Breastfeeding is essential and healthy for both the baby and the mother. But it comes with its own baggage of pickles and problems. Here is a complete guide that includes essential tips for breastfeeding for you to go through so that it makes your postpartum easier.
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How to start?
Start with having a perfect latch. Hold your baby near your chest. Put one of your hand on the back of his head and other on hips. Babies recognize their mother’s smell as soon as they come out of the womb and you hold them for the first time.
Next, bring him close to your breasts so that his nose is just on the outer edges of your nipples. As soon as he/she smells the colostrum he will immediately start feeding.
Always remember to put one of your hand behind his neck and make sure his feet are touching your elbow. Babies tend to feel comfortable when their feets touch something.
How to increase comfort and satisfaction?
Try different positions for breastfeeding if the one you are using isn’t satisfactory to you. When baby’s face (from cheeks to chin) starts moving in a continuous manner that’s when he is getting maximum pleasures from feeding.
Here is a 2-minute video demonstrating ways to hold a baby while feeding
Use nursing pillows when you are feeding for the first time. They will form a good base and a comfortable position for you and your baby. It will just make the job easier.
You can buy them online here:-
Problems which you face during the first week of breastfeeding?
It might hurt initially for some people. It’s normal if it happens for the first 2-3 days. However, if the pain or discomfort continues for about a week or so, consider visiting your gynecologist or a lactation consultant. Seek help as soon as possible.
If the problem you are facing is sore nipples, try applying your own breast milk on them. You can also try lanolin based solutions or organic coconut oil.
Breastfeeding sessions last for about 10-15 minutes and are done 7-8 times in a day.
Remember that breastfeeding works on the principle of supply and demand. After a week your body will know how much milk does your baby needs in a day. YES! It’s surprisingly different for all the babies whether it’s the time for the session or the number of sessions.
During the first week after childbirth, you might experience some cramps which are the same as menstrual cramps. Do not worry. It’s just nature’s way of shrinking your uterus to the older size. It prevents internal bleeding and speeds postpartum recovery.
Sometimes even when you are not nursing your breasts will start to leak. It again varies for different women. Sometimes it might get out of control and can wet your shirt in public.
It’s better to prepare yourself before time by buying some cotton padded bra and nursing pads. Carry nursing pads in your handbag always.
Sex might not be such a pleasure for almost a month because of vaginal dryness and ultra-sensitive breasts. However, you can use lubes to increase satisfaction. Some things might seem to feel a little dissatisfying but that’s okay just talk it out with your partner.
After a month of breastfeeding:-
Start using pacifiers and dummies after a month of breastfeeding but don’t decrease the sessions or time for breastfeeding. This is just so that the babies get used to it. It might take awhile for the baby to get soothed by the pacifier. You have to try different shapes and sizes. Patience is the key.
After 4-5 months of breastfeeding:-
After about 4 months you can start giving them formula or solid food along with breastfed milk. There are various formulas available in the market. This is the one we would recommend:
Your maternity leave is almost at an end. Start using breast pump right about now. Pump with the lowest setting and increase slowly to avoid pain.
Giving baby the bottle is another tricky act. But start early at about 14-16 weeks after the baby is born. You would have to keep a lot of patience as some babies take a long amount of time to get used to bottle. Here are some tips which might help you.
- Keep the temperature of the milk same as that of your breast milk.
- Give someone else the bottle, someone who is also around the baby a lot like your partner or mother-in-law. You can try to be another room when they try to give your baby the bottle so that she/he doesn’t get distracted.
- Try adding a little sugar to add a little taste. It might make the milk tastier for the baby.
- Try different kinds of bottles and nipples. Some mothers actually had to change them 10 times to get her baby to use the bottle. There are even bottles which have almost the same shape as your breasts. You can try them.
- Try using other options like sippy cups, spoon, straw, medicine dropper, and glass! That’s right. Some babies directly jump to these options instead of taking a bottle.
- Hold baby in a different position than when you do while breastfeeding.
- Add it to her toys. Babies have the habit of taking everything in their mouth whenever handed over something. This might prove to be a boon for you this time.
How to Reduce or stop the production of milk?
As already mentioned above, breastfeeding works on the principle of supply and demand. Suppose you are feeding your baby 8 times a day for initial 3-4 months. Reduce it to 5-6 times the next two to three weeks and continue to do it for the next months.
Reduce it at a comfortable pace otherwise, it might hurt. By gradually reducing your breastfeeding sessions you might be able to completely eliminate breastfeeding after a year, give or take a month or so.
Essential health and diet tips while breastfeeding-
- Whatever you eat, the taste and nutrients go into your breast milk. It’s essential that you have a balanced diet and reduce your intake of processed food, harmful additives, and preservatives to a minimum.
- Four nutrients- Protein, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin B12 are highly essential. You might be deficient in it even if you are having wholesome food. You can take supplements for them or even get a medical test done to check to see if you need a full prescription for any of these.
- Omega-3’s are a very important source to keep mind and heart healthy and it will also be crucial to developing brain functions of your baby. Eat walnuts, flaxseeds, fish etc to get your omega-3’s in line.
- Drink lot of fluids. Include coconut water, watermelon (99% water), cucumber (92% water), peaches ( 90% water), pineapple, cranberries, oranges (87% water content each) etc. in your diet.
- Your body will itself tell you how much calories you need. Don’t ignore the hunger. It’s probably necessary for your own wellness and energy needs.
- Include fenugreek and cumin seeds in your diet. They will help in increasing your milk production.
- Biggest question which remains is whether you can have caffeine while breastfeeding a.k.a coffee, black tea, cocoa powder, dark chocolate etc. Yes, you can have but in moderate amounts which are 300mg a day. If you had avoided caffeine completely during pregnancy your baby might be affected more.
- Apparently, you can have alcohol in moderate amounts too. Try to have it just after breastfeeding so that there is a minimum 2 hours gap before the next feeding session. You can also skip a breastfeeding session by giving your baby pumped milk, formula or any other baby food.
How to get back in shape while breastfeeding?
Every one of us wants to get back into our skinny jeans and tank tops as soon as possible. But we need to realize that our body has gone through a lot and pushing it into a workout regime may result in more harm than good.
- Breastfeeding itself burns 300-500 calories a day. So you will lose almost half or more of the excess weight which you have gained in about a month or so (without even exercising).
- After 4-6 weeks whenever you start to feel normal take your baby for a morning walk to get some fresh air. Continuous brisk walk for an hour can have amazing weight loss results on your body.
- You can try reverting back to your workout routine slowly after 6-8 weeks of the birth of your baby. Example if you did 30 minutes of exercise daily you can start with 15 minutes of two sessions each.
- Try doing these easy exercises with your baby.
- After you feel comfortable start with yoga and HIIT exercises. The first one will increase flexibility and give your body a major boost of muscle strength which your body demands after childbirth. The second one is a quick way to burn around 15-20 calories per minute. So you just have to work out for a small amount of time, considering motherhood wouldn’t give you any.
Breastfeeding is not meant to be a burden in any way. It’s supposed to be enjoyable for both the baby and the mother. It comes at ease once you know how to combat those little bumps on the road with ease. However, Every mother has a different bump down their road. So, Tell the Toothless community about your breastfeeding hacks and how you tossed them like a pro.