The Basics of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the most natural and powerful way to nurture, feed and bond with your infant.However, many people do not understand that breastfeeding is hard work!It takes time, effort, concentration and above all, patience.Your baby has to learn to breastfeed – she has the instinct to suck, but does not know yet that a nipple produces food or how to get it out.Check to see if the hospital that you will be delivering has a lactation center that offers breastfeeding classes.Your first time breastfeeding your new baby will be at the hospital too, so a lactation consultant can come in very handy.
The first thing you need to know about breastfeeding is that the first milk produced by your body is not really milk at all – it’s a thicker, concentrated substance called colostrum.The operative word here is concentrated– it does not come in large amounts.A new baby will want to suck all the time and your breasts will be producing very little in the beginning – a new mother can easily have feelings of frustration and inadequacy if she feels that she is not making enough milk for her baby.It is important to let your baby breastfeed as long and as often as she needs at first.This will help establish your milk supply but unfortunately, in solving one problem you have unwittingly created another one.
Your nipples are most likely going to become sore and sometimes can be very dry and cracked, resulting in excruciating pain during breastfeeding.If pain becomes too severe, you may need to see your doctor because there could be an underlying medical cause for the pain.There are several things you can do to alleviate sore nipples, such as using lanolin or ice packs to help soothe the sensitive, and sometimes raw, skin.As tempting as it may be to substitute a breast feeding for a bottle (even just once), it is important that you continue to only breastfeed if at all possible for two reasons – a baby can become “nipple confused” because it is easier to get milk from a bottle than it is a human nipple and you will be left quite literally high and dry because she will prefer to take the bottle over your breasts.Without help, breastfeeding can become a frustrating and painful cycle that usually does not have a happy ending.If you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding, there are people who can help – just don’t be afraid to ask!
The number of women who breastfeed has risen over the past few years. Increased education about the benefits of breastfeeding, including boosted immunity and lower chances of obesity in later years may have contributed to this rising trend. Women can boost their breast milk by taking a prenatal vitamin and DHA supplement while nursing. You can read more about the increase in mothers who breastfeed in this article.
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