Common Concerns During the Early Weeks of Breastfeeding
If your baby sucks vigorously for only a few minutes and then stops, try arousing her and switching her to the other breast. You can keep her on the first breast as long as she swallows after every couple of sucks. When her swallowing slows down or she starts to doze off, remove her from the breast, try to bring her to a more wakeful state, and switch her to the other side. This "switch nursing" method will provide her with more milk than allowing her to drift off at the first breast.
Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Even though you can't see exactly how much milk your baby takes while nursing, observant parents usually can tell whether breastfeeding is off to a good start. If your baby can latch on to both breasts well, nurses often with frequent audible swallowing, seems contented after feedings, wets six or more diapers, and has at least four yellow bowel movements each day, she is probably thriving. The following questionnaire developed at the Lactation Program in Denver has proved useful in distinguishing whether breastfeeding is off to a successful start or whether additional help is necessary. If you have any concerns, call your baby's doctor and arrange to have your infant weighed. Remember, if a problem is caught early, it is easier to solve.
Early Breastfeeding Screening Form
Please complete this screening form when your baby is four to six days old. If you circle any answers in the right-hand column, call your baby's doctor to arrange for further evaluation. The earlier problems are identified, the easier they are to correct. Ask your doctor to refer you to a lactation consultant who can observe your nursing technique and provide one-on-one assistance.
|Do you feel breastfeeding is going well for you so far?||Yes||No|
|Has your milk come in yet? (That is, did your breastsget firm and full between the second and fourth post-partum days?)||Yes||No|
|Is your baby able to latch on to your breast withoutdifficulty?||Yes||No|
|Is your baby able to sustain rhythmic sucking for atleast ten minutes total per feeding?||Yes||No|
|Does your baby usually demand to feed? (Answer "No"if you have a sleepy baby who needs to be awakenedfor most feedings.)||Yes||No|
|Does your baby usually nurse at both breasts at eachfeeding?||Yes||No|
|Does your baby nurse approximately every two tothree hours, with no more than one longer interval ofup to five hours at night? (at least eight nursings eachtwenty-four hours?)||Yes||No|
|Do your breasts feel full before feedings?||Yes||No|
|Do your breasts feel softer after feedings?||Yes||No|
|Are your nipples extremely sore? (for example, causingyou to dread feedings?)||No||Yes|
|Is your baby having yellow, seedy bowel movementsthat look like cottage cheese and mustard?||Yes||No|
|Is your baby having at least four good-size bowelmovements each day? (that is, more than a "stain" onthe diaper?)||Yes||No|
|Is your baby wetting his/her diaper at least six timeseach day?||Yes||No|
|Does your baby appear hungry after most feedings?(that is, crying, sucking hands, rooting, often needinga pacifier?)||No||Yes|
|Do you hear rhythmic suckling and swallowing whileyour baby nurses?||Yes||No|
Copyright ฉ Lactation Program, Denver, CO. Used with permission.
From Dr. Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding by Marianne R. Neifert. Copyright © 1998 by Marianne R. Neifert. Used by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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