Giving birth to a child is an overwhelming experience for every mother.
Among all the various responsibilities of becoming a ‘Supermom’, breastfeeding should be your primary concern, especially if it’s your first time being a mom.
In a conversation with experts at ‘Hera’, we got best breastfeeding tips that’ll help mothers get on track and keep the baby healthy.
Before we delve into breastfeeding tips, let us understand what breastfeeding means.
Breastfeeding or lactation is the secretion of milk from the mammary glands (breasts). Even though milk secretion usually starts after birth, the body starts producing milk somewhere between the second or third trimester  due to various hormonal changes.
Once you’ve gone through labor, breast milk will come in three different stages to cater to the changing needs of your baby’s body.
Colostrum is a thick yellow substance that’s produced during the initial days (2-3 days) of delivery. It contains all the essential vitamins, protein, and minerals. These will help your baby’s body to create antibodies and fight various infections.
Colostrum is also responsible for regulating proper bowel movement in your child. Colostrum  production begins in the early days of pregnancy . Some women may even experience leakage (along with tender breasts) at that time.
If you do not experience colostrum discharge midway during the pregnancy, don’t panic as only a few women experience discharge, but their body still produces the milk.
On the fourth day, your breasts will produce transitional milk that contains a higher concentration of protein and calories than colostrum. Transitional milk is usually produced for up to the tenth day of the delivery.
Mature milk is the final stage of breast milk production. It resembles the texture of skim milk but contains a higher amount of fats and other nutrients for the healthy growth of your baby. Mature milk is generally produced two weeks postpartum. Its nutritional value keeps changing as you progress with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is beneficial for both the infant as well as the mother. While it provides ideal nutrition to the child, regular breastfeeding also reduces the risk of PPD (Postpartum Depression) in women.
Some of the additional benefits of breastfeeding include:
● Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients your child will need during the first six months.
● An infant has a weaker immune system than an adult. To fight infections and allergies, it’ll use the antibodies present in breast milk.
● Breast milk also protects the infant from severe ailments such as Acute Otitis Media, a type of ear infection .
● Regular breastfeeding for six months will also promote healthy weight gain in your baby and even reduce the risk of obesity.
● Breastfeeding your baby immediately after birth also reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) .
● Breastfeeding boosts the production of Oxytocin hormone in the body. It promotes uterine contractions and helps the uterus restore to its original size.
● Breastfeeding reduces the risk of Postpartum Depression (PPD) due to the excessive release of oxytocin throughout the body.
● Breastfeeding also protects the body against several diseases including Type 2 Diabetes, breast & ovarian cancer, and high blood pressure .
The general thumb-rule says that you should breastfeed your newborn 10-12 times/day for the first month. Since breastmilk is easier to digest, your baby will feel hungry more frequently throughout the day. So, you should make it a habit to breastfeed the child every two hours so that he doesn’t feel hungry.
Once your baby is 2-3 months old, he’ll need less nursing than earlier. At this time, you can breastfeed him for 7-9 times/day or whenever he feels hungry. In any case, it’s important to ensure that the newborn doesn’t stay hungry for more than four hours as this can cause severe health issues.
It takes time for first-time moms to get comfortable with the entire routine of breastfeeding. Usually, women become more confident with the procedure after encountering several trial and errors.
During your initial days, the following tips will help you get your breastfeeding schedule on track so that you don’t feel uncomfortable at all.
● First and foremost, find a comfortable seating position. An infant can nurse from anywhere between 10-45 minutes. That’s why it’s important to sit comfortably so that you don’t suffer from aches throughout the body.
● Getting your baby to latch for the first time might be a bit challenging. If that’s the case, you should guide the baby’s lips to your nipples until he latches properly.
● Do not switch breasts until your baby has completely drained out the first one. The last portion of mature milk inside the breast is rich in fats and can provide the essential nutrients to the child.
● If you are experiencing swelling or severe pain in breasts, try to feed the child as often as possible. Swelling is caused due to Engorgement , a condition where the body produces more milk than the baby needs. In such cases, feeding the baby more frequently is the only solution to avoid swelling.
● When you are nursing, make sure to stay hydrated so that you don’t feel any weakness.
● During the birth, make sure to breastfeed the child within the first hour of the birth. This will help you identify various issues you’re facing and there will be professionals to help you around.
If your baby doesn’t latch during the first session, don’t panic and guide him towards the nipple yourself. Even infants take time before getting comfortable with latching properly..- HERA Pro Tip
If you want to be a ‘Supermom’, it’s your responsibility to know when your baby’s hungry. Don’t wait until he starts to cry as by then he’s already extremely hungry.
Here are a few signs that’ll indicate that it’s nursing time.
● Opening and closing mouth.
● Sucking on his lips, fingers, or even nearby clothes.
● Constantly opening his mouth and turning his head to the sides to find something to latch on.
● Hitting you on your face with his tiny hands.
Believe it or not, but the positioning of the kid also matters to ensure successful and comfortable breastfeeding. Poor positioning  of the infant can cause several breast problems such as cracked nipples, mastitis, and sore nipples.
Here are a few breastfeeding positions that’ll make it easier for the baby to latch properly.
● Hold the baby in such a way that his head is placed at the bend of your elbow and use the remaining arm to hold his entire body.
● Use the opposite hand to hold the head of the baby and nurse him using the other hand. This will help you easily guide the nipple towards the baby’s lips.
● If you’re trying to nurse while lying on the bed, make sure to get on your side and place a pillow under your head. Now, turn the baby’s face towards your breast and let him latch properly.
“Breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a mother. If it’s your first time, you’ll be riding a roller-coaster and it may take some time to get comfortable with latching. However, if you’re unable to breastfeed, even after several days of trying, it would be better to consult your doctor as she’ll guide you with various techniques that will improve latching”.