“Breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her newborn child. “
But not all mothers have a successful breastfeeding relationship with their baby. There are various reasons for that. Most common reason being not knowing how to approach it the correct way. There are many steps you can take to ensure you are able to breastfeed your baby as long as you and the baby wants.
I will share my own breastfeeding journey with you all. It was easy to start with. My baby could not latch properly. It seemed she wasn’t able to suck at all. I had to ask for nurse’s help every time I wanted feed my baby and that was almost every hour. I was feeling full and engorged and a sense of despair was coming over me. But I persisted and consulted a lactation consultant. She advised me on latching position and how to hold the baby and within a week, we were both comfortable that was the beginning of a beautiful breastfeeding journey which continued till she was 13 months old.
Getting Started to Breastfeeding
It is advised that mother should start breastfeeding her child as soon as she is brought to her. Babies are programmed to suck and they need to suck for a long time. Offer the breast as long as comfortable. Even if the baby does not show eagerness to suck, keep offering.
Many well-wishers around you might tell you to wait for that you do not have enough milk, but that’s not what it is. Babies need very tiny amounts of milk the first couple of days, so your body is producing just the right amount. The first yellow milk or colostrum is necessary for baby, so start as soon as your baby comes to your baby for long-term breastfeeding success.
Read more about colostrum and its benefits to baby
No Other Feed
Ensure that hospital staff or nurses do not give any alternate feed to the baby. In some places, sugar-water or formula is given to baby. This can fill your baby’s tiny tummy and there will not be any room or inclination left for the nourishing breast-milk during the first few days.
Keep offering every hour till you and your baby get the hang of latching and feeding.
BreastFeeding on Demand
Some doctors advise feeding babies on a schedule like every 2-3 hours. However, consultants across the world these days, advise feeding on demand. It means you should feed whenever the baby wants to feed rather than following the clock. However, if you feel that baby is going without feed for more than 4 hours, you should wake the baby up gently and feed the baby.
Offer both breasts for feeding the baby
Offer both breasts to baby, so that both get stimulated enough to produce sufficient milk. Human breasts produce milk on the basis of demand and supply. When your baby sucks more often, body ups milk production to meet the demand. Similarly, if one of the breasts is ignored continuously, body adjusts the production due to low demand. Even a small gap during initial days can affect milk production, which can be very difficult to bring up again, thus leading to failure.
Use a Breast-pump
If you are unwell or are not able to feed your baby directly, express milk using a breast-pump and give it to baby with a bottle or a spoon or paladi. It will not be same as when baby sucks, but aleast your baby will get breast-milk and your milk-supply can be kept up till things become normal.
Even if you hit a few bumps, do not get discouraged. Every mother goes through these hiccups and persevering is the only way out. Babies also take some time in learning how to latch on to the breast.After a few days, it will become second nature to you and the baby.
Take Medical help when needed
If you have any issues, do not hesitate to talk to a lactation consultant. These consultants are specialists in field of breastfeeding and can answer all your questions and correct any issues with your technique. Take help of the nurses, if you have trouble with baby latching on.
However difficult it may seem, always remember that you are not alone in this and all mothers hit a few bumps before it becomes a smooth ride. And if at all, you are not able to breastfeed your baby for as long as you would like, remember that bottle-fed babies also develop equally well. See pros and cons of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding