A poor latch can make feeding your baby difficult and affect your milk supply. Here are the first two things to do.
1. Feed the baby.
2. Build your milk supply.
Give your baby whatever milk you have first. Express and pump at least eight times in a 24-hour period to stimulate your supply. (That’s how often you’d be nursing.) This is how you can feed your baby and build your milk supply at the same time.
The first two weeks are when your hormones are at their highest for establishing your milk supply. Take advantage of that moment.
You’ll likely have more yield if you massage or hand express and pump rather than if you only pump. More yield is more encouraging! It’s good to know that in the first two days, it’s normal for your baby to get about a teaspoon or two of colostrum at a time. You can express that small amount directly into a spoon and feed your baby.
Some parents worry that bottle feeding will sabotage a baby’s ability to breastfeed. There are other feeding methods you can use. Some parents use a soft cup, a syringe with tubing, a spoon. In India, there’s a traditional infant feeding device called a “paladai”, an elongated cup with a spout.
If you do bottle feed, it’s helpful to use a technique called ‘paced bottle feeding’. I’ve included that link to a video that shows this. This allows your baby natural pauses between sucking so they are not gulping quickly. That is more comfortable, and you get a better idea of when your child has had enough, is not interested in feeding anymore. It’s more sensitive to what your baby neesds. This technique also encourages good breastfeeding habits such as opening the mouth wide and stretching the tongue forward to grasp the nipple.
Whenever you and your baby are having difficulty, get some help from an IBCLC or a breastfeeding support group to figure this out. Meanwhile, there are ways to feed your baby breast milk and maintain your supply.