Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be a complex task for mothers. It can even take a while before both the mother and the baby can get used to it. Mothers don’t need to worry, though. It’s normal.
Most stories we know portray breastfeeding as ‘the best feeling in the world’ for having a new-born child rest in the mother’s chest a whole lot of time. However, before mothers can get to that stage, they need to learn and discover which techniques and tools best suit their babies. Here is a list of other helpful things to note about breastfeeding:
The First Days of Breastfeeding
It might not be the case for most, but the first few days of breastfeeding are crucial for mothers. That is why preparation and knowing what to expect are keys to providing the best care for infants.
For new mothers and mothers who are finding it difficult to feed their babies in the earlier stages, the National Health Services (NHS) advises that it is best to seek support from Antenatal classes. These classes help in guiding mothers in the most important parts of breastfeeding such as knowing the usual expressions used by infants to convey messages, proper positioning of the baby and the mother, and other common breastfeeding problems.
Can I Breastfeed In Public?
There may be some social issues surrounding this topic but mothers should never be worried about it. Breastfeeding in public is legal and should never be a problem.
Fortunately, there are tons of beautiful nursing wears that can be bought now. You can go out, be yourself and bring along your baby with you with these stylish nursing-friendly clothes. These clothing pieces are specially designed to help mothers nurse and feed their babies while looking fabulous - no one will ever know they’re feeding their babies!
How Long and Frequent Should Breastfeeding Occur?
Mothers should expect the babies to seek breastfeed eight times or more every 24 hours. However, the babies’ needs vary from the kind of feed they need. There are infants who prefer to have short, frequent feeding while there are also those who feed longer than the others.
Feeding babies with breastmilk alone is required for six months. In the baby’s sixth month, he/she can already gradually eat food prepared by the family in every meal. It is best to give them natural foods first, such as vegetables and fruits, before offering them different kinds of meat.
Why Is Latching Difficult For Newborn Babies?
Newborn babies do not instantaneously know how to latch their mothers’ bosoms and it can take a lot of tries before finally figuring out what position works best. If you’re at that stage of still figuring out what position best suits your baby, you might want to try these techniques:
- Cradle Hold: Rest your arm on a pillow or two and place your baby’s neck and shoulders on your forearms. Then, let your hand support your baby’s legs and bottom. With this position, the baby should be able to lie on his side or turn his head back. Don’t forget to tuck his arm around your waist if it's dangling around to prevent causing injuries to the baby.
Other helpful tips for your newborn baby to get used to latching:
- Get help. If any of these do not work with you and your baby, it might be better to seek help from a midwife, a nurse or from your baby’s pediatrician.
Breastfed Babies Do Not Need To Drink Water
Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies need to know that their babies do not need water. Breast milk alone is already eighty-eight percent (88%) water.
Three Stages of Breast Milk
Mothers need to know that their breast milk goes through three important stages.
Don’t Stress Over Breast Milk Supply
Over-thinking about the amount of breast milk the baby is getting will just add up to a mother’s daily stress. It can be difficult to see if a mother is producing enough but it is better not to think about it too often. Here are other indicators to know if the baby had enough food for the day:
Breastfeeding Should Not Hurt
A mother should never feel any pain while breastfeeding her baby. If a mother feels a hint of discomfort, something might be going wrong.
One of the most common causes of breastfeeding pain is the wrong position and placement. The mother might have found the right position for her baby to easily latch but this position might be causing too much discomfort. It is best for the mother to explore more positions to bring comfort to both herself and the baby.
Mothers might also notice that there are breast sensations felt during the first few days of nursing. This is caused by the letdown reflex or the term used when a mother’s breast is filled with milk. Mothers need not worry, though, as this pain goes away after a few weeks.
A baby who is an enthusiastic breast milk drinker might also cause the swelling, soring, and cracking of the nipples. It happens to most mothers. The good thing about this is that there are already various over-the-counter and home treatments that can easily be bought or prepared at home.
Don’t Worry About Breast Milk Leaks
It happens to every mother: breast milk leaks. Mothers should be thankful for this because this is a natural function of their bodies to feed their babies. Mothers cannot get away with this but a few preparatory steps can ease the mess.
- Wear clothes with darker colors as it helps lessen the obvious marks of the breast milk.
- If leaks frequently happen at night, place a towel under the breast that leaks the most so you won’t have to change your bedsheets in the morning.
- Always bring a stash of nursing pads everywhere you go.
- If your leaks become too often, it might be good to put off the pump. Pumping will just increase the production of breast milk and it will worsen the leaks.
Can I Take Medicines While Breastfeeding?
It is not advised for mothers to take medicines as the chemicals can travel to the breast milk. It would be best to seek your doctor’s advice first before taking any medicine.
What Are The Best Products For Breastfeeding?
There is nothing wrong with being prepared. Expecting mothers who are dedicated to providing breast milk for their babies can build a corner or a kit that will make their lives easier.
- A pile of fabulous nursing clothes - from dresses to casuals. Investing in nursing clothes can have long-term benefits. Calculate the years you need to take care of your baby and how much you also need to do self-care in all those times. A good collection of nursing clothes that will last for a couple of years will do a lot of wonders in your well-being and in your baby’s as well.
Self-care Is Very Important
While it is important to take good care of the baby, it is also equally important for mothers to take good care of themselves. The baby gets all his/her nutrition from the mothers’ breast milk, that is why it is just proper for mothers to look out for their health.
The most important part of mother self-care is her diet since the mother’s eating habits not only reflects her own but of her baby’s. This does not mean that mothers have to go through the same diet they followed when they were still pregnant. However, it is important to take note of the mother’s postpartum diet and if it has some effects on the baby’s well-being. Here are simple tips for nursing mothers to start their diet:
Aside from the diet, mothers also need social support from the people who understand what they are going through. There are tons of organizations today that support mothers’ well-being. By joining mother care organizations, mothers will no longer feel that they’re alone in this journey and will even learn from other mothers who are experiencing the same problems and struggles they are going through.
Transitioning from pregnancy to nursing can be very tiring, however, all of these will be worth it once both the mother and the baby have gotten the hang of the whole scheme.