Breastfeeding is Best!
It's worth learning how to do this because it's healthier, cheaper and builds a very special bond between you and your new born baby.
I am passionate about the health benefits of breastfeeding and I have written this article in the hope that you will be inspired to breastfeed your baby too.
I talk about how essential it is for the health and wellbeing of both you and your baby.
This breastfeeding advice is my first-hand experience and that of my friend who is a GP, and I include links to up to date research and websites that are full of good practice.
My Personal Experience
I was completely at a loss after the birth of my son, I'd spent all my energy on caring for him before the big day, so I had NO IDEA what to do with him after he arrived!
I had read some books and I felt kind of ready, but as soon as I had him in my arms I made my first big mistake - welcome to parenthood!
I let him suckle, for hours! The result was a very, very happy baby but excruciating pain for me because my nipples couldn't take it. I really had no idea what I was doing.
If this Hub can spare you just that extremely painful experience, then I'll feel a real sense of achievement.
After that it got easier but I was lucky because breastfeeding isn't easy - not at all! However, there is plenty of help and support out there if you have any doubts or difficulties. I have included some links to other sites.
I sincerely hope you find this article useful and encouraging and that you'll take a few minutes to tell us about your experiences of breastfeeding in the comments box below. We should be learning from each other.
So please do leave a comment.
Please choose one before you read on
Are you planning on breastfeeding?
You Both Have to Learn How to Do This
Even though it's the most natural thing in the world. Give it time and you'll both become experts. However if you can't for whatever reason, then that's OK too.
I Really Didn't have a Clue!
But I stuck with it and became an expert!
There is no doubt that breastfeeding is the best start you can give your newborn, but what about all your questions:
- how long do you do it for?
- how old should your baby be when you start the weaning process?
- what is the right way of doing it?
- how can you manage working and breastfeeding?
- who is going to support you if you have difficulties?
- what happens if baby refuses to suckle?
- what about breast pain and nipple soreness how can you alleviate those symptoms?
- what if people disapprove?
These are all valid questions, and their answers will become apparent once you start the whole process. There's no doubt that stepping into the unknown is not easy - but aiming to breastfeed your newborn is the thing and hopefully you'll both soon get the hang of it!
It is cheap, hygienic, and extremely good for you and your baby - so there's absolutely no point in fighting it - you have to join me in saying - I love breastfeeding!
I do acknowledge that some women have problems breastfeeding and literally can't do it, even after a lot of heartbreaking effort, and other women don't want to do it, which is their choice, and some babies struggle with it and can't do it either. It's a bit like being pregnant, you either find it a doddle or you struggle though it.
If you're looking for advice about how to keep healthy while you're pregnant then visit my Hub about juicing - it certainly worked for me, and I'm sure that's another reason why my son is so healthy and strong now - he's only 14 years old, but he's 6 foot tall and as lean as a prize colt!
COLOSTRUM - What That?
Think of Colostrum as 'liquid gold', because that's how precious it is. Colostrum is what your body produces when you are expecting a baby and just after you give birth. It is very special milk that is extremely high in nutrients and antibodies. And its sole purpose is to protect your baby.
It is very clever because it knows exactly the amount your baby needs and makes sure it delivers it - just like the most professional nutritionist! That takes away all your worries about whether you are giving enough to your baby in the first vital days of life.
Colostrum changes after the first few days because, as your baby grows, it needs different nutrients, and so it becomes 'real' milk.
By day five your milk has just the right amount of sugar, fat, protein, water, which will all help your baby remain healthy. This milk is still full of antibodies that protect your baby.
How can formula match breast milk?
Well, the simple answer is that it can't! Not entirely.
Breast milk is much better for your baby for many reasons, but did you know that it is easier for your baby to digest? Many babies don't digest the proteins in formula because they are made from cow's milk. This is very important if your baby is premature.
Babies who are not breast fed are exposed to health risks. The hormones and antibodies in breast milk keep the baby safe from illnesses like diarrhea and ear infection, necrotizing, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Some research shows that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden death syndrome).
So this is a very serious issue indeed.
Breastfeeding Advice: Excellent Articles & Sites
- Baby and Weight Gain
A good article about how babies gain weight. It explains what is the correct weight for each stage of a baby's development.
- Breastfeeding Information
Good all round information about best practices and why you should breastfeed.
- When Do I stop?
How Long Should I Breast Feed For? This article says 6 months, but sometimes that easier said than done!
- If Baby Won't Nurse...
Really good tips and ways forward if your baby is refusing to suckle.
If you have any problems at all tell your midwife. They will give you all the support you need and will stay with you till you feel confident. There is no need to suffer in silence.
Mothers benefit in the following Way
At first breastfeeding can be a bit difficult, especially if your baby is a fussy eater, and it can feel like a bit of a strange thing to do. If you feel this, then you're not alone.
- So if you are having difficulties, do not blame yourself and try not to feel guilty - tell your midwife as soon as possible. Give her a call!
- Once a routine has been established it will become the easiest and most efficient way to feed your baby and it will hardly require any thought at all.
- Your baby will always let you know when it is hungry, but that's not all, it will be comforted by skin to skin contact, which can boost your oxytocin levels, a hormone that helps milk flow and is very calming for you.
- Keeping calm and relaxed will ensure that your baby is calm too, establishing a wonderful cycle of tranquility and bonding time. Breastfeeding gives you some very special time together. This is bonding that cannot be matched by anything else.
Breastfeeding gives many mothers a real sense of achievement and pride
One of the obvious advantages is that is it free. Formula is expensive, and can cost you more than $1,500 annually depending on how much your baby eats.
Babies who are breast-fed also save you money on doctors bills because they are healthier generally. This means that working mums have fewer days off work to look after unwell babies.
The money you save on formula will make things like bras, bra pads and nipple shields affordable.
I have included a link, under SPECIAL LINKS that will take you to a detailed article about how breastfeeding benefits mothers in the long term, both physically and psychologically. Breastfeeding has been linked to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and postnatal depression.
They'll be Three Soon Enough
Make sure you take time to talk to your partner about how important breastfeeding is for you and your baby. He'll need to learn about what to expect with you, and before the baby has arrived, because once it's in your home, it will become the boss!!
Sometimes new dads can feel a bit left out - it's nice to feed your baby with daddy around too. The best time is in the evenings when it's time for you all to relax. These will be remembered as some of the best moments in your lives.
Nipple Shields - Invented by Godesses!
Ouch! Avoid Cracked Nipples
Prevention is better than cure - I speak from experience. Start applying nipple cream before your baby arrives. That way they will be more able to cope with your baby starts to suckle. If you have sensitive nipples buy some nipple shields, they are life savers!
I used them and they really worked well. They were particularly useful when I first started feeding as they gave my unsuspecting nipples a chance to get used to it.
A Few Things to Expect
- your breasts become larger
- when they're are full of milk they get quite taught
- they can leak milk - so you may have to express them
- they may not produce enough milk - the midwife will help you if this is the case
- your nipples change shape and colour, and they become bigger, they actually reach right down into the baby's throat when they properly attached.
- You'll have to learn how to do this - it's important that you relax. Resign yourself! Listen to your favorite music, or watch TV, and be calm.
White Cabbage Miracle
If you feel your breasts are getting too hot or are even burning use white cabbage leaves. That is a miracle cure! Put the cabbage in the fridge. When you need to cool down, peel off a couple of leaves and bash them gently to release its liquid, then put them in your bra and relax.
THIS WORKS - AN IMMEDIATE RELIEF
Comfortable and Well-fitted Maternity Bras
Maternity bras are made to make your life easier. Here's what you should look out for when you buy one ( you'll probably need three) :
- it’s very important to buy yourself a nursing bra that is comfortable because you will be wearing one day and night
- get fitted in a specialist shop because they have staff who know how much your breast will change during the whole process.
- get fitted by a professional, large department stores have this facility for free, and once you know your size, you can buy online with confidence.
- choose cotton. Every time! Cotton will let your body breathe and this is essential especially during the summer. It's easy to care for, and it keeps its shape.
Breast Pumps - These are very useful
Expressing milk is necessary when:
- you need to be apart from your baby. If you are still breastfeeding after your maternity leave ends, then you can express your milk.
- you have a lot of milk, your breast may feel too full, and it's comforting to express it. Too much milk can be painful, and expressing relieves the pressure.
- it's time to wean because the milk keeps coming - expressing helps you manage this change.
Amazon have different types of pumps, both manual and electric. I like AVENT products - they are well researched and well made and are BPA free.
If you express then you will need to store your milk properly. You will need special containers that can be easily sterilized and that are used for this purpose only. Make sure they are BPA free.
Your Contributions: Stories and Experiences
This is a very important part of this article. Help other mums by telling us about your experience and tips and advice.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Giovanna