You’re home with your new baby and she is crying so your questions begin. Having left the hospital on the same day that baby was born, you are feeling a bit overwhelmed!
Is she hungry perhaps? As your cup of coffee gets cold on the table nearby you undo your clothes, unwrap your precious bundle and bring her to your breast. Skin to skin the midwife had said, was ideal. So! You see a tiny dribble of yellow milk showing on your nipple. You lay this tiny person on her side with her mouth opposite your nipple. Suddenly her mouth is wide open and she closes her mouth over it. The crying stops!
Colostrum is the name of the creamy yellow first milk which flows from the breast in the first days after birth. It is very valuable as it is a natural antibiotic which protects the baby from stomach and respiratory illnesses and helps to avoid other conditions like asthma and eczema.
A new baby’s tummy is only about the size of a table tennis (ping pong) ball so feeding often like 2 hourly, will keep the tummy full. Sore nipples can occur in the first days but watching the following can help avoid this.
- Firstly make sure baby has a WIDE open mouth when he comes to the breast. His lips should cover the darker area (areola) which surrounds the nipple.
- Secondly, when baby appears to be sucking and swallowing you can check this out by looking at the side of his neck to check for swallowing movements. If he stops swallowing, he will be grasping the nipple and this can make them very sore.
So as soon as you see this happening, slip a clean finger into the corner of the mouth to break the suction. Off he will come! Then rub a little milk onto your nipples as the healing properties in breast milk will help them recover and heal any tiny cracks. Avoid soap on the nipples as it tends to dry them too much.
Accept any offers for help in the house as you will get tired. Little babies don’t understand that night time is for sleeping. Try having a lie down when baby is dozes off. Their care is full on in the first weeks. But truly calmer days will come.