If you are about to be a parent and are racing against time to learn all about breastfeeding, or are looking for resources to brush up on information, you have come to the right place. Breastfeeding, more often than not, is a road with turns and trials. Thus, it is best to be armed with adequate knowledge, a helpful support system, and professionals you can reach out to.
1. When does lactation start?
After you give birth, your body will start to release hormones that begin to allow your glands to secrete milk. The milk you produce over the course of the next few months adapts according to your infant’s changing nutritional needs. That is why, in the first three to five days of feeding, you will see that the color of your milk may be yellowish and thick or thin and watery – this is the colostrum. Filled with antibodies and antibacterial agents, it builds up immunity in your little one.
The flow of colostrum will give way to “regular” breast milk soon. If you find that there is a delay, usually it is no cause for concern but you can always inform your doctor about the same.
2. When do I start breastfeeding?
Lactation experts suggest that it is best to start breastfeeding while you are in the hospital or clinic so that you can be guided by professionals like doctors and nurses the first few times.
If you are having a home delivery, do so under the supervision of your doula, etc.
In the starting, it can be difficult for the baby as well as you, since the baby is trying and attempting to practice how to latch on to your nipple. It can even hurt you at times, in the beginning, just remember that as soon as the baby latches on correctly, it will not be that painful.
In the starting, they are bound to feed a lot of times within a day, but slowly and steadily, the frequency does decrease.
3. Is it safe to use bottles and pacifiers?
Before you start using a bottle or a pacifier, make sure you have given your baby enough time to get used to breastfeeding. This is an important step because it allows the baby to get used to rooting and sucking. Once the baby has mastered it, they will find it easy to use and drink from a bottle, as it requires a different mechanism.
This also helps in establishing cues that the baby gives in order to communicate hunger etc. so that you can tend to them accordingly. If you start them on pacifiers early on, you may find it difficult to observe those cues.
4. What cues does the baby exhibit?
Do not wait until your baby starts crying and bawling to feed them. Crying is on the extreme end of the cues spectrum, so learn to recognize the early cues like how they bob their heads left to right, pucker lips as if sucking, or display the rooting reflex.
5. In which position should I breastfeed the baby?
As we mentioned earlier, if the latch is not right, it will be uncomfortable and painful for you, and the baby will not be able to feed properly.
Thus, here are the different positions in which you can breastfeed:
- Cradle Hold:Here you hold the baby across your chest and use the arm to support the baby while they nurse.
- Football Hold: In this, you hold the baby under your arm at the side. It is helpful for and easier on women who gave birth through a C-section or had twins.
- Crossover Hold:Here you use the arm opposite to the nursing side to hold the baby.
- Side-Lying Position:This position helps the mothers who had C- section delivery to take some rest while feeding, Moreover, the baby lies on the side of the mother while feeding.
Follow the position that works for you both, as there is no set position here.
6. How do you make sure your baby latches on correctly?
You should know that these steps can help in making sure the baby’s latch is right and comfortable:
- The baby’s tongue should be down and the mouth opens while feeding.
- Bring your baby’s mouth to the breast, not the other way round. Let the baby start the feeding process on their own. The baby’s mouth should be open wide enough to be able to fit in the areola effectively.
7. How do I make sure the baby is feeding sufficiently?
Babies’ behavior after a satisfactory and filling breastfeeding session is easy to read. They may smile, be more active, or even fall asleep during. If they fall asleep while feeding and only a few drops of milk are left, there is no need to wake the baby now. Their tummy is full!
8. For how much time should one breastfeed their baby?
For the first six months, it is best for the baby to breastfeed, without the intake of water or any juice. After the six month starts, doctors suggest parents start their baby on water, solids, etc. Thus, doctors recommend that a baby be breastfed for a whole year, in varying degrees of frequency, etc. from start to finish. You can add formula to your baby’s diet as well. It helps other family members to contribute to feeding the baby, even when you are away, through a bottle.
The formula also helps women who want to keep eating certain food materials and taking medications prescribed to them, without it causing any effects on the baby through their breast milk.
That being said, you do have the liberty to stop breastfeeding if it gets painful and uncomfortable for you, or for other reasons. Also, for women looking to get back on their jobs after giving birth, it is advisable to start the baby on pacifiers and such at least two weeks beforehand.