Your baby will soon see the light of day and you want to be prepared for breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is natural and at the same time there is a certain pressure to do everything right. Don’t worry! We will show you how to feed and care for your baby in the best possible way.
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Why Breastfeeding Is Good For Your Baby
Breast milk is optimal for your baby because it contains everything he or she needs. In addition, breastfeeding is more than just providing food.
Breast Milk – The Optimal Nutrition
Breastfeeding provides your baby with breast milk that is optimally suited to the needs of your offspring. This is why breast milk provides your baby with optimal nutrition. It contains all the important nutrients in the right composition of proteins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
Breast milk is easy for your baby to digest and it is constantly adapted to the needs of your child during development. It also contains special defensive and protective substances that prepare your baby for everything it will encounter.
In addition, it is quite practical to breastfeed. The supply of customized nutrition through breast milk prevents the baby from getting too much food. At the same time, the supply of breast milk has the advantage that it is always and everywhere available free of charge at the appropriate temperature and in hygienic condition.
Breastfeeding – More Than Just The Intake Of Food
Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby’s physical development. The warmth and closeness of the mother during breastfeeding are also important for the baby. Physical contact during breastfeeding makes him feel safe and secure. This shared bond helps the baby get to know each other.
The baby senses your reliability through the care and can thus build up an intensive relationship. Breastfeeding teaches your child that you will always be there when he or she needs you. At the same time, breastfeeding and close contact with your baby trigger feelings of happiness in you.
Hormones that are released in the mother’s body by the baby’s sucking provide positive feelings that make it easier to get through the stresses and strains of the first time. In addition, breastfeeding mothers’ uterus recedes more quickly and they are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer.
Preparations For Breastfeeding
You may have a little respect for breastfeeding for the first time and be afraid that it won’t work out and you won’t be able to take care of your baby properly. But don’t worry about that for now.
Both your body and your baby’s body are preparing intensively for breastfeeding during pregnancy. The hormones in your body prepare it and your breasts for breastfeeding your baby. In turn, your little treasure diligently practices sucking in your belly by sucking its thumb and drinking amniotic fluid.
So when your baby is born, all the preparations are made and all you have to do is start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may not work right away. Don’t give up and trust in yourself and your baby. After a short time, you will be a well-rehearsed team.
How To Start Breastfeeding
If possible, you should have direct skin contact with your baby immediately after birth and welcome him into this world with warmth and security. When he has recovered a little from the exertions of birth, he will quickly become alert and aware of the new environment around him.
It will not take long and your baby will try to come in the direction of your breast and suck on it. Give yourself and him all the time and rest you need. Every baby has a different process and needs different amounts of time for this process.
A newborn has a small stomach and therefore needs frequent and therefore small meals. In the early days, it, therefore, makes sense to breastfeed eight to twelve times a day or even more often. With each breastfeeding meal, new milk is formed and the number of milk increases.
During this first breastfeeding phase, the baby receives a special type of breast milk. It is called colostrum and contains important protective substances for the baby, contributes to a healthy intestinal flora and supports the immune system.
After a few days, a transitional milk develops, which becomes noticeable when the milk comes in. After about two weeks, the actual breast milk forms, which does not change further until the end of the breastfeeding period.
With These Tips, Breastfeeding Will Also Work For You
Breastfeeding is sometimes not such a simple matter. Painful nipples, milk congestion and tension can be quite a burden on new moms. With these tips, you can avoid many of the discomforts that can occur during breastfeeding.
Make Yourself Comfortable
When breastfeeding, you want to give your baby a feeling of peace and security so that he or she can concentrate fully on feeding. The best way to do this is to find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you.
You can’t enjoy breastfeeding if your back hurts, your leg falls asleep or your arms hurt. Pads and nursing pillows can help you find a comfortable position while breastfeeding.
The Baby’s Position
To make it as easy as possible for your little darling to drink, position his nose or upper lip directly in front of the nipple. His arms lie comfortably to the left and right of your breast.
To protect your baby’s spine, the ear, hips, and feet should form a line. Regardless of your breastfeeding position, your baby should always be facing you with his body.
Of course, your own back should be strained as little as possible during breastfeeding. This can prevent unnecessary back problems, such as tension caused by an incorrect body posture. Therefore, it is important that you always bring your baby in the right position to the breast and not vice versa. In the correct breastfeeding position, the baby can completely enclose the nipple and you can prevent breastfeeding problems and sore nipples.
Offer The Breast
To prevent latch-on problems as much as possible, it makes sense to offer the breast to the baby at the beginning of a breastfeeding session. The so-called C-grip is a good way to do this. You grasp your breast from below with your fingers. The thumb is the only finger that grips the breast from above, about 3 cm from the areola.
This allows you to guide your breast well and help your baby to find it. If your baby can’t really find the nipple, you can lightly stroke your nipple across your baby’s upper lip. This movement triggers the sucking reflex and ensures that your baby opens its mouth. When this happens, take advantage of the moment and lead him directly to your breast.
You can avoid one-sided strain on your body by regularly changing the breastfeeding position. In the best case, this will prevent tension and sore nipples.
If you also switch between different breastfeeding positions, your baby will keep pressing on different areas of the breast. In this way, all areas are emptied evenly and no milk engorgement occurs.
Breastfeeding is quite demanding on your breasts. This cannot be completely remedied by frequent changes of position. To help them regenerate and relax, it makes sense to take special care of them during breastfeeding.
Take Your Time
You and your baby both have to get used to breastfeeding and the new situation. Take your time and find a suitable rhythm and routine together that works for you.
Each individual breastfeeding session should also take place calmly. In the best-case scenario, your little one will tell you when the meal is finished. This way, your little one can always drink in peace and take the time he needs. He learns that you are there for him and that the breast is there as long as he is hungry.
If you have questions or problems, you can always turn to others directly in the hospital or later at home. Your midwife, your doctor or a lactation consultant will always be there to support you.
Also, don’t worry too much. Eventually, the two of you will get the hang of it together. After all, so many mothers before you have managed to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding Just Won’t Work? This Can Help!
Despite various tips, it may be that breastfeeding just doesn’t want to work properly. These problems can be the cause:
Baby Always Falls Asleep
Premature babies or babies with jaundice are weak and therefore constantly tired. Sucking while breastfeeding is exhausting for them. Therefore, they often fall asleep after a short time at the breast. It can help to gently massage them at the elbow.
Weak babies should be put to the breast very regularly every three hours. If they are asleep at this time, it is a good idea to wake them gently. Babies with physical problems in particular cannot do without a regular milk supply.
If you are unsure, your midwife, pediatrician or breastfeeding counselor are always available to help.
Sore nipples can hurt terribly and cause real panic before the next breastfeeding session. In the best case, sore nipples are prevented by the appropriate attachment technique and proper care of the breasts.
If the nipples are already sore and cracked, painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol will relieve the discomfort in the short term. Compresses from the pharmacy can support wound healing. Plenty of air on the nipples and drying breast milk on the skin can also provide relief.
It is best to consult with your midwife, a doctor, or the pharmacy for proper treatment. Painkillers should not be taken without consulting experts.
Problems With Milk
There may also be problems with the amount of milk or the baby’s supply. Hard, red, and warm spots on the breast are indications of milk engorgement. It is often triggered by stress. The breast is then not emptied properly and the milk accumulates.
If milk engorgement is suspected, the midwife or lactation consultant should be contacted directly. It may be difficult then, but in the case of milk engorgement, it makes sense to put the baby to bed especially often in order to empty the breast. The gynecologist can also write a prescription for a breast pump.
In addition, it may be that too little milk is produced in the mother’s body. The amount of milk is often related to the demand for it. The more often the baby is laid, the more milk the mother’s body usually produces.
If there is uncertainty about the amount of milk, the baby’s weight development will provide information. If a baby is gaining enough weight, then it is also getting enough milk. If this is not the case, the midwife and the pediatrician should check the baby’s health.
If the mother’s body produces too little milk, this may be due to an underactive thyroid gland. These values should be checked in that case. In addition, a breast pump can be used after breastfeeding to artificially increase the need for milk and stimulate the production of milk.
The Shape Of The Nipple
If the nipple does not protrude properly, it may be difficult for the baby to cup it and suck. Usually, though, babies get the hang of it over time. Otherwise, silicone nipple shields can be a solution in the beginning.
In any case, you should make sure that the nursing cap is the right size. The best thing is to go to the pharmacy for advice on this.
How Long You Should Breastfeed
If mother and baby are healthy, breast milk is the best food for an infant. Therefore, the baby should be breastfed with colostrum for at least the first few days after birth.
There are different opinions about how long breastfeeding should last in general. In the first weeks and months of life, breast milk is the optimal nutrition for the baby and breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and child.
In general, it is advised to breastfeed fully for at least six months and then slowly begin to supplement breast milk with other foods. If mother and child want to do so, it is advised to breastfeed alongside complementary foods until the end of the first year of life.
If the mother has problems with breastfeeding, has to take medication, or wants to resume her job, these can be reasons for weaning. But the child may also decide that he or she is developing a greater interest in other foods and less interest in breast milk.
Losing interest in the breast is also called natural weaning. On the other hand, some mothers and babies like the process of breastfeeding so much that mothers continue to breastfeed their child beyond the first year of life.
Breastfeeding is a very special phase for mother and child. It is the time to really get to know each other and strengthen the bond with each other. At the same time, breastfeeding can become a challenge due to some problems. It is important to know that you can always get help from your midwife, doctor or lactation consultant and that you are not alone with any problems.
Don’t stress yourself out and give yourself and your baby time to become a breastfeeding team and find a common rhythm. There is also no right or wrong when it comes to the duration of breastfeeding, but it is your joint and individual decision on how long the phase of breastfeeding lasts.