Guide to Improve Your Chances For Breastfeeding Success

Guide to Improve Your Chances For Breastfeeding Success


Like you, a good number of expecting, or mothers with
newborns are faced with the dilemma of whether to breastfeed or formula feed. The
rest decide easily because they know the conveniences involved in either
method.



Whichever route you take, fed is best.



In this article, we are going to explore breastfeeding and
learn all the tricks that can help you breastfeed easier.



Let’s dive in.



What we shall cover;




  • Breastmilk
    and its wonders.

  • Why it
    is crucial to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months.

  • Pros
    and cons of breastfeeding.

  • Tips
    for successful breastfeeding.

  • What
    you can expect while breastfeeding.

  • Home
    and workplace support for breastfeeding moms.



Let’s do this!



The wonderful Breastmilk.



You might not have known this, but the process of milk
production starts quite early in your pregnancy stage. Your baby’s developing
placenta signals your body to start the complex biological process of preparing
the milk. By the second trimester, your milk ducts were most likely fully
developed and ready to channel milk would your baby end up being born early.



There are 3 stages of breastmilk.



Colostrum -the first stage that you will encounter,
will come in a small amount a few days before or after the birth of your child.
This milk is will look slightly yellow and thick. It is rich in antibodies and
more concentrated in proteins.



Transitional milk – Comes in second and may last up to 2
weeks. It’s white in color or might look slightly tinged with blue. Your body
will produce high quantities of transitional milk as it is yet to learn the
amount your baby will need.



Mature milk – The dominant stage, comes in last and also in
high volumes. By now, your body has learned a bit about your baby’s feeding
demand and will be adjusting the quantity according to the demand. Mature milk
will look thinner than transitional milk. It is composed of 90% water and 10 %
carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When your baby is feeding, your breast will
first release a watered-down foremilk for hydration before releasing a richer
hindmilk for calories.



The real deal



Your infant’s immunity system is not fully developed. He
will be relying on yours for a while as his matures.



When your baby sucks on your nipple, its diameter increases
and a small back pressure is created inside your breast. This pressure will
pull in oral fluids from your baby’s mouth back into your body. This backwash
of the baby’s saliva communicates to your immune system the needs of your baby.



In response, your immune system works with your body to
prepare just the right ingredients your baby requires in the next feeding. Your
breastmilk is therefore not just a ready-to-serve meal but a customized
medicine when your baby is in need.



Exclusive breastfeeding; why first 6 months are
important.



To breastfeed exclusively means that your baby will only
feed on your breast milk or milk from a wet nurse, with the only exemption is
of medicine or supplements.



It might seem intimidating and a tough task to be your
baby’s only source of nutrition. However, research has found breastmilk to be a
perfect meal full of all the nutritional needs of an infant up to the age of 6
months. Health experts, therefore, recommend it for optimal growth, health, and
development of any child.



After the first 6 months, with your baby’s immunity matured
and appetite increasing, it is proper to gradually start introducing him to
other foods and water. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a
child continues to breastfeed for up to 2 years of age and above. As a mother, however, if your baby is gaining weight and growing properly, the decision to
continue breastfeeding is entirely up to you.



Advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding.



It’s always nice to start on the bright side. So let’s see
what’s in it for you and your baby.



Pros:




  1. Breastmilk
    is a perfect meal for your baby
    . Its composition is dynamic from
    day 1. Sugars, protein, fats, and compounds levels are adjusted according
    to his needs. The backwash mechanism triggers your immunological umbrella
    to customize the immune factors in the milk for your baby.

  2. It
    is medicinal
    Colostrum has high amounts of
    immunoglobulin A (IgA) that form a layer of protection in your baby’s
    nose, throat, and digestive tract. Breastmilk has been found to protect
    children against infections of the upper respiratory tract and the middle
    ear. Breastfed children are at a lower risk of getting child leukemia,
    allergies, and bowel diseases. Also, preterm babies can be protected
    against necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal inflammation that causes
    death.

  3. Might
    help you lose weight. 
    For your body to make milk, it melts
    your body fats. Cool, right? The baby weight you gain during pregnancy is,
    in fact, a stock of fat cells your body will use later on to make food for
    your baby. It is normal and part of the process for your body to lose
    weight during breastfeeding. And to prove this, your body will likely feel
    hot and even sweat when you nurse your baby.

  4. Helps
    your body to quickly recover from the traumas of childbirth
    Breastfeeding
    triggers the pituitary gland in your brain to produce a ‘love hormone ‘
    called oxytocin. This hormone on its own is credited with good feelings
    like orgasms, relaxation, stress and anxiety reduction, lowering blood
    pressure, and causing muscle contraction. When you breastfeed, your
    oxytocin levels ramp up, helping you to bond with your child and your
    uterus to shrink down to its normal size. It also triggers the let-down
    reflex in your breasts that makes your milk flow down easily.

  5. A
    natural birth control method.
     Lactational Amenorrhea
    is something you might experience 6 months prenatal if you breastfeed
    exclusively. It can be described as nature’s way of ensuring spacing
    between consecutive pregnancies.  In lactational amenorrhea, your
    body does not ovulate nor menstruate. Instead, it focuses more on
    producing optimal nutrition for your child.

  6. Cost-effective
    and convenient
    . Breastmilk can be a cost-free meal or
    require just a little investment in purchasing a pump and feeding bottles.
    You will not incur recurring costs like when buying formula.  Also,
    breastmilk is almost always readily available and at the right temperature
    and sanitation. No prior preparations are needed.



Though it might seem like the best choice, there are some
downsides that are too significant to ignore. Let’s walk through them.



Cons:




  1. It
    can be uncomfortable.
     In the first few weeks or
    months, as you and your baby are getting to know each other, breastfeeding
    can get painful. It is common at this time for your nipples to get sore
    and cracked, and for your breasts to feel sore, and painful from clogged
    ducts. Some women also get mastitis, an inflammation that often leads to
    an infection.

  2. Dietary
    restrictions
    . Your baby may be out of your body but it won’t mean
    that you are finally at liberty to eat whatever you want. You are required
    to be alert on what you eat as some of it will end up passing to your baby
    through the milk. While it is okay to eat spices and garlic, you will be
    required to be modest in alcohol or caffeine consumption. You will also
    need to alert your doctor when he gives you a prescription.

  3. Restricted
    movement
    .
     Your infant will ask to feed every one to three
    hours maximum. That means that you cannot go anywhere far from him without
    risking a missed feeding. There is an easy solution to this though. Pump.



Tips for successful breastfeeding.



Armed with the following tips, you will be able to
breastfeed for years and you and your baby will love it.




  1. Prior
    preparation
    . You might need to designate a location, comfortable
    seat, and a nursing pillow for this. Being comfortable allows your mind to
    relax and be calm. For your energy, keep some healthy snacks and a lot of
    drinking water at an arms reach when breastfeeding or pumping. Your body
    will be in need of an additional 500+ calories to balance off what it is
    releasing. As for water, taking small sips now and then helps with the
    let-down reflex. A book or your phone might keep your mind engaged.

  2. Eat lactogenic foods.
    Including lactogenic foods in your meal will make a huge impact on your
    milk production. Examples of these foods are fenugreek and fennel seeds,
    sesame seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, leafy greens, beets, carrots, oats,
    barley malt, goats rue, garlic, blessed thistle, etc. Not only will these
    foods add your milk, they will be an additional source for your calorific,
    mineral, and nutritional needs, ensuring that you stay healthy and strong.

  3. Pumping
    or feeding
     on a schedule.
    Breastmilk production follows the law of demand and supply. The higher the
    demand, the more milk will be produced. To increase or maintain your
    supply, ensure that you are nursing or pumping every two hours. Power
    pumping will also trick your body by artificially increasing the nursing
    frequency and demand.

  4. proper
    latch
    . Latching is how your baby mouths your nipple and areola
    when nursing.  A bad latch can stand in the way of successful
    breastfeeding. Your baby won’t get all the milk he needs and your body
    will interpret this as low demand, tanking your supply. Additionally, it
    will hurt your nipples, leaving them sore and cracked and the whole
    session will be painful. For a good latch, direct your baby’s mouth such
    that he gums your areola. This way, he will be able to effectively express
    milk from your breast.

  5. Breastfeeding Positions.
    How you hold your baby during nursing matters. Positions dictate whether
    your baby is able to mouth your areola with ease. Every set of mother and
    child is unique and you might have to try out several positions before
    knowing which will work best for you and your child. The common positions
    are:-




  •  


    •  


      • Laidback
        nursing.

      • cradle
        hold.

      • Cross
        cradle hold.

      • Ball
        hold.

      • Side-lying
        position.

      • Koala
        hold.





A good position will enable your baby to latch properly or
even help with clearing clogged ducts.



What to expect if you are new to breastfeeding.




  • Your
    baby will need to feed frequently. (Every 1 – 3 hrs). His stomach is tiny
    and will require about 8 to 12 feedings per day.

  • Feeding
    patterns will vary. If you follow your baby’s lead/ feed on demand, some
    sessions will be longer than others. He might cluster feed for 45 minutes
    for one session and be on the breast for 7 minutes for the next. As long
    as he is gaining weight and has enough wet and soiled diapers, the pattern
    is hardly a cause of worry.

  • His
    poops will be different from those of a formula-fed baby. Breastmilk-fed
    babies have poops that are yellow in color and runny. They also go less
    frequently.

  • He
    might get frustrated during feeding and even refuse to nurse. While it’s
    normal, it is good to eliminate probable causes like over and undersupply
    of milk and distractions.

  • You
    will feel thirsty. Milk from your body is 90% water. To replenish your
    body, ensure to drink about 128 ounces / 3.8 liters of fluid. You should
    however avoid sodas and sugary drinks. Staying hydrated will also save you
    from constipation, dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.

  • Discomforts;
    Leaking, soreness, engorgements, lopsidedness, and pain. These are however
    temporary and only last for a few months.



Home and workplace support for breastfeeding moms.



Breastfeeding is good for everyone. As a statement, August
1st to 7th is globally recognized as the world’s breastfeeding week. Global
organizations have acknowledged the need to support breastfeeding mothers
through organized and predictable structures.



With proper support, breastfeeding will be easier for you
you and you will be able to do it for a longer-term. There are roles that your
partner, family, community, employer, and government should play towards this.



To highlight a few examples;




  • Your
    partner can get involved by learning the basics of what is expected or in
    setting goals for breastfeeding.  Financial expenses that may arise
    should also be a shared responsibility.

  • Your
    employer is required by law to give paid maternity leave to female
    employees. He should have a set policy with established guidelines for
    breastfeeding employees. On returning to work, he is required to provide a
    private, clean, and well-ventilated nursing room with facilities such as
    clean water, comfortable seats, and or storage facilities. You are
    entitled to pumping breaks every few hours of not less than 30 minutes
    each, every time you are at work.

  • Health
    providers; A Lactational consultant should be available to you in an event
    of you needing one. Also, to note, some insurance providers cover the cost
    of hospital-grade breast pumps for nursing mothers, ensure to check with
    your provider before enrolling for a plan.



To conclude;



Breastfeeding is natural, convenient, and cost-effective.
Research and emerging technologies keep uncovering previously unknown benefits.
Also, mothers and health professionals are constantly realizing methods of
making it even easier for modern times. With proper knowledge and support,
breastfeeding can play a big role in the general well-being of everyone
involved. The decision of whether or not to breastfeed is however up to you. As
long as your baby is fed, you are doing a great job!

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