The exciting nine months have flown by and now the time has come to breastfeed your baby for the first time. So, what is the right way to breastfeed that would make the process comfortable for both you and your baby?
Preparing to Breastfeed
Some mothers believe their breast should be prepared for feeding long before the baby is born. However, rubbing, massaging, or putting a coarse cloth in your bra is not what you want to do here.
So, what do we mean by “preparing”? The answer is simple. Breastfeeding is a delicate process. That’s why it is highly important to make sure your relatives support you and to consult your doctor and your friends that can share breastfeeding experience. It is also important for a nursing new mother to devote as much time as possible to her baby and breastfeeding with no stress or hurry.
Breastfeeding for The First Time
Your baby is finally here! What’s next? Per usual, the new-born is placed in skin-to-skin contact with the mother to introduce it to the dearest person in its life. The baby rests for a while and then finds the mother’s breast and starts sucking on it. It usually takes 40 minutes or more and it is recommended not to interrupt this process. For the new mother, early breastfeeding is extremely useful since it promotes uterus involution. This reduces the risk of inflammation and postpartum haemorrhage. Over the first few days, a woman can feel mini-contractions of sorts—it’s the uterus contracting when your baby nurses.
During the first breastfeeding, you should control your infant’s latch. This helps:
- Prevent breast fissures and frets
- Make breastfeeding comfortable
- Prevent the skin from roughening and the breast from swelling when the milk accumulates
- Ensure proper production of colostrum and milk for your baby.
Even if the delivery hasn’t gone as planned (or a caesarean took place) don’t be upset—you will be able to start breastfeeding properly in any case. Consult a breastfeeding specialist if you have any difficulties.
For the best breastfeeding, follow the following recommendations:
- Keep an eye on milk production. As per usual, the more often you breastfeed your baby, the more you will lactate. You will definitely feel the changes associated with breast stimulation. If necessary, you can imitate breastfeeding by pumping milk manually or using a breast pump.
- Breastfeed frequently. It is important because a new-born has a very small stomach. This means it eats little but should be fed frequently. Don’t worry about the milk. As soon as you have finished feeding, new milk is produced. And it will be even better. Disregard feeding schedules—feed the baby as often as it needs. You also shouldn’t worry about your baby overeating—breast milk is digested very quickly.
- No supplementary feeding. Infants should get enough breast milk rather than baby formulas or water. It is the mother’s milk that forms a healthy intestinal flora and protects your baby from dysbacteriosis. The only person that can decide on supplementary feeding is a doctor.
- Become one with your baby. Disregard your friend’s recommendations to feed the baby once in 3 hours and leave it in the crib alone for the entire night. Initially, you should spend as much time as possible together and watch out for its signs. Being in mother’s hands, a baby develops quickly and properly. Moreover, this helps establish good galactosis. This period facilitates mutual understanding; the baby learns to experience the world and trust it.
- Keep an eye on your breast. If you feel your breast is soft, nothing needs to be done. If you find any indurations though, you may want to massage your breast carefully or use a milk pump. The best way to avoid of galactostasis is frequent feeding. It is important to feed the baby when it turns its head searching for the mother’s breast with its mouth rather than when it cries. Sometimes, it is better to awaken the baby to feed it if you feel there is too much milk in your breast. Don’t worry—the baby will eat and fall asleep again.
- Control the latch. Make sure you latch the baby on to the breast properly to form the normal occlusion and avoid weight loss. If you feel no pain (and there are no nipple fissures) and the baby sucks milk easily, then the latch is correct. The first 10 days after birth are an exception though—this is a period when you can feel discomfort for 5-7 seconds at the beginning of each feeding.
For best breastfeeding, follow these steps:
- Place the baby close to you with its head and body in a straight line facing you.
- Move the baby towards your breast so that the baby’s nose is aligned with the nipple.
- Support your breast with a C-hold when your thumb is near the baby’s nose on top and the other fingers are underneath parallel to its lower lip; control the position of the index finger—it should let the baby open its mouth.
- Direct the nipple towards the upper part of the baby’s mouth once it is open; this will allow a deep latch for the baby to suck more milk.
- Make sure the baby’s chin is tightly pressed against the breast and its nose is clear of the breast.