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Breastfeeding practice

Breastfeeding is the most natural method of feeding a baby. However, many mothers do not find it easy at first. Learning to breastfeed your baby and understand their need for food, warmth, and comfort will grow with time and patience.

How will I know when breastfeeding is going well?

At the beginning of a feed, your baby sucks fast to get your milk to flow. As your milk starts to flow, the baby will use longer, slower sucks with regular pauses and you may hear your baby swallow the milk.

Towards the end of the feed, your baby will start to suck slower with occasional swallows. Your baby lets go of the breast when they have had enough from that side. Always offer your baby the other breast, though they may not always want it. You could use the time between changing breasts to change their nappy if needed.

Most babies lose weight in the first week of life and this is normal. If your baby has lost more than 8 to 10% of their birth weight, we will give you extra support to continue breastfeeding.

Look at your baby’s nappies. What you see in the nappy will change over the first week and is a good sign that your baby is getting enough milk.

Day 1 and 2

2 to 3 wet nappies that may have pink or orange stains. Dirty nappies will be black, sticky poo (meconium).

Day 3 and 4

3 or more wet nappies. Dirty nappies should be lighter, runnier poo that will change from green, brown, and yellow in colour.

Day 5 onwards for the first few weeks

At least 6 wet nappies each day. Dirty nappies should be bright yellow and runny at least 2 times a day and around the size of a £2 coin. By 4 to 6 weeks, your baby may not poo every day and a breastfed baby can go up to a week without pooing, but this does not mean they are constipated.

If you are using disposable nappies, it can be hard to tell when they are wet as they are very absorbent. Try pouring 2 to 4 tablespoons full of water onto a clean nappy and feel the difference in the weight. This gives you an idea of what to look for.

You will often see pink-orange stains in your baby’s wet nappies in the first 48 hours. If you continue to see them after 48 hours, please speak to your midwife.

Look in your “Mothers (and others) Guide” for pictures and more information of what to see in your baby’s nappy.

How will I be able to continue breastfeeding my baby whilst in Sheffield Children’s?

When you arrive at the hospital, your baby’s feeding history will be talked about with you and recorded in the nursing records so we can support your current feeding practices.

Privacy can be maintained by the bedside for you to breastfeed or if you would prefer more privacy, ask a member of staff as a room may be available.

Facilities are provided that allow you to be together with your baby 24 hours a day. There are parents’ rooms on the wards where you can eat and make drinks.

What happens if my baby is not allowed to breastfeed because they have a drip, need fluid through a nasogastric tube, or are nil by mouth?

Breastfeeding works on a demand and supply basis. The more your baby feeds or you express, the more milk you will make. Therefore, if your baby is not feeding you will need to express to prevent your breasts from becoming very full (engorged). This leads to a reduced milk supply.

We have breast pumps available for you to express your milk to encourage your milk supply. Expressed breast milk can then be given through a nasogastric tube or stored in a fridge or freezer until your baby needs it.

Will my baby be given a dummy?

Your baby will not be given a dummy. We see that dummy use is not helpful when learning to breastfeed but there may be medical reasons for using a dummy while your baby is in hospital. We will discuss this with you.

Will my baby be given a bottle or formula milk?

No. We see that using bottles with teats is not helpful when learning to breastfeed. Sucking on a bottle may confuse the baby and make it more difficult for them to latch to the breast correctly. We will discuss this with you.

Bottle feeds of formula milk would not be given unless you agreed or there is a medical reason for your baby to be given formula milk.

What help can I get to continue breastfeeding?

While your baby is in hospital individual support is available from staff including infant feeding specialist nurses, dietitians, and ward nursing staff. Breast pumps are available and there is written information in the hospital. A room may be available for you to feed in private.

When you go home

There is plenty of support for breastfeeding including:

  • community midwife
  • infant feeding peer support worker
  • local Family Centre (breastfeeding cafés and groups)
  • health visitor

Contact us

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact your midwife or health visitor

For information about your local Children’s Centre, visit http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/childrenscentres.

or on Facebook at “Breastfeeding in Sheffield” http://www.breastfeedinginsheffield.co.uk


National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
9.30 – 9.30 7 days a week.

All breastfeeding peer supporters are trained to support breastfeeding mothers, and all have breastfed their own babies.

If you live outside Sheffield, contact your own Community Midwife or health visitor for information.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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