Every breastfeeding journey is unique.
As a new mom, you’ll want to navigate yours in a healthy and safe manner.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind while you and your baby get accustomed to this intimate yet challenging experience.
Trust your in-built maternal instincts
A mother’s greatest strength is in knowing exactly what her baby needs. So, allow yourself to fully commit to the breastfeeding process. Don’t worry if your inner self is having doubts. Let your body guide you. After all, it was designed to nurture a baby and provide it with all it needs in terms of food. In just a few short feeds, you will have developed your own unique method.
Understand your baby’s patterns and cues
As a mom, you are finely attuned to the needs and wants of your newborn. Use this sixth sense wisely. Observe, listen, react and adapt. A few tell-tale cues to look out for include sucking fingers, fisted hands, rooting, moving, wriggling, and rapid eye movements. These are all signs that your baby is gearing up for a feed! And don’t panic if your baby isn’t drinking a lot at first, they usually know just how much is right.
Keep the feeds regular and consistent
It’s very important to feed your baby on cue in order to establish a healthy flow of milk that matches their intake needs. You can try the feed-wake-sleep-feed cycle, which is deemed highly effective in establishing a routine. Keep in mind however that your newborn won't necessarily drink the same amount every single day. In fact, after a couple of weeks, your baby might take in more at each feeding or even want to be fed more often.
Use breastfeeding as a moment to connect
Nursing provides ample opportunity to bond with a newborn. It also helps to develop their sense of security and trust. Once you get past the initial discomfort, try and savour every single moment. Hold your baby close. Look him or her in the eye. Talk with a soft, soothing tone. Sing a lullaby. Engage!
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Having a strong support system that includes family members and experts is critical in establishing an effective breastfeeding routine. From delegating responsibilities to your partner (burping, bottle feeding), to hiring a lactation consultant, help comes in all shapes and forms. Do know when it’s time to ask for the help.
Educate yourself on breastfeeding
Having some basic knowledge about aspects like positioning, latching, pumping, hunger cues and milk supply, will greatly help you post partem. Not only will you be ready for the challenges, but you will also be in the right frame of mind whilst dealing with them.
Remember, you need to figure out what works best for you and for your baby.
Some of you may be experiencing prolonged pain, discomfort, or anxiety.
In that case, explore breastfeeding alternatives such as organic or homemade formula.
After all, breastfeeding should be mutually beneficial.
And your baby needs the best version of YOU.