Nursing a baby is NO easy feat. It’s a skill that the baby and mother learn together. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 83% of mothers breastfeed soon after birth, and only 57% are still nursing after 6 months.
Did you know?
Breastfeeding can burn an additional 500 calories per day?! It also provides complete nutrition to your baby and helps to prevent illness. Hence, if you've decided to breastfeed your little one, here's a handy guide that can help you on your journey.
Be rest assured that with a little bit of patience, smart planning, and strong willpower, you have a complete chance of success!
Here is a list of lactation tips for all you new mothers:
P.S: Thank us later!
During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, your baby needs to breastfeed frequently so that you can establish your milk supply. (Most of the babies will breastfeed at least 8 times in a 24-hour period)
- What is the correct position?
Hold the baby “tummy to tummy” so that there is no space between your body and your baby. The baby needs to be facing the breast. Do not press on the back of the baby’s head.
For correct latch-on, your baby needs to open his mouth wide enough to take both the nipples and some of the areola (the dark area around the nipple) into his mouth.
Support your breast with your hand during the feeding. Make sure that your fingers are behind the areola. Do not press inward on your breast. This position will help your baby to get a good amount of milk and there will be a less likely chance of you having sore nipples.
Expert Tip: Once your milk comes in, your breasts will feel softer after feeding. This indicates that your baby is getting enough milk
How often should you feed your baby?
A baby’s stomach is small and breast milk is easily digested, which means you should feed your baby often in the first few weeks.
Always feed your baby when he is showing signs of hunger, even if the baby just ate an hour ago. Here are some hunger cues:
- You will see your baby turn their head and open their mouth in search of food when you touch their mouth or cheek
- Licking of lips
- Babies that have their hands free can show you easily that they are hungry
Your baby is doing well if he feeds a total of 7-12 times a day (count each breast as a separate feeding). This will settle over time.
How long should a feeding last?
Your baby should be nursed long enough to get a good flow of milk and to be full. At the beginning of the feeding, the milk is more watery. This satisfies the baby’s thirst, and as nursing continues, the amount of fat increases.
When your baby’s hunger is satisfied, he/she will let go of the breast. Try burping or changing your baby’s diaper. Then offer the second breast. If your baby is still hungry, he will continue to feed on the second breast.
Do I have enough milk for my baby?
This is one of the greatest concerns for all new mothers. After birth, many babies seem to breastfeed more often and may also be a little fussy. Hence, many mothers think that their baby is not getting enough milk. However, this is a normal stage of breastfeeding.
Expert Tip: If you feel like your baby’s demand is increasing and you can't cope, consult with your paediatrician.
REMEMBER: Your baby is getting enough if he/she:
- Breastfeeds at least 8-12 times in 24 hours
- Breastfeeds for at least 10 minutes in a rhythmic suck/swallow/pause/suck pattern
- Is satisfied
- Has soft, yellow, seedy stools by Day 5 of breastfeeding (If your baby is not passing any stools, call your pediatrician)
- Is gaining weight. Your baby should be weighed during the first week of birth. Breastfed babies should stop losing weight around day 4-5 when your milk comes in. They usually return to birth weight within 2 weeks of birth.
How can I breastfeed my baby if I am a working professional?
When breastfeeding is well-established, you can express milk and leave it with your baby's caregiver.
Breast milk can be stored in the fridge/freezer. Use clean bottles and date them.
Expert Tip: Do not microwave breast milk or heat it on the stove, as it destroys Vitamin C and the other immunity benefits
Should you stop breastfeeding after the baby turns one?
When to wean off your child is a decision only you can, and should take (in consultation with your paediatrician). There are debated views on this subject. While some mothers prefer to wean off once their kids have taken to solids well and have adjusted to the new routine, some like to hold on a little longer and let the baby take the lead in the weaning off process. For example, Nidhhi Malkan, a Mumbai-based mom says, "My son is 20 months old and is still a breastfed baby. I was told by many doctors, relatives, and friends to stop it as he was over a year old but I chose not to and shall continue this journey until my son is finished and he weans." However, Shalvi Mangaokar Biswas from Pune has a contrary opinion. "I wanted off my daughter as soon as she turned one. Her doctor and I were both happy with her responsiveness to solid foods and weaning her at this stage was not as difficult. She was still getting all the necessary nutrients through other foods and personally, I found this to be the best decision for us both," she says.
In conclusion, there's no right or wrong decision. As a mother, a lot is dependent on your parenting style, approach and mindset.
We hope these tips help you in your new journey of motherhood. Enjoy while it lasts. STRESS majorly affects the flow so be happy and jolly always!