Bea King from Melton Breastfriends & The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers has kindly volunteered to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding exclusively for Inspirique Baby Photography and for all of you Mummy's reading this.
You can also watch myself & Bea in a live Q&A about breastfeeding here.
Bea feeding her own daughter
1. How do I know when my baby has finished feeding?
If your baby has finished feeding, they will fall off the breast by themselves, try not to take them off when they flutter suck (lots of people like to say baby is using you as a dummy here), as this is when they get the fattiest milk so it really aids their weight gain and your milk supply. You could offer them the other breast, some babies will take it and some won’t, it’s absolutely okay either way and that is just what your baby needs.
2. How long should I feed my baby for?
There is no set time that you must feed your baby for. The average time varies between 5-45 minutes and can differ between each baby and each woman; neither of these times shows anything on your supply. Some believe you need to give a certain amount of time on each breast to ensure they get enough, but this is not true. You just need to follow your baby’s lead and let them feed for however long they need to.
3. How can I tell that my baby is drinking?
When baby is feeding, it can be a good idea to look out for a couple of key signs that your baby is drawing milk from the breast. One sign is that baby will have puffed out cheeks, like a hamster, we need hamster cheeks and not sucked in cheeks like a fish. You will also be able to see swallows, and that will vary on where in the feed baby is. At the start of the feed, baby with do hard and rapid sucks to encourage a let-down, where they may have lots of little swallows, and when the let-down occurs, their sucks will change and be long, drawn out sucks where they may suck 2-3 times then do a big swallow. When baby starts flutter sucking at the end of a feed, they’ll do little tiny sucks on and off and have the odd swallow every minute or two.
4. How do I know how much my baby is getting?
With breastfeeding, many Mums can feel some anxiety about not knowing how much their baby is getting, whereas you can see the exact volume with bottle feeding, so being aware of knowing that your milk is enough will help your confidence. Keeping track of nappy output and baby’s steady weight gain along their centile are the most accurate representation of milk supply. Keeping track of weight gain is a bit harder with the current coronavirus and lack of face to face weighing facilities so nappy output works perfectly. I’ll break it down a little: