Basics of Breast Feeding 1

August 1st to August 7th is celebrated as WORLD'S BREAST FEEDING WEEK . Breast feeding is the best gift what a mother can give to her baby. Breast milk is also called as the first antibiotic beacause of its anti-infective properties. So we have tried to answer few questions faced by a mother , to make breast feeding simple and enjoyable.

What is the diet I should take during feeding?

  • You should take 25% additional calories and nutrients compared to your pre-pregnancy food intake. Have a well balanced diet with sufficient proteins in form of milk and milk products, pulses, legumes, egg, poultry, green leafy vegetables and fruits.
  • You should also consume omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Fish and sea foods are good sources. If you are vegetarian you can take commercially available supplements.
  • Drink plenty of water and liquids to replace the losses through breast milk.
  • Avoid too many chilies and condiments.

Why is breast milk important to my baby in the first few days?

  • Breast milk produced during the first 3 days after delivery is called colostrum. It is yellow and thick.
  • It has all the protective immunoglobulin, antibodies and white blood cells, thereby protecting your baby against various diseases.
  • It has higher protein content and serves the nutritional needs of your baby, though it is in small quantity.

Why should I empty milk from one breast completely before putting my child to another breast?

The composition of milk varies during phase of feeding. The milk, which is secreted at the start of feed, is called foremilk and the milk, which is secreted at the end of feed, is called hindmilk. Foremilk is rich in proteins, sugar, vitamins, minerals and water. Hind milk is rich in fat and provides more energy and satiety. Thus baby needs both foremilk and hindmilk.

How do I breast feed my child?

You should sit up comfortably and keep baby’s head slightly raised. The baby’s head and neck are comfortably placed on the hollow of elbow while back and buttocks are supported by forearm and hand of mother.

While doing so, see that –

  • Your baby’s whole body is supported, not just neck or shoulders.
  • Head and body are in a line without any twist in the neck
  • Baby’s body turned towards you and her abdomen touching your abdomen
  • Touch your baby’s cheek or side of mouth to your breast so that the baby opens the mouth and turns towards the nipple.
  • Now position the nipple and areola into baby’s mouth.
  • Ensure good attachment and latching by seeing that
    • Your baby’s mouth is wide open
    • Chin of the baby touches the breast
    • Nipple and most of the areola are inside your baby’s mouth. Lower lip is turned outward.
    • And you don’t have any pain during feeding.

How would I know my baby is sucking effectively?

Baby suckles slowly and pauses in between to swallow. You can also see the movement of throat bones and muscles and hear the gulping sound. Your baby’s cheek would be full during sucking and not hollow or retracting. This will help you know that your baby is sucking effectively.

My baby falls asleep after taking few sucks. What should I do?

During first few days it is natural for most babies to fall asleep after taking few sucks. You can wake up the baby by gentle tickling behind the ears or on the soles during feeding. You should actively interact with your child while feeding.

How should I remove the baby from my breast after feeding?

If your baby has stopped sucking but is still maintaining strong suction, do not pull her off the nipple. You should slide your index finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the suction and slowly detach the baby.

How often should I breastfeed my baby?

You should feed your baby whenever baby is hungry i.e. on demand. There is no fixed timing. The more baby sucks onto you more milk would be produced. Some babies would need feeds at-least 8-10 times in a day with 1-2 feeds being during the night. There is no need to feed the baby every 2 hours by clock.

How long should I feed my baby?

Your baby can spend 10-20 mins per breast, where as some spend much longer. Baby should be allowed to feed as long as he/she wants at one breast, before offering her other breast.

I underwent a caeserian section. How do I feed my baby?

The most comfortable way to breastfeed your baby is to raise your baby up to breast height using lots of pillows. This will prevent you from leaning forward. Make sure your baby’s weight is not pressing on your abdominal incision.

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