Breastfeeding may be easy for new mothers while others need a bit of practice and patience. With this handy breastfeeding basics guide, you’re on your way to providing healthy and nutritious breast milk for your little one.
Starting Your Journey Your body needs a “trigger” to start producing breast milk. Provided by your baby when it suckles, newborns should be immediately placed on the breast as soon as the baby is delivered.
At first, the breast will produce just a small amount of thick, yellowish liquid called colostrum. Extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies, colostrum is good for your baby. The more frequently you put the baby to the breast, the faster it will be to start producing milk – usually in three days.
Once milk comes in, moms will feel a tingling in the breast when you are ready to feed. Milk can leak a bit and this is known as the “let down” reflex. Often, moms experience mild tummy pain, but this is normal as your womb is contracting as you nurse. How to Breastfeed 1. Position yourself
• If you are lying in bed, have your midwife help you find the best position. Otherwise, sit up straight in a chair and hold your baby at breast level across your lap.
• Since breastfeeding lasts for about 30 minutes, it’s important that you are comfortable and relaxed. Strategically place a pillow and a low footstool to provide support.
2. Positioning your baby
• Hold your baby’s body closely facing you. The head should rest on your forearm, not in the crook of your arm. Support the neck and head from behind with your other hand.
• Remember to bring your baby to the breast – and not the breast to the baby.
3. Latching on
• Brush the baby’s lips against your nipple until the mouth opens wide like a yawn. Smoothly bring the baby’s mouth to your breast so it covers as much of the areola as possible with the nipple inside. There should be a small gap between your breast and the baby’s nose.
• Patience is the key as it may take a few tries to latch on properly.
4. During feeding
• Once your baby has started feeding – relax!
• The baby always gets a thin “foremilk” first to quench the thirst. The calorie-rich “hindmilk” satisfies hunger and will come afterwards.
• It’s important not to be in a hurry when feeding. Let the baby nurse as long as desired from one breast and then offer the other.
• If baby has had enough, offer the “second” breast first at the next feed.
A Few Points to Remember • Babies do not “nipple feed,” instead, they “breast feed.” Proper latching on makes it easier for the baby to drink, stimulates your milk supply and prevents sore nipples.
• The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce. Breastfed babies generally cry when they are hungry, which is every two to three hours in the first weeks. Each feed takes up to half an hour.
• Some babies suffer from wind or colic. If yours does, burp the baby against your shoulder after feeding. If the baby feeds from both breasts, you may also want to burp in between.
• Establish a good breastfeeding routine if your baby’s birth weight is low (under 2.5kg/5lb) and track the weight gain in the early weeks.