Breastfeeding Basics for you and your Baby
If you are a mother-to-be, you most likely have heard and are aware that breastfeeding your baby is one of the best gifts you can give your little one in terms of nutrition and bonding. However, despite the fact that breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a mother can do; it doesn’t come naturally for a lot of women. If you have decided that you want to breastfeed right after delivery, listed below are some breastfeeding basics for you and your baby to help you prepare while you are in your final stages of pregnancy.
Mothers should check with their local and nearby hospitals for lactation classes they can attend prior to the birth of their baby. In these classes, for example, they will be shown how a baby properly latches to the breast, what potential problems can occur and how to solve them and what lactating resources are available by phone. In addition, pregnant women should take time while they are waiting for baby to arrive and read everything they can on breastfeeding. There are books, online articles and magazines that discuss every aspect of breastfeeding. It would also be wise to start a binder that includes any helpful articles, notes and handouts from breastfeeding classes taken and a place to eventually journal the baby’s breastfeeding times and amounts.
Setting up for Success
If a mother sets up her breastfeeding area correctly, she can maximize her amount of comfort and enjoyment during each breastfeeding session. For example, she should designate a large and comfy chair or rocking chair in the home that will be her breastfeeding “station”. It can be in the baby’s room, a section of the master bedroom or a quiet corner of the family or living room. Besides the comfy chair, she will need a side table with a lamp and a place to set down a glass of water, preferably in a tall plastic travel glass that has a straw. Nearby, she should place a large basket with current reading she wants to do when the baby falls asleep or is nursing for a long time. She should include a few energy bars or other healthy snacks in the basket as well. A nice addition is a CD player that she can play soothing music in the background particularly those for meditation and stress relief. Lastly, many women find a breastfeeding pillow to be the perfect tool in helping them stay comfortable while they are nourishing their baby.
Know what to expect
Once the baby arrives, mothers should allow themselves a ramping up period to get used to the initial awkwardness that occurs for many who start breastfeeding. They need to make sure the baby is properly latching on and getting enough milk throughout the day. Breastfeeding mothers should expect to feed their babies approximately 8-12 times per 24 hour time period and to know the signs when their babies are hungry. Typically a mother wants to look for their baby rooting and looking like they want to be fed but others wait a little longer until their baby is just about ready to cry or starts crying so they know their baby is really hungry and ready to take on a full meal of breast milk. A typical session will last around 40 minutes. Mothers need to be also aware that at first milk comes in drops and not gushes so they should not panic at first when they don’t see a lot of their milk coming in.
Know how to Problem Solve
If a mother prepares herself for a number of potential problems with breastfeeding, it should lesson her frustration should they occur. Some problems include engorgement of their breasts (when they are so full of milk they hurt), sore nipples or mastitis, an infection of the breast. For example, many nursing moms have found that using lanolin ointment in the morning and evening can help prevent sore nipples. For a mother who chooses to breastfeed her baby, preparation and knowledge of what to expect will help tremendously in easing her gently into the new world of motherhood.