Days to the expecting for a new mom are weird. It feels like your normal routine day, but full with a roller coaster of emotions. You feel excited, exhilarated, but in the same time you’re getting anxious. On the whole time you are okay, happy and positive, but other times you are afraid and frightened. To meet with your baby for the first time is a thrilling event. It is.
But, hey, Mom. Let’s get a little escape from that exhausting emotion once in a while to keep you positive. The feeling is there, but don’t make it take your times.
Sign yourself for a childbirth preparation class, organizing your labor items, strolling or scrolling for baby goods, or many options you can do to get you out from worrisome. Getting surrounded by positive support system is what needed for a new mom.
Considering this is your first time, you should also fill yourself with knowledge of what you will get through after the labor. One of various things is breastfeeding.
Giving the breast milk to your baby. Providing ideal food for your baby during their first years of life to grow and develop healthily. Isn’t it amazing?
Breastfeeding is a special gift that only you can give your baby. It seems natural and easy. But in reality, it takes a lot of patience and practices to master. For some women, learning to breastfeed can be frustrating and uncomfortable, especially if your baby was born early or you have certain health problems.
There’s a lot to learn, and it may take some time to get the hang of it. But the more you know, the more comfortable you will feel the first time you breastfeed your baby. And the good news, it will get easier with time.
Why Breastfeeding is Important
There are so many reasons to breastfeed.
· The joyful closeness and bonding with your baby
Physical contact is important to newborns. It helps them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers also benefit from this closeness. The skin-to-skin contact boosts your oxytocin levels. It helps breast milk flow and can calm the mother.
Breastfeeding is the best way to strengthen bonding a mother and newborn, physically and emotionally.
· The specific nutrition only you can provide
Breast milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding. It represents the perfect example of individualization. The composition of foremilk differs from hindmilk, and colostrum is strikingly different from transitional and mature milk. Your milk changes as your baby grows.
· The cost savings and easier life
Breastfeeding may seem like it takes a little more effort than formula feeding at first. But once you and your baby settle into a good routine, breastfeeding can make your life easier. There are no bottles to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. You won’t need to warm bottles in the middle of the night. When you breastfeed, you can satisfy your baby’s hunger right away. Breastfed babies may also be sick less often, which can help lower cost in care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
· Health benefits for mother and baby
Breast milk has nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth. The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes to meet your baby’s needs. Research by Stuebe (2009) suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of (1):
- Childhood leukemia
- Childhood obesity
- Ear infections
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Lower respiratory infections
- Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 diabetes
Breastfeeding is also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer in mothers (2).
Breast Milk is Well-Tailored Food for Your Baby
Your milk is precious since the first drop. Breast milk provides nutrients and antibodies according to the baby’s needs for healthy growth and development.
The first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth is called colostrum. It is deep yellow color and thick. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant’s digestive system to grow and function.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth to ensure baby receives the colostrum. Baby will be placed in skin-to-skin contact with the mother and let them to look for their nipples without being offered directly. Current evidence also indicates that this method increases the likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding for one to four months of life as well as the overall duration of breastfeeding (3).
Colostrum will still be produced until 24-36 hours after birth. Your baby will drink about 1 teaspoon of colostrum at each feeding. You may not see the colostrum, but it has what your baby needs and in the right amount.
On the next 3-5 days, transitional milk takes the place of colostrum as your breasts learn how much milk your baby needs and they’re getting firmer. Transitional milk is white and sometime has a yellow or golden tint. Transitional milk has higher level of fat, lactose, and natural sugar that gives your baby energy. It also has just right amount of proteins, vitamins, and antibodies to help your baby adapting and continue to grow. At this time, your baby’s sucking rhythm will be slow and long. Feedings may take about 15 to 20 minutes on each breast.
Around the end of second week to the first month after childbirth, your milk becomes fully mature. This means it’s suitable for your baby to grow older. Its make-up will no longer change that much to the day you wean. Mature milk contains more water than transitional milk. Mature milk also changes gradually over the course of a single feeding. The milk you express at the beginning of a session has a thinner consistency, relatively high volume, and low fat. This is known as foremilk. By the end of a breastfeeding session, the high-fat hindmilk is thicker, richer, and creamier. Make sure to empty your breast before switch to the other. The baby will now likely be better at breastfeeding and have a larger stomach to hold more milk. Feedings may take less time and may be further apart.
Tips for Making It Work
Learn Your Baby’s Hunger Signs
When babies are hungry, they are more alert and active. They may put their hands or fists to their mouths, make sucking motions with their mouth, or turn their heads looking for the breast. If anything touches their cheek, such as a hand, they may turn toward the hand, ready to eat. This sign of hunger is called rooting. Offer your breast when your baby shows rooting signs. Crying can be a late sign of hunger, and it may be harder for the baby to latch if he is upset. Over time, you will be able to learn your baby’s cues for when to start feeding.
Follow Your Baby’s Lead
Make sure you and your baby are comfortable, and follow your baby’s lead after she is latched on well to your breast. Some babies will feed from (or “take”) both breasts, one after the other, at each feeding. Other babies take only one breast at each feeding. Help your baby finish the first breast as long as she is still sucking and swallowing. Your baby will let go of your breast when she is finished. Offer her the other breast if she seems to want more.
Keep Your Baby Close To You
Remember that your baby is not used to this new world and needs to be held close and comforted. Skin-to-skin contact between you and baby will soothe his crying and also will help keep your baby’s heart and breathing rates stable. A soft carrier, such as a wrap, can help you “wear” your baby.
Avoid Nipple Confusion
Avoid using pacifiers and bottles for the first few weeks after birth unless your doctor has told you to use them because of a medical reason. If you need, work with a lactation consultant. She can show you ways that are supportive of breastfeeding. These include feeding your baby with a syringe, a small, flexible cup, or a tiny tube taped beside your nipple. Try to give your baby expressed milk first. However, unless your baby is unable to feed well, it’s best to feed at the breast.
Make Sure Your Baby Sleeps Safely and Close By
Have your baby sleep in a crib or bassinet in your bedroom so that you can breastfeed more easily at night. Research has found that when a baby shares a bedroom with his parents, the baby has a lower risk of SIDS. If your baby falls asleep at the breast during most feedings, talk to your baby’s doctor about having the baby’s weight checked. Also, see a lactation consultant to make sure your baby is latching on well.
Mommy also needs enough sleep and feed
You will be tired, too. Be sure to rest. Have enough nutrition and water, or take supplement if necessary. Your body needs to recover from the labor. Talk to people around you about your plans to breastfeeding. Make sure you are happy and comfortable. You might not be perfect, but what your baby need is a happy mother.