Choosing how to feed your baby is an important decision that has lifelong effects for your baby and for you. What you have seen and learned about infant feeding from your family, friends and teachers is likely to influence your attitude and perceptions. Whether you definitely plan to breastfeed or you are still uncertain, the research is pretty clear. Your milk is the best milk for your baby, and it is the ideal first food for your baby's first several months.
Listed below, you will find additional information regarding breastfeeding your baby, for which we have provided a brief overview.
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There are many reasons why breast milk is the best milk, including the following:
Many mothers find they can appreciate their babies' breastfeeding patterns or the need for frequent feedings when they understand how breast milk is produced. Initially, hormones play a greater role. After the first one or two weeks postpartum (after the baby is born), milk removal has a greater effect on the amount of milk produced.
With the expulsion of the placenta after a baby's birth, a drop in the hormones that maintained the pregnancy soon occurs and allows the hormone prolactin to begin to work. Prolactin "tells" the breasts it is time to begin producing large amounts of milk. A mother feels the result of prolactin when her milk "comes in" at around three to five days postpartum. Increased milk production usually occurs at this time even if a baby has not been breastfeeding well or often. However, frequent breastfeeding sometimes speeds up the process of establishing increased milk production. Occasionally, a mother experiences a delay in the production of large amounts of milk.
What should a breastfeeding mom eat?
How Can I Know if My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?
This may be the most asked question we hear! It is understandable; since breasts are neither see-through nor marked off in ounces. Thank goodness there are other signs that indicate baby is getting enough milk.
Typically during the first few days, while the baby is receiving mother's thick, immunity-boosting colostrum, he will wet only one or two diapers per day.
Once mother's milk comes in, usually on the third or fourth day, the baby should begin to have 6-8 wet cloth diapers (5-6 wet disposable diapers) per day. (An easy way to feel the weight of a wet disposable diaper is to pour 2-4 tablespoons of water in a dry diaper.)
In addition, most young babies will have at least two to five bowel movements every 24 hours for the first several months, although some babies will switch to less frequent but large bowel movements at about six weeks.
A baby that is sleeping rather than feeding every 2-3 hours or is generally lethargic may need to be assessed by a health care provider to make sure that he is adequately hydrated.
These are additional important signs that indicate your baby is receiving enough milk:
Take a Class on Breastfeeding - Attending may increase your chances of success while providing you with an opportunity to talk with other parents and to practice latching-on with a doll. Please use this link for a list of classes offered at the hospital.
Obtain a Book on Breastfeeding - The more information you have the more likely you are to succeed. A book is more readily available in the middle of the night when most problems seem to occur. Recommended books include, "The Nursing Mother's Companion," by Kathleen Huggins and "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding," by La Leche League.
Watch a Video on Breastfeeding - The Medela video reviews much of the pertinent information you will be given during your prenatal visits. However, its most valuable attribute is its in-depth footage showing three different newborn babies latching-on. (CAUTION--the video does not replace the prenatal information). Spouses, partners, mothers or other family members may also enjoy watching the video along with you. It's about an hour long, so you may want to watch it in two sittings.
Obtain a Pump or Learn to Hand Express - Once the baby arrives, it can be overwhelming and hard to learn anything new (especially in your new, sleep-deprived emotional state!). If you will be using a pump, contemplate reading the directions, putting your pump together and running it. Practice manipulating the suction. With the machine off, check to see that the flange fits your breast. It will be much easier to learn how the pump works now than after delivery or under duress because your baby is unable to nurse correctly. If interested, ask for our hand expression handout.
Feed on Demand - Remember that the baby will need 8-30 feedings on the first day and 8-15 a day for a few more weeks. The baby's stomach can empty in as little as 45-90 minutes, so it is possible to feed for 45 minutes and then feed again just 45 minutes later. When a baby feeds frequently they are getting a lot of the hind-milk needed for good weight gain. Frequent feeding like this is common during a growth spurt. There are at least five growth spurts; 2-3 in the first six weeks of life and one at three months and again at 5-6 months. There are some schools of thought that a baby needs to be on a rigid schedule from day one. While all children thrive on routine, breastfed children thrive with feeding on demand. Your baby is growing and will need more breast milk during these growth spurts. Furthermore, during the first few months your body is learning how to make breast milk. Therefore, placing the baby on a rigid schedule will interfere with your baby's growth and your milk production. Moreover, it is painful to make a baby go hungry - that is one reason why they cry! Finally, feed at the earliest signs of hunger, such as licking, hand sucking, etc.
Practice Proper Positioning and Latch-on - Your baby will be better able to latch-on correctly if mother limits labor pain medications and baby is allowed to rest on mother's abdomen immediately upon delivery until he or she finishes nursing. Baby should not be removed unless ill. On subsequent feedings, position your baby so that his or her abdomen is facing yours and tickle the baby's lip with your nipple until the mouth opens wide. When the mouth opens wide, quickly latch the baby onto a generous amount of areola. If there is any discomfort after about 30 seconds, place your finger in the corner of the baby's mouth to break the suction. Once the suction is broken, re-latch and work on getting more of the areola into baby's mouth. Lastly, flare the lips, and press the baby's chin and nose into the breast.
Rally for Support - The early weeks of parenthood have many challenges. All your energy is focused on this new little being. There is so much to learn about caring for a baby. Sometimes chaos occurs, simply because education and preparation cannot replace the real-life experience of having a newborn. Parents can only prepare so much for it. When chaos occurs it is imperative that the mother receive support from her helpers. Surround yourself with helpful supportive people. Clear your schedule for these early weeks. Plan to have your spouse, a family member or other help available for a few weeks. Prepare dinners and freeze them ahead of time. Eat off of paper plates. Limit guests. Let others prepare food, grocery shop and house clean. Above all, keep your focus; the most important thing for you to do is to take care of yourself so you can feed the baby.
10 Facts on Breastfeeding
TOP 10 REASONS WHY OUR MOMS BREASTFEED
10. Breastfed babies are healthier babies.
9. Decreases Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Crib Death.
8. Breastfed babies are smarter. I.Q. points may be up to 10 points higher.
7. Breastfed babies get fewer allergies.
6. Mom loses weight faster.
5. Breastfed babies are beautiful. Babies grow just right on mother's milk. Not too fat and not too thin.
4. Breastfed babies are lucky. Breast Milk agrees with them. Fewer tummy aches.
3. Breastfed babies smell wonderful. Even their "poopy" diapers don't smell as bad.
2. It's FREE!!!
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO BREASTFEED:
It's BEST for YOU & Your BABY!!!
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