Motherhood and breastfeeding:
Entering motherhood and bringing a new life into this world is undoubtedly the most overwhelming experience for all mothers, particularly at the time of their firstborn. What make this experience even more overwhelming are the several changes in the body and lifestyle that needs to be dealt with, the most prominent of which is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is nourishing a child naturally with milk that is the staple, essential diet of all infants to promote early growth and to strengthen their immune systems. Breastfeeding not only form the basis of ideal health for babies, but also for the mothers as it regulates hormones and contributes to proper functioning of the organ systems.
Experts agree that it is best for the child and the mother both, to continue breastfeeding for at least a year after birth.
What is the importance of breast milk and breastfeeding?
There are countless advantages associated with breastfeeding and breast milk that all new mothers must essentially be aware of. While most may prefer the use of infant formulae immediately after birth, breast milk is always fresh, entirely safe and mild enough to be easily digested and absorbed by the baby’s body, contains all vital nutrients that are required for ideal development and strength, is always the ideal temperature, does not cause diarrhea or other gastric disorders, and does not cause any allergies to the child. Apart from all these prominent advantages, perhaps the most important one for a new mother is the fact that breastfeeding develops a close, special bond with the child and allows the child to gain comfort, fondness and attachment for his/her mother and caregiver. It is important to breastfeed for at least a year in order to develop this mutual, intimate bond.
When should a new mother essentially start breastfeeding her child?
Experts agree that the perfect time to start breastfeeding is immediately after birth, or soon as the mother is in a condition to comfortably hold her baby and feed him/her. It is true that all new mothers initially tend to think that may not know the right way, position, technique or posture, but the sooner breastfeeding is initiated, the better for both the mother and the child.
Because breastfeeding is an entirely new experience, it is important to acquire information and guidance from nurses, doctors, midwives or other professionals in the field who can provide comprehensive insight into all do’s and don’ts of breastfeeding. This can either be done before or immediately after the birth of the child, but it important to not delay breastfeeding, or to allow someone else to do it.
What are some important breast care tips which must be practiced after feeding?
It is completely natural for the breasts to undergo slightly tender or sensitive after breastfeeding, it usually takes a bit of getting used to initially. It is recommended that new mothers should alternate breasts for each time they breastfeed their child for more comfort. Once the baby has been nursed, the nipples should be allowed to dry for a while; experts suggest that towels and cloths should be avoided because they may cause further irritation to the already sensitive breasts.
A common problem that new mothers frequently face is the leaking or letting down of milk which can spontaneously occur. In order to manage this and to avoid embarrassment, absorbent bra liners can be used to clear any excess milk. In the absence of bra liners, one can simply cut an old cloth into small piece and use these as cheaper, ready to use bra liners which are just as effective. If the leaking is frequent, bra liners can be used during pregnancy and even after each breastfeeding session safely.
How to determine the baby’s milk needs and timing?
It is essential to breastfeed the child once every three hours initially to provide optimal nourishment to his/her system. It is normal to nurse a newborn baby at least twelve times a day. In case the baby sleeps more and is only getting six to eight feeding session during his/her waking hours, the mother may wake the child up especially to nurse milk to complete the daily dietary requirements.
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