Breastfeeding: How it works right from the start.
Breastfeeding not only forges a close bond between mother and child, but it is also practical and extremely healthy. Always with you, at the right temperature and germ-free, breast milk contains all the important nutrients and antibodies in optimal quantities. We asked lactation consultant Erika Nehlsen, Director of the Training Center for Lactation and Breastfeeding in Ottenstein, how breastfeeding works smoothly right from the start.
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What Makes Breast Milk So Valuable?
The first meal for the baby, colostrum, is a very special cocktail of nutrients that are already formed during pregnancy. It contains special defenses and nutrients and gives the baby a basic immunization for all germs with which the mother has come into contact during and, in some cases, even before pregnancy. Then, about 30 to 32 hours after birth, the milk-forming hormone prolactin provides the milk let-down and the beginning of abundant milk production. Breast milk is the healthiest food for a child in every respect: Breastfed children have advantages over non-breastfed children in their mental development, and are less likely to contract infections, leukemia, and diabetes. Breastfeeding also protects against obesity later in life. The mother also benefits: Breastfeeding reduces her risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and, in old age, osteoporosis.
How Does Breastfeeding Work Smoothly?
It is important to latch the baby on correctly from the start: it should lie with its mouth at nipple level and not have to stretch. The mother should sit or lie down and support the baby with a firm pillow so that it can grasp the nipple comfortably. The whole body must face the mother; the ear, shoulder, and hip should form a line, otherwise, the child will have to turn its head or put its neck – and then swallowing will be very uncomfortable.
How Often Should The Baby Be Put On?
Today, breastfeeding is done on-demand, i.e. as often as the baby wants or the mother wants. Signals for this are when he makes small sounds, makes searching movements with his mouth or fists his fingers, or moves them toward his mouth. Rooming-in facilitates breastfeeding on demand and is important for it to work well. If the child cries first, it has already spent half an hour trying to get mom’s attention. A crying child is difficult to breastfeed because its tongue is pointing up and not resting on the lower jaw, as it should be. If you then put it on, the nipple slips under the tongue – and then the child can’t drink and the nipple gets sore.