Why Is Breastfeeding Important
Breastfeeding is the best way of ensuring that your baby gets all the required nourishment. It’s tailor made for your baby with the right quantity of nutrients and antibodies which will help protect your baby from illness and infection. Initially your breasts will produce ‘colostrum’ – a clear, golden yellow fluid which starts your baby’s digestive system working and protects against infection. Your breast milk transmits immunoglobulin A proteins (IgA) and macrophages which are antibodies against disease causing organisms. This is one of the reasons why breastfeed babies are less likely to have ear infections, allergies, vomiting, diarrhea, meningitis and pneumonia.
How To Breastfeed
Learning how to breastfeed takes practice and the more you do it, the easier it would be. The first feeding can happen within 30 minutes to an hour after being born as your baby will be hungry soon after being born. If you had a vaginal delivery, you can nurse in bed or in a chair by lying on your side with your baby facing you or by holding your baby in the cradle position with the head in the crook of your arm. You need to firmly support your baby’s back and buttocks. If you sit and feed your baby, make sure your baby’s entire body is facing your body and not the ceiling.
Breastfeeding After Cesarean Delivery
If you had a Cesarean-section delivery., your baby may feel drowsy as a result of anesthesia and may not be interested in feeding straight away. Encouraging your baby to feed will help your baby wake up. You can do so by stroking your baby’s cheek which will help in opening the mouth wide ready to feed. You can nurse your baby by lying down on your side, sitting up using one or two pillows to support your baby and protect your incision or by using a side-sitting or “football” hold.
Choose a comfortable position while you are breastfeeding and use pillows or cushions to support your back and arms. Make sure you support your baby’s back, head and hips. If you are sitting and feeding, use a footstool to support your feet. Holding your baby in right position is important. You and your baby should be tummy to tummy with your baby’s nose opposite your nipple and the head and body should be in line with each other.
Helping Your Baby Latch
Helping your baby latch on to your breast correctly is the key to successful breastfeeding. Check your baby’s position and correct it if you feel that your baby has not latched on correctly. You can help you baby latch on correctly by stroking your baby’s cheek with your finger. Stroking will ensure that your baby will open its mouth wide and then move your baby towards your nipple aiming at the roof of your baby’s mouth. Your baby will close its mouth once it has a good mouthful and this will form a tight seal. While feeding, your baby should have all of the nipple and areola (the pigmented ring around the nipple) in the mouth.
Usually, babies fall asleep once they are full and they naturally come off the breast. In case your baby falls asleep with the nipple in mouth, you can ease off by sliding your little finger into the corner of the mouth. This will break the suction. Do not pull your baby off the nipple.