It’s very uncommon for a mom and baby to be separated from each other after birth, but it does happen if there are complications during the birth and either mom or baby needs urgent medical attention.
Early skin-to-skin contact – placing your naked newborn baby on your bare chest immediately after birth – not only helps a newborn to adapt to life outside the womb, it also helps with a new mom’s milk volume. According to Medical X Press, separating a mom and newborn after birth can disrupt her milk production and increase her stress levels.
We asked our resident midwife, Pippa Hime how moms can establish breastfeeding when they’ve been separated from their baby for a couple of days:
“If you are separated from your baby for any reason, you’ll need to ensure that lactogenesis (the process of developing the ability to secrete milk) takes place. This means that you’ll need to hand express colostrum every 2 to 3 hours for the first 2 to 3 days. The nursing staff at the hospital can show you how to do this. You can also the start pumping with a manual or electric breast pump every 3 to 4 hours once the milk starts to transition from colostrum to breast milk.
ALSO SEE: Easy tips to express more breast milk
It’s important to stimulate your breast to make sure that your milk comes in nicely and that baby receives breast milk which can be taken home by your partner.
Your partner can try to cup or syringe feed your baby until you are able to breastfeed. Once you and your baby are reunited, you should try to spend as much skin-to-skin time with your baby to facilitate bonding and to help with your breast milk production.
I would advise the use of a caring nurse or lactation consultant to help establish breastfeeding.”
Tips for dad when feeding baby
Experts recommend cup feeding instead of bottle feeding when mom is not able to breastfeed, but would like to once she is able to do so. According to Love and Breast Milk, there’s a big risk that baby will learn to prefer the bottle over the breast if you use a bottle to feed her. They say that cup feeding allows your baby to set the pace of the feed, which is similar to breastfeeding on demand.
How to do it:
- You can use any cup to feed your baby, just make sure that it’s clean, doesn’t have any cracks or a lip. You can even use the plastic lid of a bottle for this.
- Fill the cup one third to two thirds with the expressed breast milk. If the milk is cold, place the cup in a container of hot water until it reaches room temperature.
- Sit your baby upright, or nearly upright, on your lap and hold her close to your baby while supporting her neck and back.
- Tuck baby’s arm that is closest to you between baby and your body, and tuck the other arm in between baby and your arm.
- You will use your strongest arm to feed baby.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.