Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience, by which the mother passes on to her beloved child the best and the most nutritious ingredients that she posses and in a manner that creates an unbreakable bond with him. However, despite the stories that breastfeeding is instinctive and comes naturally; in the beginning it can be a challenge for new mothers.
The following rules will help you establish proper breastfeeding schedule and to avoid some of the mistakes that new mothers make:
Trust your baby not the clock.
Perhaps before you became a mother your life was structured and organized, but now it is time to forget that and to follow the rhythm of your baby. He knows what he needs, because his brain is created for survival. The more you allow the baby to suck, the more milk your body secretes in the future. Breastfeeding on demand is the key to creating and maintaining optimal lactation, and babies who are breastfed in this way progress well and create their own routines.
Do not buy infant milk “in case you need it.”
It is likely to reach for it in difficult times and moments of weakness if you have one in your home. Remember, the more adapted milk you give to the baby, the less breast milk you will have.
Do not diagnose yourself with “weak milk”.
Most of the mothers at some point in their journey called nursing care because they thought that they do not have enough milk or that their milk is “weak”. If you are part of them, you are most likely wrong. There is no such thing as “weak” milk, and the amount of milk that the mother creates if properly breastfeeding usually perfectly matches the amount that the baby needs. If you notice that your baby does not “fill” enough his diapers (5-6 disposable or cloth nappies 6-8) within 24 hours, does not swallow while sucking, cries even after he is fed, or not getting enough in weight, consult an expert.
Avoid pacifiers and bottles.
The less time your baby spends on your breasts, the less they will be stimulated and less milk will be produced.
Allow the baby to empty completely one breast before you offer the other.
Perhaps you still listen to your mother or mother in law that the baby should breastfeed for 10 minutes on one breast, and 10 on the other. Yes, it was a golden rule in the past, but later I was convinced that babies who are breastfed in this manner do not progress enough and get hungry faster. Now we know why this happens. Milk that baby gets in the beginning of the breastfeeding contains less fat than milk that comes at the end. Milk that is rich in fat is very important for the baby’s weight gain, the development of his brain and his stool. If you feed the baby in the “old school”, way he will not be able to get this milk that comes at the end.
Always Offer the baby the breast that was last in the previous feeding.
Once the baby empties the first breast, encourage him to burp, and then place it on the other breasts. Babies usually do not completely empty the second breast or they don’t even accept it, so at the next feeding, it is advisable to start with it. Thus, the two breasts will receive the same stimulation. If you do not remember, a good idea is to put a safety pin on the part of bra that will indicate that this breast was the last in the previous feeding. Or you can put a rubber band or bracelet on the appropriate hand. Take notes in a notebook as an alternative.
Find the most comfortable position for you before you begin breastfeeding.
You do not necessarily need to breastfeed your baby in the most common position, for example the cradle. Be adventurous and experiment with different positions in which you breastfeed. For example, the laying position allows you not only to breastfeed the baby, but also to relax and even close your eyes for a few minutes.
Do not compare yourself with other mothers, not even with yours.
Each baby is different and each bond that is created between the mother and the baby is different. If one thing works for one mother this does not mean it will work for everyone. Avoid comparisons, especially if it creates negative feelings. The most common excuse that women use is “My mother could not breastfeed me nor our sister / brother nor me and we turned out fine” to give up too quickly from breastfeeding. You need to know that breastfeeding is not genetically predetermined.
Always keep a glass of water next to you. A nursing mother should drink plenty of water and eat healthy.
Breastfeeding may take a long time, so always keep a glass of water next to you. A good idea is to prepare a healthy snack that can be eaten with one hand to avoid interrupting the breastfeeding.
If breastfeeding hurts, change the position of the baby.
Although the mother instinct tells you to endure the pain to satisfy your little one, it is very important to learn how to set properly your baby to suck. Bad positioning of the baby not only causes pain, but you may damage the nipple and to prevent lactation because of ineffective stimulation of the breasts. Minor pain in the beginning of breastfeeding is normal, but not the pain that continues throughout lactation. You should not do bad faces throughout the feeding. If it hurts, change the position of the baby.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Perhaps this advice feels like a cliché, but the dream is your strongest weapon. Everything else can wait, especially in the first weeks of breastfeeding.
Feed before the baby starts crying.
Crying is often a sign that the baby desperately wants to eat in those times it is difficult to get them to suck effectively. It is necessary first to reconcile him with hugging, rocking, skin-to-skin contact, and talk, and then pass to sucking. Breastfeeding is most efficient when the baby is not too hungry. Feed it if it shows signs of hunger, like putting his hand in his mouth, turning the head left and right with an open mouth and nervous movements.
Stand away from people who are giving “smart advices”.
Prepare to face the comments like “The baby is hungry, you don’t have enough milk”, “Give him a bottle of milk and he will sleep like a kitten” “What, you’re still breasfeeding?” And ignore them. Nobody is allowed to make decisions for you, because later you will have to live with the consequences. Find what’s best for you and enjoy the time while you build a special connection with your little one.
Be patient and believe in yourself, labor will pay off.
The first days of breastfeeding are a challenge. If you, like many women in this period, are having problems, probably many times you desire to quit. In those moments, believe in yourself and give yourself time to adjust. No matter how hard it looks today, it will be easier tomorrow. Once established, breastfeeding will turn into a wonderful experience that you will remember with a smile even after you stop breastfeeding.
Look at breastfeeding as the special time you spend alone with your little one.
Days in which you are breast-feeding your baby will pass by before you can even blink and however impossible it seems to you in the beginning, you will miss them. Breastfeeding offers you the opportunity to spend precious time alone with your baby, staring at each other, to touch and care without thinking of anything else, while connecting to a higher level. Use it to the max.