There is a good reason why all pediatricians recommend breastfeeding instead of using a baby formula. Breastfeeding has a large number of benefits from creating a bond between you and a child and reducing the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and such to providing ideal nutrition to your little one and increasing IQ scores in later childhood. Although many doctors and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding from an early start to some women this is a rather painful and exhausting process for different reasons – expressing and storing milk, sore cracked and bleeding nipples, oversupply or low supply of breast milk. That’s why it’s essential to be familiarised with the process and prevent any uncomfortable situations.
This overview of baby breastfeeding should provide you with all the necessary information.
1. What’s the best position for breastfeeding?
The best position for breastfeeding is the one that makes both you and your baby relaxed and comfortable. If you are not sure what that position is, here are some of the most common positions doctors recommend:
- Cradle position – Rest the side of your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow with his whole body facing you. You can wrap your other arm around to support your baby’s head and neck.
- Football position – Hold your baby like a football while supporting their head and neck in your arm. This is the best position for the women who are recovering from a cesarean birth
- Side-lying position- this position is great for late night feedings in bed. It’s always a good idea to use a pillow under your head to make this position more comfortable.
2. How often should I feed my baby?
In the first week, you should feed your baby eight to twelve times in 24 hours. Be mindful that you should feed your baby whenever they show a sign of hunger. Here are the most common signs that your baby is well-fed:
- It is gaining weight and growing in accordance with the expectations
- It is fed at least 8 times a day
- Has at least 5 wet disposable nappies
- It is alert when awake and in a good mood
You can always check if your baby is well-fed by measuring its weight. If you notice that your baby is losing weight, it’s always advisable to consult the pediatrician.
3. How can I prevent breastfeeding discomfort
In most cases, breastfeeding is not painful, but it may cause discomfort at times. Whether it will hurt or not usually depends on the person and their pain threshold. Either way, here are a few tips that should prevent nursing discomfort in the first place and help you find the remedy:
- Keep your nipples moisturized: there are different purified lanolin nipple creams that can help your nipples stay moist.
- If you have clogged or plugged ducts, breastfeed on the side with the plugged duct and get your milk moving freely again.
- Sometimes the cause of pain may be an improper latch. If it turns out you cannot treat your pain, don’t wait to get help but consult the lactation consultant that will show you how to breastfeed properly
4. When can I start pumping?
There are no specific rules about when you can start pumping. However, in order to start breastfeeding, you need to make sure you have a strong supply of milk before pumping. Some women start pumping milk because they want to boost their milk supply. If you decide to start pumping, so that immediately after the feed in order to build up enough stored milk for a feed.
5. How long should I breastfeed?
The World Health Organization recommends six months of exclusive breastfeeding because during that period of time the child will get all the necessary nutrients before introducing solids. Also, the children who are breastfed rarely suffer from any illnesses at that age and tend to build a stronger immune system. Experts advise that you should breastfeed for as long as you find that it works for you. Breastfeeding is beneficial for however long you breastfeed your baby, so it’s entirely up to you when you will decide to stop doing it.