The Basics of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is one of the most important things that a mother can do for her child.
Some of the wonders of this process:
1. The more you feed the more milk is made. Which means that it is important to stimulate the breasts and feed frequently once the baby is born.
2. Even a woman who has not gone through a pregnancy can breast feed a child. This is practiced in cases where families adopt. This works merely by frequent long term stimulation of the breasts prior to the arrival of the baby.
3. Your breasts have natural glands called Montgomery glands. These are responsible for secreting an anti-infective substance which helps to maintain the hygiene of the areola and the nipples. This means that you do not need to clean the breasts before every feed. Normal daily hygiene is just enough.
4. Even moms who have multiple babies can exclusively breast feed since the quantity of milk produced is dependent on the demand.
It is important to accept that breast feeding is a natural physiological process and the human body is designed to do it effectively.
Remember we do not see other mammals turning to alternative sources of feeding. Why then would human babies look at cows milk etc….
Some Breastfeeding tips:
1. Before you begin a feed make sure that you are absolutely and totally comfortable. Babies can feed for long durations and if you are uncomfortable you will give up more easily. Take as many pillows as you need and make sure you are not feeling any strain.
2. Position your baby facing you. Your baby's tummy to your tummy. The baby needs to face where he is supposed to feed.
3. Offer the breast to the baby. Babies have a natural rooting and suckling reflex and they actually look for the breast at birth and thereafter.
4. The baby has to take a major part of the areola in his mouth. The nipple is only the excretion point and if the baby suckles only on the nipple there will be no stimulation and hence no milk. This will lead to frustration for the baby who will then suckle harder and cause sore and cracked nipples which are very painful for the mother. This may also lead to discontinued feeding.
5. Do not time your baby. Let him nurse for as long as he wishes on the first breast. Once you feel that the breast has emptied and the baby slows down, break the baby's hold on your breast by inserting a finger in the corner of his mouth.
6. Burp the baby. This will effectively release any air that the baby has swallowed while nursing. It will make the baby comfortable and also make space in the stomach for more milk. It can help in increasing the time gap between feeds.
7. Offer the second breast to the baby. When you begin feeding for the next time your second breast is the starting point and the entire cycle repeats itself.
To know more about Breastfeeding, read here.