Medically reviewed by Dr. Unsa Mohsin.
The Birth Crawl
We hear a lot about how beautiful breastfeeding is, how it helps you bond with your child, gives you confidence as you watch your child grow and how wonderful it is to see your baby sleep and relax against your breast.
These are unlike any other encounters. Every mother deserves to experience this beautiful connection with her child, but what if it isn’t occurring for you – or not in the way you expect? In all honesty, everyone struggles in the beginning. Some struggle to achieve a deep latch, some get overwhelmed with the baby’s growing needs or with a child who is not latching at all.
Is it something wrong with you? Are you not producing enough milk?
Everyone experiences their own difficulties when the entire family dynamic transforms beneath you as you embark on the steep learning curve of breastfeeding and parenting. Do you know the difference between mothers who breastfeed for as long as they wish versus those who stop? Its support!
(Donna Murray, 2020)
Every breastfeeding mother’s experience is special. Nonetheless, many women have comparable questions and concerns. Here’s some advice to get you started.
How often does a child need to be breastfed?
Breastfed babies nurse often, but only at first. Babies usually wake up every one to three hours to breastfeed, which amounts to at least 8-12 times each day. So be prepared for this frequency of feedings, but rest assured that it will not continue indefinitely.
How long between my baby’s feedings?
Feedings are scheduled from the start of one breastfeeding session to the start of the next. For instance, if you begin at 1pm, your baby will most likely be ready to breastfeed again between 2pm and 5pm. That being said, don’t emphasis exclusively on the time. Instead, pay attention to your baby’s cues. If they were fed an hour ago and are now acting hungry, respond by offering your breast.
Will I have enough milk?
Many new mothers are concerned that they may “run out of milk” since their baby has to be fed frequently. Remember, your body is capable of incredible wonders!
Although more than 95% of women are biologically capable of nursing, there is an unusually high percentage of breastfeeding failure based on Perceived Insufficient Milk, whereas milk production is most of the time always enough.
How to know if my child is getting enough milk?
Sadly, there are no ounce indicators on breasts! Continuous weight increase and attentiveness are indicators, but diaper checks are the greatest method to ensure that what goes in and comes out. Furthermore, because of the way we are conditioned to assess supply, we end up misinterpreting the baby’s typical behavior as a symptom of not being fed enough. This impression is incorrectly promoted socially by family and friends, as well as in hospital settings. On the other hand, a resting infant may be perceived as a happy, well-fed infant, which is not always the case. It might be a case of being underfed on breastmilk or overfed on formula!
Should I incorporate bottle-feeding from the start?
The use of the bottle changes the way a child latches on to the mother, progressively lowering production and also increases the likelihood of outright breast rejection. When it comes to a child’s nutrition, formula and bottle-feeding are not the ideal practices. These are acceptable options if there is a breastfeeding issue that is taking a long time to address, but it’s essential to not normalize them to the point where they hinder effective nursing if that is what parents want for their child. With a progressive approach, reframe your day. If your baby isn’t latching but is drinking breast milk, recognize that he or she is getting your milk and recall the plethora of components in that milk that are specifically created for your baby.
Each of those components is being produced by your body for your child.
If your baby is latching but you are in distress, keep in mind that both of you are learning. Remember that you are new to this and are continuously learning.
Recognize what your infant has gotten from you – nutrition, comfort, physiological control and mental and physical protection. If your child hasn’t been breastfeeding exclusively and you want to achieve that, make it a goal to work towards. Progress, like any ability, isn’t necessarily linear, but when you look back, you will see how it sits in the right direction.
Do you notice a difference in the previous week and the week before? Allow yourself time and be patient with yourself when it comes to your emotions. You are not failing. You and your child are learning. Together.
Bari, H.S., 2021. The struggle is real. DAWN.COM. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1638892.
Vanbuskirk, S., 2021. What is perceived insufficient milk supply? Verywell Family. Available at: https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-is-perceived-insufficient-milk-supply-5116698.
Joseph, T., 2021. What to expect as a breastfeeding mom. Lansinoh. Available at: https://lansinoh.com/blogs/breastfeeding/what-to-expect-as-a-breastfeeding-mom.
Littleton, K. ed., 2019. Breastfeeding faqs: How much and how often (for parents) – nemours kidshealth. KidsHealth. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breastfeed-often.html.
llli, 2020. Is my baby getting enough milk? La Leche League International. Available at: https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/is-baby-getting-enough/.
Donna Murray, R. N. (2020). Common breastfeeding problems and how to deal with them. Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/common-problems-of-breastfeeding-431906.