Today, August 7 marks the end of Breast Feeding Awareness Week for 2018. We already touched on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers. Yet nursing mothers also need to be aware of these tips for successful breastfeeding.
Exclusive breastfeeding is the best way of feeding infants for the first 6 months. After 6 months, you may introduce complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
This is because exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant diseases and death. Newborns are prone to common illnesses and breastfeeding provides protection against these.
Here are 7 breastfeeding tips nursing mothers can benefit from.
1. Start early
Prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant. Learn the hand-expression technique. Within the first hour after birth, start skin to skin and let baby latch on and have the first feed. Mother and baby should be together always and not separated, except for short intervals.
2. Get ready for sore nipples
Nipples are already a sensitive area for most women, and after three hours of non-stop nursing, nipples can feel downright raw. While pain can be due to a bad latch, in the beginning, it can be just as likely that you need to get used to nursing.
Your own breast milk is the best remedy, next, rubbing purified lanolin onto your nipples after each nursing session can help prevent chafing and excessive dryness.
3. Practice skin to skin contact
Skin to skin is when a mother lays her naked baby between her bare breasts and covers the baby’s back to keep warm. It is not easy for babies to transition from the womb to the outside world. So they need this sense of security. All newborn babies, both premature and full-term, benefit greatly from the skin-to-skin contact.
4. Nurse frequently
For the first few days after birth, expect your baby to nurse very frequently. There is absolutely no schedule yet. If you are in a hospital, have your baby room-in with you.
Keep your baby skin-to-skin with you for most of the day. This way, anytime your baby looks for the breast, it will be right there
5. Stay hydrated
It takes a lot of water to make milk. Until your body regulates and figures out exactly what it’s doing, you’re going to need a lot of water. A nice reusable water bottle should always be handy.
6. Take care of yourself
Producing breastmilk consumes 25% of your body’s energy, while the brain only uses 20%. It is normal to notice an increased appetite.
Have healthy food options that will also increase your breast milk supply such as carrot, sweet potatoes, oats, beetroot, pawpaw, lactation products, etc. Also find time to sleep no matter how difficult it might be. Try to nap when the baby is napping.
7. Have a great support system
Breastfeeding is not a walk in the park. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Having a great support system is of great essence. You need a support system to get you through the tough phase. This can be your spouse, mother, friend, etc. When choosing who to be your support, make sure they are well informed about breastfeeding. Choose your support system while pregnant, don’t wait until later.
Their role is to help you with chores, help with the baby and keep encouraging you through all the stages of your breastfeeding journey.