Babies-Toddler Vivian | 02 Feb 2011 01:52 pm

A Step by Step Guide to Breastfeeding

Of all the bonding experiences to expect when your baby arrives it has to be the act of breastfeeding. Admittedly breastfeeding is not for everyone for various reasons. It could be that the baby has difficulty latching on to the breast properly, the mother having inverted nipples or not enough milk supply despite the fact that several days have passed. Some women just simply prefer to bottle feed from the start for their own personal reasons. For those among us who have no choice but to bottle feed you should not allow yourself to feel that you aren’t being a good mother, especially when you know you tried tirelessly night after night.

Those among us wanting to breastfeed should be aware that there are a few pointers and benefits that will be helpful for both you and your baby.
One of the first things you should know is that breastfeeding gives your baby all the nutrients he or she needs for the first six months of life. It does not stop there. It carries over into the months where you would have introduced more solid foods. The breast milk at this point then works as a supplement. You should know that breast milk nourishes and protects against infections and diseases. It is a noted fact that babies that are breastfeed have much less or far fewer illnesses when compared to bottle fed babies.

Illnesses such as ear infections, asthma, eczema, chest infections, obesity, gastro – intestinal infections, childhood infections and diabetes are all taken care of through breastfeeding. Not only is breastfeeding good for baby but for moms as well. You will discover that you get your figure back much quicker than you would do ordinarily. It also protects you against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and weaker bones later in life. To top all this off you can expect to get closer to your child and form a special bond both physically and emotionally.

One of the first things you ensure is done before breastfeeding is:

1 Making sure you are comfortable. Before you get started make sure you have all that you need to make you completely relaxed and at your baby’s disposal. Have a nice cool glass of juice or whatever you prefer. Also make sure that your back is straight and supported. Some find that the nursing pillow is quiet helpful in supporting your baby under your breast.

2 You need to hold your baby so that his head and body are in a straight line, tuck your baby’s bottom under your elbow. Always support your baby’s body on your forearm and gently hold him behind his neck and shoulders. In the initial weeks of breastfeeding it is important that you bear in mind that your baby cannot support the weight of his head as it is considerably heavier than the rest of his body. Don’t be alarmed by this, as the weeks progress he will grow to match the size of his head and be better able to support its weight on his own.

3 They have the saying ‘tummy to mummy’ which means you should hold your baby so that his body is close to you. Remember, upon birth the skin to skin contact is what will help to establish the bond between mummy and baby. The smell of your skin and the milk will help your baby to find your breast much easier as well.

4 Hold his nose so that it is opposite your nipple, allowing his head to tilt back a bit as you gently touch his top lip with your nipple at this point you wait for when his mouth is wide open or when he is rooting then you quickly bring your babe to the breast and not the breast to the baby. You’ll notice that his chin leads the way.

5. Your baby’s chin will touch your breast first and will be in close contact. Although breastfeeding will be quite challenging the first few days it should not hurt. You may experience some discomfort when the baby starts feeding but it should ware off. If you notice that it is painful after a few seconds of your baby feeding gently put a clean finger in his mouth to release the suction and start again.

6. You should always feed on demand. Your baby will let you know when he or she wants to feed. You should expect this to be between up to 12 times during the day, but this of course is subjective to each child.

Remember breast milk is all the food and drink that your child will need for the first six months of life. Make every effort to enjoy this bonding experience. Eat well as you will need the strength for feeding your baby and seek help advice and encouragement if you find you are experiencing difficulties.

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