I did not go to classes when I was pregnant and although I read up on it, I did not realise how painful it can be at the onset. I thought that when you give birth and the baby is placed on your chest, this would come naturally and you will have milk coming out of you. Boy, was I wrong. It hurt!
Since I was still learning then (and so was my baby), it reached the point that I almost gave up. I was literally squirming in pain! No judgment please, but I actually dreaded feeding time since I knew I could not give much to my baby (at that time).
My nipples were sore, cracked, and bleeding! Lansinoh became my bestfriend! Didn’t know how much I can take, but it was a good thing that my nurses never got tired of helping me and pushing me to breastfeed. You cannot imagine how happy I was when milk was finally flowing!
Why is this important?
Breast milk meets all your baby’s nutritional needs for the first six months, and it will continue to be an important part of their diet for the first year. It contains anti-bodies that protect against infection and illnesses. Babies are less likely to get sick!
It also ensures normal brain development., They say that breastfed babies have higher IQ scores.
Recent studies also show that breastfeeding may help prevent diabetes! It increases insulin sensitivity and improves glucose metabolism in mothers.
Breastfeeding is also important to infant’s eyesight, speech, jaw, and mouth development. It even strengthens your bond with your baby. Nothing beats the cuddles, smiles, and quality time during breastfeeding. And you can get back to your pre-pregnancy bod quicker.
How does it work?
Breasts have lots of milk ducts that carry the milk to the nipple. The milk then flows through tiny openings in the nipple. And in case you wanna know, your capacity to make milk is not necessarily related to your breast size. Its more about your baby’s sucking when you breastfeed. Thank goodness, right?
Young babies need to feed frequently since their tummies are small and breast milk is easily digested. So, the more often your baby sucks milk from your breasts, the more milk will be produced. This is called supply and demand.
You will even notice that there are two types of breast milk. The initial one is thinner and has lower fat content. This is referred to as “foremilk”. This helps to quench your baby’s thirst. Eventually, during the feed, the milk will be thicker. This is known as “hindmilk”. It has higher fat content and this is the more nutrient-filled milk. It will satisfy your baby’s hunger.
At times, your baby will be satisfied with one breast. Sometimes, they will want the other side too. The trick is to offer both.
Why do moms stop breastfeeding?
Okay, we can’t do much if mom has a medical condition. For most, one of the common reasons for stopping breastfeeding is that mothers think they do not have enough milk. Usually, that is not true.
Breastfeeding tip and trick #1: Supply equals demand. Feed often and this will increase the amount of milk you are making. Our bodies are smart that way. And don’t you just love breast milk – its portable, warm, and ready to serve!
Breastfeeding tip and trick #2: Avoid using a dummy or pacifier while you are still establishing your milk supply. We want your baby to get used to you.
You may feel so upset at the beginning, so its important to have someone help you. Sit comfortably and hold your baby skin-to-skin. Use the position that feels right for you. Support your baby as you bring their head near your nipple. Their mouth should be wide-open to cover the nipple and the larger darker area (or areola).
Beware if they are nibbling away at your nipples!
That mean they are not latched well. Then their chin should be pressed against your breast, lips open, and they should be able to breath from their nose. Remember, bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby.
Practice makes perfect!
How often should you feed your baby?
Small babies usually feed every 2-4 hours since breast milk is easily digested. The interval lengthens gradually as they become older.
Breastfeeding tip and trick #4: Don’t wait for your baby to cry before you feed them. Its harder to settle your baby that way. I recommend that you take note and time their feeding schedule.
Look for cues that they are hungry. It may be that they are unsettled, their mouth is open, or they put their hand to their mouth. Another thing I learned from watching Oprah was that babies have a secret language due to their reflexes. When they are hungry, you will hear them say “neh”. Try it! Finally, do not forget to burp your baby after a feed.
If you have other tips and tricks that you’d like to share, please go ahead an leave a comment below. It will be good to hear from someone who knows what its like to care for a baby, especially when you are having one of those days.