Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to Breastfeed a Newborn

Experts say that breast feeding should commence within two hours of birth. The baby may take 80 per cent of the feed in the first 10 mins and then suckle for another few minutes. Remember that babies need to be fed on demand. When the baby is new born, feeding may be required every two to three hours. Every feed duration may vary from 10 to 40 minutes. Breast feeding is recommended till your infant is at least six months old. There are no special steps required to prepare yourself for breastfeeding.

Gynaecologist Dr Suman Bijlani says that one doesn't need to do anything special to prepare themselves for breastfeeding. "No massaging of breast or nipple stretching exercises are needed during pregnancy. Be ready with breastfeeding accessories like nursing bras, breast pads and breast pumps. It is a good idea to get adequate and correct information regarding breastfeeding from your doctor or even attend antenatal lactation sessions. This gives you confidence, which is the best preparation a mother can have," she says. Experts recommend breastfeeding till your infant is at least six months old

Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the simplest and most healthy way to feed your baby and contains the right mix of proteins (the perfect balance of amino acids), fats, sugars, water, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antibodies for your baby.

It boosts your baby's immunity and protects them from diarrhea, respiratory and ear infections. Breastfed babies show a lower incidence of diabetes, obesity and allergic conditions and also have better cognitive development. Breastfeeding is also an effective birth control technique. If you are less than six months post delivery, are exclusively breastfeeding your baby and haven't yet got your period, you are 98 per cent protected from pregnancy. It creates an environment closest to the womb, which comforts the baby and makes them feel secure. Breastfeeding decreases the amount of blood loss after delivery. 

Breastfeeding tips
  • It is important that both mother and baby be in a comfortable position. The baby's body and neck should be in a straight line.
  • Hold the baby's body close to yours and at right angles to your own body - bring the baby to the breast and not the breast to the baby.
  • With good positioning, latching becomes easy and the baby should be encouraged to suck at the surrounding breast tissue as well, rather than just the nipple.
  • Skin to skin contact with the baby immediately after delivery stimulates the baby's instincts to look for the breasts.
  • Breastfeed frequently since it ensures adequate breast stimulation to maintain good milk flow.
  • Try to keep the breast as empty as possible, either by frequent feeding or by pumping out the milk. This maintains milk flow and prevents problems like engorgement or lumps in the breast.
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