Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions
Feeding breast milk is both the nutrition of the child and the process during which close relationships with the baby are laid. And despite the fact that breastfeeding is the most natural process, at first it can cause a lot of difficulties. Learn more about what happens at the time of breastfeeding, about the benefits for you and the baby, and how to breastfeed — from applying to the nipple to expressing milk.
What is the benefit of breastfeeding for my baby?
Breastfeeding brings great benefits to the child. Breast milk contains the minerals and nutrients needed to grow a baby. It also reduces the risk of a number of diseases.
Some studies show that breastfeeding has a positive effect on the development of the baby’s brain.
What is the benefit of breastfeeding for me?
Breastfeeding is useful not only for the baby, but also for the mother. In the process of feeding, a special relationship is established with the baby, as it stimulates the production of oxytocin, a “love hormone”, which also reduces the muscles of the uterus, thereby facilitating its return to the pregenerative state. If the mother is breastfeeding the baby, it is comfortable and convenient for both of them — with her always available convenient food that does not require preparation. Another important point: breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Nursing mothers are more likely to lose weight gained during pregnancy more quickly. During milk production, calories are consumed, and excess weight is lost in a healthy pace. Do not worry if weight loss is delayed — the body needs this fat, while the child grows and its need for milk increases.
How to breastfeed
Put the baby on the open skin immediately after birth. This should cause him the natural need to find a nipple. Take a breast in a palm and pass a nipple on the lower lip of the child. If he yawns or opens his mouth wide, pull him closer to him and point the nipple towards his mouth. Pull the baby to the chest, not the chest to the baby.
Newborns can suck each breast for 10-15 minutes. You may find that a baby wants to suck only one breast or prefers double servings. When he releases one breast, offer him the second to see if he is hungry. If the baby refuses the second breast, just remember which breast you fed this time, and start the next feeding from the other breast. Experiment with different postures for feeding to find the most comfortable for both of you.
What should breast milk look like?
In the first days of breastfeeding, you may notice that the milk has a yellow tinge and a thick consistency. And you might be worried if breast milk should look like this. Do not worry, everything is in order. Immediately after giving birth, the breast produces colostrum. This is the first food of the newborn and its first vaccine against diseases. A baby needs no more than a teaspoon of colostrum in one feeding, so don’t expect the baby to suck a lot of colostrum.
On the 2–5th day after birth, you will notice that the consistency of milk has changed. Transition milk comes in, which replaces colostrum. At the end of the 2nd week after the birth of the baby, mature milk begins to be produced, which is at first more liquid in consistency than the transitional milk, but becomes thicker with further feedings.
How to understand that a child is hungry?
Frequency of feeding is a common question that concerns nursing moms. If the baby is crying, it means you have already missed the moment when he is hungry, and it may be difficult to attach him to your chest in this state. Watch his behavior carefully to notice the first signs of hunger. A child may be hungry if he:
- looks worried
- flex handles
- clenches fists
- puts his fingers to his mouth
- makes sucking movements
When the child is fed, he closes his eyes and you will feel his arms and legs relax.
How often should I put the baby to the chest?
Let the child set the schedule yourself. Let you not surprised by the desire of the child to suck the breast every hour in the first few days after birth. This allows you to stimulate the production of milk in the amount that meets the needs of your child in milk. With the addition of milk, you can notice the weakening of hunger in a child, and feeding will be needed every 2–3 hours or 8–12 times a day.
What should and what should not be done while breastfeeding?
Nursing mothers are often concerned about the question of what can and what should not be done while breastfeeding, whether it is necessary to adhere to the diet of a nursing mother so that the child gets all the nutrients that he needs. Recommendations for breastfeeding moms:
- Increase your daily calorie calorie consumption by 450–500 calories to produce enough milk.
- 2-3 times a week, eat fish or seafood, but avoid fish that are high in mercury (swordfish, king mackerel, grouper, shark).
- In the case of a doctor’s recommendation, take vitamins for pregnant women while nursing.
- Drink enough fluids.
- In the first days after the birth of the child, refrain from coffee or drink quite a bit. In the future, a moderate amount of coffee (about 200 ml per day) will not be harmful for the child.
- If you drank alcohol during breastfeeding, do not breastfeed earlier than after 2 hours.
- Do not consume more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day.
- Consult with your doctor about taking medication for breastfeeding. Most drugs are not dangerous for the child, but there are funds that in small doses can be ingested by the baby with breast milk.
- Refrain from smoking.Tobacco use can reduce milk production, and smoke is harmful for a child.
- Check with your doctor about what contraceptives are safe when breastfeeding.
What you need to know about expressing breast milk?
The amount of milk produced depends on its consumption. The more you feed a baby or decant, the more milk you produce. Squeezing can help if you plan to return to work while you are still breastfeeding, or if you want to support milk production when the baby does not want to suckle.
Some useful tips on how to express milk:
- Relax. Stress can adversely affect the amount of milk produced. Find a secluded, comfortable place for decanting.
- Squeeze milk often. This will support milk production. You can express two breasts at the same time.
- Feed the baby as soon as he wants. If you notice that the child is hungry, try to feed him immediately. It will also provide more milk when pumping.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
How long is it recommended to continue breastfeeding?
Doctors recommend breast milk as the only food in the first six months of a child’s life. During the first year, solid food should be added to the baby’s diet. There is no set limit to what point breastfeeding should continue — this should be a choice that is comfortable for both of you. When you are ready to wean a child, read our tips on how to plan a baby’s weaning.