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Getting confident with breastfeeding - tips and advice

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Breastfeeding: is my baby feeding well?

Lots of mums wonder if their baby’s feeding well and getting enough milk. If you’re comfortable while you’re breastfeeding and your baby seems content, they’re probably doing fine. Speak to your health visitor if you have any worries.

 

What are the signs my baby's feeding well?

Signs that your baby is feeding well include:

  • Your baby has a large mouthful of breast.
  • Breastfeeding doesn’t hurt you (although the first few sucks may feel strong). Your breasts and nipples shouldn’t feel sore - if they are, ask for help.
  • Your baby takes long sucks, with pauses from time to time.
  • Your baby finishes the feed and comes off your breast on their own.

If you’re not sure your baby’s feeding well, check they're in the right position for breastfeeding. See our advice on getting your baby into position.

It can take a while before you feel confident about breastfeeding, but there’s no need to worry alone. Your midwife and health visitor are there to answer your questions. Find out where to get more help.

 

How do I know my baby's getting enough milk?

  • Your baby should be gaining weight after the first two weeks.
  • In the first 48 hours, your baby is likely to have only two or three wet nappies. Wet nappies should then become more frequent, with at least six every 24 hours from day five onwards.
  • At the beginning, your baby will produce a black tar-like poo called meconium. After a few days the poo will change to a yellow or mustard colour. Breastfed babies’ poo is runny and doesn’t smell.
  • Your baby will be content and satisfied after most feeds.

If you’re worried, speak to your midwife or health visitor.

Breast milk is designed for your baby and contains ingredients that aren’t found in formula milk. Your milk changes from feed to feed as your baby grows so it always gives them the mix of ingredients they need.

So keep at it – breastfeed for as long as you can. The longer you feed your baby your own milk, the more they will benefit from it.

 

How can I boost the benefits of breastfeeding?

  • Try not to give your baby other food and drink – the more breast milk you give your baby, the more milk you will make. And the longer they drink breast milk, the longer they will be protected from illness.
  • Don’t give your baby a dummy until you’re both comfortable and confident breastfeeding – that’s usually when they are about a month old.
  • Don’t feed your baby solid food before they are ready – that’s usually when your baby is about six months. Giving solid food too early can lead to an upset tummy.

 

Should I eat a special diet?

If you’re breastfeeding, it’s a good idea for you - just like everyone else - to eat a healthy diet. All adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consider taking a vitamin D supplement. You may be entitled to Healthy Start food vouchers and vitamin vouchers.

 

How much should I drink?

Breastfeeding mums need to drink plenty so have a drink beside you when you settle down to breastfeed. Water or skimmed or semi-skimmed milk are healthy choices - and it's also good to limit how often you have sugary drinks.

Drinks with caffeine in them - like coffee, tea and some soft drinks and energy drinks - can affect your baby so only drink them occasionally.

If you're breastfeeding and you drink alcohol, your baby drinks it too so be careful to limit your drinking. Regularly drinking more than two units of alcohol a day may affect your baby's development. One unit of alcohol is roughly half a pint of normal strength beer, a single 25ml measure of spirits or a small 175ml glass of wine.

 

More info

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