Importance and Tips of Breastfeeding
Most new mothers find breastfeeding to be one of the most beautiful acts of motherhood, for the first time; they provide nourishment for their baby. Having said that, it’s also important, to be honest about breastfeeding although it is an organic act, it does not always come naturally.
In the past, new mothers had older generations of mentors to help them know about breastfeeding, so it probably came “naturally”. Nowadays, many new moms get a crash course in breastfeeding at the hospital right after their baby’s birth. Unfortunately, this one-time direction may not be enough.
Breastfeeding takes patience and practice. If you are having trouble getting your baby to latch onto you, or you find that the process is causing you pain, then seek help from other mothers or a paediatrician.
Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby. But it should be a pleasant act, not one filled with worry and tears.
WSquare hosted a 2 hour workshop on the importance of breastfeeding and tips for new and to be mothers. The followings were covered.
Benefits to the Mothers
- Have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and cancers such as breast cancer
- Easier to return to what they weighed before pregnancy
- Strengthens the bond between mother and child
Benefits to the baby
- It provides all the necessary nutrients in the right proportions.
- It protects from allergies, sickness, and obesity.
- It reduces risk of diseases, like diabetes and cancer.
- It is easily digested no constipation, diarrhoea or stomach upset.
- Babies have healthier weights as they grow.
Breast milk changes constantly to meet babies’ needs. The milk changes in volume and composition according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of baby to promote healthy growth. Breast milk is the ideal food for your baby.
When to Breastfeed?
A good time to begin breastfeeding is soon after delivery, Look for your baby’s early signs of wanting to feed, such as rooting, licking her lips or putting her hands to her mouth. Crying is a late hunger cue. Even though you won’t be producing milk yet, your breasts contain colostrum, a thin fluid that contains antibodies is good for your baby.
So, here’s how to safely breastfeed your baby.
Your baby’s mouth should be wide open, with your nipple as far back into her mouth as possible. This will minimize future soreness for you. A paediatrician or a knowledgeable person can help you find a comfortable nursing position. If you’re very sore, chances are your baby may not have the nipple far enough back in her mouth.
- Sit or lie down comfortably, using pillows for support and comfort.
- Relax your shoulders and bring your baby to your breast rather than your breast to baby.
- Hold your baby close, nose to nipple, chin to breast and bottom tucked in to your body. Support your baby’s neck and shoulders firmly without pushing the back of your baby’s head as this often makes the baby push away from the breast.
- Support your breast by holding four fingers underneath, away from the areola (dark area), with your thumb on top. Expressing a few drops of milk will awaken your baby’s senses of taste and smell.
- Rest your baby’s chin on the breast, nose to nipple until her mouth opens as big as a yawn and she moves her head back to take a big mouthful of the breast. You can also gently touch your baby’s lips until her mouth opens very wide.
- When your baby feels your nipple with her tongue, her lips will close over the areola and nipple and form a seal; both lips should be rolled outwards. You will feel your baby suckling gently at first and then deeply and rhythmically, one or two sucks per swallow, with little pauses to rest.
- When your baby comes off the breast or is no longer suckling actively, burp her and offer the other breast.
- If you need to take your baby off the breast, gently place a finger in the corner of her mouth until you break the suction.
There are many breastfeeding positions, find the one that is most comfortable for you and your baby. If you have had a C-section you may need help to position yourself and your baby comfortably. Ask for help from your doctor or a lactation consultant.