Giving birth to a child is one of the most life-changing experiences in a person’s life. Especially when a woman gives birth to a baby, she goes through various changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Her roles also change as she takes on the role of a mother. Being a first-time mother can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Most new mothers find themselves confused and worried about a lot of factors.
Here is what you (breastfeeding mom) should know about breastfeeding if you have just begun to breastfeed. Knowing these factors will help you nurse your child better and healthy.
DON’T STRESS ABOUT MILK SUPPLY
While you’re still pregnant, your body starts producing colostrum, a special type of breast milk referred to as “first milk” which is packed with healthy nutrients to support a strong immune system. This colostrum is the first step in beginning breastfeeding and will be ready for the baby as soon as you start nursing. It’s important to remember that newborn babies’ stomachs are incredibly small.
Babies only consume around a teaspoon per feeding in the first 24 hours after birth, so don’t be discouraged about not producing large volumes of milk on your first day. As you continue to breastfeed and your baby grows, your milk will change and your supply will increase to meet your baby’s evolving needs. All women are equipped to feed a baby. Establishing breastfeeding is always easier if you’re able to put your baby to your breast within a few minutes of delivery.
FEEDING ON DEMAND IS THE BEST
A baby can digest a full feed of breast milk in about an hour and a half. Breastfeeding on demand means frequent feeding. Mothers who breastfeed their babies on demand produce more milk than those who breastfeed on less frequent intervals. Milk production can be affected by many things, including how you’re feeling, how healthy you are, and what you eat. The change from colostrum to breast milk is triggered by changes in your hormones after birth, but the supply of milk depends on the frequency of feeding your baby. The best way to keep up the milk supply is to feed your baby often. Newborns should be nursed at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours.
Every few weeks babies go through a growth spurt when they seem to want to nurse all the time. To meet this need, you should nurse your baby more often when this happens. If you give supplement formula during this time or at any time during the first few weeks, it can interfere with the supply and demand balance. Also if you find that your baby tends to fall asleep soon after you’ve started feeding, try lying on your side, with your baby lying beside you. Children find feeding less tiring this way. The key to trouble-free breastfeeding is knowing how to get your baby’s mouth correctly latched on to your breast. To encourage your baby to latch on as easily as possible, give yourself plenty of time to feed your baby.
NIGHT FEEDS ARE IMPORTANT
Your baby will need to breastfeed during the night to ensure the baby takes in enough milk. Night feeds will help you to establish and maintain your milk supply and avoid engorgement, blocked ducts and mastitis (an inflammation of the breast). You can make night feeds easier by keeping your baby close by.
LEARN TO BREASTFEED COMFORTABLY
Getting your baby latched on well to the breasts is the key. Get yourself comfortable and in a well-supported position first. Keep your breast at its natural level. Hold your baby so that his/her whole front is close against yours, wrapped around or along your body. Align the baby ‘nose to nipple’ to encourage the baby to extend his neck.
That will help the baby open mouth wide and get a deep, comfortable latch. It is always good to seek professional help early on if you are finding breastfeeding difficult or uncomfortable.
My regards to you mom, especially first time mom……