The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding for Beginners

Breastfeeding for beginners

Whenever possible, new mothers who decide to breastfeed should make their breastfeeding experience as relaxed as possible. This breastfeeding for beginners guide will be of much help in providing you with the information you need to know about some useful breastfeeding practices.

Breast milk is perfectly formulated by a mother’s body to provide the perfect nutrition for her baby. Not only does it offer your baby nutrients, it also offers important antibodies that help your baby’s body in the fight against harmful pathogens. According to the CDC, breastfeeding can reduce the risk of certain health conditions for both babies and mothers.

What’s more, breast milk is available whenever your baby wants to feed. It is recommended to give your baby breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months.

If your baby has problems with latching, you can still breast pump and feed your baby. It is also a good idea to get in touch with your lactation consultant to see if you can get help in getting your baby to latch.

Breastfeeding after C-section

You’ve just learned that you will undergo a C-section. Or perhaps it is your wish to deliver through the C section. But can you breastfeed after the C section?

The answer is yes. Depending on if you are okay and that your baby is okay, most if not all hospitals recommend breastfeeding and will often allow the mother to breastfeed the baby soon after your surgery. 

Advantages of Breast Milk

Some many advantages of breastfeeding include:

  • It is Free and available whenever baby wants to feed
  • Breast milk contains hormones that allow your baby to grow healthy
  • Breast milk also contains microbes that help the baby’s gut system and organs to develop correctly.
  • Compounds contained in breast milk help in the fighting of diseases. Babies who are feeding on breast milk are less prone to diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and vomiting.
  • Breast milk contains all the nutrients that the baby’s body needs to grow in its first months of life and gain weight in a healthy way.
  • What’s more, exclusive breastfeeding may help prolong any onset of allergies running in the family from manifesting in your baby sooner.
  • An often-overlooked benefit of breastfeeding is that it requires your baby to be close to your body.
  • This causes your baby’s body to release the feel-good hormones, including the love hormone oxytocin levels. You and your baby end up developing a strong bond altogether.
  • Formula milk doesn’t have any of the benefits of breast milk that we have mentioned above.

Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding

Your diet largely determines who you are, well as a breastfeeding mom, your baby is also eating what you are eating.

While some foods are healthy for both you and your baby, others can cause health issues and complications to your baby. This can cause baby to cry and be fussy.

Foods to avoid when breastfeeding include:

Fish –this might come as a bit of a surprise because fish contains healthy omega 3s. However, fish also contains mercury, which can affect the baby’s brain development.

Alcohol –keep in mind that traces of alcohol will find themselves in your breast milk which your baby will then consume. This can result in disrupted sleep cycles and overall development.

Caffeine-you should avoid drinking coffee and anything with caffeine regularly. This is because it will eventually get into the breast milk, causing your baby to feel irritated and disrupting sleep patterns. Furthermore, it will eventually affect their development.

Chocolate – yes, even chocolate should be avoided when you are breastfeeding. While you can have your chocolate once in a long while, keep in mind that it can get into the breast milk and act as a laxative. This can cause issues with your baby’s digestive system.

Processed foods – Processed foods are no surprise. They have high amounts of fats and sugar. Scientists believe that sugars and fats can also cause obesity in infants. Your baby could suffer from colic, diarrhea, rash, gas, and even vomiting.

Sore Nipples and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding for beginners
Breastfeeding for Beginners – What You Need to Know

It is not unheard of to experience sore nipples when breastfeeding. Sore nipples in breastfeeding can be caused by cracked nipples. That said, several other reasons could cause sore nipples, such as:

Breast engorgement –this is when your breasts suddenly start to release milk after giving birth. They fill up with milk, causing them to engorge.

This can cause pain. It often goes away in three or four days. You can however place a warm towel on your nipples to stimulate milk let down, to relieve the pressure as you let your baby suckle.

You can also use a breast pump like the haakaa to collect milk during a let-down.

Milk let down – this can cause a pin and needles sensation whenever your baby is suckling. It is a sign that the milk ducts are releasing milk.

The good thing is that this sensation will also go away as the baby grows older. Whenever you are breastfeeding, make sure you are in a comfortable position to prevent straining. This can help reduce the sensation.

Cracked nipples – this can be a result of several factors such as sensitive nipples, dry nipples, the poor latch of the baby, thrush, and teething of your baby.

You can also experience cracked nipples due to the use of a breastfeeding pump. One way to deal with cracked nipples is to squeeze a bit of milt onto your nipples after the baby has finished suckling.

Types of breastfeeding

There are different ways that you can hold your baby when breastfeeding. The main types of breastfeeding include:

Cradle– here you will hold your baby on the crook or elbow area on one arm and either support the breast with the other harm. The mother then brings the baby to suckle, such as both the mother and the baby are belly to belly.

Cross-cradle – baby is held on one arm and brought in towards the breast. The other arm supports the baby’s head as he or she breastfeeds.

Laidback breastfeeding – this is a relaxed position where you are lying on a recliner and the baby is lying on top of you on their belly. They will then suckle on a breast. You can use your arm to support the baby’s head as they suckle. This is a relaxed position for both you and the baby.

Clutch position – the baby is placed on a pillow on the side of the breast he or she will feed and then supported by the head on the arm that is the side of the breast he or she is feeding.

Always keep in mind that it is you to bring the baby to the breast and not the other way around. This way, you can maintain a comfortable position for both you and your baby. Also, make sure to check that baby is latched on to your breast.

A Few Breastfeeding Essentials:

1.   Breastfeeding Pillow

A breastfeeding pillow could be helpful to some mothers during those early weeks. Pillows can be helpful in providing support for a mother’s back or arms after latching the baby

2.   Nursing Bra

Wearing a nursing bra supports the extra weight from nursing breasts.

3.   Nursing Pads

Nursing pads make an excellent breastfeeding accessory when worn with a regular or nursing bra, they can absorb breast milk from leaking breasts.

4.   Breast Pump

A Breast Pump is a mom’s must-have. Breast pumps enable nursing mothers to pump and store breast milk. They are especially helpful to relieve engorgement.

The benefit of pumping is especially helpful for working mothers or moms who want to run errands when their babies are not around.

5.   Storage Bags and Containers

BPA-free glass or plastic containers are also a must-have, you will be able to store breast milk in the freezer for a long time if you use them.  Make sure they are freezer-grade and seal tightly.

6.   Creams, Ointments, and Lotions

Before trying out any creams, ointments, or lotion on your nipple, please consult with your doctor first to find out why your nipples are sore and how you can best treat them.

Final Thought

It is a privilege to be able to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk provides the baby with essential nutrients and provides a plethora of other advantages. Breast feeding can also present certain challenges that you should prepare for in advance.

Welcome to motherhood.

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