Breastfeeding is necessary due to the number of health benefits it possesses. But many women who prefer to breastfeed often have problems doing so properly. This occurs mainly because of their lack of knowledge on how to breastfeed.
In order to understand breastfeeding, you need to have proper knowledge on how breastfeeding works, the biology and psychology behind it; how your baby plays a part, the diet you need to have in order to process and produce milk, how milk is delivered from your body, the importance of breast pumps and pads, etc.
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We have written down a few basic pointers on breastfeeding and how you can prepare yourself for it, how you can feed your baby and the rest of the relevant information you’ll need.
Find out from your hospital about whether they provide ‘Help-at-Home’ for when you need support and guidance with breastfeeding when you’re discharged from the hospital. Even if not a professional, you still need to have a list of people you can reach out to for help. A support group, community, friends, and family will play an essential role in this regard. The earlier you seek help from a problem, the more chance you have to avoid a much greater problem.
It’s quite easy to check your nipples by yourself as well. Just press the areola, the dark part. Does this erect your nipples? Or do they just stay flat? If they stay flat then you may have inverted nipples which don’t really cause damage to the process of breastfeeding but it can mean you’ll need a little more help than usual to feed your baby in the earlier days of breastfeeding.
Also known as Insufficient Glandular Tissue or IGT, is a condition that is noticed mostly after the baby is born. It’s a rare condition that can refer to a lack or decreased amount of milk production during breastfeeding. You can ask your doctor or midwife for screening if you notice any of these symptoms: asymmetrical breasts, wide space between the breasts, tube-shaped breasts, breasts that seem like empty sacs or those that didn’t grow during pregnancy or after delivery.
This problem can cause the baby to get lesser milk hence resulting in lower weight or weight loss. To tackle the issue, you may be asked to breastfeed in a certain way or even to take supplements.
Make sure you’re stocked up on a good number of nursing bras, breast pads, maternity pajamas to be comfortable in, and dresses and tops that come with nursing pockets. You can also add nursing covers on the list if you’re shy about breastfeeding in public.
If you think your body needs some specific conscious preparation from you to get ready to breastfeed your baby, then you need to stop worrying. Your body begins to prepare for breastfeeding as soon as you conceive, so in a way, it’s been prepared before you even became aware that you’re pregnant. Whether you are small breasted or not doesn’t really make a difference in your milk production. For first time mothers, the breasts can feel tender in the first trimester. Blood supply is also increased during the 9-month period and with every pregnancy, the milk ducts become stronger and produce more milk.
If you’ve been advised to apply lotion or rub your breasts to make them erect and ready to breastfeed, etc, you need to avoid that advice. All the hormonal releases during pregnancy prepare your breasts for this better than any other tip you’re getting from people. The areola releases oil that lubricates your nipples; the oil smells of amniotic fluid which is familiar for the baby and hence helps reassure the little one and make your bond stronger. Additionally, as the baby gets used to the smell of you, colostrum and milk, it helps make breastfeeding easier as the baby accepts becoming a part of you.
Also, make sure you’re not using scented soaps, perfumes, or any other smelling product in the early days of feeding as those smells can confuse the baby instead of letting him recognize your smell. Cuddling can also help make both of your bond stronger and bring a sense of familiarity and warmth to the baby.
Your baby needs to get familiar to your skin and your smell, so try to have skin-to-skin cuddles with the little one as early as possible. Your midwife or nurse will help you get used to the most comfortable breastfeeding positions. A laid-back position is one of the most preferred methods as it allows you to lay down as the baby latches on to your breast, lying face-down. This also makes the baby’s survival and feeding instinct kick in as it makes the little one consciously make effort to feed.
Try to get proper sleep; the term ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ doesn’t exist without a reason. Your delivery may make you have a rush of adrenaline in the first few weeks but soon you will start feeling that exhaustion and quite intensely. Try your best to have a good sleep cycle to tend to your baby in a better, healthier way.
These are the basics you should know when it comes to breastfeeding. It’s necessary to consult with not only your doctor or midwife but also with other mums around you, whether in the form of friends, relatives or support groups. This can be a new and complicated experience at first but with time, you will get used to it and feed your baby more properly. The process has a lot of benefits that will aid in not just making your baby healthier physically but also form a stronger emotional bond with you.
For more information on maternity and to get the necessary products you and your baby will need, visit Little Angel Baby Clothes.
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