Breastfeeding your baby can be challenging but it is worth trying as it contains the right balance of nutrients for your baby. The antibodies present in breastmilk boosts the immunity system of your little one. Moreover, it is easier to digest than formula milk. Apart from these benefits if you still need to know more about breastfeeding use these tips to get off to a good start.
As a mom, these are the things you need to know about breastfeeding:
The first time your nurse your baby, preferably within the first hour after delivery – ask for help right away. Getting your baby to latch on may not feel natural so ask for assistance in the hospital. You might feel extreme tenderness (pain) in the initial days. Reading about breastfeeding is one thing but doing it on your own is something else. But once your baby is properly latched, discomfort should decrease during each nursing session and go away completely with time. Support yourself with pillows if needed. Hold your baby close to your breast. Support your baby’s head with one hand and support your breast with the other hand. Encourage your baby to suck the nipple.
After each feeding, always let the milk dry naturally on your nipple. It helps to soothe your nipples. You can also use nursing pads in case your breasts leak in between feedings. When you bathe, minimize the amount of soap, body wash and other cleansers that might contact your nipples. Lathering breasts with soap can dry out your skin which could lead to uncomfortable cracking of the nipples. For dry or cracked nipples consult your doctor for the ointment which helps to soothe cracked nipples, as well as helps your nipples to retain moisture.
Many medications are safe to take while you are nursing but never take any medicines without the guidance from your gynecologist and let the doctor know that you are a breastfeeding mother before you take anything. Cold and flu medications are not recommended for nursing mothers. Moreover, if you have a chronic health condition, ask your healthcare provider if it is ok to breastfeed your baby.
Breastfeeding can make you hungrier and more tired than normal, so you need to stay well hydrated and well fed. Keep taking prenatal vitamins, calcium, and iron and drink plenty of water while nursing. Your body requires extra 250-500 calories daily. To keep up your energy, stick to healthy-eating basics, such as green leafy vegetables, fruits, soup, whole grains, and nuts. Moderate amount of caffeine is generally considered ok as well but if you suspect that too much caffeine is interfering your baby’s sleep then stop it immediately. You need to rest as much as possible. Smoking during breastfeeding is not advisable as it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as respiratory diseases.
Nursing moms like you are afraid of being bitten so don’t stop the breastfeeding once your baby is in the teething stage. If your baby bites you then take her off (the breast) always. A curious baby may nip you after she is done eating, but if you pay attention to her cues, you can avoid being nibbled. If your baby is nursing properly, then you should not feel her teeth, even the baby has a mouthful of them. Never end your nursing relationship because of the teething fear. Keep in mind that it is physically impossible for your baby to nurse and bite at the same time because the tongue covers the bottom teeth/gum when your baby is nursing.
Your milk supply is based on your baby’s demand for nourishment, so breastfeed your baby frequently which helps to increase the flow of the milk. Certain foods like fenugreek, cumin, garlic, onion, cheese, jaggery, sesame seeds, ghee, nuts etc. helps in boosting the strong supply. Your little one can also jumpstart your milk let-down reflex when your body recognizes cues, such as hearing your baby cry, it lets the milk flow.
If you think that breastfeeding is tougher than you expected, try not to get demotivated. Breastfeeding is a very challenging task and feeding your newborn every few hours can be tiring as well. It is really ok to have a slow start. One important thing to remember is, the more you breastfeed your little one, the more milk your breasts will produce and the more natural breastfeeding is likely to feel. Seek guidance from a lactation consultant or your baby’s childcare expert if needed, especially if nursing seems painful to you or if your baby is not gaining weight.