Congratulations new mothers, for delivering your bundle of joy! You must be beaming with happiness on seeing your baby resting peacefully beside you. Often it is heard that the phase of pregnancy needs a lot of care and once the baby is delivered, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
But for most mothers, the real trouble phase starts now; for now, she not only has to nurse the baby but also make sure, the hormonal changes taking place in her body don’t affect her adversely.
For every mother and baby, nursing is a different experience which needs to be done with perfection helping the baby to grow in a healthy manner. Among all nursing process, breastfeeding needs to be done in perfection and is the period when women need to good take care of themselves and baby.
You probably would not have nursed any baby before and don’t know what it is to be like finding a secret corner in the restaurant or any public place to breastfeed your little one. Also, you would have not realized that you forgot to wear the much-needed nursing pads and your breast starts leaking and displaying through your shirt.
But once you start realizing, you are ready with precaution for yourself and your baby.
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Reason To Breastfeed
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way of providing your newborn with the right balance of nutrients that help the baby to grow healthier. In fact, breast milk is easier to digest and boosts the immune system of your baby. The most basic benefit of breastfeeding is that it is readily available and is always warm.
In addition, breast milk contains antibodies which help babies against illness and allergies. For babies, natural milk is the best milk. In fact, in the initial days after delivery, natural milk is the only source of food for the newborn.
As well breastfeeding is beneficial for the moms too. It not only helps in strengthening the mother-baby bond, also leads to a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.
Right Diet for the Breast Feeding Mom
For a mother, it is important to stay healthy during the pre and post-pregnancy phase that can help the body to keep producing milk for the baby. Having a good diet is quite important for the mother. There is a lot of change in weight and body structure post-pregnancy. Hence, it is important to have the right diet for healthy milk feeding.
Having Well-Balanced Diet
As your body keeps working round the clock, your body needs enough nutrients from diet. Also, you need enough stamina to fulfil the physical demands of the baby. It is quite natural to feel extra hungry during the breastfeeding period. So eating meals and snacks at regular intervals is a good way to keep the body regulated.
Don’t keep a count on Calories
For a new mother, the total amount of calories needed in a day is approximately 500. But instead of counting it, it is better to keep a tab on how much to eat. Consulting your dietician is advisable to determine the right amount of food and type of food to eat to receive enough calories.
Aim for Slow Weight Loss
In pre and post-pregnancy, a mother undergoes a lot of transformation in terms of weight. Some moms lose their weight after pregnancy, while others don’t. It all depends on the body structure and the choice of food. It is advisable to avoid losing your weight for at least for two months after delivery because it can snap away from your energy that is needed while nursing the baby.
Avoid Consuming Contaminated Foods
In today’s world, every food is “favoured” with pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals. These foods when ingested make way to breast milk. To avoid that, eat a variety of foods which are organic in nature. Always wash fruits and vegetables before you consume. Fruits and vegetables which carry a low amount of pesticides are onions, sweet corn, sweet peas, mangoes, etc.
Be Picky in Fish
During the nursing period, it is important to gain protein from various sources. Dieticians generally advise having fish, especially cold-water ones which contain a good amount of protein, DHA and EPA omega-3 fats that play an important role in the brain and eye development of a baby. Per week, at least consume 12 ounces of different fishes including salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, lake trout, tilapia, etc.
Breast-Feeding- Doing it Right Way
Reading and listening about breast-feeding is one thing. Doing it on your own is an entirely different experience. If it is your first time, then you surely need to ask for help from a nurse on how to do it rightly. Maternity professionals generally provide feeding tips after delivery which includes position, food and latching. Below are some tips on how you can make thing easy to feed properly:
There is no doubt that delivering a baby is like being into a cloud 9 situation. It is a wonderful period of your life when you are holding your baby for the first time. It is only natural to be nervous while feeding your baby. So to get things perfect, ask for help on feeding to set yourself feel comfortable. Support yourself with a pillow and cradle the baby close to your breast.
Support the baby’s head from one hand, and your breast with others. Encourage the baby to open the mouth so that he/she will take the darker portion around the nipple into the mouth. Once done, release the suction by inserting your finger at the corner of the baby’s mouth.
Setting the Pace
For the first few weeks, new-borns breast-feed every 2-3 hours daily. Early signs of hunger like restlessness and sucking motions could be observed. You can typically feed for about 20 minutes. If the baby keeps sucking from one breast for long periods in the early weeks, then pump the other breast to relieve pressure and protect the milk supply.
Scheduling the Feed:
As mentioned, babies usually want to be breast-fed in every 2-3 hours daily for the first six weeks but later on, the frequency will come down. In the next six months, they may consume breast milk for only 10 minutes once or twice in a day. Doctors typically recommend breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
How To Know If The Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk?
This is a common question among breastfeeding moms. After all, being a mother, it is natural to be worried regarding the right amount of milk consumed by the baby.
Most babies give signs of enough milk intake, but a few don’t. If the mother doesn’t address this situation, then the baby may suffer from dehydration and failure to thrive, both of which are uncommon but serious.
1. There are certain signs of the baby getting enough breast milk:
- Once your breast starts feeling softer after nursing, it is the sign showing that the baby has had its fill.
- Once the baby has filled its stomach, he or she looks relaxed and either go to sleep or starts playing.
- Change in weight is also the sign that the baby is getting enough breast milk. Generally, the baby should gain at least 6-8 ounces in 3 months and 2.5 ounces in the next 6 months. This shows that the baby has got a good amount of breast milk.
- Making the diaper wet regularly in a day is also the sign that the baby is having his or her fill of milk. Generally, a baby receiving the right amount of milk will wet six to eight cloth diapers a day, or five or six disposables.
2.Warning signs of less intake of breast milk:
- Baby continuously starts losing weight and finds hard to regain.
- Wetting of just 5-6 diapers in 24hrs.
- After 5 days of delivery, the baby gets small and dark stools.
- Dark colour urine.
- No feeling of breast softness after nursing.
3. To make your nursing easier there are products available that can help in breastfeeding baby comfortably:
- Nursing Pillow: This specially designed pillow is to position your baby comfortably for breastfeeding. These pillows come in different sizes and styles that can fit the size depending on the baby and the mother. You can even use this to prop up the baby or behind your back to give your baby good support. The pillow comes with the price tag of approximately Rs 1000-1500/
- Nursing Bra: A good nursing bra allows a mom to prevent undressing every time for breastfeeding, especially when in a public place. In the first week, you can go for a transitional bra, which offers comfort and enough room to grow. In later weeks, you can change it into a supportive bra or a seamless maternity bra. The price of the nursing bra depends on the brand and type you are buying. The approx. price starts with from Rs 500/-
- Breast Pads: There are chances that you’ll witness a leak during the feeding period. So opt for disposable or reusable nursing pads which are 100% cotton. Breast pads come in a mesh bag that can be washed in a machine. Some come with waterproof backings to avoid leakage but prevents air from getting to the nipples. Breast pads can only be used when mother is going out if she is in the home it’s better not to use (to prevent fungal infection), the wet pad can cause fungal infection to mothers breast & can cause trouble to baby mouth as well.
- Glycerine Gel Pads: Some moms go through sore or cracked nipples which are painful and also doesn’t attract the baby to drink the milk. This problem can be overcome by using glycerine gel pads will provide cooling relief and can help to speed up healing. The approximate price starts from Rs 250 and goes till Rs 1500.
Things You Should Be Aware Of During Breastfeeding
There is a wealth of information which is unknown to many moms. It is important to keep things updated to avoid any problem while feeding:
The Poop Confusion
Many moms are afraid regarding the frequency of the baby’s poop. The thing to keep in mind is that breast milk gets digested quickly which results in bowel movements. After some period of time, the bowel movement increases leading to an increase in poop frequency.
Teeth won’t hurt your Nipples
Many new moms are afraid that once teeth start growing it can hurt nipples while feeding. But there is nothing to worry about because if the baby has a good latch, then the teeth will never come in contact. She/he might bite when really hungry but it is up to you to show that it is not acceptable.
Exclusive Breastfeeding Till Six Months
It is ideal for the babies to be only breastfed till 6months, after which solid food should be added to the diet of the baby. It depends only on the mother to continue breastfeeding after the 6 months.
Must read– What Is The Importance Of Breastfeeding?