Nourishing Notes: Part Two

A lactation resource and guide for women

Feeding cues and latching on

Infant feeding Cues:

  • Hands to mouth.
  • Sucking movements.
  • Cooing sounds.
  • Stretching.
  • Crying is a late sign of hunger. If you wait until then, calm your baby before breastfeeding.
  • If your baby does not show cues after 2-3 hours, wake him or place him skin to skin.

Latching on:

  • Get comfortable, don’t lean over your baby.
  • Hold baby close at the level of your breast, tummy to tummy.
  • Make a breast sandwich, Using a “C” or “U” position with four fingers under the breast and your thumb on top.
  • Touch your baby’s lips with your nipple and wait for him to open wide.
  • When baby opens wide, bring him in close with your nipple pointing to the roof of the mouth until he is on deeply with a large amount of areola drawn in.
  • Lips should flange out.
  • You may feel some tenderness with latch on and tugging with sucks, but you should NOT feel pain throughout the feeding.

The “Second Night Phenomenon”

For newborns, the second night after birth the baby may have long periods of fretfulness and seem to be only comfortable at the breast (always rooting or refusing to sleep outside mothers arms). It is a common reaction to life outside the uterus combined with an over-stimulated central nervous system. Moms are often convinced it is due to lack of milk, but this is NOT true. Your supply is fine!

Here are some steps you can take to soothe your baby:

  • Keep your baby’s fingers free to suck on.
  • Babies need lots of snuggling at this time.
  • Undress your baby to the diaper and place baby skin to skin on your chest. This improves moods.
  • If you need a break, have daddy do skin to skin with baby for awhile.
  • Allow baby to return to the breast if needed.
  • When baby falls asleep at breast, gently break suction but don’t move him.
  • Baby will eventually calm himself and sleep for a stretch. You can take a nap, too, when baby naps!

Baby is getting lots of milk when…

  • You hear the baby swallowing or gulping.
  • There are no clicking or smacking sounds.
  • Baby’s body and hands are relaxed after a feeding.
  • Baby seems content after most feedings.
  • You see signs of milk “letting down”
  • You feel relaxed, drowsy, thirsty, and sometimes crampy with feedings.
  • Your baby’s bowel movements change from black to green, then yellow by the fourth day.
  • Your baby has at least 3 yellow stools and 6 wets per day by the 5th day.
  • Baby should not lose more than 10 percent of his birth weight, and should be back to birth weight by 10 days of age.
  • Baby should gain about an ounce per day once the milk comes in.

Stay tuned for more Nourishing Notes and lactation tips!