When I gave birth to my daughter, there was no a question whether I would breastfeed her or not. For me, it was natural to breastfeed my little baby, and both my daughter and I enjoyed that process. Generally speaking, there are no reasons against breastfeeding. But, some mothers don’t want to try to connect with their babies on that way. What a pity!
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The best choice for you and your baby
You should know that there is a serious medical reason to breastfeed your baby in the first few weeks. Namely, colostrum (early milk), provides antibodies which are important as protection against diseases. It is the only way to develop baby’s immune system during the first few months of her life.
All in all, breastfeeding is good for your baby as well as it is excellent for you. If you breastfeed your baby within the first hour of baby birth, your uterus will contract and return to its previous size. In that case, Mom has less chance to get postpartum depression. Believe it or not, breastfeeding also reduces the chances that Mom gets ovarian or breast cancer. In the other hand, colostrum contains the right balance of nutrients for your baby, and it’s easier to digest than regular milk.
Well, if you definitely decide to breastfeed your baby, there is a question how to do it in the right way. You could ask for advice from experts, or you could look for Moms who know how to deal with it. They will help you and sometimes theirs advise can be better than some professional ones.
Start before the baby is born
You can start with preparations before the baby is born. Maybe it’s wise decision to visit some breastfeeding support classes or ask your friends who already have a baby for advice. But, avoid listening to all those horrible stories which some Moms like to share. Every case is unique and other’s bad experience isn’t connected with your baby in any possible way.
Also, you can ask to talk with hospital’s lactation consultant. She can help you during first
days, especially if you have become a mother for the first time in your life. You can also talk with a pediatrician. It is a good idea finding a good one before you give birth. Or, you can just buy one of the good breastfeeding books and read everything you can about this topic during pregnancy.
If you are the first-time Mom, you should know that maternal instinct sometimes late. It usually helps, but be prepared that there is a possibility that it appears after a couple of days. Breastfeeding can definitely help you to get through that process faster. It may come naturally to some mothers, but the other Moms sometimes need more time and patience. In some cases, Moms need a practice.
To make all that process easier for you, I will give you some good and useful breastfeeding tips. All of them helped me while I breastfed my little daughter.
Make breastfeeding painless and more comfortable
Be prepare that breastfeeding hurts. In the very beginning, you can feel a stronger or weaker pain. Some Moms don’t feel any pain at all, but some of them have a lot of problems during first two to four weeks. It depends on two essential things: how sensitive you are and how sharp-set the baby is. Well, your nipples can be raw and cracked from the start, and you can expect a few hard weeks. But, please, don’t give up!
If you feel discomfort or even pain, try to change your baby’s position and find a way to make the breastfeeding less painful. I highly recommend you nipple shields. They can be very useful and can make all the process easier for you. Also, take the massage therapy of your breasts between two feedings. I adored it and considered it very useful.
Don’t forget creams! They will make the miracle, soothe the nipples and make breastfeeding much comfortable. Instead of buying expensive creams, you can use olive oil or your breast milk. It is a healthy and completely natural way to heal your nipples and start enjoying feeding your baby.
It is said that ‘practice makes things perfect’. This is also true if we talk about breastfeeding. Both of you need a lot of practice, except if you are lucky. Some Moms and babies start to practice the new technique very easily. But, many of them need a lot of patience during those first days.
Your baby will tell you that she is hungry
For the start, it is very important to get used to this process. It is perfectly normal that newborns need up to ten feeds in 24h. You should make this process easy for you and for your baby as well. You just need to pay attention to her early signs of hunger. Your baby will move lips, or she will start to be upset and restless when she wants to eat.
From my experience, you should stop watching the clock, although many people think that you need to feed your baby in a specific amount of time. I believe that breastfeeding is an
entirely personal connection between the baby and the mother. Feeding rhythm varies from baby to baby, and you should find your own. Otherwise, you will constantly be stressed if you nurse the baby by the book. The same thing will happen if you strictly follow the advice which doctors, other Moms or neighbors give you all the time.
If you need to, you can supplement baby’s meal. After breastfeeding, you can add some formula feed. In some situations, it will be a benefit for your baby. And don’t worry if your baby looks tiny. Some of them start looking chubby after a month or even later.
Oh, one more important thing! Don’t pay attention to what people say. You can breastfeed your baby in public! Your baby is the most important. When she’s hungry, feed her, no matter what anybody says.
The best advice is to do the way you feel
If there is any possibility, let your baby sleep in the same room with you during the first six months of her life at least. It will make breastfeeding much easier. But, avoid sleeping in the same bed with your baby. She needs her own cradle for the start and the crib after a while. In that way, she will have her own space for sleeping, and you will have a bed for you. Also, you won’t have to worry about hurting her during sleeping. At the same time, she will be close to you, and you will hear her every time she wants to eat.
Some mothers prefer pacifiers, but it’s not a perfect idea for newborns, especially not from the very beginning. If you give her a pacifier too early, it can affect breastfeeding. Keep in mind that sucking on a breast is not the same as using a pacifier. These are two completely different processes for the baby. The recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics is to wait with a pacifier until breastfeeding is well-established. It shouldn’t be in the first month after birth.
Take care of yourself
Some Moms stop thinking of themselves after delivery and at the beginning of breastfeeding. There is nothing that could be more wrong! It is great that your baby gets all the nutrients she needs, but you can’t leave yourself without essential nutrients. You need a lot of healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables too. And, don’t forget water! You mustn’t bring yourself into a situation to dehydrate.
Yes, I know that it’s very easy to forget on you during your first weeks with a baby. The baby is on the first place for every Mom, and it’s natural. But, you should keep in mind that, if you are not healthy, your baby will also suffer. You need extra calories and plenty of water. Otherwise, you can even lose your milk. Also, you need a rest. Take your time and don’t hurry. Sleep while your baby sleeps, don’t smoke or use unnecessary medication.
Even if breastfeeding is tougher than you expected, don’t give up! I know that breastfeeding every few hours is tiring, and you can feel exhausted. Just slow down a bit and let both of you get used to the new situation. Over time, more often you breastfeed the baby, your breasts will produce more milk. You will be more relaxed and satisfied, and your baby will be happier and healthier.
And don’t worry! Believe me or not, everything will be OK. You will see. In a couple of weeks, you’ll laugh at your today’s worries.
Breastfeeding is a gift and only you can give it to your baby. Be patient, calm and self-confident. Million of Moms do the same thing. It’s not a problem! It should be a pleasure for both of you. You just need practice and to keep trying.