If you’re looking to raise a big happy and healthy baby, you’ve come to the right place! Breastfeeding is a part of the pregnancy process and something you’ve probably been thinking about.
Breast pain and growth is an early sign of pregnancy, and the growth will continue until even after you have given birth to your child because of the breast milk production.
We’ve all seen mothers naturally breastfeeding their baby in the mall or in movies with such ease, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always come this naturally. Your first time may not be such a breeze which is completely normal. Here is everything you need to know about getting started with breastfeeding!
When Can You Start Breastfeeding?
After you’ve given birth, ideally your baby will be put on your chest for some skin on skin time. As you’re admiring your beautiful baby, it’s a good idea to try breastfeeding your baby within the first hour after giving birth. By having a good latch, your baby would be switching on the cells in your breast to stimulate your milk production.
Your milk supply will be created through three stages:
Colostrum: The thick, yellow-coloured substance that your breast is producing is not the milk that has arrived just yet -- It is a substance known as colostrum, which is the same as what has been leaking out of your breasts during pregnancy. You’ll most likely make a small amount of Colostrum, but your baby won’t need any more than a few teaspoons of it during the early days. Regular sucking on your breasts will help initiate the milk supply that your breasts are creating.
Transitional Milk: This will start to form after around three or four days after your baby is born. Your breatste will be producing a very small amount of this milk, but don’t worry about it being enough -- It is plenty for your little baby!
Mature Milk: Mature milk is the final stage that will come after 10-14 days postpartum. Although it looks like a thin consistency, it is filled with fat and other nutrients that your baby needs.
Signs Of Hunger
Always watch out for and pay attention to baby hunger cues -- happy tummy means a happy baby!
Here are some signs your baby is hungry:
- Put their fists to their mouth
- Directing head toward your breast
- Becoming more alert and active
- Being jittery or moving arms and legs around
- Cooing, sighing, crying, whining
- Sucking on hands
- Opening and closing mouth
Tips and Tricks
Don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult to breastfeed. Many moms struggle with this in the beginning and sometimes never get the hang of it. One of the hardest parts is getting a good latch. Improper latch is the most common cause of breast discomfort, so it’s important to avoid these complications as much as you can.
It’s best to hold your baby facing your breasts, placing your baby’s tummy on yours which also helps to have some skin on skin time! Make sure your baby’s head is properly lined up with the rest of their body so that swallowing is easier.
By having your baby facing your breasts, it will help to signal your baby to start looking for food from this source. If your baby isn’t opening their mouth and latching on, try to give them a taste by placing milk on the lips. You know you’ve gotten a good latch when your baby’s chin and nose is touching your breast.
How Long Should You Breastfeed for and How Often?
Breastfeeding may take long at first, especially when trying to get used to the process. It can normally last 20 to 30 minutes for every time you breastfeed, but every baby is different. You’ll notice that at least one breast will be completely drained, which is most ideal.
Don’t try to rush your baby or take the milk away prematurely. Let me your baby take their time and keep feeding until they signal that they are finished. You’ll usually be able to tell as the sucking will slow down, and you’ll also notice that your baby will start falling asleep after their big meal!
I’m sure you plan a lot to make motherhood an organized routine, but breastfeeding should be done on demand rather than on a schedule. It’s best to breastfeed your baby whenever they are hungry and have an appetite. Remember that your baby won’t have much of an appetite within the first few days after giving birth, but this will pick up after a while. In the meantime, you will have to initiate breastfeeding, since your baby won’t demand it.
Expect to feed your baby up to 12 times each day (and maybe throughout the night!) Hunger patterns differ for every baby, so be prepared to learn and adapt to what your baby wants and needs.
Remember that breastfeeding is a part of the process, but it may not be for everyone. Make sure to speak with your doctor or visit a lactation consultant to come up with the best plan for you and your baby!