HOW TO ASSESS BREASTFEEDING/CHESTFEEDING

A key part of the health professional’s toolkit is assessment of whether breastfeeding/chestfeeding is going well or not. The picture below shows what to look for in the history, and the other central piece of information is weight gain. Exclusively breastfed/chestfed babies on average lose 6-8% of their birth weight, with the average maximal loss at day 2 - 3 of life. The average time for exclusively breastfed/chestfed babies to regain birth weight is 8 days. They would then be expected to stabilise on a weight centile and grow along it. The faltering growth page shows definitions of what is concerning after the first few weeks of life, and the excessive weight loss page discusses management of early weight loss.

The stool parameters only apply in the first 4-6 weeks of life. After this point it can be a normal pattern for exclusively breastfed babies to pass stool every few days, or even once a week, although the average breastfed baby will still stool at least once a day.

Parents' Voices Matter

Also remember the value of listening as a therapeutic tool - see this advice card from the Parenting Science Gang:

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Thank you for visiting the Hospital Infant Feeding Network. This website is a repository of relevant knowledge and best practice resources for health professionals. To join the conversation, ask questions and share your experiences please join us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

We will be running Q&A sessions on various topics, which will be advertised on our social media sites. Please email if you have ideas or want to get more involved. We welcome health professionals passionate about supporting breastfeeding and lactation in the hospital setting to join our steering group, please get in contact if this is you!

You may have noticed that we use 'additive' language on our website to refer to lactation and human milk feeding. This means that we might refer to 'breastfeeding/chestfeeding'. Chestfeeding is a term that some non-binary people use to refer to feeding their child at the chest if the word breast is not congruent with their gender identity. Using additive language helps reduce a feeling of exclusion for non-binary and transgender people, without taking away from the importance of words like breastfeeding and mother. There is a much more detailed description of the additive approach here.

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