The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends moms to breastfeed during the first 24 months of their baby’s life. Breast milk contains the ideal amount of nutrients needed by children. Moreover, it is easier to digest, as compared to the commercial milk formula. There are also antibodies in breast milk, which boost the immune system.
However, breastfeeding may be challenging to most moms, particularly to those who are not familiar with this practice. Click here for facts on breastfeeding while pregnant, and read the following breast feeding tips to help nursing women get off to a great start.
1. Ask the specialists for professional advice
You might have read numerous articles about breastfeeding; however, it is important that you seek professional advice from your doctor or maternity nurse. Within the initial hour after delivery, make sure you ask for breast feeding tips and techniques from your hospital’s lactation consultant. You should learn how to position your infant correctly, so you can be certain that he or she is latching on properly.
2. Allow your child to set the pace
During the first few weeks of life, newborns need to be breastfed every two to three hours. You need to know several signs of hunger including restlessness, lip movements, stirring and sucking motions. Then, allow your baby to nurse from your first breast for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, you should let your infant burp before offering the second breast. When your child chooses to nurse on one breast every feeding session, pump your other breast to ensure the milk supply and relieve pressure.
3. Determine your success in breastfeeding
A gentle, pulling sensation on the breasts is a sign that your baby latches on successfully every feeding time. You will also notice that your breasts have become firm prior feeding, and there is hardly a biting sensation on the nipples. Moreover, you will notice that your child begins to gain weight and produces about six wet diapers in a day. Another sign that you are breastfeeding your baby correctly is when your child’s stools appear seedy, loose and yellowish.
4. Keep your nipples in good condition
After the feeding session, you may either pat your nipples dry or allow the milk to dry naturally. When you notice leaks between feedings, you may use bra pads. During bathing, avoid using too much soap or other cleansers on your breasts. In case your nipples tend to become dry, you may apply a hydrogel dressing or purified lanolin after breastfeeding. You may purchase these from any pharmacy even without your doctor’s prescription.
5. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Your lifestyle affects the amount and quality of milk that you produce, which your baby needs for proper growth and development. Make sure you pay attention to your diet and lifestyle by considering the following tips:
- Eat nutritious and healthy foods such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits. You may also continue taking your prenatal vitamins multivitamins regularly.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and milk. You should avoid drinking high amounts of caffeine and alcoholic drinks.
- Do not deprive yourself of sleep, and rest when your infant sleeps.
- Avoid smoking, as it can change the taste and quality of your milk. In addition, secondhand smoke may cause childhood asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- Be careful about the medication you take, and always seek your doctor’s recommendation.
6. Give yourself some time to adjust to breastfeeding
If you experience some difficulties when breastfeeding, then you should remain patient. Do not be discouraged when you have a slow start, since you are feeding your baby after two or three hours. Keep in mind that as your body has adjusted to breastfeeding, you will produce more milk easily. There will also be less stress when you feed your baby, so you can appreciate the special bond between you and your child.
Whenever you struggle in feeding your baby, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. You may also ask a professional lactation consultant or maternity nurse for advice and further tips, particularly when you notice that your baby is not gaining weight. Although your nipples might feel tender during the initial weeks, you should realize that breastfeeding is not painful at all. Your body will become accustomed during each feeding session, and you will experience an emotional attachment to your precious child.
For more advice on breastfeeding and related tips, click here for our article on essential information that all moms should know.