Once your baby is born, you may most probably choose to breastfeed him/her. While nursing may be a natural process, it is also very challenging and requires a lot of patience. Many new mums experience some difficulties during breastfeeding sessions especially if it’s their first time. Breastfeeding know-how often doesn’t come naturally for many women.
Therefore it is important to know about the essential techniques and mechanics of breastfeeding before getting started. This way you’ll feel more comfortable, confident and empowered while nursing your baby, which is one of the greatest bonds between a mother and her child.
www.parents.mu provides you with some useful tips on breast-feeding.
Finding the right position to hold your baby during nursing
Since breastfeeding takes about 30 minutes or more, it is important that you hold your baby in a position that will not leave your arms and back sore.
An effective way to do this is to support the back of your baby’s head with your hand. Nevertheless you can choose another position that makes you comfortable.
However if you have had a C-section, then it’s better to lie on your side as this position helps you rest your shoulders and lower back.
Using an office chair (or armchair) and a nursing pillow
You can sit on an office chair or armchair while you’re nursing your baby as this will help you relax and prevent you from having a back pain.
A nursing pillow can also be very useful for supporting your baby while you’re sitting so that your forearms are not doing all the work. Also you can try using a nursing stool. This will give you more of a lap if you’re short and also takes the pressure off if you’ve had an episiotomy.
During the breastfeeding period, most women experience milk leakage which can either occur during the day or at night. Absorbent breast (nursing) pads can help you stay dry and comfortable. These nursing pads are either disposable, reusable or made of silicon. Disposable pads are convenient and are effective for keeping you dry. Or else to save money, you can try reusable (washable) cotton pads. Silicon pads also prevent milk from leaking by exerting gentle pressure on your breast. Note that whatever pads you choose to use, it is important to change them whenever they get wet. Furthermore you should avoid pads with a plastic liner as they retain moisture. Also if you develop any rashes or allergies while using these pads, then it’s better to get rid of them and consider other suitable options. It should be noted that using the wrong kinds of breast pads can cause sore nipples, particularly if the nipples stay too moist. So make sure you’re using appropriate ones.
Cracked nipple cream
Most women might experience sore nipples or even bleeding when nursing. A cracked nipple cream such as ‘Lanolin’ ointment prevents you from experiencing any cracking or bleeding during breast-feeding. This cream should be applied regularly on the nipples in the morning and at night. This will reduce soreness and soothe your skin if is chafed. Note that recent researches have concluded that 100 % lanolin ointment not only soothes new mothers’ nipples but also prevents nipple trauma by maintaining the internal moisture of the skin. Moreover it is safe for the baby as it is non-toxic and does not require washing off prior to nursing. However if you are using another nipple cream, then you should keep a water bottle and a towel to wash and wipe the ointment before breast-feeding.
Keep a bottle of hot water or a breast-pump
It is very common for women to experience engorgement of the breasts (very large breast) at least once while nursing. This usually occurs three to five days after delivery which triggers the production of milk. While engorgement can be very uncomfortable, the breasts generally adjust over time once the mother’s supply adapts to the baby’s demands.
To relieve the pressure, you can try some of the following methods:
– Keep a bottle of hot water while you’re breastfeeding. After nursing, use the hot water and a cotton napkin and apply a gentle compress to your breast. You can also opt for a warm shower instead of doing the hot compresses. This is an effective way of soothing engorgement as heat stimulates the letdown reflex.
-If your breasts are too swollen for the baby’s mouth, you can use a breast pump to get the milk out of your breast and then feed it to you baby from a bottle.
Design a breastfeeding schedule
It is essential to breastfeed your baby 8-12 times per day the first month. You can count the time interval between the first and second feed. You can then note the time gap so that you have an idea when you’ll have to feed your baby and plan a feeding schedule based on it, or you can simply follow the ‘Gina Ford ‘ timetable.
To sum up, breastfeeding is a very essential process during the first months of your newborn. He/she depends solely on you for food. Breast milk is very beneficial for his/health as it contains all the necessary nutrients and antibodies. Also it helps you to shed the extra-weight resulted from your pregnancy. Therefore it is very important that you have a pleasant breastfeeding experience so that both you and your baby can benefit from it. Though it can be hard in the beginning, once you get past the initial trial and error days of finding the right methods, breastfeeding becomes one of motherhood’s most rewarding responsibilities.