Breastfeeding - Tips to Help You Get Off to a Good Start

Breastfeeding is an art that mothers would master only through experience. It will be very hard to get the baby to breastfeed in the initial stages, and it can be done with the help of experienced elders or nurses in the hospital. The milk may not flow immediately during the first time.

But some amount of colostrum flows out that would help the baby to fight against infections. The process of suckling by the baby will stimulate the breasts to produce milk which would take some time.

It is not quite possible to breastfeed premature babies immediately. So, the help of pumps should be taken to collect the milk, and even pumping stimulates milk production.

Some mothers find it painful during the nursing process, indicating that the baby’s mouth is not positioned correctly. Positioning the baby properly can be learned with the help of an experienced adult or a hospital staff. It may take some time for both the mother and the baby to learn the exact process. Once the baby latches perfectly, it will start suckling by itself.

It is good to nurse as frequently as possible. Frequent nursing will also help in the process of stimulation which is very important during the breastfeeding phase. Consider wearing feeding tops with easy nursing access for convenient breastfeeding.

Babies may fall asleep during the feeding process, and it is suggested to wake them to continue feeding so that they do not sleep with a half-empty stomach. Breast milk is their only source of energy, and during sleep, they would use all of the energy for the developmental process. So, it is very important to feed the baby completely before he falls asleep.

Nursing the baby is just not enough. Even the mothers should take a good diet so that the milk they produce is not deprived of any essential elements.

Mothers should learn these basics before starting breastfeeding so that they would experience no problems during that phase.

Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding

The decision to breastfeed your baby is a very personal one. While most women don’t have any qualms about breastfeeding, some cannot do so because of health concerns. Also, many women refrain from breastfeeding because of their lifestyles and the certain level of discomfort they feel.

No matter what your reasons may be, rest assured that if you decide not to breastfeed, this will not harm your baby in any major way. Feeding your child formula will ensure that she gets all the nutrition she requires. Many women fear that not breastfeeding would mean a lack of bonding with the child. But this is not true. Bonding occurs during feeding when the mother and child spend exclusive time together.

Doctors, however, express that breastfeeding exclusively for six months is ideal, following which supplementary formulas can be added to the diet. Continuing to breastfeed beyond this time frame is completely dependent on the mother and child. Breast milk can be given to the child directly from the breast or expressed with a pump and then bottle-fed.

Some of the benefits of breastfeeding are that it works towards improving your child’s immunity, and Disease-resistant antibodies pass from the mother to the child strengthening the little one. In the first few months of the child’s life, breast milk reduces the chances of ear infections and digestive infections, skin ailments, and infantile allergies, and this would be a lower chance of hospitalization. Breastfed babies also don’t run an overt risk of being overweight, developing blood pressure, anemia, and even tooth decay.

Some of the other benefits of breastfeeding for mothers are that there will be no cleaning and sterilizing bottles. There is a lower cost of feeding, considering that formula is expensive, and you will go through more than a tin in a week. Postpartum bleeding is reduced, and the chances of developing breast or uterine cancer are much lower.

The bright side of bottle-feeding includes that anybody can easily do it. Your baby will require fewer feeds as the formula is very heavy and satisfies hunger for a longer time. Formula feeds are filled with Vitamin D, and your child will get lots of it. It will remove any dietary restrictions, such as lower caffeine intake, which is necessary when breastfeeding. It will also allow working mothers to get back to work more efficiently.

Tips to Breastfeed Your Baby

Before each feed, wash the nipples and surrounding area with clean boiled water. Wash and dry your nipples again after each feed. Keeping your nipples clean and dry will ensure that you do not get cracked nipples.

Sit in a comfortable position to breastfeed the baby. If you are not comfortable and relaxed and are tense or uncomfortable, your baby will be too. Your milk will not flow easily, and this will distress both the baby and you. During the first few days, you may not be able to sit up. Lie on your side with the baby’s head raised on your arm. You can also use a comfortable nursing pillow to latch your baby onto your breast properly.

With your other hand, hold your breast between your index finger and middle finger lightly to help the baby get a good hold on your nipple and ensure that his nose is free to breathe and is not smothered by your breast.

When you can sit up again, you will find that position easier for feeding. Again, support his head with one arm and hold your breast with the fingers of the other hand. Feed the baby first on one breast and let him empty it before giving him the other breast. At his next feed, give him the second breast first so that one breast is well emptied at each feed. If you make sure that your breast is well emptied, you will surely have enough milk for the baby.

Some babies suck very well and get their full feed easily in six to eight minutes. Others, especially during the first two weeks, suck a little and fall asleep. You must not give up, or else the baby will wake up and cry for another feed within half an hour or so. Wake her up by tickling the soles of the feet. Hold the infant upon the shoulder to burp him, and then try again till you find that he is just not interested in a feed.

Feeding is crucial in weak and small babies, that is, those weighing 2 kg and below. They will surely require all your time and patience.

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