Introduction to Breastfeeding

iving birth is a profoundly life changing experience. When women give birth, their entire body goes through enormous changes. After the baby’s born, the baby’s parents must make lots of decisions. One of the most important is how to feed the baby. Babies will need to be fed around the clock. They need proper nutrition in order to form those all-important foundational connections that will serve the baby as it grows up. For many women, the answer to the question of how to feed the baby is simple: nursing is a great choice.

Nursing a Baby

Nursing a baby has many advantages for the baby and the nursing mother. Unlike formula, parents do not need to bother with lots of messy equipment in the middle of the night. The mom’s milk is always the right temperature and always on hand ready for the baby to drink. Nursing is a good way for parents to save money, have a very portable source of food on hand and offer a baby food designed to fit that baby’s highly specific needs. Breastfeeding promotes bonding with the new arrival. It also helps a woman lose the extra pounds she’s gained during her pregnancy.

While breastfeeding a baby is an excellent option, all pregnant women should know what is likely to happen once the baby is born. They should also know how to overcome any obstacles in their path. Establishing a milk supply at the start is crucial for success. Once a woman has begun nursing her newborn, she’ll find it easy to continue feeding her baby until it’s ready to be weaned. If you’ve never nursed a baby before or even if you have done so in the past, it’s best to know what you need to do to make this vitally important relationship work out.

The Mechanics

A woman’s breasts will start to produce milk as her pregnancy progresses. She may start to leak fluid by the third trimester. This is normal. Milk comes from the milk ducts and through the nipple and areola. This first milk is known as colostrum. It’s rich in nutrients. After the baby is born, the mother will continue to produce this fluid. Colostrum is a full of fats and other things the baby needs right away. All new moms should ask the hospital to put the baby on their tummy soon after birth. Now is the time to begin the process of nursing.

For many women, nursing comes easily. They put the baby to breast and it latches on. This is when the baby has the breast in their mouth and gets access to the milk. Nursing a baby can be done from both breasts. It’s a good idea to switch between the two after about ten minutes. Allow the same time at each breast. That will help ensure an adequate supply in both breasts. Sometimes a baby may nurse more at one breast. That’s normal.

Nursing Supplies

All moms should have a few items on hand as they nurse. Refrigerator storage bags are a good idea for the nursing mom who wants to lay in a supply of milk once she returns to work. Extra milk can be frozen and thawed. A breast pump is another useful option for the working mom. Some breast pumps allow the woman to use a hand pump. That’s good when you’re going on a long trip and may not have access to a power source. Many have options that allow for power from places as diverse as a bathroom and your car’s power supply. A good nursing bra is a must for adequate support as you nurse. Look for a few that are washable and lightweight.

Overcoming Difficulties

Most women will need some help now and then with aspects of nursing a baby. If the relationship isn’t working out from the first, a lactation consultant can help figure out what can be done. Many hospitals require their nurses to get special training in this area. A woman may have issues with supply from the beginning. It is important for her to drink as much water as she can. Nursing will make her thirsty. Adding fluids will help ensure she’s replacing them. Nursing pads can help with any soreness if the baby bites. A few cabbage leaves can also help with issues such as too much milk.

Choosing to nurse a baby is a fabulous way to welcome a baby to your family.

Disclamer
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