Helpful Breastfeeding Basic Tips for the New Mum Within the First 6 Months
As a new mum, prepare yourself with these breastfeeding basics as you start your motherhood journey.
Breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences of a mother's life. Apart from how a mother recovers from the birthing process through breastfeeding, breast milk also provides not just food, but also invaluable antibodies which help a baby fight off infections and illnesses.
Here are some breastfeeding basics that helped me in the first six months to keep my baby exclusively breastfed:
- The first milk that a mother gets is called Colostrum, which is extremely rich in antibodies and helps build the newborn's immunity. That's why it's called the "high octane" milk. Most mothers insist on feeding the baby immediately after delivery. But some take a little longer which can be due to the C-sec pain or the baby requiring NICU more importantly. Insist on feeding your newborn as soon as you can after giving birth.
- Sometimes a little assistance goes a long way. The initial phase of breastfeeding may not come upon all new mothers naturally. Ask for a lactation consultant or an experienced nurse to help.
- Some hospitals love to keep the baby on formula. That's partially because a mother sometimes may not get the quantity of milk required to fill the newborn's tummy just yet. Insist on feeding before each top feed. Doesn't matter how much milk you get, try for at least 15-30mins each time, as long as the baby is comfortable.
- Only a baby can draw out the milk in the best way. They may not have the muscle power and training to feed just yet, but trust them they learn very fast (all good & bad things).
- Trust yourself. The real challenge for a new mother begins when one gets home from the hospital. No top feed, no nurse. Just the mom & baby. Babies falls asleep mid-feed so a pro-tip is to tickle their feet while they are dozing off while feeding, else they wake up hungry very soon, and the mother may resort to formula just so she can take some rest.
- Sore nipples. Yes that too. Almost every new mom goes through it. The best way to cure sore nipples is to apply a bit of breastmilk to it after every feed. It works wonders!
- Latching! The best technique that works for many mothers is ‘Clutch hold’. I watched the "Deep latch technique" video on YouTube in the first week after delivery. The key word is PATIENCE. A good latch will ensure both mom and baby are happy in the breastfeeding journey.
- No milk? That's often not the case. Misleading nurses and elders can fill up the vulnerable mind of a new mom that she doesn't have enough milk. That's usually not true. It's all about DEMAND & SUPPLY. Simple 11th standard economics. The amount a baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce.
- Switch sides. Often we don't realise that we have a favourite feeding side. Keep switching breasts for different feeding sessions. Empty out each side in one feed. Offer the next side on the next feed. In the beginning multiple feeding sessions merge into one. Switch sides then. Eventually after 2-3 weeks you will be able to tell which sides needs emptying out first, just by feeling the breasts heavy or light.
- Pumping: Pumping is a good idea if you have a partner who is eager to help or parents at home who can relieve you of one feed and give the bottle to the baby. Buy an electric pump only if you are sure about the need to pump.
- Nipple confusion. Avoid giving the bottle too many times in the beginning as the baby can get confused between the bottle and mother's nipples. Use special teats from Philips Avent or Medela.
- Feeding pillow. Invest in a good Boppy pillow. Ensure you use a hard back pillow to save your back from slumping.
Stay calm and breastfeed.
This article was contributed by our partner Little Mister Trouble and has been published with permission.