Breastfeeding in India is associated with a lot of myths and misinformation. There are several things you need to know as you get one step closer to motherhood each day.
Presently, your baby is similar to the size of the head of a Romaine lettuce. You should know about your baby's first feeding, latching on, how to get comfortable and how to make sure that your tiny one is getting enough to eat when breastfeeding.
Whether your first time is a breeze, something of a struggle or somewhere in between, there is a lot to learn. So, the more you know about the technique (how to position baby), myths of breastfeeding, mechanics (how to know the baby is getting enough milk) and logistics (when a meal is over and when it’s time for another), the more confident and empowered you will feel.
Myths of breastfeeding your baby
In India, there are a lot of myths associated with breastfeeding. Hence, before delivering, a woman should know at least the basics and facts of breastfeeding for a healthy nursing experience.
So, here goes the list of some of the most common myths related to breastfeeding:
- If you have small breasts, you won't produce enough milk to feed your baby
- A baby should be on the breast for 20 minutes on each side
- A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather
- Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D
- You must eat only bland foods while breastfeeding
- Bottle feeding is easier than breastfeeding
- Formula fed babies sleep better
- Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk
Basics of breastfeeding your baby
In order to smoothen your parenting journey, you should know the basic of breastfeeding.
At the hospital:
Get an early start:
Babies are born ready to breastfeed and show extra eagerness to suck during the first two hours after birth. Their sucking reflex is at its peak about 30 to 60 minutes after birth. So, it would be easy for you if you already plan to breastfeed as soon as you can, assuming you and your new arrival are up to it. But don’t stress if it doesn’t happen right away — just catch up as soon as it is possible.
Work the system:
Hospital nurseries are busy places and full of experienced staff, so don’t get surprised if the hospital staff can be quick to calm a cranky baby with a bottle. But breastfeeding from the initial day helps to boost your supply. Also, your baby doesn’t get used to the easier yield of an artificial nipple versus your harder-to-work breast. So, you need to explain your preferences to the staff.
Talk to a lactation consultant:
Before discharge from the hospital, you might be able to schedule a visit with one or take a class, so a professional can observe you feeding your baby. Make sure you're on the right track and check that your baby is getting enough milk. Don’t be shy to ask plenty of questions.
When you get home:
Get to a quiet and peaceful place:
Until breastfeeding becomes a second hand, you would need to focus during feedings. So, get settled in an area with fewer distractions and low noise levels. When you get more comfortable breastfeeding, you can keep a magazine, phone, or tablet nearby to keep you occupied. Try not to watch TV or talking on the phone during the first few weeks, until you get the hang of breastfeeding.
Settle in a position that is comfortable for you and your baby, be it on the couch, in an armchair or in bed.
Quench your thirst:
Keep fluids like milk, juice or water by your side to replenish fluids as you feed (avoid hot drinks in case of a spill). Eat a snack if it’s been a long time since your last meal.
Grandma’s Tip: Don’t listen to everyone. Your relatives or neighbors want to give you a number of suggestions about breastfeeding, however, not every suggestion or advice is going to work for you. Give it time. You and your child both have a lot to learn before you are in sync, even if you have successfully nursed another baby before. Every child is different, so have patience and try, try, and try, until you succeed.
Breastfeeding assistance for a new mom
If you need any help with any breastfeeding problems, from a poor latch to mastitis, breast engorgement and more, then don’t feel shy to ask your baby's doctor or a lactation consultant. You can even talk to a nurse who specializes in lactation.