Women have been breastfeeding since the human race began. It's hard to believe that nursing your baby could ever be controversial, not accepted, or should be kept covered according to some with knowing this information. Well, guess this is a topic for another conversation. So back to the main subject...for each mother and each baby, breastfeeding is a new experience.
To help you get started, here is breastfeeding 101 for beginners.
Nursing your newborn
In the beginning, your body will produce colostrum, which is a special milk containing antibodies to help protect your newborn from infection. Amazing superpower stuff right? That's right, because your body is so crazy amazing with what it can do!
Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after birth. Start by holding the baby and turning her body toward you so that she is resting against you, chest to chest. Brush your nipple against her upper lip. When she opens her mouth, pull her onto your breast. Her mouth should cover the nipple, plus as much of the areola as possible. You may want to hold your breast for support.
With practice, you will find comfortable positions for nursing. You want a position that won't leave your back and arms aching, since nursing sessions can take around 40 minutes, especially in the early months. Support your baby's head, neck, back and hips. Common nursing positions are cradle, cross-cradle, side-lying, and football. Try using a nursing pillow for arm support while breastfeeding.
Settle in and relax before you start. For the first few days, you may have to waken the baby to start nursing and he may fall asleep again while nursing. If it has been four hours since he last nursed, you may wish to wake him up, to be sure he is getting enough.
If your baby is premature, he may not be strong enough to nurse right away. In this case, you can pump your milk and the baby can be fed your milk through a tube or bottle until he is ready to nurse.
You will have a better experience if you use easy to nurse in clothing like nursing tank tops, nursing hoodies, and convenient comfy nursing tees to nurse on demand quickly or pump milk since new babies need frequent feedings.
Nursing your newborn boosts her immune system, meets all of her nutritional needs and is a completely priceless bonding experience. It's hard at first and takes a few days for milk to come in, but keep going and the milk will start flowing!
How often should you breastfeed
Pay attention to your baby's cues. Increased alertness or activity, rooting around for the nipple and mouthing are early signs of hunger.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should feed your baby when she shows early signs of hunger, preferably before she starts crying, which is a late sign of hunger.
Newborns have small stomachs so they eat often, usually about every one to three hours, or 8 - 12 feeds every 24 hours. Don't worry about your milk supply. The more you nurse, the more milk you will have. Learn more about the size of your baby's stomach here.
Is your baby getting enough milk?
Sometimes, breastfed babies gain weight more slowly than babies fed with formula and every baby is different, but your pediatrician will be monitoring the baby's weight. In most cases, if the baby is gaining weight he is getting enough milk.
Many new mothers also worry about their own nutrition and its effect on the baby. As a general rule, most breastfeeding mothers need about 200 - 500 extra calories per day. As long as you are eating a well-balanced diet and stay very well-hydrated, you, your baby, and your milk should be fine.
Don't worry about gaining wait mama! Eat tons of healthy, nutrient dense food, whole foods, clean and organic foods, and super food packed smoothies and you will be loading with healthy calories that boost milk supply and don't pack on pounds.
Breastfeeding takes patience and practice. Don't get discouraged if your new baby has trouble latching on, or is sometimes fussy (this may not necessarily be a sign of hunger).
It is important to remember that nursing should not be painful. There are remedies for clogged ducts, engorged breasts, or dry or cracked nipples. Blocked ducts, or mastitis, can be serious and painful and may require a doctor's care. If you are in pain or have other problems that may be interfering with breastfeeding, get help. Your healthcare provider can diagnose and treat any medical problems.
A lactation consultant will provide hands-on help, guidance and encouragement, while you and your baby navigate the wonderful new world of breastfeeding. Don't give up. Do it for both of you.
Keep going mama! Patience and perseverance will succeed!
Main Image Source: dotellanabel.blogspot.com Mama nursing in Bun Maternity nursing hoodie.