Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How To Ensure Effective Feeding?

Newborns often lack stamina when they breastfeed and are largely "flow-dependent," which means they need your breasts to have a good flow, or milk supply in order for them to keep going. If your milk flow starts to slow down, your baby's sucking-and-swallowing pattern will also slow. This means he'll either stop swallowing at regular intervals or fall asleep at your breast.

In a nutshell, babies want their food to come fast and easy—a theme that will no doubt repeat itself well into their teen years and beyond!

Here are two important points to remember about breastfeeding, especially during the first few weeks:

Successful breastfeeding is a combination of both your baby's skill at sucking and swallowing and your supply of milk.If a baby isn't swallowing, it means he isn't eating.

If your baby isn't swallowing regularly in the first few weeks, or if he keeps falling asleep before filling up, you can try the following simple ways to ensure that he's feeding effectively:
Breast compression

* Once your baby is latched on correctly, check to see if he's swallowing regularly. Keep in mind that it can take a minute or two for you to have "let-down," when your milk is first released, so don't expect him to start drinking right away unless you're very full of milk.
* If your baby slows or stops swallowing, pull him in closer by gently pressing the palm of your hand between his shoulder blades.
* Once you've pulled him in closer, compress your breast; when you do this, you're actually hand-expressing some milk into his mouth. Swallowing is a reflex, and if he gets a mouthful of milk, he'll swallow it. This will also help wake him up a bit and remind him of what he's supposed to be doing.
* Keep watching for swallows and compressing as needed until he no longer responds.

Switch nursing

* If your baby isn't responding to breast compression anymore—so falling asleep or not swallowing—it's time to switch breasts.
* Before switching, wake him up a bit by burping or undressing him.
* When your baby latches onto your other breast, he's getting a whole new supply of milk, one where the flow rate is faster. This is because let-downs happen at the same time. So while your baby was drinking from your first breast, milk was also pooling in the other one.
* You can switch breasts 3 or 4 times per "meal" to help your sleepy newborn get a full feeding.
* Don't be concerned about foremilk and hindmilk at this point because your baby is getting the nutrients and fat content he needs. Think of it this way: The foremilk in your breast is the hindmilk from the last feeding.

Tips for success:

* If you help move the milk into your baby's mouth by compressing your breast he'll swallow it, because swallowing is a reflex.
* Don't worry about draining each breast or only feeding from one breast during each feeding. When your baby is a newborn, he needs prompt and fast-flowing milk to help him stay awake and swallow properly. Switching breasts during feeding will help with this.
* Switch nursing can be helpful during the early, sleepy days to ensure a full feeding.

This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs, the brand synonymous with women's breastfeeding success for 18 years.

What is Effective Feeding?

This might sound like a familiar scene: Your baby is happily feeding away at your breast until she drifts into a peaceful sleep. Then 20 minutes later, she's awake and rooting for more milk. What's going on?

As a new mom, you're not alone in thinking if your baby is sucking at your breast, she's eating. However, sucking is only half of the equation; your baby also needs to swallow regularly in order to feed well.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby in the first few weeks is to learn the difference between a suck and a swallow. Then you must watch your baby to ensure that she's swallowing regularly during feedings.

Here's the difference between the two: A suck is when the underside of your baby's chin drops down in short, quick, shallow motions. A swallow is when her chin drops down long, slowly and deeply, like a bullfrog's throat.

Once you understand the difference between sucking and swallowing, start noticing how often your baby swallows. Effective feeding is defined as swallowing every 1, 2 or 3 sucks and, more importantly, doing long bursts of that, such as 10 or more.

Here's an example of an effective suck/swallow pattern:

suck, suck, swallow (1)
suck, suck, suck, swallow (2)
suck, swallow (3)
suck, suck, suck, swallow (4)
suck, suck, swallow (5)
suck, swallow (6)
suck, swallow (7)
suck, suck, swallow (8)
suck, suck, suck, swallow (9)
suck, suck, swallow (10)

There will be a pause, then your baby will start the same pattern all over again.

A non-effective feeding goes something like this:

suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, swallow
suck, suck, suck, suck, pause
suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, swallow
suck, suck (eyes close, sucking stops)

When that happens, your baby isn't feeding from your breast; instead, she's just "being" at your breast. This kind of pattern results in feedings that can go on and on, and she might nurse herself to sleep before she has filled up. This can lead to fussy behaviour, poor weight gain or several feedings that blend into one another throughout the day and night.

If your baby isn't swallowing regularly try not to get frustrated, because there are several things you can do. Switch nursing and breast compression are two easy ways to ensure your baby's intake, since both of them increase the flow of milk into your baby's mouth. And since swallowing is a reflex, if your baby gets a mouthful of milk, she'll swallow it.

While watching your baby's swallowing pattern may seem overwhelming at first, you'll probably only have to do it for the first couple of weeks when your baby is new and very sleepy. You'll soon hit your stride and then breastfeed without even thinking about it.

Tips for success:

* Learn the difference between a suck and a swallow.
* Take the time in the first few weeks after your milk comes in to notice your baby's swallowing pattern.
* Effective feeding is defined as swallowing every 1, 2 or 3 sucks, usually done in bursts of 10 or more.

This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs, the brand synonymous with women's breastfeeding success for 18 years.

What is Colostrum?

Colostrum is the "early milk" your breasts start producing in your third trimester of pregnancy, and then the first milk your newborn receives. Different from your "mature milk" that comes in at around Day 3 postpartum, colostrum is a thick, yellowish substance that is more dense and yields a much lower volume.

But don't let colostrum's short life span fool you into thinking it's not important. It packs a higher amount of protein than mature milk, meaning a little goes a long way in terms of filling your newborn's tiny tummy. Colostrum is full of antibodies, so in addition to being nutritionally ideal for your baby it also boosts her immune system.

When your mature milk comes in it will be thinner, whiter and much higher in volume. However, the disease-fighting properties of human milk don't disappear with your colostrum. As long as your baby is getting breast milk, she's also being protected against many different types of bacteria and viruses.

Some facts about colostrum:

In the first few days of life, your baby will only need teaspoon amounts of colostrum to fill her up. Because of colostrum's viscous nature—it's much thicker than mature milk—it can sometimes be hard to pump, since it often sticks to the pump parts and doesn't collect as easily as mature milk does. It's a good idea to breastfeed your newborn at least 8 to 12 times (or more) each 24-hour period so she'll get the full benefits of colostrum. Frequent feeding will also help stimulate the production of your mature milk supply.

This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs, the brand synonymous with women's breastfeeding success for 18 years.
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