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Breastfeeding Tips and Benefits
One of the first decisions you will make about your baby is whether or not to breastfeed. Surely any healthcare professional will tell you that breast milk is the healthiest baby milk and that breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding.
However, some women do not like the idea of feeding their baby this way and are afraid to even try it. Other women would not like to breastfeed their children, but because they return to work in a few months, they decide not to start. But every woman is different, and you may find that breastfeeding works very well for you.
Some important facts about breastfeeding
To help you understand the benefits of breastfeeding, here are some basic facts about the oldest method of feeding your baby:
- The most nutritious breast milk is colostrum, the substance that nursing mothers produce from birth until milk comes in.
- Your body produces exactly the amount of milk your baby needs. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body produces. And as your baby’s needs decrease, so does the amount of milk your body produces.
- If you breastfeed, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size faster and you will lose weight faster.
- Some women find that nursing babies acts as a natural form of birth control for them. However, this is not the case for all women, so if you want to delay your next pregnancy, you should still use birth control while breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is the cleanest and most economical way to feed your baby – no bottles, sterilizers or expensive formula required.
- A baby’s immature intestine and small stomach can digest breast milk much more easily than formula. Unlike formula diapers, breastmilk diapers do not smell!
Babies are born with a natural reflex and instinct to breastfeed. Their sucking reflex is strongest at birth, which is the best time to start. For many young women, especially if they have no experience with breastfeeding, it can be a little difficult at first. For this reason, many hospitals offer breastfeeding information and may even have lactation consultants on staff. As soon as your baby is born, it would be a good idea to see a lactation consultant and ask them all your breastfeeding questions. She will give you ideas on breastfeeding positions and help you hold your baby properly.
If you are breastfeeding twins, the positions are slightly different, as you can see here:
In principle, starting to breastfeed is not that difficult, as newborns have a strong sucking reflex at birth. Just hold the baby in the crook of your arm. Support yourself or the child with pillows, bring the child close to the chest. Gently touch your nipple to the baby’s mouth and you will see the baby automatically open its mouth to take the nipple. You should gently hold your nipple between your thumb and forefinger. Offer your baby not just the tip of the nipple, but also part of the areola (the slightly darker area where the nipple attaches). Because the baby’s mouth is very small, offer your nipple and areola very carefully. The baby’s chin should touch the breast, but the nose should either be away from the breast or just touching it. You will know if the baby is not latched on properly if it hurts. If the baby is latched properly, there should be no pain.
At first, the baby breastfeeds for a few minutes in a row. In the beginning, there is rapid sucking when the baby takes the finer foremilk. As the thicker and more nutritious hindmilk comes in, the baby begins to suck more rhythmically, with the lower jaw moving deeply up and down.
Common breastfeeding problems
If you are a new mother, breastfeeding can seem difficult at first. You’re already tired from giving birth and your body is going through all the normal postpartum hormonal changes that happen at that time. Until you get used to breastfeeding, you may suffer from sore nipples. This should not be a cause for concern as the skin will harden after a while. To help you, there are various nipple creams on the market that are safe to use while breastfeeding. Talk to a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider to find out which one is best for you.
You should also make sure to empty your breasts during each feeding. This is done by offering both breasts at each feed. When baby is done with one breast, burp it and then offer the other. Make sure that the second breast becomes the first breast for the next feeding so that it does not become too full, as this can lead to mastitis.
Mastitis is an infection caused by a blocked milk duct due to breast attachment or bacteria from a cracked nipple.
The importance of a good breastfeeding diet
You need to eat for two while breastfeeding. This essentially means that you need to eat the healthiest foods for your baby and keep your strength up. During this time, it is very important to eat often and make sure you drink enough water, especially if you live in a hot climate. Many women definitely drink while breastfeeding and drink again when they stop. The importance of proper nutrition cannot be emphasized enough. Some women can breastfeed for at least six months, but others continue until the child is two years old. This is a very personal decision, but in any case, you need to take care of your strength during this period.
If you choose to breastfeed, you have made a very positive decision because you are giving your baby the healthiest start in life.
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