Updated: Mar 28
Educate Yourself on Breastfeeding Before Birth
So I thought I was a Breastfeeding 'Know It All' (by nature), but I really wasn't...
One thing I didn't feel the need to learn about, was: breastfeeding. I thought that since I was very maternal and intuitive and that because of 'mother nature', breastfeeding would be instinctive for baby and I and it would be easy peasy - when baby is born, their soft little head will sink into me and there would be bliss and baby would be fed and nurtured! Right??? Wrong!
When I was pregnant, I kept up with my weekly pregnancy knowledge - how big baby is, how baby is changing, how I may be feeling, etc... but I never once read about breastfeeding!
With my first born, I was able to breastfeed the first few days (which luckily, is when the colostrum is present. The first few days is the most important time to breastfeed, because of the nutrient dense colostrum - have to love mother nature! Though when I returned home from the hospital, I started using the formula that the hospital sent home with me, as I was a bit sore from my daughter feeding. What I didn't know, was that this would decrease my milk and that it would be difficult to get flowing again!
angle nipple upwards to the roof of baby's mouth so that it can't be 'bitten' and become sore
read about breastfeeding, even if you think you 'know it all'
With my second born, unfortunately I had the flu and received conflicting advice from the nurses as to whether I should breastfeed. I breastfed the first day or two - it was very exhausting and when I arrived home, I was so exerted from the flu, that I just couldn't physically do it.
Colostrum: your first milk
The fluid your breasts produce in the first few days after birth is called colostrum. It's thick and usually a golden yellow colour. It's a very concentrated food, so your baby will only need a small amount, about a teaspoonful, at each feed.
Your baby may want to feed quite often, perhaps every hour to begin with. They'll begin to have fewer, but longer feeds once your breasts start to produce more 'mature' milk after a few days.
The more you breastfeed, the more your baby's sucking will stimulate your supply and the more milk you'll make.
WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that breastfeeding be initiated within the first hour of birth and be exclusive for 6 months, with the introduction of complementary food after 6 months and continued breastfeeding up until 2 years or beyond.
Long-term health benefits for mothers who breastfeed:
reduced risks for breast and ovarian cancers and obesity
Benefits for breastfed infants
reduced risks for diarrhoea and respiratory infections;
protection against risk for obesity;
protective effect on the incidence of noncommunicable diseases, notably childhood obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus;
higher IQ; and
reduced risk for allergies