breastfeeding success and tips

Breastfeeding Success: Breastfeeding Tips, Benefits, and Stages.

From the moment your baby is born, he leans towards you for comfort. Your smell becomes his familiar, your heartbeats his soothing music and your milk his super powerful magic potion. So, breastfeeding becomes part of the lifecycle of your baby’s first months. Here are some breastfeeding tips for the most successful experience with your baby.

There is no post-partum mom who is ‘milkless’! Mothers that claim to have no milk are those who gave up too early or have experienced some situations that caused their milk to stop. Please understand, milk comes and goes depending on many factors: your food, your stress level, the frequency of breastfeeding your baby and the quantity he or she drinks every time.

Breastfeeding Success: The introduction

Every woman’s body produces breast milk naturally. This milk is the basic nutrition for every baby; and, goes through three different stages that are: the colostrum, the transitional milk and finally the mature milk. The WHO recommends that every mother breastfeeds her baby, exclusively for the first six months; and, keeps doing it until the baby is 2 years or more. This way, the baby will be naturally protected from numerous illnesses. Also, the mother will benefit from breastfeeding that decreases her risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type-2 diabetes and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding, also, acts as a natural birth control pill during the first 6 months.

Every mother needs to begin breastfeeding within one hour of delivering her baby. After these few days, your milk (as we know it) will start kicking in. The more your baby will grow, the more he will need milk & the more milk you will produce.

Recommendations are to exclusively breastfeed your baby until the age of 6 months! After that, you can start complementing milk with few solids. But, how will you keep breastfeeding since maternity-leave accounts for 40-45 days?! You have one solution: Pumping! Even if you make the effort to keep coming home for each feeding, chances are your baby will require lots of feedings and you will not be able to manage it!

So, what you need to look for is a good pumping set and a good bottle set. There are several kinds of pumps (manual or electric) and there are so many kinds of bottles. The important thing is for the bottles to be BPA free and reduce the risk of air ingestion during feeding, which will reduce the risk of having a colic baby. From another angle, the tip of the bottle makes a big difference. The more it is shaped like mom’s nipple, the easier it is for the baby to accept it.

The First Baby Milk: Colostrum

Colostrum is the first stage of any breast milk. Its production begins while you are pregnant and still exists for couple of days after you give birth to your baby. It is a yellow-golden colored thick kind of milk that is extremely important during the first days of your baby ‘s life.  During the first few days, the stomach of your baby is as small as a marble, increasing in size every day.

You need to know that you only produce a small amount of colostrum in the first 2 to 4 days post-delivery. This amount is as small as one to four small spoons (40-50ml) per day. This amount is enough for your baby; so, do not worry: your baby is being fed as much as he or she needs. On the third day post-delivery, your baby is already taking in 300 to 400 ml per 24 hours; and, on the fifth day around 500 to 800 ml of milk.

Colostrum is known to be the super food for your newborn due to its many health benefits. It is rich in proteins, minerals, as well as fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, E and K. Vitamin A in colostrum is what causes its yellowish color. Colostrum is low in lactose, potassium and calcium, when compared to the later form of milk; however, it has a relatively higher Sodium Chloride and Magnesium content.

This first-milk is actually very rich in macro and micronutrients; however, its benefits are not only caused by its nutritional content. This type of breast secretion/milk is very high in white cells and antibodies. The immunologic components of colostrum, such as IgA, lactoferrin and leukocytes, make its functions more trophic and immunologic instead of being purely nutritional.

You can no longer produce colostrum when you reach the fifth day after birth. This is when the transitional milk takes over. By the time the second stage begins, your newborn would have a bigger stomach that can withhold a bigger amount of milk, at once.

The Second Baby milk: The Transitional Milk

This milk has the same characteristics of colostrum; but, with an added nutritional value. You baby is growing at a very fast rate; and, his or her milk needs are augmenting. So, your milk starts becoming more consistent in nutrients. The transitional milk covers the period from the 5th day to 4-6 weeks post delivery. It is high in calories, fat, lactose and vitamins that are water-soluble.

The Mature Milk

This is the milk that somehow settles in after a couple of weeks post-delivery. It contains around 90% of water to keep your baby well-hydrated. Mature milk is high in carbohydrates, proteins, and fat; and, helps the baby get the needed energy and nutrients for a proper growth. During the first few moments of a feeding, your milk has water, vitamins and proteins. This is the fore-milk that comes before the hind-milk. The latter contains higher levels of fat and is more consistent. Both milk types are needed at each feeding to ensure an adequate nutrition. Sometimes, mothers are advised to take breastfeeding supplements to help boost their milk’s nutritional content.

Breastfeeding Basics: Questions answered!

Why do some women stop breastfeeding?

Many factors can make the mother stop breastfeeding at an early stage. Some experience difficulties in breastfeeding and issues with the latching. Others begin worrying that the baby is not getting enough nutrition from the breast milk; so, they resort to baby formula. Some women prefer to stop breastfeeding if they were on medications. Working new moms face a lot of issues when it comes to carrying on with exclusive breastfeeding as some offices do not offer parental leaves. This is surely not a problem in the USA and other developed countries. Finally, cultural traditions and norms as well as lack of family support may lead to breastfeeding cessation at an early stage.

Is breast milk the same as infant formula?

Infant formula can contain a lot of the macro and micronutrients found in breastmilk; however, they lack the antibodies. These latter are the ‘magic’ elements that help the baby grow his or her immune system by benefiting from the mom’s antibodies and strong immune system. If you are thinking about shifting to infant formula, you need to keep in mind all the amazing benefits you are depriving your baby from. But, in that case, after using infant formula, you will no longer be able to change your mind and shift back to breastfeeding. Frequent breastfeeding keeps the breast milk supply ongoing.

How many times should my baby be fed per day?

While babies may differ, most feed most of the time during the first few days. It may seem as if your baby is on your breast, around the clock. Feed him or her as much and as long as they want. After the first few days, the baby will seem to start feeding less often (about 8 times a day), and for longer duration per feed. You can feed your baby whenever they want, or whenever you feel your breasts are full. Never worry about overfeeding your baby from your breast milk: it never happens! Throughout the days and weeks, you will begin to notice a certain feeding routine that becomes more of a pattern. Keep in mind that breastfeeding at night is essential, as you tend to produce more hormones like the prolactin.

How do I know that my baby is hungry?

You will know when your baby is hungry. Never wait until he or she is starving and begin crying for food. Your baby is hungry when he or she feels restless, such on their fingers or fists, begin murmuring, or turn their head towards you and open their mouth wide.

Is it normal to have leaky breasts?

It is very normal for many breastfeeding moms to leak milk from their nipples. If you are one of them, make sure you wear breast pads. These need to be changed regularly to prevent infection.

Breastfeeding your baby is the most essential gift you offer him or her, for life. Make sure you understand the different stages of breastfeeding and do your best. Never stress over whether your baby is getting enough of your milk. If he or she are not, you will know: the baby will cry! Make yourself accessible to your newborn; and, make sure you make a skin-to-skin contact.

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