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  1. #1

    leaking breastmilk in relation to baby is hungry

    Is it true that one way of knowing the baby is hungry (except crying) is when breastmilk leaks from the mother's breast? If so, would that mean that as much as possible, mums have to breastfeed the babies even when they're asleep? As what I've learned, babies sleep most of the time.

  2. #2

    It is useful to look for 'hunger cues' to help you know when your baby is getting hungry and wants to be breastfed. Crying is actually a very late hunger cue and it is best if the baby does not get to this stage and you feed them when they show the earlier cues. This will allow you to respond to your baby's needs quickly and help in forming a strong attachment between you both.

    Cues that a baby may give to indicate they are getting hungry are:

    - hand sucking
    - putting their fists in their mouth
    - sucking/ attempting to latch on to objects around them
    - a wide open mouth
    - lip-smacking
    - tongue-smacking
    - moving their head rapidly from side to side (this one is quite a late indicator of hunger - as is crying)

    Breastfeeding does not simply satisfy a baby's hunger and thirst it also provides countless advantages to the baby and mum in terms of bonding and the baby's emotional and social development. The World Health Organisation recommend that you only feed your baby breastmilk for the first 6 months of life and then continue to breastfeed your baby (alongside solid food from 6 months of age and when a baby is developmentally ready) until 2 years and beyond.

    It is best to breastfeed your baby on demand i.e. whenever they show any of the above cues or any other want to breastfeed. This applies to the day and night. Doing this will ensure that your baby gets all the milk that they need and will also help you to maintain a healthy breastmilk supply. Newborn babies often feed every 2-3 hours, day and night. Breastfeeding mums generally find it easier to have their baby close to them (i.e. in a sling and also by safe co-sleeping). There is an excellent article on co-sleeping and breastfeeding here. The author, Michelle Simmons, writes:

    'Breastfeeding infants feed regularly throughout the day and night time during the early months of life. Mothers who are breastfeeding their infants need to be in close proximity to their infant in order to read their infants cues and meet their needs for nutrition, comfort and safety.'

    New babies may sleep around 16 hours in a 24 hour period, however, this is in small periods of time at once so that the baby can feed every 2-3 hours.

    In terms of leaking breastmilk, it is true that your breastmilk may start to leak when your baby is due a feed (and so the breasts are at their most full) or if your baby gets to the point of crying for milk. However, breastmilk can also leak at other times. I personally have found Lilypadz excellent in helping with leaking breastmilk. They are a type of reusable breastfeeding pad that work by applying pressure to the nipple to gentle stop the milk leaking. Over time the breastmilk leaks less and less. Most mums who breastfeed children past around 6 months of age find that their breastmilk stops leaking.

    I hope this answers your questions. Please do post back if you have any further questions about breastfeeding.

    Best wishes,

    Last edited by ljmarsden; 19th September 2013 at 06:54 AM.

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