Breastfeeding Basics for Grandparents
Information for grandparents on the benefits of breastfeeding, what to expect, and more.
Breastfeeding is natural, but there is still plenty to learn. Your daughter might feel overwhelmed as she makes the decision and prepares to breastfeed. Support and encourage her as she begins her breastfeeding journey. Here's what you need to know.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your grandchild. It helps babies grow and develop, feel safe and secure, and stay healthy. But breastfeeding is not just good for babies—it's good for moms, too. Breastfeeding helps mom bond with baby, reduces the risk for certain diseases, and saves time and money.
What to Expect in the Hospital
If you're in the delivery room with your daughter when she gives birth, encourage her to hold your grandchild skin to skin as soon as possible. During this time, your grandchild will probably find their way to your daughter's breast to start breastfeeding.
If your daughter is having trouble breastfeeding, you can be her advocate. Support her in seeking the hospital's lactation consultant for help. She can help by looking at your grandchild's position and latch. She can make suggestions to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable.
While your daughter and grandchild get used to breastfeeding, give as much encouragement and help as you can. Tell your daughter you're proud of her. Do something nice for her, like make her favorite meal. See if she wants to limit visitors so she can rest. You can also change your grandchild's diapers and get in lots of snuggles when your daughter isn't breastfeeding.
How Much Milk Your Grandchild Needs
Babies' tummies are tiny. It doesn't take much to fill up your grandchild. How much milk your grandchild needs will go up and down as baby grows, and your daughter's body will adjust to those changes. During a growth spurt, your grandchild might want to nurse more often or for longer. Your daughter may need a little extra encouragement during this time!
How to Know If Your Grandchild Is Getting Enough Milk
Watching baby's diapers is one way to tell if your grandchild is getting enough milk. The color, texture, and frequency of poops and wet diapers will tell you a lot. Changing diapers is also a great way to support your daughter.
Here are some other signs that your grandchild is getting enough milk:
- You can hear or see baby swallowing.
- Your grandchild seems happy after feedings, with relaxed hands and feet.
- Baby is growing and gaining weight. Your grandchild's health care provider or WIC clinic can check baby's weight gain.
Breastfeeding is a journey with ups and downs. During those first few days and weeks, your daughter may face some challenges and bumps in the road. During this time, your daughter will need your support. Encourage her to focus on setting small, hour-by-hour, day-by-day goals. And remind her that it will get easier—it just takes time and practice!
Here are some of the common challenges your daughter might face:
- Sore nipples. Many moms say that their nipples feel tender when they first start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should be comfortable once your daughter and grandchild have found a good latch and some positions that work.
- Low milk supply. Moms sometimes worry about whether they are making enough milk for baby.
- Cluster feedings and growth spurts. In cluster feedings, your grandchild will feed very frequently in a short time, such as in early evening hours. Growth spurts sometimes cause babies to nurse more often or for longer. This is temporary.
- Engorgement. Engorgement is when your daughter's breasts feel full, very hard, and painful.
- Plugged duct. A plugged duct feels like a tender and sore lump in the breast. It is caused by a milk duct that does not drain properly.
- Fungal infection. Infections can occur on your daughter's nipples or in her breast.
- Nursing strike. This is when your grandchild suddenly refuses to breastfeed, after breastfeeding well for months.
- Inverted, flat, or large nipples. Some nipple shapes and sizes can make it harder to breastfeed.
- Exhaustion. Caring for and feeding a new baby around the clock can be tiring.
- Feelings of sadness or depression. These feelings may come from being a new mom.