Your baby has arrived, your motherhood has started and you are eager to start breastfeeding your baby. Breastfeeding offers your baby all nutrients that he needs for his first 6 months. It also helps you to eliminate some types of breast cancer, helps in reshaping your body and uterus and provides you with a birth control method that covers you up to 6 months.
When to start breastfeeding?
You can start breastfeeding as soon as you deliver your baby. At the beginning your breasts will produce the colostrum; a thick yellowish milk rich in immunoglobulin A (IgA) to protect your child against infections. The colostrum will be secreted during the first 3 days than will be transformed into milk.
Don’t panic about the milk supply. Your body will produce the right amount your baby needs to grow. Every time you put him on your breast you stimulate the production of milk.
What are the best positions to breastfeed?
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your newborn baby. For new moms, it is a learning process that needs patience and effort. Once you get to know each other, breastfeeding becomes easier. Here are some positions that might be helpful for you.
- The classical position or the cradle hold: Sit on a chair and relax your back. Rest your feet on a coffee table. Hold your baby towards your chest, his tummy and legs facing your tummy. Let your baby rest his head on your forearm to support his neck. Direct him to your nipple by touching his lips. When he opens wide his mouth, carefully pull him towards your breast. His mouth should cover not only the nipple but the areola around it. Pull out nicely your breast away from his nose. You can use a cushion on your lap to rest your baby on it. Usually the baby stays around 15 to 20mn on each breast then moves to the other one.
- The Football hold or the clutch: Best position for women who delivered by C-section or for women who are breastfeeding twins. This position eliminates the weight of the baby from your tummy especially during the first week after delivery. Put your baby under your arm, feet facing your back and his face facing your nipple. Let your baby rest on your forearm and hold her head with your arm. Be careful not to push her head so much.
- Lie down position: best for nursing during night or if you cannot sit properly after the delivery. Lie on your bed and support your back with multiple cushions. Put your baby next to you, his face facing your nipple. Use your hand to support his head. If you feel that your baby is stretching to reach the nipple, add a small blanket below his head to elevate him.
Don’t worry if your baby is having trouble finding the nipple or sucking. It requires practice and patience. Do not give up and ask your midwife for help and tips.
How can I take care of my breasts?
- Take a shower everyday and massage your breasts with warm water and soap.
- Clean your breast before breastfeeding.
- Do not pull out the nipple from your baby’s mouth. Enter your small finger in his mouth and remove the nipple slowly.
- Do not let your child sleep on your breast while breastfeeding.
- After breastfeeding wash your breast and dry it very well.
- Put a pad in your bra to absorb the milk leakage.
- Put your child on your breast every time he needs to eat.
- If you feel that your breast is swollen, it may be helpful to pump the milk out to relieve pain.
What are the best techniques to breastfeed?
- Always sit comfortably. Relax and enjoy breastfeeding.
- Nurse on demand. Usually the newborn eats every 3 hours.
- Do not set time for breastfeeding. Usually it takes 20mn on each breast to complete a feeding.
- If possible, do not use artificial nipples unless medically required.
- If your baby is crying, try to calm him down by rocking him or comforting him before nursing.
- Always change your baby’s diaper before you feed him. A dirty diaper will irritate your baby.
- Support your baby while breastfeeding. Do not bend your back towards him. It can cause back and neck pain. Use cushions.
- Help your baby to burp when moving him from breast to another.
- Always start the next feeding with the last breast he ate from.
Breast feeding is the best technique to feed your baby. If you are enjoying it, you can continue it for as long as you want. All you need is a healthy diet, a positive relaxing environment and a supportive partner. Enjoy the moment with your baby!