The Newborn Guide: Breastfeeding

The Newborn Guide: Breastfeeding

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By Tabibi 24/7

Being a new mom can be overwhelming, trying to adjust to a new schedule, new demands and a new little being. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition to motherhood less stressful, Following up on last month’s article on caring for your newborn, Tabibi 24/7 brings you more essential advice on feeding your little one.

Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is one of the first decisions parents make. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joins other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in recommending breastfeeding as the best option for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend the baby against infections, allergies and protects it against a number of chronic conditions. The AAP says babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, the AAP encourages breastfeeding until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willing. For mothers who can’t breastfeed, commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious alternative to breast milk.

Ask for help right away

The first time you breast-feed your baby — preferably within the first hour after delivery — ask for help. The maternity nurses usually offer breast-feeding tips, starting with how to position the baby and ensuring correct latching.

Support yourself with pillows if needed. Then cradle your baby close to your breast rather than bending over to bring your breast to your baby. Support the baby’s head with one hand and support your breast with the other hand. Tickle your baby’s lower lip with your nipple.Your nipple will be far back in the baby’s mouth, and the baby’s tongue will be cupped under your breast. Look and listen for a rhythmic sucking and swallowing pattern.

Let your baby set the pace

For the first few weeks, most newborns breast-feed every 2 to 3 hours round-the-clock. Watch for hunger signs but avoid overfeeding! If your baby is gaining much weight and experiences tummy pains, excessive gas, greenish watery bowel movements or spitting up large amounts, he may be feeding too frequently.

Let your baby nurse from the first breast thoroughly, until your breast feels soft — typically about 20 minutes. Burp him then offer the second breast. If your baby’s still hungry, he will latch on. If not, start the next breast-feeding session with the second breast. If your baby consistently nurses on only one breast at a feeding during the first few weeks, pump the other breast to relieve pressure and protect your milk supply.

Take care of your nipples

If your nipples are dry or cracked, use an emollient nipple care cream after each feeding.

When you bathe, minimize the amount of soap, shampoo and other cleansers that might contact your nipples.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water, juice and milk can help you stay hydrated and boost your milk supply.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can reduce your milk supply, as well as change the taste of your milk and interfere with your baby’s sleep. Second-hand smoke is also a concern.
  • Be cautious with medication. Although many medications are safe during nursing, always consult your doctor before taking any.

Give it Time

If breast-feeding is tougher than you expected, try not to get discouraged. Just remember that the more often you breast-feed your baby, the more milk your breasts will produce — and the more natural breast-feeding is likely to f