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Breastfeeding 101: New Moms Guide To Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, but it's not always simple, especially in the beginning. That's why doing your homework — and, say, giving yourself a sort of Breastfeeding 101 crash course before you start nursing — is crucial. After all, more mothers are opting to breastfeed these days than ever before.

Breast milk is magical!

Your breast milk will fluctuate week to week depending on your newborn's specific demands at first. Colostrum is the thick, sticky, yellowish substance produced by your body when you give birth. It's packed with antibodies and nutrients. You may only be able to make a few teaspoons at a time, but your baby only requires that much.

Transitional milk appears three to five days after delivery. This looks like a mix of orange juice and milk – sounds tasty, right? Finally, around 10 to 14 days after giving birth, your mature milk appears. It appears to be watery skim milk, and this is what your baby will eat for the remainder of your nursing days (and nights).

Breastfeeding is a full-time job.

A breastfed baby eats eight to twelve times in 24 hours. And each feeding can take a long time because a meal isn't complete until the infant has completely drained at least one breast, ensuring that they receive the fatty hindmilk rather than the watery foremilk. To establish breastfeeding with as few disruptions and pressures as possible, nursing parents should try to outsource meal preparation, household tasks, and looking after older children — and everything else — to others, at least in the early days.

Breastfeeding hurts is just a myth

One of the most common — and potentially harmful — misconceptions regarding breastfeeding is that it is natural for it to hurt (a midwife once advised me to "work through the discomfort"). "Suckling on a nipple for an extended period can cause discomfort and inflammation in a newborn. However, the pain usually indicates that the latch is wrong and that the baby should be removed from the breast.

When breastfeeding fails, it can be disappointing and distressing, but many babies struggle to obtain a solid latch straight away. It takes time and effort to master. To improve latch, do the following:

  • Align the eyes of your child with your nipple.

  • Hold your infant close to your chest and "Velcro" them to you from head to toe.

  • Make sure you're comfortable sitting or lying down, with your back straight and shoulders rolled back. Relax! (It's true.) It's a lot easier said than done.)

  • Pressing on your baby's head can lead their chin to tuck and their latch to become shallow. Instead, gently place your hand on the back of their neck.

  • Flip open your baby's top lip and squeeze open their chin with your other hand, then hold for several seconds.

Contact a lactation consultant if the pain persists or you need assistance (practical, emotional, or both).

Your child will lead you.

Many nursing mothers are concerned that their infant isn't getting enough milk. While it's simple to measure and monitor formula or breast milk delivered in a bottle, nursing doesn't provide the same level of security. Take your cues from your baby; they'll tell you whether they're hungry or full. "Normal breastfeeding cues, including rooting, licking, sucking, and moving their head, indicate that your baby is hungry; but, if they fall asleep or pull themselves away from the breast, they are most likely satisfied." To let you know they're digesting breast milk, your baby will pee and poop throughout the day."

"Breast is best" — but not always.

The World Health Organization considers colostrum to be the "perfect food for the newborn" and recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for the next two years or longer.

In the end, your baby's dietary requirements are the most crucial consideration. If a breastfed baby isn't gaining enough weight from breastfeeding alone owing to a lack of milk production or latching troubles, expressed breast milk or pumped breast milk can be given to the baby. But giving up completely is not done, mama!

Breastfeeding might hurt your mental health.

According to the CDC, one out of every nine mothers suffers from postpartum depression, which is marked by protracted bouts of worry, anger, and melancholy. Although there is no direct link between breastfeeding and depression, mothers who have difficulty nursing or who do not have individuals in their lives who support their decision may experience mental health issues.

As a result, it's critical for breastfeeding mothers to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally.

When you have a kid glued to your body 24 hours a day, it can be difficult to make time for this, so rely on your partner, your mother, your sister, your friends — anybody you have around you who can take the baby for a stroll while you take a bath, nap, or do something you enjoy. Never feel bad about delegating chores to others because you're responsible for the most important job of all: feeding your child. Don't forget to eat well, drink plenty of water, and get as much rest as possible. (That adage, "Sleep when the baby sleeps," makes a lot of sense.)

Breastfeeding is likely to make you feel overwhelmed on more than one occasion. And that's perfectly fine. There are a lot of other moms out there who feel the same way. So go out to someone, ask for assistance, or join a mother's support group; they can assist you in defeating your concerns.

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