You will hear lots of opinions and stories about other people’s feeding experiences. While much of the advice and information you get from friends and family will be very useful, some of it may confuse rather than guide you. In this section we aim to give you the information that you need to help you decide what is best for you and your baby.
If your baby is born prematurely or is unwell then it will be vital that you provide breast milk for your baby. You will be advised and supported by the midwives on how to establish and maintain your milk supply.
After about three days your breasts may become engorged. They may feel heavy, hot and full. This is normal and is due to an increase in the blood
and milk supply to your breasts. It usually settles within 24 – 48 hours with frequent feeding and by using cold compresses on your breasts between feeds.
Sometimes women may have to hand express to soften the areola (area around the nipple) so that the baby can attach properly to the breast.
Once the mature milk is established it contains ‘fore” milk and ‘hind’ milk. The fore milk is high volume milk, which will quench your baby’s thirst. The hind milk is high in fat and calories, which will settle your baby between feeds and ensure that they will put on weight.
It is important that you don’t restrict how long your baby spends feeding. Babies will vary the length of their feeds. Just like us, they may fancy a quick snack or will want to settle in for a full three-course feast! As a general rule, your baby should feed from the first breast until the breast is softened and/or your baby comes off the breast naturally. Always offer your baby the second breast although they may not take it. Throughout a breastfeed your baby’s sucking will send messages to your brain to ‘order’ milk for the next feed.
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