Breastfeeding or nursing does not come naturally to every mother, especially when it is her first time. But once she gets the hang of it, it is an intensely loving way for the mother and child to bond. Besides, mother’s milk is the most beneficial for the infant’s health, which is why it is called ‘liquid gold.’
Although commercial formula also exists and is safe for the child’s consumption, mother’s milk is easier to digest. It also has the perfect blend of nutrients that your body needs. The antibodies in the milk help build the baby’s immune system too. As for the mother, it has helped new mums get back to their old figure by losing the weight they put on.
Ask for help
The theory is different than practical. When you physically have to breastfeed the baby, things can get confusing really fast. But that is completely normal. Usually, a nurse is there to help guide you through it. If there isn’t anyone to help you, it is okay to ask.
Let your baby decide
New-borne babies get hungry every 2-3 hours. Looking for hunger signs like stirring, restlessness, lip movements, or sucking motions will help you know that the baby is hungry. You should let the baby nurse for as long as they want, which may last upto 15-20 minutes. However, every baby is different and their behaviors vary.
Don’t give them pacifiers
We have all seen how cranky babies can get if they do not have their pacifiers. It is because the pacifiers are a caveat. Giving it too soon to a baby may really interfere with breastfeeding. Until the baby is well-established with breastfeeding, it is best to keep the pacifier away.
Take care of your nipples
It is okay to let the milk dry on your nipples when the baby is done feeding. The milk can help soothe your nipples. If you are in a hurry, you can gently pat your nipple dry. In case your breasts leak during feeding sessions, you could use bra pads. It is also recommended to use minimal soap or shampoo on breasts.
Some interesting facts
There are so many interesting facts related to breastfeeding that people are not aware of. We have selected a few of them.
1. The smell and taste of your milk can change depending on your diet.
2. Breastfeeding can burn about 500-600 calories a day.
3. Breast milk may change its color. It can be green, blue, pink, yellow, etc. But there is nothing to worry about as it is safe for the baby.
4. Breast milk carries white blood cells and antibodies that help the baby fight infection. The amount of cells in your milk increases if the baby falls sick.
5. The breast milk continually keeps on changing to meet the needs of the growing baby. It changes with each feeding.
6. Mothers who breastfeed their babies have lower chances of developing breast cancer, heart disease, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.
7. Breast milk is full of living substance including stem cells. It goes on to become other cell types in the baby’s heart, brain, kidney, etc.
8. Mother’s first milk (colostrum) has special proteins that coat the baby’s intestinal tract to protect it from bacteria.
9. Breastfeeding also helps the mother heal quicker. It helps the uterus return to its normal size and lowers postpartum blood loss.
10. On average, babies consume about 67% of mother’s milk. They consume until they are full and not when the breast is empty.
According to the World Health Organization, about 820,000 babies could be saved every year if breastfeeding were scaled up. Mother’s breast milk is the best source of nourishment for the child. The benefits go on to help the baby in later years of life as well.
Breastfeeding is not necessarily as easy as they make it seem on the TV. But do not let that discourage you. It is okay to have a bumpy start. Just know that the more often your baby drinks the milk, the more milk your breasts will produce. After some time, you will get used to the feeling and it will seem natural. Feel free to ask your doctor all the questions they may be having. Having them clear your doubts will be more reassuring than anything else.