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World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
Women have been breastfeeding their babies from time immemorial and we know that there really is nothing new about it. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s something that just happens on its own.
After all, you’ve never breastfed before, and your newborn has never eaten before too. So before you leave the hospital or get frustrated with breastfeeding issues, there are certain things to know about it.
Nursing may be tough in the beginning, but with patience, determination, and lots of support, both of you will get the hang of it.
The best part of this is that your baby will grow on your milk and both of you would enjoy the closeness that breastfeeding offers.
1. Breast milk isn’t always white.
Breast milk is usually white or cream-colored, but it can also be green, blue, yellow, or orange. You might also notice that it’s thicker one day and more watery the next.
Either way, it’s perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about and you should know this is perfectly normal.
2. One breast will produce more milk
Just like one of your hands is bigger, your breasts are probably different sizes too. So one may perform better than the other, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have enough milk for your baby.
Nevertheless, always start feeding on the side that you finished with last time to try to equal the two out.
3. Breast milk doesn’t only come out of your nipple.
Since there are approximately 15 to 25 milk ducts in each breast that make milk, there are several pores in each breast where milk comes out of, not just the single hole in your nipple.
4. An orgasm can make your breasts leak.
Since oxytocin, the hormone responsible for milk letdown is the same released when you orgasm (reach your peak during sex), you could start leaking milk at the most inappropriate time. A bra with breast pads and an ability not to worry will go a long way during these times.
5. You’ll leak especially when you do not expect it
Nursing mothers should have lots of breast pads at home! Especially in the beginning, when your baby (or even another baby) cries, your breasts will release milk on both sides.
This may also happen when you look at your baby, at his photo, or when it’s time for a feeding.
6. Sex might be painful.
Lack of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness and make intercourse painful. Use a water-based lubricant or talk to your doctor about ways to deal with this.
7. You could have too much milk.
Yes, this is certainly true and possible. Some women have a strong milk ejection reflex that causes breast milk to come out quickly and spray everywhere.
Some babies even choke because they can’t keep up with the flow. Talk to your doctor once again about techniques that can help slow down the flow.
8. Your breasts will get hard, swollen and painful
Even if you nurse often, sometimes your breasts still get swollen. It’s hard for a baby to latch on to a rock-hard breast, so here’s how to relieve that painful feeling and get the milk flowing.
A. Stay cool: Applying ice packs or bags of frozen peas to your breasts is one way of easing the pain. Cabbage leaves also help. Keep a large head of green cabbage in your refrigerator or freezer. When you feel sore, peel off a leaf, stick it in your bra, and you will get relief.
B.:Take a warm shower. Heat promotes the flow of milk. You’ll lose a little milk in the process, but if you’re nursing regularly, there’s more where that came from.
C. Express yourself: Expressing a small amount of milk manually or with a pump can help soften things up so baby can latch on more easily.
D. Take it lying down: Lying on your stomach relieves the pull of gravity and for some women soothes the pain.
9. There is more than one way to nurse your baby
There’s more than one way to nurse a baby, but the best way is the one most comfortable for both of you. Here are three simple ways to cradle baby. Breastfeeding pillows and carefully folded blankets and towels can also help you hold baby in a comfortable position.
A. The Cradle Hold: Lay baby lengthwise across your abdomen, using one hand to support his head and the other his bottom.
B. The Football Hold: Place baby beside you face up and lengthwise. Lay him along your arm and guide his head to your breast. If you’ve had a c-section, you may find this hold more comfortable.
C. The Lying-Down Hold: Lay baby next to you in bed, with you on your right side, he on his left. His mouth should be at the same height or slightly lower than your nipples. With your free hand, adjust baby’s mouth toward the nipple closest to the bed and circle your other arm around him.
10. Your period may stop.
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, no bottles or pacifiers and you’re feeding always, chances are you won’t have your period. Some women will get their periods back six weeks after delivery, when they start to breastfeed, or not until they’ve stopped breastfeeding altogether.