Breastfeeding

Everything you need to know about your breastfeeding journey

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August 16, 2022

If you ask anyone who has already been through it, they have one thing to say. The thing is that breastfeeding can be very difficult to get used to during the very beginning. It might be surprising that one of the most natural things doesn’t quite feel natural at the start. Although it is not a reason to get upset because it starts to get better once you get a hang of it. Breastfeeding can be a bonding experience for both you and your baby along with you passing the vital nutrients to the baby. 

How to get your baby to latch on properly? 

The first thing to get correct in breastfeeding is getting your baby to latch onto your nipples. It is recommended that you try to get your baby to latch onto your breast within the first two hours of the delivery itself. During the first few hours, your baby is most interested to latch onto you. Even after a Cesarean, you should be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby. If your baby naturally doesn’t learn to latch onto your breasts, don’t panic. With simple practice you will be able to comfortably feed your baby. 

  • Before you start feeding your baby, make sure that you are seated in a comfortable position. 
  • Take the help of a pillow or a breastfeeding pillow to level the baby. With the help of it, make sure that your baby’s mouth is open and the tip of the nose, as well as the chin, is touching your breasts. 
  • During a good latching, your baby’s stomach should be at level with your own. 
  • Your baby should start sucking the milk from the breasts. This might take a few seconds once they latch onto the nipples each time. 
  • If you feel that the latch isn’t strong or leaking, slowly take out your breasts and repeat the same thing over again. 

Find a comfortable position to breastfeed

Without getting comfortable on your own, you will not be able to feed your baby for a long time. You might develop backaches and joint pains if you continue to stay in uncomfortable positions for a longer time. At the same time, good positions will ensure that your baby will latch onto the breast properly. Take aid of tools like breastfeeding pillows if you need to stay in position. 

The most common positions to breastfeed are:

  • Laid back position
  • Cradle hold
  • Crossover hold
  • Football hold and 
  • Side-lying hold

Nutrition during breastfeeding

You might not be eating the same amount of food as when you were pregnant but about three to four hundred extra calories every day is required for a breastfeeding mother. It is also recommended that you continue to take prenatal vitamins during the duration of your breastfeeding journey so that you can supply the essential nutrients to your baby during the early months of development. 

However, the dietary requirements are different for each mother. Your diet will start to get normal over time, as pre-pregnancy. Nonetheless, you will need more iodine and choline in the first year of postpartum. There are plenty of food sources in a normal diet to substitute for this need. You can also take supplements to make sure that you are getting enough of these nutrients. 

Remember whatever you eat will be passed to your baby through breastmilk so be careful and decide on an overall healthy diet.

How to take care of sore breasts during breastfeeding?

Your breasts might get painful and sore during breastfeeding for a couple of reasons. 

  • The most common reason for painful breasts is breast engorgement. This is when your breasts are filled with breast milk that hasn’t had its chance to get out. This can happen if your baby hasn’t learned how to latch properly yet. To ease this discomfort, you can squeeze out the extra milk after breastfeeding by yourself or use a breast pump. 
  • Another effect of your baby not being properly latched onto your breasts is causing lumps to form inside the ducts. You need to make sure that you relieve it by breastfeeding. Your baby can help you ease better than anything else. Wear a comfortable bra to ensure the free flow of milk in your breast as well as to prevent soreness. If you don’t treat a blocked duct as soon as possible, it might even cause mastitis.
  • Mastitis is when the blocked ducts don’t get relieved even after breastfeeding and inflammation or infection occurs. Your breasts will feel sore and tender with pain. You might even have a fever and feel tired when this is happening. If it doesn’t relieve even after feeding, try to use a warm compress or take a warm shower before you express your milk by hand. You can take paracetamol to relieve the pain. You should contact your doctor if it doesn’t get better within a day.

Taking care of leaks

It is very common to have leaks during times when you are not breastfeeding. In order to prevent it from causing any mess, keep nursing pads handy. Make sure that you are wearing a comfortable bra and clothes. You can use towels over your sheets during the night to prevent your sheets from getting dirty. 

How often should you feed a baby?

A newborn baby should be fed about every 2 to 3 hours for the first month. Your baby will let you know when they are full. The amount of food that every baby needs is different. So, as your baby grows, there will be a pattern on how much you will have to feed them every day.

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