Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks
Many women when they become mothers think about breastfeeding. For some, it is an easy process and beautiful, for others it is beautiful but only after they overcome the pain and other issues associated with breastfeeding. It is important not to give up even if it is challenging at the beginning. The problems can be solved much easier nowadays; there are many places where you can get help from.
Breastfeeding is a unique moment for mother and baby. It is beneficial for both of them. Scientists discovered that breast milk has all the nutrients that the baby needs from birth until he is six months old. You probably know already that these nutrients found in a mother’s milk cannot be contained in another source; the formula milk has only a small part of the nutrients necessary for the baby’s healthy development.
How soon after birth can a mother start breastfeeding?
The newborn is usually ready to be fed after an hour after the delivery. The infant is very active, and he needs the urge to suck. After the birth, it is important to hold the baby on your chest, on naked skin. This way he gets used to you. When placed on the skin, the baby feels safe, and his heart rate is regulated.
If both the mother and the child are well, it is recommended to breastfeed the baby for the first time right away in the birthing or delivery room.
- Many babies will learn fast to suckle.
- Other babies need time, and a few of them need some help as well.
- Many newborns have the instinct to crawl to find the breast. This is a unique experience for the mother.
- Because each person is different, the mother and the baby will learn together how to interact with each other.
In the hospital, you will be surrounded by midwives. They will guide you, and they will teach you how to breastfeed the baby correctly. In the first two days, you have to let them know when you are about to feed the little one. They will show you how to position the infant and which is the right attachment technique.
As I said before, for a few days after the birth, the breasts will produce colostrum. This is yellow and thicker than the full milk that the mother will produce later. The amount of colostrum is small but enough for your baby’s needs in his first days of life. Colostrum is rich in antibodies.
- These antibodies are building the baby’s immune system, protecting him from germs.
- The breast will produce full milk after a few days. This will help the baby grow and develop fast.
- Breastfeeding is an art that has to be learned in time. The mother and the baby know better the best way to interact with each other. You will need around six weeks to feel completely confident about your breastfeeding process.
- How often is it recommended to breastfeed the baby?
- Mothers learn fast that the newborn has to be fed when he gives signs he wants to.
- In a few days, a new mother learns to read the signs of her baby. He will let her know whenever he’s hungry. When the baby is still very young, he will be hungry very often.
- When you feed the baby frequently, you help your breast to produce milk faster and this way you prevent some incidents happening.
- From many mothers experience, a newborn will want to be breastfed eight or ten times a day (24 hours).
- At the beginning, don’t worry if you cannot respect a particular time routine. The baby sets the pace, and you have to follow.
- When you come back home after hospitalization, you will notice that you will have less milk than your baby wants.
- It is recommended to start feeding the baby more often, in short sessions to stimulate your breast to produce more milk.
- Between six and twelve weeks the baby will want to be fed at more regularly hours, and you can learn what the baby’s pattern is.
- There are situations when the baby wants to be fed again, after only a very short period after you breastfed him.
- It is important to understand why the baby asks for milk. He might be hungry or thirsty and in many cases, he looks for comfort and closeness.
How do I attach the baby to the breast correctly?
Many mothers feel their nipples sore after feeding the baby frequently. As a new mother, you might experience this if you do not attach the baby in a proper way to your breast.
Learn from the midwife how to position and attach the baby to the breast in a properly manner. If the baby is attached well and you breastfeed him correctly, you will have less pain or sore nipples.
How should I position the baby?
- Make sure you hold the baby close and keep his body facing yours; his nose should be opposite your nipple.
- It is recommended to support his head with a hand behind his shoulders. With the contrary hold your breast.
- The baby has to open the mouth widely; he has to keep the tongue down and forward. Your nipple has to aim at the roof of the baby’s mouth.
- Keep your fingers well back, away from the nipple.
- The first time the baby will suck a few times rapidly, and then he will suck and swallow the milk.
- The baby can stop from once in a while to rest before it starts sucking again.
- If you feel pain when the baby is sucking, maybe you did not attach him correctly. You can make the baby stop sucking if you place your finger in
- the corner of his mouth. Take the baby off and give it another try.
- Always ask the midwife at the beginning if you have difficulties in holding the baby properly or attaching him as you suppose to. The great thing is that the more you breastfeed, the easier it gets.
Benefits of breastfeeding
- The baby will be healthier. The risk of developing cold, pneumonia, viruses is increased in infants who are not breastfed. Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal infections are less common in breastfed babies.
- Breastfeeding the baby, it is a way to offer him immune protection on the long term. The infant will be less exposed to health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes or celiac disease.
- If you breastfeed your baby, you will have much stronger bones. Doctors discovered that women who breastfeed their babies do not deal with postmenopausal osteoporosis. The body of a pregnant woman and later the body of a breastfeeding mom absorbs calcium much faster. Specific bones such as those in the hips and spine become denser than they were before pregnancy
- A breastfed child is exposed less to an alarming syndrome, the sudden infant death syndrome, with 50% less.
- Breastfeeding regulates the mother’s body and the baby’s body, keeping the weight of both of them in control.
- As a nursing mother, you will burn up to 500 calories a day. It seems like breast milk contains 20 calories/ounce. When you feed the baby with 20 ounces per day, you lose around 400 calories.
- Breastfeeding is great for mother earth – there is an environmental reason. Specialists believe that dairy cows, those who are producing the milk for the infant formula, are one of the causes of global warming. It is hard to believe, but their continuous manure, belching, and flatulence spread into the atmosphere harmful gas and a high amount of methane. Other than this, when you feed the baby with a formula means you use many packages.
- Millions of containers are consumed every year to produce formula milk. Some recipients can be recycled. Breastfeeding is recommended because the mother doesn’t need paper, fuel to prepare the milk or containers. Avoiding buying formula milk, you save valuable global resources.
- Mothers who are breastfeeding recover faster after the delivery. The uterus contracts when the baby is breastfed and the organism releases oxytocin. The contractions reduce the blood loss after the delivery. The uterus is healing faster and returns to its normal size in only 6 weeks after the baby is born. Mothers who did not breastfeed observed that their uterus returned to its original size after 10 weeks. That means an advantage of one month in the healing process.
- Breastfed infants have reduced risks of developing cancers in childhood. The mother will be protected as well from premenopausal ovarian and breast cancer.
- The mother who is breastfeeding feels empowered. She can see how the baby is growing healthy when is fed with breast milk alone.
- Formula milk has a specific structure that doesn’t change to meet the baby’s needs. Right away after the delivery, a mother will produce colostrum. This “pre-milk” is rich in antibodies responsible for protecting the infant. This milk has less sugar and a high amount of proteins necessary to hold the baby’s hunger. After three or four days after the baby is born, the mother will produce the full milk. This milk has more sugar because the infant requires higher amounts of calories to grow. This milk can be digested faster by the baby, and that is why he needs to be fed so often.
- Breastfed babies develop excellent antibodies which are helping them to deal better with vaccines than babies who were not breastfed.
- A breastfeeding mom has a menstruation vacation. When a mother is breastfeeding frequently the baby, her body will naturally delay the ovulation and the menstruation. During the breastfeeding process, the body releases prolactin. This substance interferes with the progesterone and estrogen activity and it delays the ovulation. A nursing mother will see her period return after six or eight months.
- Some of the nursing mothers don’t have menstruation for a whole year.
Breastfeeding the baby it is a way to protect him from getting sick. That means you will have the freedom to take a day off from work to enjoy being with the baby, doing things together.
- Mothers who cannot breastfeed spend almost $5.000 a year on infant formulas. If you decide to breastfeed the baby you will also save money.
- Breastfeeding it is a way for the mom to learn more about the baby. The mother cannot see how much the baby ate, but she can feel when he is full. She is developing her instincts better.
- You will not believe it, but breastfeeding is also a post-baby birth control option. And it is almost 99% efficient. You can forget about the condoms. There are some details that can give you the signal if it is safe to have sex without a condom. Your menstruation has not returned, you breastfeed the baby every four hours, the baby doesn’t use the pacifier and he is not fed with formula milk, and you have less than six months since you gave birth. Make sure you feed the baby during the night as well. If you do not feed him for a long time during night time, the ovulation returns.
- Breastfeeding is easy and it comes naturally to any new mom. Simply pull up the blouse and you start feeding the baby. You can feed the little one anytime and the milk is always at the right temperature.
- Breastfeeding helps the mother to prevent postpartum depression. Many mothers experience this health problem. It is a severe health condition that affects the mother and the child because the mother is not able to take care of him properly.
- It is beneficial for the economy as well. A study published in Pediatrics journal, says that the country would save more than $10 billion/year in medical investments if most of the American families would decide to breastfeed the infants for a period of six months.
- Breastfeeding it is a way to bond with other moms as well. You will develop better friendships. It is a critical period of time when new mothers share their experiences and talk about their parenting style.
- Nursing it is a great opportunity for women to sit together, to nurse and to take care of the babies.
Who should avoid breastfeeding the baby?
Doctors recommend to mothers infected with HIV, or those with lymphotropic virus type 1 or type 2, with active untreated tuberculosis, or herpes to avoid altogether breastfeeding the baby.
Some babies develop galactosemia, and it is safer for them not be breastfed. When the mother takes drugs, or she is under particular medication such as antimetabolites, or she is participating in chemotherapy or radioactive therapies, is safer for the baby that she does not breastfeed him.
Is a formula milk necessary and safe when I breastfeed?
If you already breastfeed your baby, you should avoid giving him formula milk as well. Your breasts will produce milk when the baby needs it. If the baby is fed with formula as well, your breasts will produce less and less milk.
Make sure you give to your child complementary feeds if your health provider recommended so.
Health risks for babies fed with formula milk:
- ear infections such as otitis
- lower respiratory infections
- leukemia (rarely)
- childhood obesity
Doctors discovered that the risk of hospitalization for respiratory issues in the first year of life is high in infants fed with formula. The risk is with 250% higher. Make sure you breastfeed the baby at least four months.
The risk of sudden infant death syndrome is alarmingly high among babies formula fed, 56% greater than in children who were breastfed.
When you feed a premature baby with a formula, you expose him to necrotizing enterocolitis as well.
Am I going to feel my breasts swollen all the time during the breastfeeding period?
In the beginning, the breasts can feel weird, thick, hot, hard and swollen.
When you feel this, make sure you feed the baby more often. You will not have these symptoms very long if you continue to breastfeed the baby day and night.
If you fed the baby, but you still feel like that, ask your midwife to show you how to extract the extra amount of milk from your breasts.
After a couple of days, you will get used, and you will produce a lot of milk without having these symptoms anymore.
How to breastfeed a premature or sick baby
In the hospital, the medical staff knows that the child needs skin-to-skin contact. They will help you to breastfeed him as soon as possible.
In the beginning, you will have to express the breast milk. Even six or eight times a day. In the very first days, you will see that only colostrum comes out. After that, the amount of milk will increase.
When the baby is ready to suck by himself, the medical staff will help you to do that.
Is it safe for the baby if I smoke during the breastfeeding period?
It is not advisable to smoke and breastfeed. The chemicals in the cigarette affect the quality of your breast milk, and it might cause health issues to the little one. It seems like nicotine gets into the mother’s blood and can easily pass into her breast milk.
It is important to quit smoking or at least to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke a day.
Make sure you do not smoke during breastfeeding; the smoke can harm the baby, and there is the risk to burn the infant with the cigarette.
Also, make sure nobody is smoking close to the child; it can affect him severely in the long term.
Why is better to quit smoking during breastfeeding period?
- Your breasts will produce more milk and better quality
- The baby will feed much better.
- Tobacco chemicals will not reach the baby through breast milk.
- If it is too difficult to give up smoking, be careful to smoke after you breastfeed the baby, not before or during the process.
- Is it safe for the baby if I drink alcohol during the breastfeeding period?
- Doctors recommend not drinking during the breastfeeding period. An amount of alcohol can pass from your blood into your breast milk. If you want to drink a glass of wine once in awhile is better to do it after you breastfeed the little one than before or during the process.