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World Breastfeeding Week 2019: Breastfeeding Essentials Explained

Women's Health By Vani Malik , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Jun 23, 2018
World Breastfeeding Week 2019: Breastfeeding Essentials Explained

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both the mother and the baby. Find out the breastfeeding process and benefits of breastfeeding for the mother.

Breastfeeding is a gift of health from the mother to the baby. Breast milk contains the required nutrition for your baby’s healthy growth and development and is also beneficial for the mother’s health. It is easily digestible by your baby compared to commercial formulas and contains antibodies, which help build and boost the immune system of your baby. Breastfeeding is to be practised and perfected as it cannot be learnt in a day, and you would need to be patient.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother

  • Help lose weight gained during pregnancy easily
  • Lowers chances of developing osteoporosis later in life
  • Reduces risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer
  • Helps in better bonding with baby
  • Provides ideal and balanced nutrition for the baby’s growth and development
  • Builds a healthy immune system as it contains antibodies which fend off infections, allergies and diseases
  • Better brain development and higher IQ is associated with breastfed babies
  • Breastfeeding is cheaper and more comfortable than buying commercial formulas, sterilizing nipples and warming bottles

Initiating Breastfeeding

After the delivery of your baby, your breasts produce a thick yellowish substance called colostrum, which will not only meet your baby’s nutritional needs but help build immunity. Do not get anxious if you or your baby is unable to start the process of breastfeeding; it needs practice and patience from your side to learn it. Seek help from your nurse in the correct method of breastfeeding by positioning your baby right and latching your baby correctly. Breastfeeding should not be painful; your breasts should feel comfortable when your baby latches on. If you experience pain, you are probably not doing it right. You need to break the suction by gently prodding your little finger between your baby’s gums and trying again. Learning the correct technique will prevent pain or sore nipples.

Frequency of Feeding

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You would need to frequently breastfeed your baby, which would be like every two to three hours. Feed your baby on each breast for ten to fifteen minutes. The more you breastfeed, the more your breasts will be stimulated to produce more milk. Watch out for an early sign of a hungry baby as crying is a ‘late’ sign of hunger. It will be easier to soothe a cranky and fussy baby if they are breastfed on time. Symptoms of early hunger include stirring or movement, sucking or lip movements.

Find a Comfortable Position

You need to be in a comfortable position for your baby to feel comfortable. Look for good arm and back support, so that you do not tire quickly and experience any body aches. To avoid backaches, you need to cradle the baby closer to your breast and not the other way around. Provide support to the baby’s head while you feed him.

Breastfeeding Process

  • After you have found a comfortable position for yourself, use your other hand to pass the breast near your baby’s mouth.
  • Your baby should naturally open his/her mouth wide enough to take a large portion of the areola (dark area around the nipple) into the mouth. Your nipple should feel deep into the baby’s mouth followed by instinctive sucking and swallowing movement
  • Your baby should latch on correctly to prevent sore nipples. If you are experiencing any discomfort, you need to break the suction by gently prodding your little finger between your baby’s gums and trying again
  • Feed your baby thoroughly from the first offered breast for nursing, till the breast feels soft
  • Try burping the baby after you are done with feeding. Try providing the other breast to the baby for nursing in case he/she is hungry; they will automatically latch on.
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