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5 Important Things to Remember When Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Immediately After Childbirth
In some places it is believed that the baby should not be breastfed immediately after birth. This is because right after birth, the mother produces colostrum, a sticky fluid that comes before milk. Some cultural practices and customs believe this liquid to be harmful. However, the most important breastfeeding tip is that colostrum is produced in the beginning when the baby's sucking reflex is the most powerful. Colostrum contains a range of antibodies that the baby needs and cannot produce by itself. In fact, the Center for Nutritional Research says that this fluid helps pass on immunity to a wide range of disease causing pathogens. Also, the earlier you start your baby on breastfeeding, the quicker you will be able to establish your milk supply. This helps reduce the chances of milk supply reducing during the first two weeks of birth. Don't worry too much about how much milk is produced, since a newborn baby cannot have too much and even a little bit of colostrum will make a difference.
Position the Baby
According to Veronica Jacobsen, a lactation counselor interviewed by Parents magazine, babies are happier if their feet are touching something. It could be your leg, a pillow or your arm. This little contact makes the baby feel more secure. She also suggests keeping the baby's stomach touching yours, so that the baby does not have to turn its head to latch on to the nipple. Also, aim the nipple at the nose and not the mouth, your baby will automatically lift their head and latch on.
Do Not Time Your Baby
Babies do not have a fixed rate of sucking and it is of no use to measure the time you breastfeed. Wait till the baby stops on their own and then shift to the other breast. Sometimes, the baby will want to stay on one breast and at other times, it may want to feed at both breasts. In either case, it is best to let the baby decide for themselves when they are full. In case you feel that your baby is not consuming the required amount of milk or that the intake of milk has reduced, you should immediately consult a pediatrician, according to experts at Rainbow Hospitals.
Latching Your Baby on to the Breast
The latching process can be broken down into three easy steps. First, hold the baby close to your body with the nipple pointed at its nose. Next, wait till the baby's mouth is fully open. In case, your baby does not open their mouth fully, try stroking its upper lip gently to get them to pay attention. Finally, bring your baby to your nipple. Usually, the baby will tilt their head backwards and take a large mouthful of your breast. Try and aim your nipple towards the upper part of the mouth. When your baby opens their mouth and is about to latch on, ensure that the tongue is not in the way and is positioned at the bottom of the mouth where it will not obstruct the nipple. According to AskDrSears, it can take several tries for new mothers and babies to get it right, so if you don’t immediately succeed, don’t worry. Read up on more breastfeeding tips or talk to your doctor.
Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers Too
According to Romper, a website devoted to providing advice and resources for mothers, there are a number of benefits of breastfeeding for mothers too. Firstly, it is one of the most effective countermeasures to postpartum depression. Mothers who breastfeed have a deeper emotional bond with their children. When done in a quiet and peaceful environment, it is equally relaxing for both mother and baby. One of the biggest hidden benefits to breastfeeding mothers is the fact that in the course of producing milk for your baby, your own levels of calcium increase. Although it might seem more likely that calcium levels would reduce in the mother's body due to the increased consumption, the reverse is actually true. Mothers who breastfeed enjoy the benefits of increased levels of calcium in their bodies.