Frequently Asked Questions - General Questions
Extremely unlikely! It is normal for your milk production to change to meet your baby's needs, and for you to no longer feel "full" between feedings. As long as your baby continues to grow and gain weight appropriately, and is satisfied when he comes off the breast, then there is probably no need to worry. However, if you are still concerned, contact your local Leader for a more personalized discussion.
In the early days, when the baby is getting colostrum, many mothers don't hear swallows. This doesn't mean that your baby is not getting milk. Often you will be able to see swallows as your baby's jaw drops closer down to his chest for an instant. It is this drop in the chin that tells you that colostrum is going into his mouth; it may look like his suck is deeper and longer. Often babies then rest for a couple of seconds before continuing a pattern of little sucks-dropped jaw-pause. It is important for the baby to be latched on to the breast deeply and effectively so he can get all the colostrum he needs.
Legally in Canada you can nurse your baby out in public wherever you and your baby are allowed to be. Most mothers find that with a little practice they can comfortably nurse their babies in many different environments. Planning ahead with your wardrobe and stops can make it easier to relax and nurse your baby when he needs it.
Most breastfed babies don't require a soother because they naturally get enough comfort sucking at the breast. Soothers were invented for bottle fed babies because, when full, they may need more time to suckle. During breastfeeding, suckling happens naturally because the milk flows more slowly at the end of a feeding. This gives the baby time to suckle for comfort and not get a lot of milk; her hunger and sucking needs are both met. It's an all-inclusive baby resort!
If you find that you need to use a soother, it is best to wait for at least a month before introducing it. Giving babies soothers or bottles before they have learned how to breastfeed can be confusing for them. Give your baby a chance to learn one thing at a time.
Holding your baby skin-to-skin is an excellent way to wake a baby and get him interested in feeding. Other ways are to undress him, hold him upright, talk with him, move his arms and legs. While he's sleeping, watch for movement. This is a sign of light sleep. He'll wake more easily from a light sleep than from a deep sleep.
Yes. Many mothers breastfeed in the recovery room after a Cesarean birth. The sooner you can hold your baby skin-to-skin and breastfeed, the better for both of you. If you are separated from your baby for any reason, the baby's father or another family member can hold her skin-to-skin until you are available. Because you have had major surgery, you will likely need to take pain medication. This should not interfere with breastfeeding. Ask for help to find a position that is comfortable for both you and your baby.
Human milk is designed with all the nutrients in the right proportions for human babies. Mothers all over the world, eating many types of foods, have similar nutrients in their milk. If a mother is very malnourished her milk can have low amounts of some nutrients, but this is extemely rare in Canada.
Even if your baby hasn't been weighed for a few days, his pees and poops will tell you that he is getting enough. During the first day or two after birth expect one or two wet diapers per day. This will increase over the next 2-3 days. After day 4 a baby should have at least five to six really wet diapers per day (more if you use cloth diapers). By the third day, expect the colour of dirty diapers to change to a greenish transitional stool. By the 5th day babies begin having at least three to five bowel movements per day, each at least the size of a Toonie (2.5 cm). These will typically be very loose and bright yellow in colour, often with a "seedy" appearance. This is summarized in a table at the end of the information sheet How to Know Your Breastfed Baby is Getting Enough or contact a local Leader.
Initially babies lose weight. This is mainly because they are expelling the black tarry stool (meconium) that has built up inside the colon during pregnancy. After the meconium is flushed out, the baby's weight will stabilize and the baby begins to gain weight. This most often happens after the third or fourth day. Many babies lose about 7-8% before they start gaining. A baby is expected to return to his birth weight by 10-14 days of age.
There are three main ways to tell: look at your baby's weight, output (wet and soiled diapers) and behaviour. If your baby is gaining weight properly, that is the most certain sign. Information Sheet #457 How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk provides more details.
Colostrum is the 'first milk' produced by your breasts, starting during pregnancy. It is a concentrated form of "mature milk", which is very high in protein, antibodies and other protective components that are important for your newborn. It is thicker than mature milk and often has a yellowish colour to it. It is produced in small amounts (10-100 mL/24 hours), which is perfect for your newborn's tiny tummy. The smaller volumes also give your baby a chance to learn to nurse without being overwhelmed by a large flow of milk in the first few days. These smaller feedings encourage your baby to go back to the breast often in the first few days. This frequent stimulation is what increases your milk production - a lovely and effective feedback loop!