Is my baby hungry

How to know when it's time to feed a breastfed baby. Hunger cues to look for.

Hunger Cues

In the beginning it’s essential to learn when your baby is ready to eat. It’s best to catch them in the beginning stages rather than later when they are crying inconsolably. Once they start crying it can be hard to get them to latch.

So if you’re struggling with getting your baby to latch, watch your baby for when it’s time to breastfeed. As they get older they generally will pull at your clothes (embarrassing I know, but don’t make it a big deal) to let you know they are hungry. As I’m writing this post my 3 month old typically will turn her head and root around my chest or whoever is holding her to let me know she’s ready to eat.

If your baby looks like they are hungry and showing all the signs even if it’s not time for them to eat again, offer the breast. They may be cluster feeding or going through a growth spurt and signaling your body to make more milk.

If you need to boost your milk supply try some of the delicious Lactation Treats sold by Moms Make Milk. Happy nursing!

Source: KellyMom

 

 

MORE BREASTFEEDING TIPS

Breastfeeding Tips for Moms

Breast milk storage guidelines

How to increase your milk supply in 24 hours

Frequent Nursing and Cluster Feeding

Lactation Treats for increasing your milk supply

 

Breastfeeding Day One

What you can expect the first 24 hours of breastfeeding.

What to expect the first day of breastfeeding after delivery. What's normal and tips on breastfeeding.

My story: I can only speak from the experience of my c-section. Once I arrived in recovery my baby was latched on with the assistance of the nurse. Since I had a csection we did the football hold nursing position. She nursed for about 20-25 minutes. There was probably nothing coming out, maybe a few drops of colostrum. Then that was it for quite a while. Once I was in my room I attempted to nurse her every few hours but she was not interested. I asked the nurse for assistance a few times and she helped me latch. I was thinking oh my goodness what is wrong, why is she having a hard time latching, does this mean I won’t be able to breastfeed? Why is she not interested.

here is why your baby won’t be interested in nursing the first day:

A newborn baby’s stomach is so tiny and can only hold a few drops at a time. Which is great since you don’t have milk that first day. In addition there tummy is already filled with some amniotic fluid that was probably swallowed during labor and delivery. Because of this they are usually sleepy and not very interested in latching on or nursing that first day. Every single nurse, doctor, lactation consultant that came in my room in the first 24 hours assured me that my baby was fine and it was totally normal for her to not be interested in nursing the first day, but that by the next night she would begin cluster feeding and that would bring my milk in. So I continued to try to nurse and she may have latched and nursed a little here and there but by the next night she was nursing non stop for what felt like hours. As a result by 48 hours my boobs were heavy and my milk was in!

Day One Tips:

  • If a certain position is not working for you, try something else. The football hold is suggested for c-section moms but it did not feel natural to me and it was uncomfortable so I did what I felt was right based on my experience with breastfeeding my first child and did the cross cradle hold using my boppy pillow.
  • Don’t stress about not having anything coming out the first day whether you are nursing or pumping. This is NORMAL!
  • Make it clear that you intend to breastfeed while you’re in labor or when preparing for a c-section. When they asked if i was breastfeeding I said yes and no one offered me formula during my entire hospital stay.
  • Watch your baby for signs of hunger, rooting is a top indicator. Crying is usually a late sign.
  • Colostrum is liquid gold and every drop counts!
  • Your baby will probably be very sleepy that first day of life and not very interested in latching on. Try to latch every 2 or 3 hours and if they are not hungry then that’s okay. They will be ready by the next day.
  • Ask Ask Ask as many questions as you need to.
  • Get help with latching, until you are comfortable and confident that you can do it alone.
  • Be sure you request to see someone from lactation before you leave the hospital. I actually saw someone about 3 or 4 times while I was there.
  • If possible, keep your baby in your room and at your bedside.
  • If you’re delivering at a birthing center or at home, your midwife or doula will probably be able to help you with getting started with breastfeeding.

My experience with my first daughter was different because she was in the NICU so I started pumping as soon as someone from lactation came to visit me. My milk came in around day 3 for my preemie and I exclusively pumped for 3 weeks until I was able to start nursing her at the breast. 

What are your tips for the first day? What was your personal experience the first 24 hours with your newborn.

Resources:
Breastfeeding Your Newborn by KellyMom
Breastfeeding Positions (Video) by CloudMom

More Breastfeeding Tips

Top 5 Items to bring in your hospital bag for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Tips

Feeding your newborn

How often should you pump

Cluster Feeding

cluster feeding

What is Cluster Feeding?
What is cluster feeding. How I keep calm when my baby wants to nurse frequently.

Cluster Feeding is when a baby nurses frequently  for several hours at a time. You may experience this when your baby is actively nursing for 20 -30 minutes and then dozes off for a few minutes. You attempt to unlatch and put them down and they start rooting or screaming or a combination of both as if they never ate. You nurse again for another 20 minutes, unlatch and baby seems sleep so you try to put them down again and the cycle begins. You start to wonder if your milk supply is low, but it’s not.

Cluster feeding can be  a result of your baby needing to be comforted at your breast, a growth spurt, or your baby’s way of getting your body to make more milk.

Some babies may want to eat frequently in the evening time and less in the day time.

If your expectation is that your baby will nurse on a schedule, you’ll need to change it because some babies may want to nurse frequently over a period of a few hours and then sleep for a long stretch of time.

Cluster feeding can coincide with a growth spurt which generally happens at 2-3 weeks, 6 week, 3 months and 6 months.

What’s important to know is that this is very normal! You may feel pressure from a relative (husband, sister in law, grandmother etc.) to bottle feed and supplement during their fussy times but that is not necessary.

What I do to keep my sanity when my baby is cluster feeding:

I keep snacks and drinks near by.
I browse through pinterest or social media on my phone.
I read a book.
I watch tv.
I take breaks when needed. If I have been holding the baby for a really long time and nursing while attempting to get her to sleep I put her down in the bouncer or hand her to my husband while I go in another room for a few minutes. (This really helps, even 5 or 10 minutes of not holding the baby).

Note: A baby that wants to feed frequently and is fussy while nursing that is not gaining weight and is not getting enough wet/dirty diapers may indicate that your milk supply is low. Consult a healthcare professional for help. 

MORE BREASTFEEDING TIPS

Breastfeeding Tips for Moms

Breast milk storage guidelines

How to increase your milk supply in 24 hours

Lactation Treats for increasing your milk supply

 

 

Truths about Breastfeeding

You’ve probably heard a lot about breastfeeding and sometimes you’ll get conflicting information. Well here are 3 truths and 3 somewhat truths. I say somewhat truths because it’s not true for everyone.

The truth about breastfeeding. Losing weight, appetite, and how often you should breastfeed

 

Truths about Breastfeeding

  1. A good latch is a foundation of breastfeeding! TRUTH! You need to have a good latch in order to produce an adequate amount of milk, avoid pain, prevent other breastfeeding problems and just to breastfeed successfully! Whenever I talk to a mom who is struggling, I always recommend checking the latch and it’s a good idea to have a lactation nurse or consultant look at it for you.
  2. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand! TRUTH! Yes, yes, yes it is! Your body has to know that you need milk in order to make more of it. So dropping nursing sessions or pumping sessions and thinking your supply will stay the same is not a good idea. If you started off pumping every 3 hours and you’re getting 30-40 ounces a day, dropping down to only 4 pumping sessions a day will not yield 40 ounces. So try adding in more sessions if you find that you are not producing enough. How often should you pump?
  3. Frequency is key! TRUTH! Being consistent and releasing milk frequently is important, especially when you are in the newborn stages and trying to establish your milk supply. How often should you pump? 

Somewhat Truths about Breastfeeding.

  1. You will always be hungry. One thing that surprised me when I started breastfeeding was how big of an appetite I had. I was always hungry. Interestingly enough you actually need more calories a day when you’re breastfeeding than you did when you were pregnant. I say this is somewhat true because everyone may not experience that increase in appetite from breastfeeding.
  2. Breastfeeding helps you lose weight. Ok so this was not really true for me, I didn’t find that it helped me lose weight. Although some women will swear it’s how they lost their baby “pregnancy” weight. I wish this were my truth. You may find that your body holds on to those extra pounds when you’re breastfeeding. Don’t let that stop you from breastfeeding though, it’s only temporary.
  3. Supplements will increase your milk supply. While I have tried supplements like fenugreek and it did work for me, this is not true for everyone. The reason is because your real problem with not making enough milk could be a hormonal thing, or have to do with the above truths (good latch, supply and demand, and frequency of feedings). There are a lot of breastfeeding supplements out there that are worth a try, but none of them are a 100% guarantee that they will help increase your milk supply.

More Breastfeeding Tips

How often should you pump

Breastfeeding Affirmation

Preventing engorgement

How to freeze breast milk

Breast milk storage guidelines

Treat Engorgement

How to treat engorgement

Your milk supply has finally come in, but you noticed that your breast are very heavy and full. It’s possible that you may be experiencing engorgement. If you follow the tips below you should notice that this goes away within 12-48 hours. A more severe case of engorgement may take a few days longer.

7 ways to treat breast engorgement when breastfeeding

  1. Pump before or after nursing. You may find that your baby is not emptying your breast during a feeding. If so, then pumping a few minutes before you nurse or after your baby has finished nursing is a good idea. How do I freeze my breast milk for later?
  2. Try using a cool compress for up to 20 minutes.
  3. Hand express your milk.
  4. Gently massage your breast while you’re nursing.
  5. Gently massage your breast while you’re in the shower.
  6. Try a warm compress for no more than 5 minutes prior to nursing or pumping.
  7. Place clean cabbage leaves inside of your bra covering your breast for up to 3 times a day. You only want to do this for about 20 minutes at a time. Once you notice your engorgement getting better, stop using the cabbage leaves because it also used to decrease your supply when you are weaning.

Make sure you continue to drink fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.

5 Ways to PREVENT engorgement. 

Here are some additional resources for treating engorgement including more details on the use of cabbage leaves.

International Breastfeeding Centre Engorgement Solutions Written by Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, revised by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC © 2009

La Leche League International FAQ’s on Engorgement

More Breastfeeding Tips for you:

How to Prevent Engorgement

Breastfeeding Styles to consider

Breastfeeding Books to read

How to handle visitors when you’re breastfeeding

10 ways to Increase your Milk Supply in 24 hours

 

Prevent Engorgement

Preventing Engorgement

Engorgement happens as a result of an increased flow of fluid and blood in the breast, in addition to your milk supply.

5 ways to prevent breast engorgement when breastfeeding

Here are tips to prevent breast engorgement when breastfeeding:

  1. Nurse often. You hear lactation consultants, moms, nurses, etc. telling you this all the time. The reason is because it not only helps you to maintain a good supply of milk but it can relieve the pain of having your breast be too full. One of the reasons women notice that they’re breast are engorged when they start breastfeeding is because they aren’t allowing the milk to be released on a consistent basis. You’ve probably also heard that if you’re nursing you’ll want to do so on demand rather than trying to follow a strict schedule.  How often should you pump?
  2. Wake up your baby. If you have one of those rare babies that loves to sleep for hours at a time, you may need to wake the baby up to nurse so that you are expressing or releasing the milk in your breast. GASP… “wake a sleeping baby?!” Yes, in some instances you may need to.
  3. Finish the first breast first. Sometimes when we nurse our babies we have a tendency to switch sides before the first breast is empty. If you’re experiencing engorgement than it may be a good idea for you to let your baby finish nursing on the first breast before offering the next. If you are nursing on one breast per feeding, make sure you are keeping up with which breast to nurse from for the next feeding.
  4. Check your latch. “Latch latch latch”, I’m sure this word has become a part of your vocabulary since you started breastfeeding! Seriously, you want to make sure that you have a good latch. This can not only be a cause of engorgement but it can also contribute to not making enough milk.
  5. Get a good nursing bra. If your bra is fitting too tight or not properly it may cause a clogged duct which can lead to engorgement.

How to Treat Engorgement…page 2

More great breastfeeding tips for you:

How to Treat Engorgement

Breastfeeding Styles to consider

Breastfeeding Books to read

How to handle visitors when you’re breastfeeding

10 ways to Increase your Milk Supply in 24 hours

How often should you pump

How often should breastfeeding women pump breast milk
If you’re exclusively pumping meaning that you don’t nurse your baby, you only use a breast pump to express your milk then it’s important to know how often you should be pumping. In the beginning when you are establishing your milk supply you should pump 8 to 12 times a day. Some lactation specialists recommend 8 to 10 rather than 12.

Gasp…12 times a day. I know that seems like a lot but in the beginning you really want to establish a good supply so pumping often is key. Now you will probably hear that you should set a clock for every 3 hours to breastfeed. That’s a great idea but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. 3 hours can turn into 4 easily and you’ll find yourself stressing out because you missed your pumping time. What the La Leche League International recommends is setting goals throughout the day and having a plan for pumping.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.

When I first started exclusively pumping I had a pretty set schedule that paralleled my daughter’s feeding schedule at the hospital. It was a 2-5-8-11 schedule. Basically she ate at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm. So the nurse recommended I follow a similar schedule that guaranteed I got in 8 pumping sessions a day.

A few tips for making sure you are pumping enough throughout the day:

  • “Aim for 10, work for 8, never go under 6” –The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (TWAOB)
  • “Place 8 or 10 pieces of candy near your pump and each time you pump eat a piece. By the end of the day they should be gone.”-TWAOB
  • Find a series on Netflix to watch and each time you pump watch an episode. This helps keep you entertained and for me personally it kept me from falling asleep at 2am.
  • Use a breastfeeding app to keep track of how often and how long you pump.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you missed a pumping session. Pump as soon as you remember.
  • In the beginning don’t sleep through the night, get up and pump. One of my nurses told me not to go longer than 4 hours without pumping when you’re trying to establish your supply.
  • “Adding a short nursing session is helpful, if you’re having trouble pumping often.” –KellyMom

Once your baby is a few months old you may find that you can get by with pumping just 6 times a day and manage to maintain your supply.

Read more about Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Books to Read

What a Breastfeeding Mom’s Search History looks like

10 Reasons why you should breastfeed

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

Tips on freezing your milk

Breastfeeding Styles to consider

Different ways to feed your baby
Different ways to breastfeed your newborn baby

You’re expecting a baby and not sure whether you want to breastfeed or formula feed. While there are gang of women who are adamant about which is best, I just want to offer you some basic information about how to feed your baby.

I should note that Breastfeeding is my preferred choice( obviously I own a business based solely on breastfeeding) . 

Exclusive Breastfeeding

Women who exclusively breastfeed “straight from the tap” don’t offer the baby any other food or drink exclusively for the first 6 months. Usually at 6 months, pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods (pureed of course) in addition to your breast milk.

Exclusive Pumping

Women who exclusively pump do not directly nurse their baby. They use a breast pump to remove the milk from their breast and feed it to the baby in a bottle. I started off exclusively pumping because my daughter was born prematurely and received my milk through a feeding tube and worked her way up to a bottle and eventually we were able to nurse and I no longer had to exclusively pump. If you will be returning to work after giving birth, learning about pumping will greatly benefit you.

Nursing and Pumping

Women who nurse and pump will nurse their baby at the breast in addition to pump their milk to feed in a bottle. This is a common practice especially for working moms. Some moms will pump at work and only offer the breast at home.

Pumping and Supplementing

Women who pump and supplement will use a breast pump to remove their milk and offer formula for some feedings. I’ve found that moms who do this generally do it because of a perceived low milk supply. Or if your baby is underweight some pediatricians may advise you to offer formula to add calories…Long story I had to do this in the beginning even though I had an oversupply, I’ll explain later.

Nursing and Supplementing

If you can’t or choose not to pump but aren’t able to be around your baby 24/7 then nursing and supplementing would be an option. This allows you to nurse your baby when you’re together and feed them formula when you’re away for longer periods of time.

Formula Fed

If you can’t or choose not to breastfeed then there is still a way to feed your baby and that is using formula. As I mentioned I support breastfeeding 100% but I also support feeding your baby 110%. A fed baby is the goal and while breastfeeding offers so many benefits to mom and baby, it may not be your cup of tea and that’s okay. Don’t ever let someone put you down for choosing to feed your baby this way.

Donor Milk

A not so common option but available to moms is donor milk. Sometimes moms have an oversupply or extra milk and choose to donate it to a milk bank. The milk bank offers milk to babies who need it (often it’s NICU babies).

Well that about sums up the different ways to feed your baby. I hope this was informative and I’m sure you’re about to do a google search on some of the options I’ve presented. If you have any questions please leave a comment below or send me an email. If you’d like to talk to other moms who are breastfeeding, you can join the Moms Make Milk Facebook Group. It’s a private group for breastfeeding support.

Clair McCoy 1About Clair

Clair is a wife, mom and entrepreneur. She loves sharing breastfeeding tips with other moms and encouraging women to breastfeed. She is the owner of Moms Make Milk and His Money 101. You can read more about Clair’s experience with breastfeeding on the About Page.

 

Read more about Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Books to Read

What a Breastfeeding Mom’s Search History looks like

10 Reasons why you should breastfeed

Top 5 things to pack in your hospital bag for breastfeeding

 

Breastfeeding Books to Read

Must Read Books for Breastfeeding Moms
Must read books for breastfeeding moms, books to read

I’ve read a lot of books about breastfeeding and these are top 3 books I’d recommend if you want to learn more about breastfeeding and find answers to common questions and problems. These books are not expensive and some of them are offered on Kindle.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.



The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
What’s Inside The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Real-mom wisdom on breastfeeding comfortably—from avoiding sore nipples to simply enjoying the amazing bonding experience.
New insights into old approaches toward latching and attaching, ages and stages, and answers to the most-asked questions.
Strategies for moms who choose to breastfeed for a short time or who plan to nurse for a year or more.
Reassuring information on nursing after a C-section or delivery complications.
Recent scientific data that highlight the many lifelong health benefits of breastfeeding.
Helpful tips for building your support network—at home or when back at work.
Nursing special-needs infants, premies, multiples, and how to thrive no matter what curveball life throws.
Guidance on breast health issues, weight gain, day care, colic, postpartum depression, food allergies, and medications.

The ABCs of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience
What’s Inside The ABCs of Breastfeeding
From pregnancy to weaning, this helpful book will show nursing mothers how to: find a doctor who is breastfeeding-friendly; hold their baby comfortably after birth; recognize the signs that a baby wants to be fed; take necessary steps that will prevent breastfeeding difficulties; build a healthy milk supply; manage the right diet; continue breastfeeding immediately after returning to work; and, know when to stop breastfeeding. Illustrated with real-life stories from the author’s own private practice of women who have overcome common and not-so-common breastfeeding difficulties, “The ABCs of Breastfeeding” will help expectant and new mothers turn their nursing experiences into a joyful one – for themselves and their new babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nursing Mother’s Companion – 7th Edition: The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy through WeaningWhat’s Inside The Nursing Mother’s Companion
•How to cope with breastfeeding obstacles and challenges
• Incorporating a nursing routine into working life
• Treating postpartum headaches and nausea
• Nutritional supplements to alleviate postpartum depression
• Sharing a baby with baby (co-sleeping) and the risk of SIDS
• Introducing solid foods
• Expressing, storing, and feeding breast milk
• Reviews of breast pumps

 

What I’ve googled since I started Breastfeeding

So before you started breastfeeding you probably rarely used the terms “latch” “pumping” or “duct.” Now you’re breastfeeding and you find these words are often a part of your vocabulary.

What I've googled since I started breastfeeding

What’s really interesting is the fact your google search history probably gives away that you are a breastfeeding mom and you often feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Am I right? If you’re like me you probably do a google search for everything. Read below and see how many of these things you’ve googled since you started breastfeeding.

  • How do I know if I got a good latch?
  • What’s the best position for breastfeeding?
  • How long should I breastfeed?
  • How do I quit breastfeeding?
  • How do I make more breast milk?
  • How do I know if I make enough breast milk?
  • Why is my breast milk soapy smelling?
  • How long can I leave breast milk out?
  • How do I freeze breast milk?
  • What is nipple confusion?
  • How do I get rid of a clogged duct?
  • Why is my baby so fussy after nursing?
  • Can I eat sushi while breastfeeding?
  • Can I get pregnant if I’m breastfeeding?
  • Can I take (insert medicine name) while breastfeeding?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
  • How do I pump and dump?

 

I’m pretty positive that you’ve googled at least one of these questions before! While I don’t have all of these answers posted on my site, you can certainly ask your question to a group of over 300 moms who have either breastfed in the past or are currently breastfeeding in the Moms Make Milk Facebook Group. It’s a private group and no one outside of the group can see what you post. It’s a really supportive environment and I’d love for you to be a part. All you have to do is request to join and I’ll add you to the group.

Before you leave, check out these posts:

10 ways to increase your breast milk supply in 24 hours

Breastfeeding Affirmation

How to freeze breast milk

Breast milk storage guidelines