Together as a family we are so happy that we kept Baby V an exclusively breastfed baby till 6months. While I thought that was tough, now the start of solids proves to be another challenge.
Breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences of a mother's life. Here are some breastfeeding basics that helped me in these 6months:
- The first milk that a mother gets is called Colostrum, which is extremely rich in antibodies and helps build the newborn's immunity. That's why it's called the "high octane" milk. Most mothers insist on feeding the baby immediately after delivery. But some take a little longer which can be due to the C-sec pain or the baby requiring NICU more importantly. I managed to feed V just 3 hrs after his birth.
- Sometimes a little assistance goes a long way. A kind nurse helped me draw out the colostrum the brutal way & I thank her for it even today. That restored my faith that I can feed.
- Hospitals love to keep the baby on formula. That's partially because a mother doesn't usually get the quantity of milk required to fill the newborn's tummy just yet. Insist on feeding before each top feed. Doesn't matter how much milk you get, try for atleast 15-30mins each time, as long as the baby is comfortable.
- Only a baby can draw out the milk in the best way. They may not have the muscle power and training to feed just yet, but trust them they learn very fast (all good & bad things).
- Trust yourself. The real challenge began when we got home. No top feed, no nurse. Hmmm! Only mom & baby. So we kept at it for hours. Babies falls asleep mid-feed so it's good to tickle their feet once in a while else they wake up hungry very soon.
- Sore nipples, Yes that too. Almost every new mom goes through it. The best way to cure sore nipples is to apply a bit of BM to it after every feed. It works wonders.
- Latching! The best technique that works for me is Clutch hold. I watched the "Deep latch technique" thanks to @frootiness who came to my rescue in the first week after delivery. The key word is PATIENCE. I have nursed for 6-8hours at many sittings for the first month (while the stitches hurt).
- No milk? That's often not the case. Misleading nurses and elders can fill up the vulnerable mind of a new mom that she doesn't have enough milk. That's usually not true. It's all about DEMAND & SUPPLY. Simple 11th standard economics. The amount a baby feeds, the more mild your body will produce.
- Switch sides. Often we don't realise that we have a favourite feeding side. Keep switching breasts everytime. Empty out each side on one feed. Offer the next side on the next feed. In the beginning multiple feeding sessions merge into one. Switch sides then. Eventually after 2-3 weeks you will be able to tell which sides needs emptying out first.
- Pumping: pumping is a good idea if you have a partner who is eager to help or parents at home who can relieve you of one feed and give the bottle to the baby. The Philips Avent manual pump worked best for me.
- Nipple confusion. Avoid giving the bottle too many times in the beginning as the baby can get confused between the bottle and mother's nipples. Use special nipples from Philips Avent or Medela.
- Feeding pillow. Invest in a good Boppy pillow. And a hard pack pillow to save your back from slumping.
Stay calm & Breastfeed !
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