Breastfeeding isn’t just amazingly beneficial for a baby, but it’s also good for the nursing mother. Breast milk has antibodies, nutrients, and several other upsides that we simply can’t ignore. Exclusively breastfeeding for at least the first six months can lower the chances of SIDS, allergies, diabetes, and asthma. You might also stave off childhood obesity this way while saving money on formula.
However, breastfeeding is also a challenging experience for many mothers. Some might feel depressed due to hormones while others experience mastitis or clogged ducts.
You don’t need to throw in the towel just yet; these tips might help out your lactation practice.
1. Stay with the Baby As Much As Possible
When the mother and baby are close together after birth, it will enhance their bond and establish the right hormonal response. These two concepts are essential for success in breastfeeding. In most cases, you can ask to have the baby close to you right after birth. Even if the delivery was through a C-section, it’s usually possible to give the baby to the mother soon after it’s born.
2. Make Sure the Position Is Right
During the week or so after giving birth, you’ll be learning how to breastfeed in a comfortable position. The breast milk will be changing from thick, yellowish colostrum to whitish, cloudy mature milk. This change might result in full, even engorged breasts. Use this time to ensure that the position for nursing the baby is just right. By this, we mean that it should be comfortable for both of you.
When the position is fine, you can focus on the baby’s attachment or latching. If you’re experiencing pain while nursing or the baby doesn’t seem to latch properly, call in an expert. If you’re trying not to meet too many people, try setting up a virtual appointment with lactation consultant.
3. Stay Patient
Don’t think that you have to be perfect at breastfeeding right away. Whether this is your first child or your fifth, breastfeeding is a new skill that you have to learn every single time. Some mothers and infants might find it relatively harder. So, there’s no need to feel depressed over the bumpy phases.
At all events, you need to relax while nursing to let down the milk properly. There will be spills, exhaustion, and frustration involved. So, be prepared. Ask someone to distract the baby if they’re fussy or try to pump some milk for the next feed so you can rest a bit.
4. Feed As Needed
You can set a feeding routine for your baby when they’re a bit older. To set a successful lactation practice, however, you’ll need to give your baby a lot of time (and milk) in the early days.
The baby will probably feed up to 12 times in a single day. This frequency will go down with time. In the meantime, feed the baby when you think they need it. Frequent feeding will help to enhance your milk production.
5. Start Preparing Early
Make sure to take care of yourself during pregnancy as well as afterward. Before the delivery, convey your desire to exclusively breastfeed the baby to your doctor. You may also look for a lactation consultant just to be on the safe side. Other options include a prenatal breastfeeding class, purchasing breastfeeding items (nursing pillow, pump, etc.), and asking the staff about the kind of after-birth care to expect.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that breastfeeding should be easy. Both the mother and baby have to learn the rhythm of latching. You’ll also require the support of those around them. Following the tips above will help. But everyone’s experience in this regard can be vastly different. When in doubt, ask your doctor what to try next. Above all, take care of yourself and enjoy this brand new life!