Breastfeeding is the best gift you can give your precious new born. It is the best way you can nourish, love and comfort your baby. At first glance, breastfeeding may seem to be an easy thing to do. However, it is easier said than done. Most first time moms have many concerns, questions, and issues when it comes to breastfeeding. Therefore, here is some useful advice to all you nursing mothers out there, on how best to breastfeed your newborn bundle of joy!
What is the basic thing I should do and know to breastfeed better?
Be patient. Breastfeeding requires patience and practice. Do not worry, with time you will get used to this completely new experience.
Your breastfeeding techniques will improve with time as you and your baby spend more time nursing. Breastfeeding requires hard work, so make sure to observe, read, and explore as and when you can if you really need your baby to get adequate nutrition through breastfeeding.
Remember, in the process; try to get useful instructions from other moms, your doctor, and your midwife. Above all, make sure that both you and your baby are comfortable while nursing.
Also, relax your body and mind, and meditate whenever you can.
Breastfeeding is indeed a challenging experience, so do not give up even though you did not get it right at the beginning. Keep trying, and you will be an expert in no time!
How do I get the right latch?
This is very important. If your baby is properly latched on, you can be sure that she/he is getting adequate nutrition. It will also make both you and baby feel comfortable. If the baby is properly latched then you will not have to worry about sore nipples and pain.
Always remember that proper latching is important to a positive breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby. In simple terms, the right latch means that you make sure the baby is able to hold onto the nipple as well as the areola correctly so that breast milk is transferred well and properly to your baby.
Make sure that the baby’s chin touches the breast while feeding. Also, the baby’s mouth should be open wide covering the areola and not only the nipple. Most often we see nursing mothers go through severe pain. This occurs mainly when the baby has not latched on properly.
My nipples are cracked and bleeding -is it still ok to breastfeed?
It is normal for most mothers to feel pain when first feeding their newborn. In addition, most mothers’ feel that their nipples crack or are wounded due to the baby not latching on properly. There is no harm in continuing to breast feed your child if your breasts have cracked or are bleeding. However, you might want to consult your doctor for some treatment for your breasts. And make sure you use medications that will not be transferred to your baby while breastfeeding.
Should I only feed my baby from one side at a time?
There are two types of breast milk exerted from your breasts. The first milk is known as foremilk that is the watery part of breast milk. This is great for satisfying a baby’s thirst. The milk that follows is called hind milk, which is richer and whiter in colour and is the fatty part of milk that helps to keep your baby full, and helps to add weight.
It is generally best to breast feed your baby from one breast for 20 minutes or longer before switching to the other breast. This is so that your baby gets both the foremilk and hind milk, instead of getting only the foremilk. It is also recommended to feed your baby from one side until it is empty, however if you feel your breasts are too heavy it is always best to switch sides in order to avoid breast engorgement.
How important is the holding position?
It is extremely important because it will make both you and your baby feel comfortable. When you and your newborn are at ease while nursing, it will be easier for your baby to get adequate nutrition. So, firstly figure out what breastfeeding position suits you both best.
These are some commonly used breastfeeding positions.
- Cradle-hold Position (tummy-to-tummy)
- Cross cradle hold (tummy-to-tummy)
- Football hold
- Side-lying position
Remember that with time, these breastfeeding holding positions may change as you will feel comfortable switching to a different position. This may occur due to the baby’s growth and sometimes due to issues with latching. Meanwhile, some positions are ideal for moms with twins.
How can I use my partner’s support to breastfeed better?
Your partner can observe and make sure you have the right latch. He would be able to see more clearly than you yourself if the baby is positioned well and latched on correctly.
Your partner can also assist you in case you require anything while nursing, so that you will be able to continue breastfeeding without any disturbance.
He can be helpful in making both you and baby feel comfortable by placing pillows for extra support and comfort. So get him involved, encourage him, and let him be a part of it. This will indeed be a magical experience for your family.
Is it all right to use a bottle for breastfeeding?
This generally refers to pumping milk into a feeding bottle and giving this to your baby. Bottle-feeding using formula or cow’s milk is a different topic, and can be read up here.
Breastfeeding through transferring milk to a bottle is generally accepted for mothers who are finding it difficult to get out of bed, or simply would like to take a break and give their partner a chance to bond with the baby.
However, try not to use bottles or pacifiers for at least one month. Breastfeed naturally because this is the best way you can get your baby trained. It is best not to confuse your baby with artificial products. This is called nipple confusion. So try as much to delay introducing such alternatives to your baby if you prefer to stick to breastfeeding in the first year.
Should I keep a breastfeeding Schedule?
It is best to to breastfeed on a schedule for around three months. Breastfeed frequently, as and when the baby demands because during the initial stages babies need to be nursed regularly and you really cannot fix any specific schedule. Furthermore, frequent nursing has many advantages as it can make your breasts produce more milk and your baby will not feel hungry and unhappy.
However, eventually you and your baby will naturally get used to a routine, which will make it easier for you to predict when to feed. Until such time, it is best not to put any limits. It is what is best for you and your baby.
My breasts are getting heavy and painful, why?
Yes, this may occur often in early stages as your body is still trying to determine how much milk it actually needs to produce for your baby. To avoid hard, big breasts that cause you pain, nurse your baby frequently. Gradually your body will start to adjust and produce only the required amount of milk.
Massage your breasts with warm water or a cloth drenched in warm water and have warm baths regularly, as it will reduce this pain. If you feel any lumps, forming in your breasts this is likely caused by a block in the milk ducts. You can again use a warm cloth around the lump and try to squeeze the milk out using your index and middle finger. Letting your baby feed on this breast while you squeeze the milk out will also help.
Why do I have to make the baby burp?
Each time after you finish nursing, burp your baby. Burping varies according to each baby. Some babies may need to be burped more while some may not require it at all.
However, burping is important because when baby swallows air it needs to be pushed out, if not the baby will feel the gas in his tummy and it may lead to vomiting that nutritious and all-important breast milk you had just fed.
Burping will make the baby feel comfortable. All you have to do is gently exert some pressure on the baby’s tummy and pat his back. Holding your baby on your shoulder is a great way to let the air out, but remember to support your baby’s neck in the first few months while you do this. You might not hear a loud burp, so in order to make sure there is no gas simply continue this routine after each feed.
Generally, babies need to be burped up until they are about five months old.