Breastfeeding refers to feeding a baby with breast milk by opting skin-to-skin contact position. The health benefits are incomparable to the other options of feeding the baby. Breast milk contains the right proportion of nutrients that are essential for the healthy growth and development of the baby. It is the healthiest form of milk for a baby. Furthermore, there is no other substitute or baby food that can replace breast milk, in terms of its nutritional value.
Apart from the baby, breastfeeding also provides certain benefits for the mother. As per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), a mother should continue exclusive feeding of breast milk for the first six months after childbirth. Nevertheless, certain problems may occur during the period of nursing the baby. However, following certain tips and tricks, would make it easier and comfortable for both the mother and the baby.
Tips and Tricks
This is a comfortable activity, but there are several aspects that a new mother needs to know about it. As a new mother, one might be unaware of the convenient holding position of the baby while feeding, which in turn could irritate the newborn as well. The mother should be relaxed, and feel confident about her choice. Here are some important tips for new mothers.
The earlier one starts feeding the baby, the sooner one would learn the right method. Hence, consider holding and feeding the baby in the delivery room as soon as possible. The guidance of a lactation consultant can be taken in terms of nursing and breast care. The feeding of the newborn with breast milk, should begin within the first hour after childbirth.
Feed the Colostrum
Colostrum, a sticky and yellowish milk, which is secreted during or towards the end of pregnancy is rich in antibodies and immunoglobulins. Feeding colostrum to the newborn helps in promoting the immune system and also, in excreting the first stool (meconium) after birth. It is often considered as giving the first vaccination of life.
Being in the motherhood stage, it is necessary to learn the right feeding position. Furthermore, the position should be comfortable. One should always support the back while sitting or lying down to feed the baby. Also, one needs to support the baby with the hand while feeding, rather than bending down or lowering the breast. As the baby is being fed, a tingling sensation would be felt that would mark the release of breast milk. Make sure to breastfeed from both breasts at each feeding.
Dealing with Breast Soreness
Tenderness and/or soreness of the breasts is commonly manifested during the first week of feeding. This condition would subside slowly, as the milk starts flowing from the breasts. However, in case of pain, one should consult a lactation consultant.
One of the factors that could pose a hindrance is managing office work, and the baby at the same time. The tips for working moms include the use of breast pumps that are available in baby care centers. Depending upon the frequency of pumping, one could opt for either the manual-operated or electric-operated breast pumps. One can seek the advice of a lactation consultant in order to buy the best product suiting one's lifestyle.
Six Months and Longer
As already mentioned, exclusive nursing for six months is a must for the baby's health. After the baby turns six months old, continue feeding with breast milk, along with supplemental diets like baby formula and semi-solid foods. Overall, it should be done till the child becomes 1½ - 2 years old.
An experienced mother would be able to help with tips and tricks for successful nursing of the baby. With the growing popularity of feeding breast milk, four out of every five moms breastfeed their baby in the United States. As more mothers become aware about the benefits, it is becoming a conventional trend of motherhood. Eventually, the forthcoming generation will be healthy and strong.
Disclaimer: This AptParenting article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.