If your baby is asleep after a feed, burp her gently and tuck her in her crib. Then, if you can, expose your nipples to air for a while after the feed to prevent them getting sore. Change breast pads frequently so that your nipples do not become soggy.
There is no need to cream your nipples after a feed, but if you really want to you can put on a thin layer of lanolin or breast cream containing vitamins A and D. Never put on a thick layer as it will cut out the air and light, making the nipples soft.
Breast milk is absorbed more quickly because the protein is more digestible, so the breast fed baby is likely to feel hungry before a bottle fed baby does. Breast feeding also requires more effort on the part of the baby and initially she may not be able to take enough to satisfy her for longer than two hours or so.
It is not always easy to decide whether it is hunger that is making a baby cry, but you can take it that if it is more than three hours since her last feed, she is probably hungry.
A hungry baby usually starts to whimper and grizzle a while before she gives it full throat.
After the first few weeks you can try to stretch the time between feeds if she is gaining well, by giving her a dummy for half an hour or so. But never let her cry it out in the belief that it will make her go for longer periods between feeds (56).
Night feeds. Once breast feeding is established, do not wake your baby for the night feed unless you want to give it before you go to bed. You need only wake a baby at night if she is gaining poorly or your breasts feel too full.
The baby who sleeps during the day is often awake at night. If your baby is sleeping for a reasonable period during the day but waking every few hours at night she will have to be persuaded to change her schedule around.
To do this, wake her for feeds during the day as often as she is waking at night; that is, if she was waking every two and a half hours at night, wake her by wiping her face with a cool cloth at the same intervals during the day. She may not be too keen, but she will take a feed. Keep feeding her through the day, and dont wake her for a feed at night, unless she wakes by herself. Keep it up until she develops a more acceptable routine.
How to tell if she is getting enough. One of the easiest ways of finding out if your baby is getting enough milk is to count the number of times she wets her nappy. If it is wet between six and 10 times in 24 hours, you can be pretty sure she is having enough milk.
She should also be gaining between 100 g and 180 g a week. Some weeks she may gain more, some less. This is just an average indication. Although you may have to feed as often as 15 times in 24 hours in the very beginning, she should settle down to about six feeds in a 24 hour period by the fourth week.
Test weighing is done by weighing the baby immediately before a feed with her clothes on, then weighing again immediately after a feed with exactly the same clothes on, without changing her nappy. The difference between the two masses is the amount she has taken.
Remember that the breast fed baby needs less than she would if she were bottle fed – between 500 ml and 600 ml in 24 hours.
Test weighing one feed will not give you an indication of how much milk is being produced because your baby will vary her intake at every feed. To get any real indication of how much she is having you need to test weigh every feed over three days, and this is obviously impractical unless you have scales. Even then I dont think you should do it. It is so easy to make a mistake and get upset when there is no need for it. Test weighing is not advisable unless supervised by someone with a positive attitude.
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