How BF works
Once your baby’s lower lip is stimulated, he will open his mouth wide, and bring his
tongue forward. The tongue then draws the nipple into the baby’s mouth, and compresses the nipple up against the roof of the baby’s mouth. The tongue cups and sweeps the nipple from front to back in a wave like manner, as he presses the nipple to the roof of his mouth. The baby’s gums cause the milk to be squeezed out. You will know you have had LET DOWN when you hear the baby swallowing faster, or feel the other breast leaking. Some women describe let down as a tingling in the breast. If your baby's palate is high, he or she may have trouble latching onto the nipple. A chiropractor trained in cranial sacral therapy (a gentle massage technique) or Nimmo Receptor-Tonus technique which is a chiropractic adjustment of the muscles and fascia can help correct this problem.
When the baby first latches onto the nipple, he gets the milk that is stored behind the nipple, which is healthy, but watery. Its purpose is to provide the water that a breast feeding infant needs. (this is why a breast-feeding baby does not need water). After this is empty, then you will experience let down.
This is the milk that puts weight on your baby. It contains the fats needed for the growth of the infant. It is creamy. If you look at the milk at first, it will appear to be blue, to clear white, and look thin, but the later milk will look creamy. You should have let down at least two times before you move the baby to the other
breast. This is so that your baby gets enough high calorie milk. Then switch the infant to the other breast, and the next feeding start on the breast that you ended nursing on. Your baby may not want to switch to the other breast, which is ok. You can nurse on one side a feeding, you will adjust to this. Just nurse!
This is what is often called the first milk. You may have leaked some during the last part of your pregnancy. It is yellow, I like to think of it as rich cream. There is not a lot of it, but it is VERY healthy for your baby. It is small in amount, the baby gets about a teaspoon from each breast at each feeding, but remember it is ‘cream’! It is like concentrated milk It protects against infection, it acts as a laxative to help clear the meconium from the baby, and this reduces the risk of jaundice.
You will have this for about 1-3 days if this is your second baby or more, and for the first 2-5 days if it is your first baby.
Baby may need to nurse more often when going thru a growth spurt. This is normal. It is the baby’s way to tell your body that he needs more milk. Your baby will act like he is not getting enough milk one day, and may want to nurse all day (or so it will seem), just relax that day and nurse nurse nurse! Within 24 hours your body will have adjusted to provide more milk for your infant. This often happens at about 3 weeks of age, but at other older times also.
Cracked or Sore Nipples
This is often caused by improper position at the breast. Be sure that baby is tummy to tummy. Sometimes the baby has had too long of a time between the feedings and is so hungry that he sucks to hard. You should also change positions to hold the baby as your nurse sometimes to give a change to your nipples. Where the baby’s chin is located at is where he sucks the hardest. So, changing to the football for example, will align the baby’s chin is a different spot on the nipple than the cradle hold. Also, be sure you dry your nipples after feeding. You can express a little milk and place it on your nipple and allow that to air dry for 4-5 minutes. Don’t use plastic liners, and store liners all have some sort of plastic liner in them. You should invest in cloth breast pads, they do the job well, and you just wash them in the laundry to reuse. Remember don’t use soaps or lotions on your nipples.
This is when your breasts are swollen, large like rocks, and hard like rocks, (or so it feels), and often warm. The breast tissue is swelling in response to the second milk coming in They are not swollen because they are so full of milk, it is like if you sprang your ankle, and the tissue around the ankle swells. The tissue around in the breast is swelling in response to t the milk coming in.
Try to nurse more often, to help soften the breast. When you get the milk out, the breast softens. Warm showers or warm compresses on the breast helps too, or you can try ice, for the swelling. Just don’t leave the ice on for very long. You may need to hand express some of the milk from the nipple to get the baby to latch on. Keep in mind that this does not last very long. About 12-24 hours.
Blocked Milk Ducts
This is when you notice a lump on the breast. If there is no lump, it may just have a red area on the breast.
It is important to get this to release. Try to apply heat to the area, nurse often, (if the baby swallows the ‘plug’, it is ok, it is not bad for the baby), get plenty of rest, and try to position the baby differently at the breast to may help pull the plug out.
You can also massage the area, toward the nipple to encourage the plug to unplug. Drink plenty of fluids. The causes are as follows: (the following is taken from ‘the check list for Breastfeeding’ from the ICEA 1984
Adhering to a rigid feeding schedule resulting in milk back up in the breast.
Give attention to baby’s signals and mother’s own sensations of fullness rather than the clock. Feed, frequently, every 2-3 hours in the day and every 4-5 hours at night. Use both breasts at each feeding.
Pressure on duct from a bra that is too tight
Wear a better fitting bra with a larger cup size
Breast feeding in only one position
Alternate baby and mother’s position. Varying positions will help milk flow through ducts all around your breasts.
Skipping or delaying feedings (holidays, travel, illness, vacations and company)
Make a conscious effort to breast feed frequently and regularly during these unusual times.
Storage of Breast Milk
If you choose to pump for any reason, you can store your milk in a refrigerator for up to 48 hours. When you take the milk out, you will notice that it has separated from the cream part. Just shake it up to re-mix it. It is ok. Warm up the breast milk with warm water in the sink, not in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.