In these first 6 weeks your baby is growing at the fastest rate. The brain is also growing and developing at its fastest rate and you will be getting lots of advice, some of it useful and some conflicting and some bizarre. Your baby will guide you and your job is to learn to understand her.
What are the advantages of Breast feeding?
Firstly, we are happy to support new mothers with whatever feeding choice they make. However we strongly encourage breastfeeding and in premature babies, breastmilk (usually expressed) is critical to survival.
Human milk provides virtually all the protein, sugar, and fat your baby needs to be healthy, and it also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections not only while he is breastfeeding but in some cases long after he has weaned. Formula cannot offer this protection.
What to expect in the first 6 weeks of feeding
Once your milk has come in and your baby is demand feeding you may notice a pattern develops. Your baby may feed more frequently in the day and cluster feeds in the evening. This will enable your baby to sleep longer, which is the eventual goal. The evening cluster feeding is important as it stimulates your milk supply to support your baby’s growth.
Growth spurts can come at any time and demand feeding frequency will increase. It is important not to think your milk supply is inadequate at these times. This frequent feeding creates the needed milk for the growth spurt. Relax and feed as often as needed. You can’t overfeed a baby, they will stop when they have had enough.
At 6-8 weeks growth slows down and feeding patterns are more routine with longer sleep at night.
Where can I get help & support?
In general, there is always a way to work it out so breastfeeding can be successful and without pain. Breastfeeding takes dedication and making your baby’s world your priority. You will become frustrated and exhausted when you try to fit all you used to do into your new baby’s first 6 weeks.
Our mothers can always call our rooms and speak to one of our sisters for advice, LeeAnn is our breastfeeding specialist.
The following is a useful web site which you may peruse:
La Leche League South Africa http://www.llli.org/SouthAfrica.html
The Breastfeeding Association of South Africa’s contact details are:
Gauteng Tel: (011) 883 9873
Cape Town Tel: (021) 686 8363
KwaZulu Natal Tel: (033) 396 2040