- World Breastfeeding week is observed from 1 August to 7 August
- Breastfeeding mothers should consume a healthy diet
- Find a comfortable position while breastfeeding the baby
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience. As wonderful as the feeling of entering parenthood is, postpartum is an equally important period that is often overlooked. It packs many new experiences as well as challenges including creating a bond with the baby, the mother's mood, lack of sleep and proper diet, and finally breastfeeding. To help new mothers embrace breastfeeding, let us discuss some important facts.
Here are 5 things that all new mothers should know about breastfeeding -
1. Not every baby can get the 'latch' right at the first try
While some mothers do tend to magically get their baby to latch on for feeding right at the first try, some mothers seem to have trouble. They can often get disheartened when this happens. They can also experience extreme pain and tenderness in the first few days, only for the discomfort to vanish later.
However, some babies do take time and a little practice to achieve the perfect latch position - and when they do, it will almost become second nature for both the mother and child.
Also read: Breastfeeding Benefits For Mother And Baby
2. A well-fed mother ensures a healthy baby
It is a well-known fact that the nutrients in the mother's diet directly transfers to the child through nursing. Therefore, it is essential that the mother keeps track of her diet and eats healthy food so as to ensure a healthy milk supply to the baby.
Consumption of nutrients in the required amount in a well-balanced diet can help in a constant and nutritious breast milk supply. Foods such as fatty fish, oats, walnuts and protein-rich foods help enhance the nutritional quality of the milk.
3. Breastfeeding a child, especially a newborn, can be time-consuming
Postpartum is usually characterised by a lack of proper sleep and irregular diet patterns. A baby, especially at the infant stage, might require feeding every two hours on an average, for at least 20-30 minutes. Ensuring that the baby is thoroughly fed is also vital, and this can be ensured by checking if the baby has drained at least one breast per feeding session.
The milk that initially comes out of the breast is called 'foremilk' and is often low on nutrients. The 'hindmilk', that the baby gets towards the end of the feeding, is the one that is loaded with all the healthy fats and nutrients.
4. Finding the right feeding position is crucial
Finding the right position to breastfeed your child is often overlooked as a priority. The right position not only helps in getting comfortable with the feeding process but also helps avoiding unnecessary strains in both the mother's and the baby's body.
It can also impact the mother's body, as they have to feed their child often at frequent intervals. Not fixing a proper position can hence lead to serious impacts on the mother's body. There are various famous positions like laid-back feeding, cradle hold, crossover, and side-lying; that are recommended by experts.
5. Do not be hesitant to seek help
Some mothers may find breastfeeding troublesome despite all the tips and tricks to make it a seamless process. Some might experience a sharp pain in their breast, which can indicate 'mastitis' that primarily occurs due to blockage of a milk duct. Alternatively, some mothers simply might be unable to get the baby to latch.
Usually, there is a lot of pressure on a mother to feed the baby perfectly and go through postpartum like a breeze. However, there's no shame in acknowledging that you're having problems and prefer seeking advice from professionals. Those who have issues with feeding can always consult their child's paediatrician, or a lactation expert, to get their issues solved. This will not only make the feeding process easier, but it will also make the experience more pleasurable and help the mother bond with the child better.
(Dr. Manu Sharma is a Pediatrician/Neonatologist at Max Healthcare)
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