It is very important to start talking about breastfeeding in the early stage of pregnancy. This is necessary so that any problem you may have later may be easily addressed earlier before you start breastfeeding.
- Breast milk contains all the nutrients that your baby needs and it is sufficient to give your baby the best nutrition for the first six months of their life and even beyond.
- It is rich in antibodies which protect your child against infections. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop allergies, asthma or become overweight.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
As a mother, breastfeeding has some benefits for you as well.
- After childbirth, the uterus is usually stretched out; breastfeeding helps the uterus to go back to its normal size.
- It is cheaper than formula, easier as it is readily available.
- It also helps in delaying the return of your menses
- Holding the baby close to you while breastfeeding creates a special bond between you and your baby through the skin-to-skin contact. It brings you closer to your baby.
- Research has shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces your risk of having cancer.
It is often expected that breastfeeding will be an easy thing to do since it comes naturally but it is like a process which has to be learned. It requires patience, practice, understanding, and accepting that things may not go as planned.
Today, most mothers know the importance of breastfeeding. The following tips will make your breastfeeding experience more enjoyable for you and your baby:
- Breastfeed Immediately after Birth: Welcome your baby to the world by carefully cuddling him or her softly on your chest. Once you make the first skin-to-skin contact with your baby, his feeding reflexes will be triggered. This contact also plays a crucial role in sending a signal to the brain to produce more milk to the breast. You will discover this once the baby starts licking her lips. Crying is the last hunger cue. Babies are interested in feeding in the first hour that follows birth.
- Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful: Breastfeeding wouldn’t be painful if a baby has a good latch. When a baby has a good latch, her chin and cheeks are attached to you. In this manner, you would not be able to see her lips and you should be comfortable with this position. If you feel pain while breastfeeding, it is possible that the baby’s latch is off. For mothers with large nipples who may be having challenges with the latch, It is advisable to use an electric breast pump.
- Maintain the usual pattern: While feeding your baby, maintain the usual feeding pattern until he or she stops sucking and then offer the second breast.
The next time you want to breastfeed, offer the breast on which she last sucked. Different babies prefer different courses. Some prefer ‘short’ feeding, while others prefer long feeding. Take your time to study your baby. Do not rush!
- Be patient while your milk comes in: The first milk your body produces while you are pregnant is called colostrums. It is highly nutritious and it is the best food that your baby needs in the first few days of its life.
- Always keep your nipples moisturized: Do not scrub your nipples. If you are experiencing sore or cracked nipples, adding nursing ointment will help them stay moist. After each nursing session, apply a drop of breast milk and gentle rub it onto your nipples.
- Dirty Diapers are a good sign: In case you want to know if your baby is having enough supply, try counting the dirty diapers. Studies have shown that a minimum of four to five –urine and stool-covered diapers per day should be seen if the mother is five days postpartum and has a full milk supply.
Also, if after each nursing, your breasts become softer and the baby makes little swallowing sounds and look satisfied, you can be sure that your baby is having enough milk supply.
- Discard the snooze: Some babies tend to sleep off when being fed. If that’s the case, try tickling the bottom of the feet or stroke him under the chin.
- Practice: Some people make it seem as if breastfeeding is the easiest and most natural thing in the world. There are so many pictures and videos where you will see mothers and their beautiful babies looking like they got it all figured out. It’s a cover up! Breastfeeding takes time and you need to practice a lot to perfect it. The beauty of it is that after you and your baby have figured out how to latch, hold, drink sit, you will realize how amazing breastfeeding really is!