Being worried about the challenges of breastfeeding is common amongst most women. While it might come easier to some more than others, having the right information about breastfeeding makes things far less intimidating.
Breastfeeding for the first six months of your newborn is strongly recommended and encouraged. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have all issued statements strongly supporting breastfeeding newborns. Here are certain benefits that breastfeeding offers.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
|1||Breast milk supplies infants with Colostrum which contains Immunoglobin A (IgA) as well as other antibodies. These antibodies protect infants from various kinds of bacteria and viruses|
|2||Breast Milk provides all the nutrition your baby requires.|
|3||Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections, Gut infections, Intestinal tissue damage, allergic diseases, bowel diseases, childhood Leukemia, Diabetes, Cold, and other diseases and infections|
|4||According to one study, Breastfeeding infants for more than 4 months reduces their chances of developing obesity and childhood weight problems.|
|5.||Studies demonstrate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop learning difficulties and behavioral problems.|
|6.||Breastfeeding does burn calories and can help lactating mothers lose weight|
|7.||The uterus grows considerably during the process of pregnancy. Breastfeeding incites faster involution that allows your uterus to return to its original size.|
|8.||Breastfeeding moms have a lesser tendency to develop postpartum depression.|
|9.||Breastfeeding lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc|
|10.||Breastfeeding is much less taxing and more economical than formula-feeding infants.|
Understanding and knowing the benefits of breastfeeding can be reassuring and encouraging for most women who are looking to breastfeed their babies. However, if some women cannot produce enough breastmilk, they can count on lactation drink mix to increase their breastmilk. While baby formula is an option, we believe that if a mother can nurse her baby, the breastmilk is the best for a baby. Here’s why.
Disadvantages Of Exclusively Formula Feeding Infants
- Exclusively formula-fed infants might have a higher incidence of diarrhea, urinary tract infections, otitis media, respiratory tract infections, and bacterial infections
- Exclusively formula-fed infants might lack the developmental benefits as compared to breastfed infants
- Higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer are observed in mothers who have never breastfed. They also exhibit increased postpartum bleeding and a slower return to prepregnancy weight.
Now that we have covered the advantages of breastfeeding, let us cut to the chase and tell you how to make the process of breastfeeding easier and more successful.
1. Breastfeeding Classes
The first step to successful breastfeeding is always learning and gathering information about it. Clear your apprehensions and get expert advice. If you’re a first-time mother, taking breastfeeding classes at your local community center, local hospital, or even online can be very useful. Research shows that women who learn about breastfeeding during their pregnancies are more likely to be successful than those who do not.
2. The Right Nursing Care
Being comfortable and cozy while breastfeeding is essential. This might not sound that important but things like a well-fitted nursing bra, breast pumps, bottles, breast milk storage bags, comfortable nursing pillows, etc can make things easy and enrich your breastfeeding experience. Always prioritize your comfort when breastfeeding. Being tense is never a good idea while breastfeeding.
3. Inform Your Healthcare Provider
It is a good idea to inform your healthcare provider that you are planning to breastfeed. They can help you prepare, check or change up your meds if you’re on any and help you through the process.
4. The Golden Hour of Breastfeeding
Refers to the first hour after your baby has been born. Your baby will need to breastfeed after birth. Before beginning to breastfeed, it is important to hold your baby skin to skin. Be sure to keep your baby skin to skin during their first feeding. You should hold your baby skin to skin as much as you can during their first few weeks. Skin-to-skin contact helps
- Keep your baby warm
- Reduce your baby’s stress
- Breastfeed your baby
- Regulate your baby’s blood sugar
- Bond with you.
Let us walk you through the golden hour step by step.
5. Different Ways to Latch
Your baby needs to latch on to breastfeed. Here is how
- Having gotten into a comfortable and relaxed breastfeeding position, guide your nipple to stroke your baby’s lips while cupping your breast with your hand. This will initiate your baby’s natural rooting reflex to open their mouth and suckle.
- Baby led latching involves you lying on your back and holding your baby’s cheek close to one of your breasts. Your baby will naturally explore their surroundings and latch on.
6. Breastfeeding Positions
If your baby hesitates to latch on, you can try any of these breastfeeding positions to help them latch.
Cradle Position – This position involves you sitting upright with the baby lying on their side. Her head and neck should be positioned along your forearm with her body against your stomach.
Laid Back Position – In case you have gone through a c-section, this is a preferred position. Position your baby’s body across your shoulder to reduce pressure on your healing wound while you nurse.
Football Hold – Sit with your baby resting on your forearm. His body should be tucked along your side with his feet facing behind you.
Cross-cradle Hold – Similar to the cradle hold, switch your little one to the opposite forearm.
Side-Lying – Lie down alongside your baby while touching your bellies.
Australian Hold – Also referred to as the koala hold. Your baby should be sitting upright on your thigh or hip with his head and spine firmly supported.
7. Breastfeed Equally from Both Breasts
Breastfeeding from both breasts ensures that both of them are equally empty. In certain situations, infants have a preference for one particular side. You can try to feed them from both breasts or use a breast pump to relieve pressure and ensure that your breastmilk supply remains equal for both breasts.
8. How to Ease the Pain of Engorgement
Engorgement occurs as a result of your milk ducts getting overfilled. Nursing from both breasts and feeding your infant whenever he is hungry are recommended ways to avoid engorgement. You can also take the following steps to ease your pain of engorgement.
- Using a breast pump to expel some of your breast milk can help relieve the pressure.
- Massaging your breasts helps the milk flow.
- Taking a warm bath or placing a hot compress on your breasts before you begin breastfeeding can be helpful. The warmth stimulates milk flow.
- In case the warmth does not work, cool compresses before and after each breastfeeding session can also be helpful.
- Trying different breastfeeding positions allows you to empty different areas of your breasts.
9. Mastitis Should not Stop You from Breastfeeding
Mastitis is the condition when a clogged milk duct gets infected. Symptoms include fever, painful and swollen breasts, cold symptoms, a hard lump on your breasts, and the appearance of red streaks on your breast. Getting it treated is your top prerogative. Here are a few home remedies for Mastitis:
- Allow your baby to nurse for longer on the infected breast. This can help unclog your milk ducts. It is safe for your baby as the infection cannot be passed on to them.
- Massage the lump while you nurse the baby.
- Avoid wearing bras and wear loose-fitting tops for the time being.
- Pump the remaining milk after having nursed your little one. This will help drain out the blocked duct.
- Rest, apply a warm compress on the lump and drink lots of water.
- You should visit your doctor in case you experience fever or continued pain.
10. Understand When Your Baby Wants to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding your baby whenever they are hungry is important. However, there is no fixed schedule when it comes to breastfeeding your baby. It is also likely that your baby’s breastfeeding schedule will change over time. Here are some signs of understanding when your baby is hungry.
- They are alert and awake
- They suck on their fingers
- They put their hands to their lips
- They whimper and move their hands and head.
- They nuzzle your breast.
Crying is generally a very late sign of hunger so it is not a good idea to rely on it. In their first week, babies will want to feed every 2 to 3 hours, which is almost 8 to 12 times a day.
11. How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
- Listen for your baby swallowing while breastfeeding.
- Observe your baby and see if she seems satisfied after every feeding. A clear sign that your baby is relaxed and content is that her arms should be relaxed with their palms open.
- Your breasts should feel softer after breastfeeding your baby.
- Steady growth is a very clear sign that your baby is getting enough milk. Your doctor should check your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference at every check-up.
- Keeping a track of your little one’s wet diapers can also ensure that she is getting enough milk. During the first few weeks, your baby should go through about 6 or more diapers a day.
12. Hold Off on the Pacifier
Introducing a pacifier too early can have a negative effect on your baby’s breastfeeding. Pediatricians generally recommend using a pacifier after your baby has gotten used to breastfeeding.
13. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol While Limiting Other Foods
Remember you are passing what you are eating to your infant.
- Those concerned about consuming coffee while breastfeeding, try to keep your caffeine intake to 200mg a day.
- Avoid eating seafood that is high in mercury.
- Avoid smoking as nicotine can have adverse effects on your baby’s health and sleep.
- Avoid drinking as it is not healthy for your baby. In case you have a drink, using alcohol milk screening test strips is a good way to see when it is safe to breastfeed your baby.
14. Pay Close Attention to Your Own Health
As a nursing mother, you should
- Eat well-balanced meals. Your body is going to require between 400 – 500 extra calories to produce breast milk.
- Taking Multi-Vitamins and Supplements can be helpful if your healthcare provider recommends them.
- Stay properly hydrated. Stay off sugary drinks and even juice.
- Rest as much as possible. Try to match your sleep schedule with that of your baby to get an ample amount of rest
These tips will hopefully make the process of breastfeeding easier for all moms. It is important to keep in mind that the challenges of breastfeeding should not define you as a mother. Any amount of breastmilk is beneficial for your baby’s development, and all mothers should be praised for trying to nurse, no matter how long they breastfeed for. Breastfeeding allows you to develop a beautiful bond with your baby which you will love and cherish forever. We believe that if the idea of breastfeeding intimidates you at the moment, once you follow our tips and start, it will become the best part of your day.