Breastfeeding, also called nursing is feeding babies and young children with breast milk from a woman. Medical professionals recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of the baby’s life.
New Delhi: Deciding to have a family is a big step that a woman, or a man, or a couple decides to take. As happy as it makes you feel, having a baby comes with its own set of struggles. A woman’s body goes through several changes, especially during and after pregnancy and getting used to it can take a while. Just when you think the most difficult phase of delivering the baby is over, you realise what follows is not a cake-walk either. From sleepless nights to changing nappies, to understanding your baby, to breastfeeding, it is an endless list of things you need to take care of.
Breastfeeding, also called nursing is feeding babies and young children with breast milk from a woman. Medical professionals recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of the baby’s life, and continue as often, and for as many times as the baby would want. It is initially the only source of food that the baby can consume. It is considered healthy for the baby and is recommended by paediatricians. According to a recent report, breastfeeding also gives babies a brain boost. If you are a nursing mom who has just begun with this process, here are a few tips you can follow to make breastfeeding convenient for you and the baby.
Give yourself the time
While you are still pregnant with your baby, the body starts producing colostrum. Colostrum is the first form of milk produced by mammary glands. It is a nutrient-rich, syrupy compound that the baby needs in the first few days of the baby’s birth. While it does not take very long for the body to start producing milk, it can take a few days – around five to six for some moms, and that is normal and okay. There is no need to panic or stress about the same. Give your body the time it needs.
Let your baby decide his/her needs
Newborns are hungry a lot of times during the day, which means you will have to nurse them more times than you thought. They have a stomach, the size of an egg, which needs refuelling every now and then. You must let your baby decide his/her needs when it comes to nursing. You should nurse the baby when he/she shows signs of hunger, and not deprive him of the same because you have stipulated time duration when you will feed him/her. Similarly, you should not wake up the baby if he/she is sleeping, or force nursing on him/her just because it is time to feed them according to your clock. Let your baby decide when he/she wants the milk, how much and how frequently they want it.
The body also works on a demand-supply mechanism. Therefore, the more the baby nurses, the more milk your breasts will produce to meet his/her needs.
Find the right position
Nursing requires you to hold your baby to your breasts for a very long time. The process can be tiring, especially if you do not sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Moving too much can also disturb your baby, making them irritated and hungrier. Uncomfortable positions can create problems for your neck and back, causing pain and sore muscles. It is important to find the right position to nurse your baby comfortably. Lying down with the baby on your side, facing towards you, or reclining on a chair or a couch, with the baby in your arms, are two most common positions that women prefer. You can mix it up according to your body and comfort.
Keep your nipples tender
Sore nipples go hand in hand with nursing and painful, chapped nipples, are not something you want with the already added struggle of having the baby. Your own breast milk can work as a great moisturizer to keep the soreness away or you can apply a lotion. Tea bags work as a great home remedy to treat sore nipples.
Drink plenty of water
To produce a lot of breast milk, you need a lot of water. The body also needs water otherwise, to keep all your body functions working efficiently. Make sure you keep your supply of water to the body at the maximum, before it can finally figure out how much water it is going to need to produce the milk.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.