Haven’t we all experienced anxiety at some time or another while choosing a gift for someone special? From selecting a wedding present, a birthday gift or a gift for a new home, all of us have spent time pondering over what to buy. Then we have spent time visiting various stores, looking at various things and sorting through them for hours before finally settling on something we think would be a good and valuable gift for the person we love.
While we spend so much time planning and preparing to gift people material things I feel saddened when I see young families today hardly bothered when it comes to the greatest gift they’ll ever give their children. Breast milk – Mummy’s first and purest gift to baby.
I am hoping that these simple steps given below helps all those mothers-to-be out there to plan and prepare adequately for the grand moment when it arrives.
1. Start by having a positive mindset: I see a lot of women having apprehensions about whether or not they will be able to produce milk. Nature has programmed our female bodies in a way that the process of breast milk production automatically starts in the body after the baby is born. You should just believe in your body and be confident that you will be able to give this beautiful gift to your little one.
2. Dismiss old wives tales and myths: Do your own research or consult a gynecologist. The most common misconceptions that you should look out for are:
a. Is breast milk good enough? This is a common question. Nature has perfectly calculated the amount of nutrition that your baby needs. Breast milk is a living fluid; it contains live and defensive white blood cells and antibodies which protect your baby from allergies and infections, hence boosting the immunity of your baby. Moreover it is recognized to be the most the most hygienic form of feeding your baby. There is no container, no sterilization involved. The milk goes directly from mother’s breast to baby’s mouth. In fact, mothers should ensure that their baby is gets only breast milk without any top feed.
b. Should I keep some top feed ready if my baby cries? One of the biggest misconceptions amongst Indian families especially those with grandmas and nannies around, would be to top feed the child if the child becomes a bit cranky. Please don’t think that babies cry only when hungry. Your milk is the best milk for your baby just like an animal’s milk is meant for their newborns and not for human babies. The scientific rationale behind this fact suggests that top milk – formula milk or cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk is very heavy as compared to breast milk which is very thin and watery. Mother’s milk is 88% water & 12% solid. When a baby is fed with the top milk he remains so full that he does not suckle properly which results in lesser production of milk. Mother’s should encourage demand feeding and breastfeed their child as often as they can.
c. Do I have to drink lots of milk to produce it for my baby? The answer is No. You just have to drink lots of fluid and maintain a healthy balanced diet. Please make sure you have a healthy diet but that does not mean you cannot add spices to your food or cannot eat beans as it could harm your baby. You can have anything as long as it is healthy for you.
3. Abstain from alcohol totally. Don’t allow peer pressure to push you into consuming alcohol saying that it will help you to relax. Alcohol, even in small quantities, is poisonous for the baby. When you drink alcohol it passes from the blood stream into breast milk. Unlike adults, a newborn baby is able to eliminate alcohol only at half the rate of the mother, leading to accumulation in the baby’s blood stream!
4. Consult a doctor before taking any medication: Be careful while taking any over-the-counter medication for cough & cold or even for a fever. Consult your doctor first, as it could harm your baby.
5. Maintain good breast hygiene. It is not necessary to clean your breast or nipple in any special way. Simple rinsing of the breasts, areola and nipple with clean water while having your daily bath is sufficient. Avoid using soap or disinfectants on the nipple and areola as this may dry the skin leading to sore nipples. Our body naturally secretes an oily substance which protects the nipple area from dryness and prevents infection. Don’t wash this substance as it is useful. Rubbing a small amount of breast milk after feeding helps in keeping the nipples lubricated. Consult your doctor if your skin is sore, too dry, painful or damaged.
6. Choose your clothing wisely: It is better to wear clothes which allow air to circulate and moisture to evaporate. When you outgrow your regular bra it is advisable to buy a nursing bra instead of a regular large one. It should be soft, breathable without plastic cladding at the back. With clothes you don’t have to change your style too much but it is advisable to choose clothes that are comfortable and give you enough room to move around yourself to reach the right places!