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Both breasts at each feeding?

Here’s a question from Marcy in Richmond Hill, ON:

Q: I’m expecting my first child in the middle of April. I’ve tried to read up on breastfeeding but some things you read conflict – for example, some say you should feed the baby from both breasts at a feeding, while others say that one breast is enough. Who’s right?

A: Good question, Marcy! For a first baby, it’s generally advised that you begin your breastfeeding experience by feeding from both breasts at each feeding. On the first side, feed until you notice the sucking and swallowing slowing down or stopping. Then remove the baby from the breast by inserting your little finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth to break the suction. Then burp the baby to remove any swallowed air. If baby is sleepy, many mothers will change the diaper at this time to wake the baby up. Then, offer the second breast. Most babies will take some from this breast until they fall asleep. At the next feeding, offer the breast that you fed from last at the previous feeding. Some mothers use the trick of putting a safety pin on their bra on the side they finish on to remind them to use this breast first next time! Doing this, particularly as your milk is coming in (this typically takes about 6 weeks) gives both breasts equal stimulation and promotes a good breastmilk supply.

Once your breastmilk supply is well established, some mothers find that the baby is satisfied with one breast per feeding, while others continue to offer both breasts at each feeding – you’ll soon become the expert on what your baby needs!

Nancy Lahn RN

Developer of the Cozy Cuddles Nursing Pillow

Originally posted 2016-03-31 12:45:59.

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Am I still producing enough milk?

Here’s a question from Dianna in Leamington, ON:

Q: Help! My baby is two weeks old now, and has been nursing well, but I’m noticing a real change in my breasts. Last week, my breasts were so full and hard, and now they’re a lot softer even though he’s nursing every couple of hours. Is my milk decreasing?

A: What you describe, Dianna, is very normal. When your milk began to come in last week (usually day 2-3) it sounds like you experienced engorgement, which is a combination of your milk changing from colostrum to mature milk, and accompanying swelling from increased blood flow to the breasts. After a couple of days of frequent nursing, the swelling reduced and you continued to produce milk at the rate that your baby needs. This more efficient production means that your breasts become softer and more comfortable, and baby gets all the milk he needs. As long as he’s producing regular bowel movements and 6-8 wet diapers per day, all is well!

Originally posted 2015-11-27 11:31:43.

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Do breastfeeding babies need extra water in hot weather?

Here’s a question from Kristine in Collingwood, ON:

Q: It’s been so hot this summer, and I’ve been wondering – does my two-month-old nursing baby need me to give her extra water?

A: No, Kristine, your breastmilk provides all the water your baby needs. Breastmilk actually changes in consistency as the feeding progresses – it is more watery at the beginning of the feed, and has more fat content as the feeding continues. The baby’s thirst is then satisfied by the greater water content at the outset, and then it is believed that the greater fat content at the end of the feed helps to signal fullness.

Nancy Lahn RN
Developer of the Cozy Cuddles Nursing Pillow

Originally posted 2015-08-01 22:56:21.

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I’m Engorged, and It Hurts!

Here’s another question we get frequently…

Q: My baby was born on Friday, and this morning (Monday) I woke up with the feeling that Dolly Parton had taken over my body! My breasts are huge and so sore – is this normal? What can I do? I’m so full that my baby has a hard time latching on.

A: What you’re experiencing, Angie, is very normal. On the third or fourth day after birth, your milk production begins in earnest and the breasts become swollen with milk, and also from increased blood flow and lymph fluids. The best way to spell relief is B-A-B-Y! Be sure to nurse the baby at least every two hours, and gently massage your breast as the baby is feeding. The frequent feeding will help your body to establish the proper supply and demand ratio. Before each feeding, apply a warm moist compress for a couple of minutes to start the milk flowing. If the breast is so full that it is difficult for baby to latch, hand express some milk until the areola (the dark area around the nipple) will soften enough to allow the baby to latch on. If you use a pump to do this, be sure to pump only until the areola is softened – too much pumping will give your body the wrong message and will tell it to increase your milk supply! In between feedings, you can wet and wring out a cloth (a tea towel is a good size), fold it into thirds, and freeze in your freezer. Laying this frozen cloth across your swollen breasts provides wonderful relief! You can also try the midwife’s trick of using a cabbage leaf inside your bra on each breast. The tanic acid in the cabbage (not lettuce!) helps to relieve swelling without decreasing your milk supply. Using these techniques, most engorgement will subside in about 48 hours. Wearing a good supportive nursing bra day and night (no underwires!) will be helpful during engorgement, too.

Originally posted 2016-11-07 18:12:49.