The importance of breastfeeding is well known to all world over. However, right from the day of delivery to settling in, and actually breastfeeding comfortably, there are several points mothers would want to understand and be assured about, especially when nursing for the first time.
Here are some important points to remember and consider during the first 7 days of breastfeeding to make this a smooth journey for your baby and you:
#1. Initiate Breastfeeding And Skin Contact As The First Routine
The journey from the womb to the world is a huge shift for an infant and it is very important that the baby has maximum skin contact with the mother providing warmth and immunity through breast feeding. Make sure to spend time maintaining skin contact with your baby. This fosters bonding and stabilizes the baby’s body temperature, respiratory rate and blood sugar level.
‘Colostrum’, a sticky, yellow-white early milk and the best natural immunizer to the baby due to its high content of antibodies, protein and vitamin levels, should be your baby’s first taste.
#2. Check The “Baby-Latch”
Usually after a normal delivery, a baby crawls up and “latches” on to the nipple for the first feed using its highly sensitive sense of smell and inborn rooting and sucking reflexes. Keeping the mouth wide open and having visible jaw movements of sucking can be observed during the initial days.
Make sure that you are not hurt in this latching process, by positioning your baby correctly. Use pillows or folding blankets and place them under your head or simply roll to one side tucking the baby next to you. This is a comfortable position.
#3. Assistance During Delayed Initiation
There may be medical reasons due to which you may be separated from your baby, or you have a pre-mature delivery, due to which your baby may find difficulty in latching on initially. You can consult a lactation consultant to get this resolved easily.
For premature babies with difficulties in sucking the breast milk, an effective way to feed can be through a small spoon or medicine dropper. This is always preferred as it is very hygienic and a trust-worthy method, compared to feeding bottles.
#4. Do Not Use Artificial Nipples
Always maintain maximum contact with your baby as during this time you are the only food source your baby would require. So, do not use artificial nipples; bottles and pacifiers. Babies get easily accustomed to artificial nipples which may cause pain later during feeding and also prove to be less effective while removing the breast milk.
#5. Nurse Frequently
There may be times when the baby may fall asleep in the latched position and there is no schedule developed yet with respect to feeding. So, get your baby latched as frequently as possible. This will always help in avoiding overfilling and enable emptying of breasts.
#6. Discover Techniques To Keep The Nipples Soft
If you are worried about your nipples flattening due to overfilling, resulting in difficulty for the baby to latch easily, you can try massaging gently and expressing little milk with hand, or trying ‘Reverse Pressure Technique’ to soften the nipples and make latching easier.
#7. Have Regular Diaper Checks
From the initial 3 days to the first week of nursing, keep a check on the diaper of your baby. After consuming the colostrum and your milk coming in, the poop of your baby may change in its color to greenish brown and gradually to mustard yellow. Pooping soon after feeding and changing an average of 5-6 diapers daily is considered normal.