Medela concentrates on two divisions: "Breastfeeding", leading in the development and production of breastfeeding products, and "Healthcare", engineering and manufacturing highly innovative medical vacuum technology solutions.
Hi everyone, I’m Lucy. I’m mum to my baby girl Kora who is 16 months plus another baby due in June!
This pregnancy has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe in just a couple of short months I’ll be running around after two!
With my past breastfeeding experience, I really struggled with building and maintaining my milk supply and therefore lasted 4 months. With baby number two, I hope to get past the 4-month marker and breastfeed as long as possible without setting unrealistic expectations for myself.
It’s Time to Get Organized!
This time around I’m feeling more organised when I think about our breastfeeding journey.
With Kora, my first, I was very unprepared for things like boosting my milk supply and doing what I can to prolong the journey. This time I’m totally ready with my lactation biscuits (I personally think that they help with my supply) AND my Freestyle double electric pump. This will be a total time saver used alongside the Medela bustier.
My first time around I only had a single pump, so I can’t wait to be able to get pumping done in half the time!
I Wish That I Knew About Double Pumping The First Time Around!
Previously, I had a single breast pump and felt like I was either feeding or pumping all the time. Because I was doing only one breast at a time, it could take me over an hour on the one breast to even pump half a bottle and then I still had to do the other!
I know that, for the first few months, feeding is quite often around the clock but I really believe having a quality double breast is going to be super handy in lifting some of the load and saving precious time.
Everyone is Different. Every Breastfeeding Journey is Too!
I know how tricky breastfeeding can be for each person and how different each journey can be so I don’t want to set a potentially unrealistic goal for us this time around.
With my increased knowledge about breastfeeding and the right support, I feel like I have the best chance to get past my previous milestone of 4 months. Then onto 6 months, then 8 months, then who knows!
I’m going to do all I can to assist my supply. I just need to listen to my body and baby.
How would you describe your breastfeeding journey? What do you wish someone would have told you before you got started? Let’s have a chat and support each other.
Medela has partnered with Roz Kelly, Australian sports presenter and second time Mama, for advice on returning to work whilst breastfeeding and what she has learned from the challenges she faced in the early days of breastfeeding.
Medela: Having a baby is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. What breastfeeding advice would you give to new mothers that you wish you had of known before you started breastfeeding?
Roz: Your emotions can have a great impact on your ability to produce milk. If you are stressed, rushed or overwhelmed, take a few moments to just breathe and slow down before feeding or pumping. Calm mama, calm baby.
Medela: Could you tell us about any challenges that you experienced in the early days of breastfeeding and how you overcame them?
Roz: Mastitis was one of the worst experiences of my breastfeeding journey with my first born. It was painful, confusing and really emotional. I knew nothing about it until it hit me hard a week post-partum.
I tried every trick in the book to get me through it… cabbage leaves on my boobs, hot showers, cold packs, strange feeding positions… but I’m glad I didn’t give up on breastfeeding because I continued to feed my son for just over a year which was really special.
Medela: How did using a breast pump assist you in the early days and beyond?
Roz: The hum of the breast pump is the soundtrack of my life at the moment!
My Medela Freestyle has been a game changer because it enables me to pump on the go which is essential when you are a working mother and also have a busy three-year-old boy who won’t let you sit down!
Medela: How has the breast pump helped with your transition back to work?
Roz: My feeding journeys with my boys have been polar opposites. With my first, Ari, I took a solid year out so completely weaned by the time I went back to work on a freelance basis – which was good because he was NEVER interested in taking a bottle.
However, with my second son, Leo, I returned to work part-time when he was four months so a breast pump has become my main accessory! It’s enabled me to build up a solid stockpile of milk which gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing he will never go hungry if I get held up at work or called away with little notice.
Medela: What are your top tips for other mums who would like to continue breastfeeding when they return to work?
Roz: Be open and honest about your breastfeeding journey with your colleagues so you aren’t put in any situation where you may feel too uncomfortable to pump or can’t pump.
How would you describe your own breastfeeding journey? What advice do you wish someone had given you before you got started? Let’s have a chat and support each other.
You may have heard of mastitis. Or, you may know someone who has experienced it before, considering that 20% of Australian women are affected by it.
By definition, Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast that may be accompanied by infection. It is usually caused by a blocked milk duct, but it can also be caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph).
It can pop up at any time, but occurs mostly during the first 6 months post-partum, due to a range of factors including the baby not attaching well, damage to the nipple, blocked milk ducts, full breasts, stopping breastfeeding suddenly, tight clothing, and tongue ties.
It is important to seek medical attention early, so that you can avoid infection, as well as continuing with breastfeeding frequently (8-12 sessions per 24 hours) to drain the infection from the breasts. But, the amazing thing about your breast milk – among many other things – is that even with mastitis, it is still safe for your baby to drink!
What Does Mastitis Look Like?
While there are some mothers who experience early symptoms, such as feeling like they have a cold or flu, experiencing shivers, aches, nausea, or vomiting, other mums have no symptoms, and it can come without any signs. The breast can appear red in colour and can feel hot and painful and can have a shiny, streaky appearance (ouch). You may also notice a painful lump in your breasts that does not drain after feeding.
Your breasts will also most likely be looking and feeling very full which is why it is important to continue to breastfeeding or expressing from both breasts, particularly the affected breast, until it is drained well. Be sure to drain the other, unaffected, breast also, to avoid the same issue on the other side.
How is Mastitis Treated?
Like with all illnesses, it is important to relax and get enough rest – self-care is important and even though you’re busy with your new little one, it’s important to make time for yourself!
As mentioned earlier, it is important to continue with breastfeeding frequently however, if the affected breast is too painful to feed from, express either by hand or by using a pump to reduce fullness and keep the milk flowing.
You should also drink plenty of water, apply a warm compress before expressing or breastfeeding and ice packs after.
Check that you are using the most effective breastfeeding position for you and bub, it requires a surprising amount of co-ordination and patience! (Read here for tried and tested breastfeeding positions).
Use gentle massage while the breast is warm, concentrating on any lumps or sore areas. Use your finger tips or the palm of your hand to gently massage down toward your nipple. This can be done in the shower using the water to assist as a lubricant.
If you need to take pain-relief, anti-inflammatory’s such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are safe to take whilst breastfeeding.
Understanding Mastitis Prevention
If you have cracked or sore nipples, it is important to treat this in the early days to avoid blocked milk ducts or mastitis, as cracks can allow bacteria to enter the breast tissue. Most often, reasons for cracked or sore nipples include an ill-fitting breast shield or your baby biting during feeds.
Refer to our guide on how to measure your nipples to ensure that this isn’t the culprit. What can also be useful in managing sore nipples is contact nipples shields. These little “nipple hats” are great for if you have a baby who bites or if your nipples are sore, whilst maintaining close contact between you and your bub while breastfeeding.
It is also equally as important to “check-in” with your breasts, as mastitis can be caused by an untreated blocked milk duct or white bleb (white spot on the nipple). “Checking in” with your breasts is simple and you probably do it already, without noticing.
Look at your breasts and nipples closely in front of the mirror. Healthy Breasts are their usual size, shape, and colour and are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling and should remain so when you lift your arms.
While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood or a white spot on the nipple). A white spot on the nipple (known as white bleb), is when a tiny bit of skin overgrows the opening of the nipple and forms a blockage in the duct, or the formation of a string of hardened or fattier milk within the duct.
It’s important to get on top of blocked milk ducts or white bleb early, as they are both treatable, check out our blog for how to treat white bleb.
If you notice that your breasts may be looking or feeling a little different, contact your health care provider for more information.
Has anyone that you know experienced mastitis? What did they tell you about the experience and how they recovered from it? Let’s have a chat and support each other!
Many mothers birth their babies by cesarean section and, while this can make breastfeeding more challenging, it is absolutely possible to successfully breastfeed after a cesarean section.
Here is what you need to know to get you off to a flying start.
Start Breastfeeding Early After a Cesarean Section
Any mother who has a stressful birth, such as a cesarean section, may experience their milk coming in a little later than what is considered a range of normal. For most, milk transitions from colostrum (early milk) to milk coming in by 72 hours of birth.
After your baby and your placenta are birthed, your milk-making hormones go into overdrive and cause the cells that make your milk to switch on into production.
Research tells us that early and frequent sucking helps to switch on these milk-making cells, and mums who are able to feed or pump in the first hour have been shown to start lactation earlier, breastfeed for longer and have greater milk production compared to mums who start feeding or pumping later. By putting your baby to the breast as soon as they are born, you will maximise the switching on of your milk making cells.
Even if you have had an epidural or spinal anaesthesia, you may be able to breastfeed as soon as your baby is born. If you have a general anaesthesia (GA), you may be separated from your baby for a brief period while you wake up from the anaesthetic. Many hospitals now have breast pumps in theatre and recovery and the nurses and midwives will be able to assist you in expressing within the first 1-3 hours after birth.
If you are anaesthetised for a long period or take longer to recover, a nurse or midwife may be able to express you while you are unable to do so. Once you are reunited with your baby, feed your baby often.
Many hospitals realise the life long benefits of keeping mother and baby together and employ extra nurses or midwives so that if you do have a cesarean section, your baby can safely remain with you. It is the nurse or midwives role to ensure that your baby is safe while you are affected by the medications given to you during your cesarean.
If your baby does remain with you while you are affected by medication, it is vital that you are not alone and that you and your baby are under constant supervision.
After your baby is born, they will be placed on your chest in the skin to skin position and will remain there while the doctors stitch your cesarean wound. Evidence on skin-to-skin contact suggests that newborns that are placed skin to skin with their mum immediately after birth and breastfeed within the first hour after birth have better breastfeeding outcomes. This includes a reduced risk of the delay in your milk coming in, improved milk production, and increased breastfeeding duration.
It is therefore important that the mum is given the opportunity to breastfeed and have the baby skin to skin immediately after birth in the delivery room. Avoiding any maternal-baby separation in the first hours is recommended. Zero separation ensures that you and your baby can stay together. The allocated nurse or midwife will be able to assist you to safely put your baby to the breast even if you are groggy from the medication.
If you are unable to have skin-to-skin contact, have a backup plan for someone who can, and make sure the hospital team knows your wishes. When choosing a hospital to birth at, ask them what their policy on zero separation is and let them know your preferences.
Feed and/or Express Frequently
Regardless of the type of delivery that you have, it is important to feed your baby often. Feeding your baby frequenly will help to boost your supply and help switch your milk supply on.
Typically, newborn babies will breastfeed eight to twelve times per 24 hours, with the interval varying from two to three hours on average. However, this varies widely between babies.
Offer your baby the breast every time that they signal to you that they are ready to feed (stirring, rousing from sleep, licking their lips) and let them feed at the breast for as long as they desire.
If your baby is unable to feed effectively or is separated from you, it is important to start expressing, a minimum of 8 times in 24 hours, until your baby is feeding effectively. If you are concerned that your baby is not feeding effectively or if breastfeeding is painful, ask your midwife/nurse/lactation consultant for assistance.
Post Cesarean Section Pain Management
While you are recovering from your cesarean section, it is likely that you will experience some pain. Pain from the incision site is common, and you may also experience pain from your uterus contracting (after pains) back down to size. Pain can make breastfeeding a little more challenging.
Many pain medications are compatible with breastfeeding, so don’t be afraid to ask for pain medication. If you are on top of your pain control, your recovery will feel smoother, and it will be easier to position your baby to feed effectively.
Different breastfeeding positions such as the football hold can take the weight of your baby off your incision site and make breastfeeding easier while you are healing. Make sure you ask for help with positioning if you are having any difficulties
Have you or anyone that you know gone through a cesarean section? What did they tell you about the experience – and how they recovered from it? Let’s have a chat and support each other.
Medela is excited to unveil new research conducted by Australia’s very own Dr Donna Geddes of University of Western Australia, which explains the role breast milk plays in preventing childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity is a major public health issue in Australia, associated with significant risk for chronic disease.
A Growing Problem for Australian Children
Did you know that 1 in 4 Australian children between the ages of 2-17 are overweight or obese?
For many years, the belief has been that rapid growth in an infant is detrimental later in life and that the only relationship between the growth of the baby was thought to be the volume of milk: more volume, more growth.
A New Way of Looking at Obesity in Breastfed Babies
The gap in research is that, in the past, measuring obesity in breastfed babies has focused exclusively on the growth rate of the baby.
Dr Geddes’ research is the first of its kind in that it debunks longstanding breast milk myths in regards to infant body composition and appetite regulation.
This is due to the fact that previous studies of obesity and body composition were carried out on formula-fed babies, which lacks many of the components that are in breast milk.
A Fascinating Result!
It appears the combination of the concentration components in breast milk ensure the development of the right amount of fat and muscle for each baby.
Dr Geddes’s research finds that, it’s not size per se, or weight, that really affects an infant’s body composition.
This is due to the appetite controlling hormones- leptin and adiponectin- which are also present in some of infant formula milks, but in lower doses, which cannot adapt to the individual infant’s diet or stage of development.
This means that the unique programming qualities found in breast milk operate very differently, with its unique ability to tailor every feed to the infant’s needs and provide a precise dose of required hormones.
They’re also more likely to take in a more varied diet – here’s to kids who enjoy trying new foods!
So, What Does All This Mean?
Babies who receive breast milk in their diet have the best chance for their hormones to self-regulate and prevent the likelihood of childhood obesity.
Mother’s Milk, Everyday Amazing!
Dr Geddes will be presenting her findings at the 14th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium on the 4 – 5 April 2019 in London.
Jordan is three months old now and, in terms of breastfeeding, I have learnt that the more I do it, the more confident and comfortable I become. Now it has become second nature.
I am finding breastfeeding to be a truly unique and beautiful experience that I get to share with my baby. What I love about it is being able to bond with my son and know that he can grow and nourish with my breastmilk!
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself Mums
For mums who can breastfeed, I say, go for it! For mums who are finding it tough… hang in there, there are alternatives and that’s okay. I do a combination of breastfeeding and expressing.
Remember, every journey and every baby is different. Try not to be too hard on yourself!
The material of the tank is durable and high-quality and I can unclip it with one hand. Expressing with the freestyle pump has also meant that I can store my breastmilk into labelled containers and freeze them as I go.
When it’s time to feed, I make sure to thaw the breastmilk a couple of hours beforehand.
Jordan is 3-Months-Old!
Being three months in, Jordan is feeding more. So, to keep up my supply, I have been pumping and storing more frequently.
He also feeds once during the night, so, by pumping and storing my expressed breastmilk, I can prepare for his night time feeds. This helps especially for when I’m feeling tired, as I have the option to grab the thawed breastmilk from the fridge and heat it up for Jordan.
I have found that it is important to continue expressing and not skip night feeds too often or it can reduce your breastmilk supply for the next day. During this process, my partner has been so supportive by taking these “night shifts” to feed, bathe and play with Jordan. It really helps a lot to have that extra support system for when you have a newborn!
You Are Not Alone!
If you’d like more information about how your partner can support you and what questions they may have about breastfeeding read here.
How would you describe your breastfeeding journey? What do you wish someone had told you before you had your child (or children)? Let’s have a chat and support each other!
Feeding your baby “on-cue” simply means not using the clock to tell you when your baby is ready to feed. Rather than feeding to a schedule, you feed your baby whenever they show you feeding cues that they are hungry.
Cue-based feeding may also mean that you don’t watch the clock to time how long your baby has fed for – rather, you allow your baby to feed for however long it takes them to be satisfied.
Your Baby Will Tell You When He’s Hungry
A baby that is preparing itself to feed will show you signs that they are ready but watch closely because the signs may initially be subtle and these are known as early feeding cues.
Your baby may start to rouse from sleep, start licking their lips or opening their mouth. They may even start sucking on their fingers.
These subtle signs will increase in intensity as your baby’s hunger grows and they may start to turn their head from side to side, start moving their limbs around and start making vocalising noises:
Hey Mum! Why aren’t you feeding me?
Eventually, your baby will start to cry, but crying is considered a late stage of hunger:
Feed me NOW!
It is much easier to get a calm and quiet baby latched onto the breast for a breastfeed than a very upset baby. Also, responding to early feeding cues has been shown to keep your milk supply up, satisfy your baby’s hunger and thirst and reassures your baby that you are there when they need you.
Check out the Australian Breastfeeding Associations article for great visual aid on baby feeding cues.
A Few Special Notes
If you have a premature baby, a sick baby, a baby who is not gaining weight or your health care practitioner has advised you to wake your baby for feeds then it is important that you do so.
Some babies need a bit of extra support in the early days and may need to be woken to feed. Generally, once these babies are gaining appropriate weight, you can switch to cue-based feeding but always be guided by your health care practitioner.
Is it Possible to Spoil Your Baby by Feeding Him or Her Too Often?
When you are a first-time mum or a new mum, you will receive lots of unsolicited advice. Take what works for you and forget the rest!
The truth is, you can’t spoil a baby by feeding frequently or holding them too often. In the first month after birth babies need to feed on average 8 – 12 times every 24 hours to ensure they are getting enough milk and that you stimulate the breasts enough to keep building your milk supply.
After this first month, research has shown us that babies will breastfeed anywhere from 4-13 times every 24 hours. But, most babies still feed on average 10-11 feeds every day.
Each mum and baby’s breastfeeding pattern is different and this is perfectly normal. It is just down to the levels of fat in your milk (which change throughout the day) and the amount of milk your breast can hold at each feed, as well as how your baby is feeling. Babies don’t only feed for nutrition; they also feed for many other reasons such as comfort, pain relief, thirst and connection.
It Takes a While for Everyone to Get Into a Rhythm
A newborn won’t know the difference between night and day and they are unlikely to have regular feeding habits at first. Once your supply is established, you may find that you and your baby find your natural rhythm.
A breastfed baby’s natural rhythm can change from day to day and may change frequently. Flexibility will be key to your feeding success.
Feeding and holding you baby when they cue doesn’t mean that you are spoiling them, quite the opposite, it means that you are responding to your baby’s needs.
Holding your baby regularly, while they breastfeed or sleep, won’t set you up for bad habits in the future. Research has shown that for all mammals, including us humans, being held by our mother regulates all of our physiological needs.
Babies held in the skin to skin contact position stabilise their temperature, breathing, glucose levels and heart rate. Not being close to their mother leaves babies feeling stressed and dysregulation occurs – where babies find it hard to settle and regulate their body processes.
Babies are only little once and, before long, your baby may not want to be snuggled up against your chest, so hold your baby close Mama and enjoy those cuddles!
My Neighbour Feeds Her Baby to a Schedule and it Works for Her!
It’s really hard not to compare yourself to another mums feeding pattern, but be reassured that every baby is different and every mother is different too.
Scheduled feedings are when a parent chooses a timed feeding interval based on things like the baby’s weight or age… and only feeds the baby at these intervals, regardless of baby’s cues or readiness.
Some mothers find that implementing a schedule work wonders for them. Often these are the rare babies that naturally feed at longer intervals and would have beat to that drum regardless.
Regardless, trying to force your baby into a strict feeding schedule can begin to interfere with your supply. The more that your baby feeds from you the more milk your body makes – It’s a clever system of demand and supply.
If milk isn’t removed from your breasts frequently, your body thinks that the milk is no longer required and your supply starts to down regulate. Trying to get your baby to follow a strict schedule may not work for them and may leave both of you in tears of frustration!
Be guided by your baby and, over time, you will find that you and your baby find your own rhythm – one that is perfect for the both of you!
What is your take on cue-based feeding? Do you have any advice for the mums in our community who may be just at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey? Let’s have a chat and support each other!
Hey Mama! I just wanted to tell you that I love the milk that you make me!
Even though it’s the only food I’ve tried, it’s my favourite! It fills me up just the right amount and I don’t know why, but, I always feel like drifting off to sleep afterwards.
When I get to drink from you, I know that I’m safe. I LOVE that little singing thing you do and the way you stroke my head, it feels so nice and comforting. I like when Daddy sings too because he does that weird rocking thing that I like… but it’s you and your milk that I want mostly.
That’s why I wake you up at night sometimes – you always know how to calm me down and you seem to always know what I want!
The World is So Big Mama… and Confusing!
When I was snuggled up inside you, everything was really easy. But, now that I’m in the “real world,” things are a bit confusing.
Like your voice! Before I was in the real world, when you talked or laughed, it sounded muffled. Now that I’m in the real world, when I hear you talk or giggle its louder and I can see your face. It’s the same with Daddy’s voice too!
Could you feel me kicking mama? I wasn’t sure if you could and I wanted to let you know I was listening. See Mama, the real world is more fun because I can see all these things now, but, it’s also really confusing when I can see that you’re upset and I don’t know if I’m doing this whole “baby” thing right. So, I have a question.
How Come We Both Get Upset When I Go to the Other Side to Have a Feed?
Every time I go to the side that has the little freckle, I can’t find the part where I drink from because it’s a little flatter than the other one. When I go to the freckle side, I feel you tense up and sometimes you will cry and then I will cry… I’m sorry Mama, I’m trying really hard to suckle but I don’t think it’s helping … I just really want your milk!
Why is this side different though, mama? With the other side it’s easy to suckle and I feel like I could drink foreveeeeeeer. But on this side, I can’t get my mouth to stay on like it usually does, it’s always slipping off! Like I said, this “baby” thing is really confusing and I think I’m doing it all wrong…
What’s with the Plastic Thing Mama?
Hang on, what is that little plastic thing that you’re putting over the drinking part on the freckle side? It feels different in my mouth! I can still see your skin underneath but it looks shiny and feels smooth! And it’s much easier for me to suck on… I’m not slipping off anymore!
You’re not tensing up as much either and you’re starting to do the soft singing that I like. Woo-hoo, this is working for me and there is milk too! I can see that you’re smiling now and daddy looks happy too.
I love your milk mum, even though I’m confused about most things these days (like what the plastic thing is), you always seem to know what to do and that’s why your MY mum.
I love you mama!
How would you describe your own breastfeeding journey? What do you wish someone had told you before you started breastfeeding? Let’s have a chat and support each other.
For mum’s who have flat, inverted or sore nipples, latch on difficulties, or an overactive let-down, Medela Contact Nipple Shields offer a durable, comfortable and convenient way to make breastfeeding easier. Our Contact Nipple Shields are specially designed and constructed to provide close contact for the baby and ensure a comfortable breastfeeding experience.
Little toothy pegs! How cute! Many people think that when a baby gets teeth it is time to stop breastfeeding. This just isn’t true. Babies have continued to feed with teeth for thousands of years.
In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 2 years or as long as mother and baby desire.
Some babies never bite but many start experimenting when they begin teething. After all, they are learning what they can do with these new little chompers!
Biting is usually a temporary phase and there are a number of things that you can do to help minimise the frequency and intensity of the biting.
A Better Latch = Less Baby Biting!
When a baby is latched well and feeding effectively their tongue covers their bottom teeth making it impossible to bite. So, paying attention to their latch can prevent a bite.
Make sure your baby opens wide to get a large mouthful of breast and praise your baby when they do. Often towards the end of a feed the baby’s latch can slip, making it easier to bite.
Pay attention to how you baby is feeding and, if you see your baby start to slow down or if you see their latch changing, remove them from the breast.
If you find that your baby is biting at the beginning of a feed try giving them something that they can chew on prior to feeding. A teething toy or something cold can help relieve the symptoms of teething and may, in turn, reduce biting.
What Other Reasons Are There for a Baby Biting While Breastfeeding?
Sometimes babies bite when they are not hungry or not interested in feeding. If you have offered the breast and they are not interested, try again in a little while.
Distraction, such as reading a book to your baby, can not only keep your baby interested in feeding but holding the book above eye height will cause your baby to tilt their head back to see the book and by doing this assist a deep latch. Feeding while standing and rocking or swaying may help to sooth a distracted baby and keep them interested in the feed.
If your baby does bite your first reaction is to pull them backwards and off the breast but doing this can damage your breast tissue. Try bringing your baby towards you, close into the breast. Doing this can make it momentarily uncomfortable to breathe and your baby will automatically open their mouth and spontaneously release your breast.
If your baby is biting down and won’t let go gently insert your finger between their gums and then remove them from the breast.
Dealing with Your Emotions is So Important when Your Baby Bites
Biting hurts and can often catch you by surprise and you may find that you yell out in pain. Babies can be startled or even scared by your reaction and be temporarily reluctant to go back to the breast. If this happens, give your baby lots or reassurance and extra cuddles.
Yelling (on purpose) as a method of changing biting behaviour isn’t very effective and may have undesired results. A gentler approach is to simply stop the feed for a few moments. Babies are very clever and your baby will quickly learn that biting doesn’t get them fed.
Sometimes, when your milk supply dips a baby may bite and pull back, trying to get another milk ejection from the breast. Some factors that may negatively affect milk supply are: resuming menses, pregnancy while breastfeeding, hormonal birth control methods, some medications and supplements, and even stress.
Remember, if your baby is gaining weight appropriately, they are getting enough milk. If you have questions about your milk supply, check with an IBCLC for personalised, expert advice.
Did your baby ever bite you while breastfeeding? Do you have any advice for the other mums in our community who are facing a similar challenge? Let’s have a chat and support each other!
Most newborn babies will wake regularly and frequently to breastfeed. However, there may be times when your newborn baby needs to be awakened to breastfeed. For example, there may be medically indicated reasons why a baby may need to be woken to feed such as Jaundice, congenital heart disease, illness or your baby may not be gaining adequate weight.
Is Falling Asleep at the Breast Normal?
Babies are biologically programmed to fall asleep at the breast. Falling asleep at the breast is a normal behaviour and is mostly due to a hormone called cholecystokinin or CCK. CCK makes your baby feel full and sleepy and it is released in your babies gut as soon as they start sucking.
Younger babies generally have higher concentrations of CCK which can make it harder to keep them awake during a feed. This is a perfect system if your baby is waking frequently and feeding well but for the baby who is needing to be woken or to be encouraged to feed it can be a challenge.
So how do you keep a sleepy baby awake at the breast? There are some simple but effective things that you can do to help
Try Skin-to-Skin Contact
Keeping your baby in the skin-to-skin position can help ignite your baby’s natural feeding instinct and encourage them to feed. After all, if you are in the kitchen, you want to eat! Babies can easily find the breast in this position and may spontaneously feed.
Skin-to-skin contact also allows you to notice subtle feeding cues that otherwise may be missed. Your baby may only make a slight wiggle to signal to you that they are ready to feed and if you are holding them closely on your chest you are more likely to notice.
Learn Your Baby’s Early Feeding Cues
Understanding your babies feeding signals and feeding them when they are showing early ready to feed signs can help them to feed better. Check out the Australian Breastfeeding associations Feeding cues article for pictures of early and late feeding cues.
Compress Your Breasts
While your milk is flowing your baby will be actively sucking but once the flow of milk slows down your baby may slow down or stop sucking altogether. By gently compressing your breasts you will be encouraging your milk flow to continue… and this can help your baby to begin sucking and swallowing again.
Dr Jack Newman demonstrates breast compressions in this YouTube clip:
Dr Jack Newman Breastfeeding Video - Compression technique. - YouTube
Your breasts work simultaneously, so, when you are feeding on one breast, the other side is also experiencing a letdown.
Once your baby begins to fall asleep, switch sides so that there is a fresh supply waiting for them. You can repeat this several times (switch back and forth between breasts) because you have more than one letdown per feed.
Changing breasts can make it easier for a baby to fill their tummy when breastfeeding. You can also mix it up by switching sides and use breast compressions together
Use Gentle Stimulation
If your baby falls asleep and stops feeding (it’s possible for babies to continue feeding while they are sleeping), gently stroking their hands and feet can stimulate them to stay awake for longer. Sitting your baby up and giving them a gentle back rub can also help to wake them up and it gives them the opportunity to expel any trapped wind that they may have. If that fails, changing your babies nappy mid feed can rouse them enough to feed some more.
Babies are all different and all feed in different ways so what is “normal” for one baby may be different from another. If you are concerned about any aspect of feeding it is essential that you seek help early and it is always important that you follow your health practitioner’s advice.
As a general rule, if your baby is having at least six very wet cloth nappies or at least five very wet disposable nappies of pale urine, 3 or runnier bowel actions in 24 hours then you can be assured that your baby is getting enough milk.
For more information contact:
Your General Practitioner
An International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant
Your Maternal Child Health Nurse
The Australian Breastfeeding Association
Have you ever had a baby that always seemed to fall asleep at the breast? What did you do to improve the situation? Let’s have a chat and support each other!