Congratulations! You are now a mother. Being a new mom you now need to accept the challenge of breastfeeding willingly. Nobody was born learned. We all learn through experiences so don’t be worried if you are clumsy at the outset. The best is to talk to other mothers and understand the apprehensions and the issues that they faced. Refer to the list below for some of the tips that can be useful to you when you commence breastfeeding.
When to start breastfeeding: Start breast feeding as soon as possible. Once the pediatrician is done with the routine measures, instead of dropping the baby in relatives lap, drop on mother’s chest right away when your gynecologist is stitching your episiotomy or your uterus in a c – section. It will deviate your attention as well as decrease the amount of blood loss as sucking induces the release of oxytocin which helps in contracting the uterus.
The positioning of the baby during breastfeeding: The common error which women make is bending on to the baby. This not only gives an agonizing backache but results in improper latching. Take a backrest and pull the baby towards you with baby’s head on your elbow fold. This will ensure proper fit of the nipple in baby’s mouth without compressing his nose. The nipple doesn’t contain milk, the areola does, so put the entire black area in the baby’s mouth. Otherwise, the baby will bite on the nipple for want of milk and this will cause nipple soreness.
Keep your nipples clean: Sometimes there are a lot of black heads in the nipples which can be easily wiped off with the wet cotton piece. This will ensure space for milk let down.
Duration of the breastfeeding: Feed for at least 20 minutes at a time feed from alternate breasts, if the baby sleeps in between tickle the sole and wake him up.
The frequency of the breastfeeding: Feeding 2 hourly is usually required, may be 3 hourly during night time. Recognize the hunger signs, it may not always be a baby cry, it can be a nipple search, putting his hand in mouth etc. So feed on demand. It does take a toll on the mother especially during the night but always look at the brighter side. Imagine getting up 2 hourly even at night to prepare a formula feed versus just sitting on your cosy bed and enjoying breastfeeding.
Nutrition recommended for you: When you are giving so much (about 600 calories/day) you require frequent nutritious meals and plenty of water. Do not shun those traditional “Panjiri” as it contains things like jeera, sounf etc. which increases the milk let down. But don’t forget the fats it is cooked in, so consume in moderation.
Burping during breastfeeding: When the baby feeds he swallows plenty of air, so good burping is a must to avoid regurgitation and flatulence in the baby.
Avoid nipple confusion: Do not introduce bottle feed or pacifiers because the thrusting force required to suck a mother’s nipple, bottle nipple and pacifiers is different. Avoid nipple confusion.
Avoid giving processed milk or sugar to the baby: If we would ever taste breast milk, it is thin slightly sweet in taste versus formula feed which is tasty like rasmalai. Avoid giving this so called rasmalai, then the baby will not find your precious breast milk tasty. Also colostrum, the initial thin watery fluid is full of antibodies to protect the baby’s immune system and allergies.
Opt for Feeding bras: Your breast size will increase by at least 2 inches, so be prepared, buy a feeding bra (a size larger) in advance. Then all you have to do is open the flap and milk let down occurs.
Opt for Privacy during breastfeeding: Choose a calm, private environment is always good for nursing but simple readily available cloth like dupatta is handy, when a separate room may not be available.
Avoid nipple soreness: Don’t let your nipples sore, if so apply simple lubricant/ emollient like desi ghee or lanolin which can be wiped off with moist cotton before next feed.
Be confident: Lastly, but most importantly remember you could win the stage just by confidence, so you are bound to be a good mom, once you are confident. Remember you are the best mum your child could ever have.