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Breastffeding a 2 day old baby: how do I know if I'm doing it right?

(34 Posts)
shouldIbecrossaboutthis Sun 07-Oct-12 16:34:36

Hey everyone, I'm just after some advice, I'm not totally sure what I'm doing and really want to do this right so need a bit of hand holding.

My baby is 2 days old and was 9lb born; I had him @ home but had to go in to hospital for stitches. So I have had some help with latching on, everyone in the hospital said he was a 'good feeder'. But I'm still not sure if I'm doing it right as it does hurt a bit and everyone says there should be no pain. hmm

I will go to a group soon too but in the meantime I know there are some breastfeeding gurus lurking around these parts grin, so just after some advice really. Have taken some pics which hope explains.

Pic 1: latching him on. So it's quite hard to hold a baby with one hand and a massive boob with the other sad. I'm not sure he is opening his mouth wide enough to get the latch deep enough? How do I get him to open wider?

Pic 2: this is him latched on.
1. This is when it hurts a bit maybe for the first 2 minutes or so? Is that normal?
2.I think we start of well but he slips maybe; how much of the top areola should show? If there is no pain is it ok to carry on even if there is a lot of top areola on display

Pic 3:my nipple
if my nipple is like a cauliflower with loads of bumpy bits; he's sucked some of the bumps right up and make them white on one nipple, the other nipple has a split bumpy part.

Does this make any sense and does anyone have any advice, many thanks [flowers].

jkklpu Sun 07-Oct-12 17:00:19

I'm sure some real experts will be along soon. Congratulations - a gorgeous wee boy.

It's quite common for bfing to hurt at the beginning. Usually, the pain can be sharp at the start of the feed and ease off. You're right that the latch is all-important. When is your next mw visit? Can you ask her to observe a whole feed so she can help with the latch, if necessary? There are some YouTube films on latching, I think.

And do you have a tube of Lansinoh to rub liberally on your breasts after each feed?

Flimflammery Sun 07-Oct-12 17:00:25

Hi OP, and congratulations! I'm not a bf expert, although I have bf two children. Before any of the others who can advise get a chance to reply, you could have a look at the KellyMom advice on latch here

From what I remember, you don't need to hold your breast, just sit comfortably and bring the baby's head to it.

And although the books say that it shouldn't hurt, IME it does hurt a little to begin with until your nipples get used to it. If they're getting cracked and sore, do you have Lansinoh? That helped me. And also try to let them dry between feeds, so leave your top off and let the air dry them. If it's really painful then it is a sign that the latch is not quite right, so try to get a midwife or health visitor or bf advisor to take a look.

Good luck! It really does get easier, once you've got your confidence and you and your baby get used to each other.

forevergreek Sun 07-Oct-12 17:10:02

From the breastfeeding knowledge I know ( I'm no expert so please feel free to ignore)

The main thing:
Always get yourself comfortable first ( back supported etc), and bring baby to the breast rather than breast to your baby

sonnyd Sun 07-Oct-12 19:23:25

Congratulations on becoming a mum!

I'm no bf expert either but have bf my DS for the last 11 months and continue to do so.

The best two pieces of advice I was given for getting latch right were;
1. Nose to nipple- Position baby's nose level with your nipple, then...
2. Latch baby on as though he is biting an apple (ie. bottom jaw first, then top..chomp!), not as though he is eating spaghetti ( ie. shoving it in the middle of the mouth)

Remembering these two things at every feed and even saying 'nose to nipple' out loud really helped me!
You should see quite a bit of areola above baby's mouth.

It's well worth giving the national breastfeeding helpline a call, I found them amazing when I was struggling in the early days; http://www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk/

Oh and btw, if your baby is 2 days old, there is every chance your boobs will become gigantic, hot, hard things tomorrow when your milk comes in, but don't give up, it will soon pass!

Good luck smile xx

Tryharder Sun 07-Oct-12 20:18:12

You have similar boobs to me and I would recommend supporting the breast as you're doing otherwise the weight of the breast will be too much for your baby to stay latched on. From the second picture, I thought it looked as if your baby has his nose pressed into your breast and hence would struggle to breathe and feed at the same time. This might mean he is positioned a little too far across and might need taking back a little. But I am no expert and would recommend that you see a bfc in any case.

YorkshireRose12 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:44:34

Hi shouldI, congrats on your new arrival!

I am not an expert either but would offer the following advice...

The first thing to get right is your positioning. I agree with Tryharder, in the second pic it looks like your DS's nose is squashed against your breast when it should be free of your breast. Once you have him in position, try moving him a cm towards his feet IYSWIM so that he latches on with his lower jaw further away from the base of your nipple which should leave his nose free of your breast.

As you say, it can be difficult to control a baby and a boob at the same time! The best technique I found for manoeuvring baby when I started out was in Dr Newman's leaflet "When Latching" - google it. The idea is to support the head with your hand, pin his bum against your ribs with your elbow and then using this as a pivot to move him around using your while forearm. You can then use your free hand to keep your breast still for latching him on. I too have enormous ample bosoms and I find I do still need to hold them in place to five support when DS is feeding. I'm hoping this will change as he grows.

Next, the latch. As you already know, the idea is to get a deep latch with a good mouthful of breast below the nipple in baby's mouth. You may find that moving him a cm in the direction of his feet helps with this and helps with the pain you're having. If not, you can try this technique to get a deeper latch: place your first two fingers on the edge of the areola where your DS's chin will be when latched on and your thumb on the edge of the areola opposite your fingers. Then pinch your fingers and thumb together to squash the breast flatter with the nipple forming a point at the end. When your DS opens wide you can then direct the nipple up and to the back of his mouth as you bring him onto the breast. As forevergreek says, you need to bring baby to the breast rather than the other way round - if you do this the risk is that baby's latch will keep slipping. WRT your second picture, a lot of areola showing above baby is exactly how it should be so no worries here, because the mouthful of breast tissue baby needs to get hold of is from beneath the nipple.

Finally, the pain you're experiencing - I think some tenderness/soreness is normal, but really sharp sore pains are a sign that something is not quite right. Again, shifting baby a cm or so towards his feet before latching may stop this, as may ensuring he gets a big mouthful of breast as described above. If the kind of pain you're describing persists however for more than a few seconds at each feed or for more than a few days, please see someone in RL to get a feed observed and assessed. In the meantime, use Lansinoh on your nipples to soothe and protect them and be very vigilant for any cuts/cracks. If any do develop this is a sign that something is definitely wrong and you should seek help urgently as the pain can quickly become excruciating and too much to bear from this point.

In general though I would recommend getting a feed observed either by your hospital's infant feeding coordinators or by a BFing counsellor at a BFing cafe. They can see exactly what's going on as you feed and give you some really good tips - and you will have a much better BFing experience if you get off to a flying start like this!

Hope some of this helps.

MumOfTheMoos Sun 07-Oct-12 22:07:45

I've heard some people suggest saying 'open wide' as you latch him on (he looks soooo cute). smile

I found holding his head with my thumb on his ear was handy for bringing him to ample breast.

Don't be afraid to de-latch him if you think he's not got enough of the areola in his mouth.

Can't recommend breast feeding cafes enough - I would not be breastfeeding now at 6+ mths without them.

Congratulations!

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Sun 07-Oct-12 22:32:40

Wow thank you do much everyone, I'll put all these tips to good use tonight and try and see MW tomorrow. I think I have more of a spaghetti aim than an apple aim at the mo and his nose is touching sad will try the to

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Sun 07-Oct-12 22:33:47

Silly phone!

Will try the tips and post back; I find it so much easier to feed lying on my side but not sure how practical that will be long term smile

SirBoobAlot Sun 07-Oct-12 22:42:27

Top tips for positioning:

- Bring baby to boob, not boob to baby. Don't hunch over, although it can be tempting at times. It will hurt your back and isn't great for getting the latch correct.

- Nose to nipple.

- Pull his bum in. If you tuck in his bum, then he will be pulled flat against you.

Feeding laying down is great if you're comfortable doing it - fantastic for sleeping!!! - but helping to sort out sitting up feeding too.

sonnyd Mon 08-Oct-12 19:25:52

How did you get on with the midwife today? Did she observe a feed and give some tips? X

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Mon 08-Oct-12 19:49:20

[sad[] I didn't get to see the midwife today and the feeding drop in class in on a Wednesday. Had a bit of a tough time today, he's not screaming so I think he is getting enough. I think that some of the time the latch is shallow. I think the problem is in the hospital they told me you shouldn't see any of the top areola, but that doesn't seem to be true and it's more important that the bottom areola is in?

I definately think it's a shallow latch; I also can't seem to get the knack of tilting his head back but at the same time latching him on; aren't those 2 moves counter intuitive?

Any advice would be great my poor nipples!

forevergreek Mon 08-Oct-12 20:02:02

Have you tried laleache league? They are online or on the phone and I believe you can phone / chat anytime of day to someone

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Mon 08-Oct-12 20:03:50

Oh fab I will try them now! Thanks foreverfreek.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 08-Oct-12 20:05:36

Yes, it's fine to see areola on the top.

The first pic looks good - in the second, his nose is poking into your boob, which isn't ideal. If he's on, and his nose is poking into you, if you shift him slightly in the direction of his feet, that can really help.

As others have said, why support your boob? It's hard work, holding a boob and a baby.

I think the NBH is open until 9:30 at night, and if you call from a landline now, you're likely to get someone physically near you ...

AnnaLiza Mon 08-Oct-12 20:08:50

Whether you see the areola and how much of it depends on how big it is relative to baby's mouth so I wouldn't concentrate on that so much.
Can you hear him swallowing? It's important to check milk is being transferred properly.
Congratulations by the way. He's gorgeous smile

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 08-Oct-12 20:42:11

He is cute! Congratulations.

Try & get along to your local le leche they are really brilliant and love new mums smile

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Tue 09-Oct-12 06:42:29

I think I figured it out after watching a few hundred you tube videos! I'm not sure what I'm doing is technically correct as the hospital did tell me not to do it, but it doesn't hurt and I'm certain he is getting milk.

But basically I'm latching him on from kind of an underneath angle. Do you think this is ok? There is loads more of the top areola out but it doesn't hurt.

When I do it side ways on I can't tilt his head back so I think although he opens his mouth beautifully my nipple is landing on the hard palette because his head isn't tilted enough? I got my DP to look and when I feed sideways there is the same amount of areola on show on top and bottom; I think that's bad?

Anyway, I think we've got a technique of sorts; does it sound ok? He had 5 dirty nappies yesterday so I guess that the only way to judge he's getting enough?

Sorry to sound so dim!!

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Tue 09-Oct-12 06:43:38

Ps. Going to la leche and midwife today I hope!

YorkshireRose12 Tue 09-Oct-12 08:47:35

If you're comfortable and he's having plenty of wet and dirty nappies then that sounds fine to me! Just ensure that his head and body are in a straight line, ie he's not looking sideways - it's easier for him to swallow the milk if everything's in a straight line.

Attaching him from below is absolutely fine, in fact it's the position recommended by a lot of biological nurturing websites. I was told that you could in theory attach baby from wherever you want all around the nipple, including over your shoulder if you wanted?!

And yes, there should be more areola showing above baby than below. If you've got equal amounts of areola showing then that means your nipple is going in in the middle of baby's mouth and then it won't be cushioned against the soft palate and that's when you'll get pain.

Well done to you - IMO BFing is about finding whatever works best for you and your baby, rather than how others tell you you should do it, and it sounds like you've persevered, experimented and found what works for the two of you.

MikeOxard Tue 09-Oct-12 09:08:24

Congratulations! Sounds fine to me, not an expert but I have bf 2 babies and imo if it doesn't hurt and he is having wet and dirty nappies, then everything is perfect. I wouldn't worry about how much areola you can see, everyone's are a bit different and I dont think a general rule about that can apply to everyone. You sound like such a fab mum, well done and congratulations! x

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Wed 10-Oct-12 18:06:24

Just wanted to update as am super chuffed with myself!

I have seen a midwife for the first time today since I had the baby (he is 5 days old today) and even though I had cracked bleeding nipples the baby has managed to put on a qhopping 7oz in 5 days!!

How brilliant is breast milk!!

Thank you to everyone for the advice and support it really was invaluable smile

newtonupontheheath Thu 11-Oct-12 11:16:33

ShouldI just wanted to say that I've been re-adjusting my new dd whilst reading your thread as I'm struggling to get her latch right ( she's got too many hands that keep getting in the way!)

Anyway, this has been really useful- especially comparing the pics and what we're doing with the advice. So thank you smile

sonnyd Thu 11-Oct-12 21:56:59

ShouldI that's brill, well done!
Breastmilk is brilliant! It's so amazing watching your baby getting chubbier and thinking 'I did that' smile

Newton the windmilling hands make it hard don't they!
I was given some tips that might help with that;

1. Before a feed, undo baby's baby grow (assuming they have a vest on underneath) and fold it back over the top of baby's arms to hold them still just while you get baby latched on. You can release them once feeding!

2. Gently Tuck baby's lower arm under their body before placing them against you...that arm will sort of be wedged against your body, keeping it still. It won't hurt!

3. Before a feed lay baby down onto the folded corner of a blanket (as though you are going to swaddle him/ her), fold the two sides of the blanket over each of baby's arms and tuck under his body. Pick up baby holding blanket in place and position for feed. Once baby is latched on you can take the blanket away.

Hope that makes sense as its always harder to describe these things that just demonstrate them!

Good luck ladies. Keep up the good work smile

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