Breastfeeding is the best feeding. But if you want to be able to have a good supply of breastmilk, fewer breast problems, a satisfied, happy and well-nourished baby, plus the benefit of being able to nurse your baby for long, then a right beginning to breastfeeding is important. Here is how you can have a good start to breastfeeding:
1. Avoid medicated or assisted birth:
Try to have a natural birth as much as possible. If you have a C-section, it will delay the first breastfeeding. Due to the medications used in C-section, and the incisions you have, there will be a problem with proper latching on. The drugs might induce sleepiness and there will be an overall delay in the onset of breast milk production.
If a c-section is necessary due to a medical emergency, you might not be able to avoid it. But try to have a natural birth because you can heal sooner and begin breastfeeding immediately after birth.
2. Immediate skin-to-skin contact:
This is very important for the initiation of breastfeeding. If your baby is born after a full gestational period and is healthy, there is no reason why your doctor would delay placing the baby on your chest with your baby’s stomach facing down on you. Initial examination and the drying business of your baby can happen while it is still there on your chest. Also, newborns instinctively find the nipple and begin breastfeeding by themselves. However, some help might be needed.
3. Breastfeed as often as possible:
It’s important that you breastfeed your newborn as often as possible, that is whenever she seems hungry. This means that you will have to feed your baby once every two hours throughout the day. With the first feedings, you could also protect your baby from problems such as jaundice or low blood sugar.
4. Breastfeeding soon after delivery:
It’s important to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after delivery, especially within the first hour after birth. It might as well happen that your baby is taken for cleaning and put in the nursery for a while. Or that you have had a C-section and cannot hold the baby all at once. But make sure that you do initiate the breastfeeding at least in the first hour after the delivery while in the labor room. If you have had a C-section, try to breastfeed your baby as soon as you feel comfortable. You might have to stimulate your breasts to generate milk.
5. Latching your baby right in the beginning:
Your baby draws out the breast milk only if it latches on well. A good latching is also an indication that your body can make an adequate amount of breastmilk because frequent feedings send the signal to your body to generate breastmilk again. Good latching prevents painful problems associated with breastfeeding such as breast engorgement, sore nipples or plugged milk ducts.
6. Being with your baby as much as possible:
Rooming-in allows keeping your baby with you as much as possible. If your hospital puts your baby in the nursery for long, ask them to let your baby with you. If you have had a C-section, you might still be able to have the baby with you if you can seek your family’s help in caring. The more you are with your little one, the higher are the chances that you breastfeed it.
7. Avoid giving your baby formula or supplemental feeds:
Your baby needs exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months. Introducing formula or supplemental foods in between the feeds might not be a good idea because she will end up not breastfeeding enough. Even if you are tired, you must let your baby latch on to you for the milk supply. Regular feeding ensures that you produce an adequate amount of milk.
8. Delay the use of pacifiers and nipples:
Pacifiers are not something that you want to introduce to your baby when it needs exclusive breastfeeding. Using pacifiers might lead to nipple confusion in babies, and they may end up not nursing well. They may try to suckle on the pacifier for long, and when they are not able to draw milk, it can lead to the confusion.
How many of these have you been following? You have any more tips for a good breastfeeding routine? Do let us know.