How to breastfeed your baby and what are the precautions to be taken?
For the first few days after your baby’s birth, your body will produce a nutrient called “pre-milk” That is also known as “Colostrum” It contains many antibacterial and immune-system-boosting substances that aren’t available in infant formula. For some women, colostrum is thick and yellowish, and for others, it is thin and watery.
The flow of colostrum is slow so that a baby learns to nurse and also involves coordination to suck, breathe, and swallow. After 3 to 4 days of producing colostrum, your breasts will start to feel firm. Then you will be coming to know that your milk supply is increasing and changing from colostrum to breast milk. Sometimes a mother’s milk may take longer than a few days to come in.
This is perfectly normal to get colostrum for the first few days. The doctor should know if the baby is getting enough food or not. If you have planned to breastfeed your baby, it’s best to give your baby to practice breastfeeding without giving a bottle. There’s also the chance that breastfed babies are given a habit for bottles.
Breastfeeding is quite easy, but few mothers are tensed, as sometimes a mother’s milk may take longer than a few days to come in. This is perfectly normal and they should make sure to let the doctor know. While babies don’t need much more than colostrum for the first few days, the doctor may need to make sure the baby is getting enough to drink. It can help to breastfeed more often to stimulate milk production. If possible, start nursing within an hour of your baby’s birth.
This timing takes advantage of the newborn immediately after birth. A newborn is likely to spend most of the first 24 hours sleeping. So it may be more difficult to get your baby to latch on, after those first few hours.
A newborn baby placed on the mother’s chest after birth will be natural. It turns the head toward it and sucks with the mouth. While breastfeeding, the baby will try to latch onto the breast by forming a tight seal with the mouth around the nipple. Even if your baby doesn’t actually latch on at this time and just “practices,” it’s still good for your baby to get used to the idea of breastfeeding.
In the first few days of life, your baby will feed on, and usually about every 1-3 hours each day and night. As babies get older and their bellies to grow to accommodate more milk and they will take a long time between feeds.
After your baby is positioned correctly, make sure she latches on properly:
1. Make sure your baby’s mouth is opened wide and his/her tongue is down when latching on.
2. For the child to take feed comfortably, Support your breast with your hand, positioning your thumb on top and your fingers at the bottom, keeping your thumb and fingers back far enough so that your baby is able to take nipple and areola in its mouth.
3. Gently glide your nipple from the middle of your baby’s bottom lip down to his/her chin to help prompt your baby to open his/her mouth.
4. When your baby opens his/her mouth wide and the tongue comes down, quickly bring your baby to your breast and baby should take as much of the areola into his/her mouth as possible, with more areola showing at the top lip than at the bottom.
5. Make sure your baby’s nose is almost touching your breast his/her lips are turned out.
6. When properly latched on, you may have 30 to 60 seconds of latch-on pain, then the pain should subside. And then you may feel like a tug when your baby is sucking. If you continue to feel pain, stop feeding momentarily and again reposition your baby on your breast.
7. Your baby should give four to five sucks, followed by a 5 to 10 seconds pause. Your baby’s sucks will increase in number as the quantity of your milk increases. As the milk flow slows down, your baby’s pattern may probably change to three or four sucks and then pause which may last longer than 10 seconds.
These are the steps taken to nurse a baby. These steps are very important for a mother to take care of the child.
Crying is a sign of hunger. If a mother comes to know if the child is hungry, try to nurse your baby, before he/she is upset from hunger and is difficult to calm down.
Other signs that babies are hungry are as follows :
1. Moving their heads from side to side
2. Opening their mouths
3. Placing their hands into their mouths
4. Puckering their lips as if to suck
5. Nuzzling against their mothers’ breasts
6. Showing the rooting reflex
How long should I breastfeed my baby:
• It is a personnel choice and experts recommend that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. After 6 months supplement with formula milk and other semi-solids as advised by your pediatrician and continue with breastfeeding until 12 months or more.
• Studies on infants show that breastfeeding can lower the occurrence or severity of diarrhea, ear infections, and bacterial meningitis. Breastfeeding also may protect children against diabetes, obesity, asthma and improve immune system of the child.
• Breastfeeding also helps the mother to burn calories, shrink the uterus and also help nursing moms return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Studies also show that breastfeeding helps lower a woman’s risk of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.