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Essential, Natural Guide to Breastfeeding for beginners
Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving!
There is information that can make a world of difference. You can prepare yourself for a successful breastfeeding experience.
On this page I've tried to cover all the topics that I think can benefit a new mother the most, such as Laid back breastfeeding, Skin to Skin contact and Kangaroo care.These are all things I wish I had known about before I had my first baby.
Take this information and run with it!! Good luck to all you wonderful new mommies out there!
Why Go the Natural Route? My Story...
In short my first birth experience was all planned for me, without my input. I was quite ignorant back then and didn't even realize that I had a choice. We all have a choice to make. To make an informed decision or to let someone else decide for us, based on their own innuendos. Well, needless to say, my first birth experience was not good for me or my baby. I had a "planned" C-section. My baby was born at 38 weeks. His poor, little body was so pumped full of medication due to the epidural and spinal block, that he could not suck properly for days afterwards. I also had no support, my mother had never breastfed her children, due to similar issues. So anyways, I tried to breastfeed him, but could not.
So, I decided to do research before the birth of my second baby and discovered many wonderful things. I decided to have a non-medicated, home, water birth. I had a lot of opposition, by those who were misinformed, but I did it. I had my VBAC birth in the middle of my living room with a midwife. It was the most wonderful, most empowering experience in my life. Also, my daughter breastfed like a pro and I ended up breastfeeding her for two years!
The moral of this story? Natural is best if at all possible. Make an informed decision.
A Natural Way to Nurse = Laid Back Breastfeeding
This is originally a topic that was made famous by a very clever lady (Suzanne Colson), who named this biological breastfeeding.
What is laid back breastfeeding? It is essentially the most natural way to breastfeed your baby.
Have you ever heard of "The Breast Crawl"? This is an amazing phenomenon! A brand new baby, born just minutes ago is crawling to his mother's breast, and will latch on all by himself. And guess what? This is not just something that one baby did, its actually "suppose to be" the norm. All babies can do this!
At the hospitals we are taught to sit a certain way, hold our baby a certain way and even breastfeed on a schedule...the "to do" list is endless. Wouldn't it be so much better if we listened to our bodies and our babies, instead of relying solely on nurses and doctors? I'm not just saying this because of what I've read. My passion on the subject stems from my own personal journey with my children.
Laid Back Breastfeeding in Action
Watch the breast crawl video...
The Advantages of Laid Back Breastfeeding...
- There are no instruction to follow.
- You and your baby are more likely to be comfortable.
- If skin to skin contact is utilized, it can be extremely beneficial.
- You can sleep and relax while breastfeeding.
- Your baby is less likely going to suffer from Acid Reflux symptoms.
- Your baby will expel gas more easily. A less gassy baby equals happiness. ;-)
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What is your opinion on laid back breastfeeding?
Why is Skin to Skin so Important?
What is skin to skin?
Skin to skin refers to the contact between the mother and her baby without barriers such as clothing between them. Skin to skin can help a mother and baby transition more easily into a breastfeeding relationship.
How does skin to skin contact effect a breastfeeding relationship?
- Because of the hormones that are released "feel good hormones", a mother will have an improved "let down" reflex; meaning that her milk will flow easily.
- Having your baby this close will encourage breastfeeding.
- Your baby will have a more stable temperature and will seem more at ease, this makes for a calmer breastfeeding session.
- Your maternal bond is established easily and therefore, you can recognize your baby's needs easily.
- Your baby is more likely to latch on to the breast without help.
- Decreased episodes of engorgement (sore, swollen breasts).
- Premature babies benefit the most from skin to skin contact and even more from breast milk.
Other benefits of skin to skin contact include:
- Breathing is easy and rhythmical.
- Heart rate is kept stable.
- Oxygen levels are improved.
- Blood sugar levels are stable.
- Blood pressure is kept stable.
- The baby's pain threshold rises.
- The baby is colonized by the mother's bacteria.
- Babies cry less.
Skin to Skin
Kangaroo Care (KC)
Kangaroo care refers to the act of coupling skin to skin with exclusive breastfeeding. Allowing the baby to breastfeed on demand. Mother and baby are skin to skin 90% of the time. Mothers who practice KC have an extra advantage, which is an increase in milk supply. Premature babies who are kept in KC are usually discharged much sooner than most.
The Benefits of Kangaroo Care
Why breast milk?
Somehow there is still such ignorance on this subject. Many are under the impression that breast milk and formula are equal.
You cannot compare breast milk to formula. Breast milk is a living substance! Watch the "breast milk under a microscope" video below.
Breast milk is not only necessary for the normal protection and development of a baby as a whole, but is essential for the mother's health too!
Even just the smallest amount of formula given to a baby can disrupt the gut's PH balance. This can lead to all types of problems. If you cannot breastfeed, at least consider giving your baby donor breast milk.
The importance of Breast milk/breastfeeding
- Infant Immunity through breast milk
Infant immunity. Many child immunity disorders can be avoided; you can increase immunity of your baby, just by breastfeeding!
Human breast milk under the microscope
The Assumption that you are Doing it Wrong
If you can just get past this (your fear of not doing things right), your chances of succeeding are increased by a lot!!
There are things that may happen during a breastfeeding relationship, that may cause a mother to panic and even give up on breastfeeding.
The number one assumed problem is a low milk supply. Firstly here are the signs to look out for.
Things that might make a mother think she has a low milk supply issue:
- Cluster feedings, which are grouped feedings. These occur mostly in the evenings. These are normal.
- Growth Spurts occur during the first few weeks and months. Each growth spurt can last for about four days. Your baby may breastfeed more during these times. Your milk supply should increase automatically if you allow your baby to breastfeed on demand.
- Your baby has lost weight since leaving the hospital? This is normal. Most breastfed babies will lose up to 9% of their birth weight and then gain it all back before the end of week two.
- Your breasts don't feel as full anymore? It is normal to be engorged in the beginning, until your body decides on just the right amount of milk to produce for your baby's specific needs.
- You don't express much milk while pumping? A measurement of milk expressed cannot give an accurate estimate of milk produced. Some mothers with overabundant milk supplies are unable to express much milk at all, it all depends on the individual. Babies are much better at milk removal than any breast pumps.