and instinct has helped the human race get this far!
Tell yourself each day (or at each feed) that you are doing an amazing job!
Hopefully, you are surrounded by people who are telling you it too. If not ring FAB and they will tell you!
Here are some tips from mums about the first week:
“Don’t listen to people who have no idea. Your boobs make enough milk, your baby will cluster feed. Drink lots, eat lots and enjoy it xx”
“When I was first feeding my son I set very short term goals. It felt completely doable to keep breastfeeding until the morning. And then when the morning came it was achievable to aim for the end of the day. I think I had had set myself a larger goal, six weeks, or even 6 months it would have felt enormous, daunting and difficult. By focusing on the short term we continued to feed longer than I ever expected.”
“Give yourself permission to put life on hold, accept help with other things and realise it’s not going to be forever even if it feels like it.”