When you first start breastfeeding, it is normal to be full of doubts and fears about nursing your little one, especially if you're a first-time mum. Here's the answer to some of the most common "problems" that mums may face from the first days of breastfeeding:
What should I do if there is not much milk and it looks watery?
The quantity and quality of your milk depends on the rate at which the baby sucks. It is therefore important to increase the frequency and duration of feeds, allowing your baby to suckle at will until they seem satisfied.
How often should my baby feed?
When your baby is very small, it is advisable to feed on demand, i.e. your little one should nurse whenever they're hungry. Most newborns need to be fed every two or three hours, i.e. between 8 and 12 times a day.
How do I know if my child is hungry?
It is easy to tell when your baby is hungry, as they start to cry and make sucking gestures, looking for their mother's breast. You must always look for these signs rather than looking at the clock to decide when to feed your baby.
How can I tell if my baby is full?
Normally when a baby is full, they will seem satisfied and stop suckling of their own accord. However, it might also be the case that your baby wants a rest and will then carry on feeding. There are no fixed rules; by observing her baby, the mother will learn to distinguish whether her child is full or wants to be fed again.
How do I know if my baby's getting enough?
There are certain signs that help you to know whether your child is well fed: for example, the baby should have between five and eight wet nappies a day, their weight should increase by about 100-200 grams a week (except during the first two weeks, when they will lose weight) and, in general, they should seem healthy, happy and active.
What foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?
A breastfeeding mum can eat whatever she likes. However, you should bear in mind that there are certain types of food that can alter the taste of your milk and this might cause the little one to reject it. This is the case, for example, with onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes and some spices. Of course, when breastfeeding you should reduce your caffeine intake (coffee and fizzy drinks) and avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
What should I do if I have too much milk?
If your breasts are still full of milk after feeding your child, you should express it, either by hand or using a breast reliever, to avoid getting blocked ducts and certain infections. What is more, emptying your breasts regularly will help you keep up a high level of milk production and thus ensure your supply of the ideal food for your child's development.
How can breast milk be stored?
If the milk you have expressed is going to be used within the next three or four days, simply fill the bottle and keep it in the fridge. However, if you want to keep the milk for longer, you must put it in sterilised bags and place it in the freezer, where it can be kept for a maximum of three months.