For New Mothers
BREASTFEEDING: GETTING STARTED
Breast milk is the best food you can offer your new baby. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life. Since breast milk is naturally and uniquely produced—by each mother for her own baby—your baby is less easily exposed to foreign allergenic material. Breast milk also contains antibodies and other immune factors that help him prevent and fight off illness better. Breast milk has the right amount and quality of nutrients to suit your baby’s first food needs. It is also the easiest on her digestive system, so there’s less chance of constipation or diarrhea.
How to start breastfeeding?
The first time you hold your newborn in the delivery room, put his lips to your breast. Your mature milk hasn’t come in yet, but your breasts are producing a substance called colostrum that will help protect your baby from infection.
Try not to panic if your newborn seems to have trouble finding or staying on your nipple. Breastfeeding is an art that requires patience and lots of practice. No one will expect you to be an expert in the beginning, so don’t hesitate to ask a nurse to show you what to do while you’re in the hospital
Once you get started, remember that nursing shouldn’t be painful. Pay attention to how your breasts feel when your baby latches on. His mouth should cover a big part of the areola below the nipple, and your nipple should be far back in your baby’s mouth. If latch-on hurts, break the suction — by inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your nipple — and try again. Once your baby latches on properly, he would do the rest.
How often you should nurse?
Frequently. The more you nurse, the more quickly your mature milk will come in and the more milk you’ll produce. Nursing for ten to 15 minutes per breast eight to 12 times every 24 hours is pretty much on target. You should nurse your newborn whenever he shows signs of hunger, such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, or rooting around for your nipple. Crying is a late sign of hunger — in other words, ideally you should start feeding your baby before he starts crying.
During the first few days, you may have to gently wake your baby to begin nursing, and he may fall asleep again in mid-feeding. To make sure your baby’s getting enough, wake him up if it’s been four hours since the last time he nursed. Once your baby becomes alert for longer periods, you can settle into a routine of feeding every two to three hours (less at night as he starts to sleep through).
Feed your baby from each breast for as long as she wants. Alternate the breast you begin with at each feeding. This allows each breast to produce the proper amount of milk at each feeding.
Sometimes babies may want to feed more frequently and for very short periods of time. This is called “cluster feeding” and often occurs in the evening. This may mean your baby is going through a growth spurt. These usually happen around 2 weeks, 4 to 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Let your baby set the pace.
How to get comfortable?
Since feedings can take up to 40 minutes, hold your baby in a position that won’t leave your arms and back sore. It works well to support the back of your baby’s head with your hand, but the position you choose really depends on what’s comfortable for you. If you’re sitting, a pillow can be a big help in supporting your baby. Don’t feed until you and your baby are comfortable because you’ll be sitting (or lying) in that position for a while
What should breastfeeding mothers eat?
Breastfeeding mothers need to eat a variety of nutritious foods without restrictions. You should avoid dieting while you are breastfeeding. You should eat a normal balanced diet.
You may want to limit caffeine, and avoid chocolate, spicy foods, that get into breast milk and can bother your baby. Be sure to drink lots of fluids
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the milk first produced in the early days after your baby is born. It’s usually yellowish in colour and is very rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and immunity factors that are found only in breast milk. These help protect your baby against infections.
After the first week, colostrum changes into milk that is whitish in colour. The milk at the beginning of each feeding is called foremilk. Foremilk is watery to satisfy your baby’s hunger and fluid needs.
As the feed continues, foremilk gains fat content until it becomes hindmilk, which is much whiter and looks richer. Hindmilk gives your baby a feeling of being full and satisfied.
How will I know if my baby is feeding well?
Your baby is feeding well when:
- You hear short swallowing sounds (making a “K” sound) which gradually lengthen and deepen as your milk is released.
- Your areola, the area around your nipple, and your baby’s jaw muscles move evenly as he sucks. And you’ll be able to see the movement of his jaw right up to his ears.
- He is content after feeding.
- The nursing process doesn’t hurt you.
How will I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Signs that tell you your baby is getting enough to eat include:
- Six to eight wet diapers in a 24-hour period.
- One or more loose yellowish stools per day during the first month. Early on, these may come after every feeding. After the first month, stools may not be as frequent (one every 2 to 7 days), but they will still be loose and yellowish.
- Weight gain (your baby’s doctor will check at each visit).
What else should I know about nursing?
- Always wash your hands before you offer your breast to your baby.
- If you experience cracked or sore nipples, try exposing them to the air after each feeding, allowing them to dry naturally.
- Try to avoid using soap on your nipples. Soap will wash away your breasts’ natural lubricants.
- Some women get mastitis, a bacterial infection which causes swelling of the breasts, along with soreness and fever. If you have these symptoms, you need to see a doctor. It can be treated with antibiotics and will clear up if you continue to breastfeed.
When should mothers express their breast milk?
If your breasts are engorged (larger, sore, and feeling extremely full), your newborn may have difficulty latching on. You can express some milk by gently massaging or pushing by hand or with a breast pump. This may help your baby latch on.
Once you’ve got a breastfeeding routine, you can express your breast milk by hand or with a breast pump if you’re away from your baby during feeding time. This will allow your baby to have breast milk from a cup or a bottle (depending on the baby’s age). Expressed breast milk is also a way to keep breastfeeding while your baby is in child care facility. Make sure the centre or home has a refrigerator, as milk has to be kept chilled until feeding time.
How should expressed breast milk be stored?
Expressed breast milk should be kept in a sterilized glass bottle or plastic container with the date marked on it. Store expressed breast milk in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
How do I prepare expressed breast milk for a feeding?
- First prepare clean bottles and commercial nipples.
- Do not use a microwave to warm expressed milk. The quality of the milk may suffer if it boils.
- When it’s time for feeding, put the thawed milk into a feeding bottle. You may want to warm up the milk again by placing the bottle of expressed milk into a container of warm water before the actual feeding.
- Shake the bottle of expressed breast milk well to mix any separated layers.
- After each feeding, throw away any leftover milk.
Does my baby need anything else besides breast milk?
Like all kinds of milk, breast milk is not a dependable source of vitamin D. Babies who are breastfed should receive a daily supplement, which is available as drops or syrup.
Your baby won’t need any other vitamin supplements while you are breastfeeding.
Your milk is wholesome for your baby,you should not give water, honey,ghuti to your baby
What do I feed my baby when I cannot breastfeed?
One can use infant formulas available. One should not use cow or buffalo milk until baby is more than one year of age.
Breastfeeding and working mom.
You can express milk by using a high-quality, automatic electric breast pump the previous day or before leaving for work. and the care taker can give the milk by bottle or wati-spoon.
If you can’t express milk, you can gradually replace daytime feedings with formula while you’re still at home but continue to nurse at night and in the morning.