- Family and Parenting
Breast feeding tips that have helped young Indian mothers
You can do it
Indian girls have come a long way! From climbing Mount Everest to making a mark as an entrepreneur as also securing top positions in Indian Administrative Examination - an Indian woman has proved her worth everywhere. And yet there is an area, where young Indian women still feel unequipped- which is Breastfeeding. And that's where as a grandmother, I wish to tell the new mothers,“if women from weaker section can feed their babies, so can you!” Thus, be relaxed and confident when feeding your baby.
First of all, it is really heartening to note that doctors & nurses today show far more patience to a new mother as compared to our times, when they were outright unforgiving.In fact, 2 years ago when my granddaughter was born, I found it very comforting when a male pediatrician, told us that it sometimes takes 3-7 days for milk to come.He also advised us to give double toned milk to the baby during those days. In addition, he instructed us to use spoon and no feeding bottle. This definitely gave me and my daughter a lot of breathing space! And while I used to add sugar to baby's milk, a former student of mine was told by the doctor not to add sugar. It worked that way too.
Drink plenty of water
Holding the new born is always challenging for any new mother. And over that discovering that you are not able to feed the baby can sure be very shattering. I remember an acquaintance of ours was told to drink plenty of water so that the food she ate would convert into milk. A very valuable advice which came from a male doctor! And so, even though she gave birth to a premature male baby through caesarean section, she was able feed him well after the 3rd or 4th day itself. Today, her son is 5 years and doing very well.
It happens sometimes that the new mother has inverted nipples. It is not necessary to get discouraged at such times. The problem can easily be corrected by massaging the breast in circular motion and pulling out the nipple.
Sit on a stool if you have received stitches
A young mother, who has received stitches, may find it difficult to sit cross legged on the bed to feed the baby. At such times, you can sit on a small stool of height 9-10 inches to feed your baby. Even a bathroom stool would do. This is an advice straight from an experienced pediatrician.
Let the baby feel your heartbeat
During my daughter’s delivery, I was fortunate to lay my hand on a leaflet in the hospital which said that the baby should first be held gently to the left breast. The new-born feels the heartbeat of his/her mother and feels happy. After 10 minutes, the baby can be shifted to the right breast. The duration can be increased as the days pass. Once the baby gets used to your feed, the baby can be latched to the breast you last ended. This way, the milk in both the breasts will be used properly.
Leaking gets checked on its own.
A mother may encounter ‘leaking problem’, which gets corrected on its own as the baby starts growing. New born babies often don't suck at one go. Thus in case of much leakage, the new mother should hold the baby for feeding even if he/ she is asleep. At any time make sure that milk does not accumulate in the breast. As then feeding becomes very painful. Doctors often advise lactating mothers to express excess milk in a small bowl and store it in the fridge. Whatever, the holes should never get clogged. Therefore, wiping the area after every feed has to be done without fail. To avoid chapping, cream can be applied to the nipples which can be again wiped clean before every feed.
It is a responsibility of the elders in the family to make sure that the young mother gets adequate sleep. As this increases the flow of milk. This should be accompanied by a good and nutritious diet.
New mother's diet
A new mother's diet should include lots of proteins, calcium, iron, and vitamins. When my granddaughter was born I was advised by a well-wisher not to immediately give dry fruits to my daughter as the newborn baby's stomach is tender. Thus, I started dry fruits only after the 10th day. But having 'dalia' (broken wheat) at breakfast can be very good. Better still, you could also soak a little wheat in water overnight and grind it in the mixer with some water the next morning. Once it's cooked, you can add milk and sugar as per taste. This dalia or kheer is rich in proteins and B Complex.
'Curd' is very good for health. But it sometimes proves cold for a new mother. At such times, you can have spiced buttermilk or 'chaanch'. You can warm the buttermilk a little if you wish.The new mother's diet should also include a lot of green vegetables. But these green vegetables should be washed well. Best would be to add a pinch of salt in the first wash. After this, wash it the second time again with plain water. A lactating mother should not eat Papad as it contains baking soda which may lead to loose motions in a baby.
Dry ginger or 'sonth' is highly recommended after delivery. This is because it aids in producing heat in the body. Thus early in the morning, I would boil a cup of milk to which I added 1/4 teaspoon of dry ginger powder and a little sugar. I gave this regularly to my daughter after her bath. Thus neither my daughter nor the baby caught a cold during the entire period of breastfeeding.
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At any cost, a new mother should avoid getting impatient or nervous at the time of feeding. Even a slight rough touch can make the baby turn his or her face away from feeding. Therefore, a new mother should try to be calm and happy. “Count your blessings” is something every new mother should remember. Brooding over caesarean/ forceps delivery or weak/ premature baby will only end up lessening the milk. Further, there is always a next time!
So Happy motherhood! Happy feeding!
Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.