When you are about to start breastfeeding for the first time, keep a few things in mind. These things will help in ensuring that the right decisions are being taken in initiating the process in a manner that is correct for both you and your baby.
Babies’ instinct to suckle
Even if it is a part of a newborn baby’s instinct to suckle and feed, they don’t really understand the concept of breastfeeding from the start. It takes time to get used to it, so you should start breastfeeding your baby as soon as possible to get comfortable earlier.
Nursing can be started right away
You can start nursing your baby in the delivery room like many other mothers tend to do. Babies are usually alert after birth and ready for feeding. The first feeding of breast milk, colostrum, is filled with immunity providing antibodies and vital nutrition for your baby. The act of breastfeeding also releases oxytocin hormone which helps in shrinking back your uterus to its original size.
Settle into your own routine
You and your baby are different from everyone else out there, so it is natural that your nursing style would also be unique to you two. In the first few days, breastfeeding usually lasts about 10 mins at a stretch. However, as you get accustomed to you and your baby’s needs and comfort, you start to form a personal routine that is convenient for everyone. Here are a few things you can do to make it easier:
- Try and establish a comfortable position and space for breastfeeding, whether by using different pillows, chair, recliner or bed. Make sure that the furniture or position supports your back and arms so that you don’t get tired while holding up your baby.
- It is imperative that you get the correct position so that the process of breastfeeding does not strain your baby’s body. Ensure that his/her neck & head are supported by the crook of your elbow so that you don’t lean down. It is your baby who should be brought to your breast instead of the other way round.
- Before you start breastfeeding, you have to get your baby to open their mouth wide and firmly latch onto your nipple, covering most of the areola (the pink-brown circle on your nipple). This an ideal position for nursing.
- Babies often fall asleep during nursing, sometimes just after a few sips. Be attentive to the suckling sounds and make sure that he/she is swallowing properly.
- Slowly loosen your baby’s grip on your nipple by pushing off his/her mouth using your fingers. Gently remove their mouth after finishing.
- One of the most natural behaviours of babies is to let you know when they are hungry. They give you simple hints like smacking lips together, to more loud hints like crying in discomfort. Some of you may worry about the amount of breast milk required and your ability to provide it, but it is a simple equation. The amount of milk your breast produces depends on the demand and supply- more nursing produces more milk.
Baby breastfeeding schedule
Usually, your baby will need to be fed every 1 and a half hour to 3 three hours in the initial weeks. Later on, this time may extend to every 4 hours. You want your newborn to grow strong and healthy every day and that requires about 8 to 12 sessions of breastfeeding in a day. Along with regular check-ups with paediatricians, you will be making the right decisions for your baby’s development and your recovery.
Breastfeeding is a very primal and strong way to form a bond with your baby. It is a simple build up for a very important relationship, so do it right to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and happy.