Mother's milk is the best source of nutrition for an infant up to six months of age. Hence it is natural for new mothers like you, to be concerned about their milk supply. Often, young mothers are worried about the frequency and volume of breast milk flow and latching issues, among others. Here is a ten step guide to follow from pregnancy all the way through Breastfeeding to ensure you are at ease!
1. During pregnancy attend a lactation class. Knowledge is power and it will help clear all myths and misconceptions. Plus you will have all the information to make the right start.
2. Have your doctor check for flat and inverted nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples you can work at everting them in the last three weeks prior to birth.
3. Hold your baby skin to skin in the first hour after birth. Allow baby to latch even if there is no milk. Even if baby licks and nuzzles this is a great first feed.
4. Newborns are very sleepy in the first 24 hours. Wake the baby for feeding every two hours. Latch baby every two to three hours which is about 8-10 times in 24 hours for the first fifteen days. This will help to establish your milk supply.
5. Do not give the baby formula feed randomly. Formula is heavy and hence babies sleep longer. This reduces your stimulation opportunities. Remember your new born has a stomach capacity of only 5ml at birth and your milk is more than enough. Arbitrary use of formula causes the stomach to expand and hence baby demands more as well as is fussy at the breast.
6. Relax and destress. Oxytocin, which is one of the primary hormones associated with Breast milk production, is not released if you are in a state of stress. Always calm yourself, think positive thoughts and feed your baby. Make sure you eat a healthyand balanced diet and consume about 8-10 glasses of water every 24 hours.
7. Trust yourself. Once milk production sets in the baby will urinate a minimum of seven times in twenty four hours. Also the color of the stools will be mustard yellow. At day fifteen, when you visit the pediatrician the baby would have regained his birth weight. This indicates that your milk supply is optimum and now you can follow demand feeding.
8. Never schedule or time an infant under three months of age. At times they may feed longer and often. This is perfectly normal and in fact will help to maintain your milk supply.
9. If you are unable to feed for some reason, do express your milk. Especially working mothers since they have long hours away from their baby, it is recommended that you express frequently at work as well as this will maintain the supply for holidays when you are able to be with your baby the whole day.
10. Last but not the least never use a bottle to feed the baby. Bottles in whichever form will cause nipple confusion, over feeding, ease of getting the milk for the baby etc. This will result in your baby preferring the bottle and becoming lazy at the Breast. Lack of optimum stimulation will cause a drastic reduction in your supply.
Remember breast feeding concerns are minor and can be handled easily. However it is important that you seek help from a lactation counselor early and not allow the concern to manifest into a problem.
Enjoy breastfeeding as these will form some of the precious moments of your life!
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