Back to the basics of breastfeeding

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Everyone knows that breastfeeding your infant is better than the nourishment any baby formula provides. Here are some helpful pointers for first-time mums on the benefits of breast milk.

Breast milk is the best thing for any baby. We are constantly hearing about the benefits of breastfeeding because they are plentiful. This is especially true for first-time mums, who have never experienced nursing before--there's a vast learning curve ahead.

Talk to any family member who has breastfed and there will be always something new to be said about the deed. More importantly, breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your child.

Basics of breastfeeding: When to start

When you first go into the hospital for delivery, let your attending physician know you are planning to breastfeed. It is very necessary to start breastfeeding within an hour of delivery. Do not let the nurses use a pacifier or bottle on your baby, which they sometimes do in the nursery to console a crying baby.

This will hinder the breastfeeding process since the nipple on bottles and pacifiers are different from your breast nipples. Your body is already producing colostrum which is very nutritious for your newborn.

You may think that the colostrum that you are producing seems to be little and insufficient for your baby. But rest assured that it is full of nutrients for your baby until your milk comes in. This may take a couple of days.

Be comfortable

There is no standard way to breastfeed your baby. Each baby is different. Try different positions and use pillows or support cushions to determine which way is best for you. Many mothers have found that sitting up in a chair works great for them while others prefer to lay on their side. The main thing to remember is that you and the baby need to be comfortable, even your clothing needs to be something that makes you feel comfortable.

How often to breastfeed

Many testify that putting a child on a specific feeding schedule is a wise plan. However, this does not necessarily work on all babies. Even if you've had other children, you will notice a that the experience differs from baby to baby. Each one is unique and will want to nurse across varying schedules--even twins.

You can count on one commonality across the board--when they are hungry, you'll know, whether its feeding time or not. Newborns have tiny tummies and need to be fed more often. Waking every two hours through the night to nurse is normal. Your newborn will nurse about 8 to 12 times per day during the first weeks of life.

In the beginning, mothers may want to try nursing 10-15 minutes on each breast, then adjust the time as necessary. Let things happen naturally for the first few days and study your baby's nursing patterns. Often, you will find that your baby sets his own schedule.

Engorged breasts

This happens often, especially with new mothers. Not only will your baby let you know when it is time to nurse, so will your breasts. There will be times when your breasts becomes engorged between nursing.

The best way to handle this is to use a breast pump to extract milk.

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This will render your breasts accustomed to the nursing feeling while keeping the milk flowing.

Just be aware that when they do become engorged, they can leak and this could be painful at times, so be ready for this. There are several treatments for engorged breasts such as applying cold compress or cold cabbages.

Is my baby getting enough to eat?

Many mummies often fret whether they are producing enough milk for their babies, especially when baby seems to be eating all the time.

Rest assured that if he or she seems satisfied, produces about six to eight wet diapers a day, has regular bowel movements, sleeps well, is alert when awake, and is gaining weight, your baby is getting enough.

Do take note that if your baby is fussing, crying, seems hungry, and does not appear satisfied after feeding, he or she may not be getting enough to eat. If you're concerned that your baby isn't getting enough to eat, it will be great to get your PD's advice.

Breastfeeding in public

There is a twist to breastfeeding in Singaporean society--mums are urged to breastfeed but in many places, it is  still frowned upon. Nonetheless, many public malls and shopping places have added nursing rooms to their stable of services.

These areas give you and your baby some privacy while you are nursing. Just be mindful of where you are and how people may react when you decide to whip up some lunch for your baby.

Breastfeeding meets a variety of emotional needs for both moms and babies — the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection, and providing complete nourishment can help a new mother feel confident in her ability to care for her newborn.

So keep calm and latch on!

Need Help? Don't fret!

When in doubt, please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby's situation.

theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.
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