Educating new mothers about the importance of breastfeeding and creating awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding is an essential mandate in tandem with the policies of WHO and UNICEF.
Breastfeeding is very crucial to help mother and child bond after birth until a baby is six-months old and, in some cases, it is important up to a year.
Many new mothers struggle with breastfeeding their newborns for lack of knowledge of health risks, ignorance of health benefits, and non-availability of the right lactation guide. Following are some handy tips to get you off to a good start:
Ask your doctor to guide you well in time, during pregnancy
An expectant mother should ask a lot of questions to her doctor. A few questions to ask are: breastfeeding plan post-delivery in the hospital; availability of a lactation guide; best practices on what to avoid and what to follow while nursing a full term baby or a premature baby; and the kind of breastfeeding gear to invest in.
Opt for a natural birth
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I saw this quote the other day, and it really resonated with me. I had a brilliant birth this week, which I was fully prepared for and expecting. My midwife made it there with 9 minutes of labour left. And if she hadn’t have made it, the outcome probably would have been the same, as I needed no medical intervention. . Yet, so many friends and well wishers seem completely shocked by my birth story, as if it’s completely unbelievable. But birthing quickly and naturally is possible, and #hypnobirthing was the key for me to make this happen. . Birth can happen in lots of ways, and of course sometimes medical help is needed. But it seems the only version of birth we are presented with in the media and by other women is that birth is medicalised and painful. Perhaps as a society if we’re more open about talking about #childbirth more women will realise how wonderful an experience it can be? ❤️
Artificially-induced labor or a pre-decided C-section with the use of numerous drugs during birthing can delay the onset of breast milk and cause latching problems and sleepiness in newborns. A natural birth ensures immediate body-to-body contact between mother and child after birth. A new mother can take the help of a breast-pump to trigger breast milk production in case of a necessary neo-natal separation.
Colostrum is important
After delivering a baby, a new mother’s breasts usually produce colostrum which is usually thin and watery or thick and yellow-coloured. Colostrum is all that a newborn needs for the first three to four days before the body can produce breast milk. Watch out for heavy and stiff breasts filled with milk, or dripping breasts, which happen when feeding is overdue.
Don’t ignore your feeding posture and basic hygiene
A new mother must wash her hands before every breastfeeding session. A lactation expert will teach how to sit properly and comfortably, how to cradle a newborn correctly to avoid straining of his neck and breathing, and how to help the baby latch on to the nipple and start suckling.
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Did you know that you don’t have to breastfeed in only one position? Posted below are a few different ways to try. Not all babies like one way and not all women can breastfeed with the same position.⠀ Cradle position⠀ The cradle hold is the most common breastfeeding position.⠀ The mom’s arm supports the baby at the breast. The baby’s head is cradled near her elbow, and her arm supports the infant along the back and neck. The mother and baby should be chest to chest.⠀ ⠀ Cross-cradle position⠀ The cross-cradle position uses the opposite arm (to the cradle position) to support the infant, with the back of the baby’s head and neck being held in the mother’s hand. Her other hand is able to support and shape the breast if required.⠀ In this position the mom can guide the baby easily to the breast when they are ready to latch on.⠀ ⠀ Clutch position⠀ The baby is positioned at the mother’s side, with their body and feet tucked under the mom’s arm. The baby’s head is held in the mom’s hand. The mom’s arm may also rest on a pillow with this hold.⠀ This position may be advantageous for moms who have undergone a caesarean section, since it places no or limited weight on the mom’s chest and abdomen area.⠀ It may also work for low-birth-weight babies or babies that have trouble latching, since their head is fully supported.⠀ ⠀ Side-lying position⠀ The mom lies on her side and faces the baby. The baby’s mouth is in line with the nipple.⠀ The mom may also use a pillow for back and neck support.⠀ This position may also be advantageous for moms who have undergone a caesarean section, since it places no or limited weight on the mom’s chest and abdomen area. ⠀ ⠀ #breastfeedingpositions⠀ #noonesisthesame⠀ #breastfeedingweek⠀ #norihghtorwrongway⠀ #breastfeedingbuddies⠀ Kwbreastfeedingmamas⠀ #breastingawareness
In case of a C-section delivery, breastfeeding a baby lying sideways is prescribed but co-sleeping should be avoided as it increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For preemies, cross-cradling adds head-support besides aiding those babies with a weak suck. Also, post feeding, all babies should be burped off any extra air they may have inhaled while sucking milk to prevent colic.
Keep track of your feeding frequency
The golden rule for newborn feeding is to feed on demand which could be eight to 12 times a day. Watch out for hunger signs—crying; sucking fingers, hands, and feet; trying to reach for the breast (the smell of mother’s milk), etc. A crying newborn will have a tougher time latching on to the mother’s breast. Since constant on-demand breastfeeding or wrong latching can be painful, a new mother must take adequate cold-compress care to ease the swelling and discomfort.
Decent weight gain, eight to 10 wet diapers and two to three stool diapers a day, and indicative satisfaction and sleep after every feed are signs that the baby is getting enough feed.
Ensure optimum milk supply
Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in calcium and iron with adequate sleep and rest are the two pillars to ensure steady breastfeed supply. Doctors usually prescribe iron and calcium supplements in addition. Make no mistake of introducing formula, cereal, or any solid foods to a newborn as he will lose interest in breast milk and cause a decrease in supply. A new mother should avoid gas-inducing or spicy food and all forms of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
Avoid pacifiers and artificial feeders
A newborn must never be given a pacifier or a formula feeder to silence the crying which could be due to wrong latching during feed time. It can seriously confuse the baby mistaking the artificial nipple for the real and make the real latching process more difficult. A good latch can prevent sore nipples, breast engorgement, and jammed milk ducts.