Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most iconic moments for which every expecting mother looks forward to. Lactation in a natural process during which your breasts produce milk to feed your baby. It is the best nutrition you can provide for your child and this process begins while you are still pregnant, in preparation for the birth of the child. The process of lactation induces a variety of changes in your breasts, some of which can be quite inconvenient and embarrassing. However, armed with proper information, tips, and tricks,  lactation can be much easier to take care of.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for mothers and baby

Mother

  • Breastfeeding is easier on the pocket as you don't have to buy, formula, nipples, bottles, etc. Also, the time spent on sterilizing bottles, preparing formula, etc can be used in actually bonding with your baby.

  • Breastfeeding burns calories which can help you lose the pregnancy weight faster.

  • Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. It also helps reduce uterine bleeding after birth.

  • Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

  • Breastfeeding enables you to spend time with your baby, helping you bond better.

Baby

  • Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition that an infant requires, as it has the perfect blend of vitamins, protein, and fat in an easily digested form. Breast milk also contains antibodies which help to combat viruses and bacteria.

  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. There have been fewer cases of hospitalizations too, and breastfeeding also lowers the chances of having asthma or allergies.

  • Children who have been breastfed have higher IQ scores in later childhood.

  • Physical contact and skin-to-skin touching helps your baby bond with you and feel safe and secure.

  • Breastfed babies have a lower chance of gaining too much weight or becoming overweight children.

  • The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)says breastfeeding plays a significant role in the prevention of SIDS, reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, along with certain cancers.

Breastfeeding Positions

Let us go through common positions for breastfeeding your baby in which the baby and the mother are both comfortable and at ease.:

Cradle position: Place your baby sideways in your lap with his body facing you. Cradle the baby while your free arm can support the baby’s back or legs. This way, the baby is cozily nestled against you and comfortable.








Football position: Lay your baby's back along your forearm to hold your baby like a football, supporting his head and neck in your palm. This is best when the baby is too small or when you are recovering from c-section and need to protect your tummy from any weight.






Side-lying position: This position is great for night-time feedings, as it does not requires you to wake up in the middle of the night.  in bed. It also works great if you're recovering from your delivery and don't want to move a lot. Move close to your baby and lift your breast to the baby's mouth. Ensure that the baby is comfortable and there is no strain in the baby’s position to keep feeding.

Challenges with Breastfeeding

Sore & dry cracked nipples: Make sure your baby latches on correctly and use your finger to break the suction of your baby's mouth after each feeding. That will help prevent sore nipples. You can try keeping your nipples dry and let them dry properly between each feeding, as moisture aggravates the problem even more. Using only cotton bra pads and changing your bra pads often will help your nipples stay dry, which can prevent sore or cracked nipples.

Worries about producing enough milk: Most mothers worry about whether or not their baby is getting enough milk. If your baby is wetting six to eight diapers a day, the baby for sure is getting enough milk. Refrain from providing supplements or formula to your baby if you can, a decrease in the milk demand will end up affecting your supply.

Pumping and storing: If your baby is exclusively breastfed, it may take a few days or weeks for your baby to get used to breast milk in a bottle. Breast milk can be safely used within 2 days if it's stored in a refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 6 months. It is important to warm up the breast milk in a pan rather than a microwave and stir it so that it is evenly warm. Make sure the temperature is not too high, it should ideally be a few degrees warmer than the body temperature.

Inverted nipples:  In some moms, the nipple doesn't poke forward but is rather bend inwards. A meeting with your lactation consultant will help one explore some tips and tricks that have allowed women with inverted nipples to breastfeeding successfully.

Breast engorgement: Breast engorgement means the blood vessels in your breast have become congested, trapping fluid in your breasts and making them feel hard, painful, and swollen. Alternate hot and cold packs or pumping out the milk can help relieve mild symptoms.

Premature babies: Premature babies are smaller and not fully developed, which results in not being able to breastfeed right away. In some cases, the hospitals help the mothers pump the breast milk and feed it through a bottle or a feeding tube.

Tips for new moms

  • Let your baby set the pace and adapt accordingly. Babies usually feed in every two to three hours, however, keep in mind that there is no set time.

  • Ask for help right away. You might have read a lot of books and might think you have it all figured out. However, if you are struggling with breastfeeding, there is no shame in asking for help.

  • Give it time. You are new in this and so is the baby. More you nurse, the more milk your breasts will produce and more natural the whole feeling of breastfeeding will feel.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Make sure that you are taking nutritious meals, having a lot of fluids and taking enough rest so that you can feed your child properly. Refrain from habits like smoking, drinking, etc. during this time.

  • Take care of your nipples, make sure you are drying your nipples properly after each feed, making sure that sore and dry nipples don't make breastfeeding any harder for you than it has to be.

Tips for making lactation comfortable:

There are certain ways in which the process of lactation can be made a bit more comfortable to deal with. Some of them are:

  • Using nursing pads

  • Alter between two breasts while feeding

  • Practice artificial pumping

  • Seek lactation consultation

  • Ensure a healthy intake of nutrients in your meals for a good supply

Diet for healthy lactation: There are several well-established lactogenic foods which may help induce and maintain a healthy supply of the breast milk created by your body.

  • Barley

  • Fennel + fenugreek seeds (Saunf and Methi)

  • Oats

  • Spinach and beet leaves

  • Other whole grains

  • Papaya

  • Dill(Soa Saag)

  • Apricots (Khubani)

  • Asparagus (Shatavari)

  • Garlic

  • Red beets

  • Sesame seeds (Till)

  • Poppy seeds (Khuskhus)

  • Caraway seeds (Kala Jeera)

  • Anise seeds (Saunf)

  • Coriander seeds (Dhania seeds)

  • Carrots

  • Water and juices

  • Bottle gourd

  • Chickpea

  • Cow Milk

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