The ability to breastfeed your baby is God’s gift to every woman. There are innumerable benefits of breast feeding for both baby and the mother.
Benefits of breastfeeding to the mother are as follows;
- It reduces the chances of breast, ovaries and uterine cancers.
- It helps in quickly regaining pre-pregnancy body weight.
- It delays mensuration cycle after birth, providing natural infertility.
- It helps in building strong bond with the baby.
- Since breastfeeding is natural it saves costs of buying baby formula food/milk.
Benefits of breastfeeding to babies are as follows;
- It helps in keeping a check on obesity.
- It stimulates the growing immune system, making it strong and active.
- The breast milk is the purest milk so it does not have to be boiled or sterilized. This aspect helps in protecting the baby from lot of infections.
- Breastfed babies respond well to the benefits/effects of vaccinations.
- Breastfed babies have higher resistance to diseases like diabetes, some childhood cancers, respiratory infections and asthma.
MOST IMPORTANT things to be kept in mind while breastfeeding;
- A happy and calm mother can produce more milk than a sad and depressed mother. Mother’s state of mind has a strong influence on her milk production capacity and it also affects the baby’s mood. A HAPPY MOTHER WILL RAISE A HAPPY CHILD.
- Always drink at least 0.5-1 liter water before breast feeding your baby. Breast milk contains 87% water. So more water you drink each time before feeding the better you will be able to satisfy your baby’s hunger.
- Always keep yourself hydrated with as many fluids as you can. This will boost the milk production and also strengthen your body post the blood loss caused during and after delivery.
- Drink atleast half a litre milk daily to maintain the flow of milk in your breasts.
- Usually the babies doze off during the feeds. This will make the mother more tired as the baby is relaxing but evading mother from her sleep time. Try and keep your baby active while feeding. If the baby sleeps during feeds then you can tickle her on her feet/hands or start rubbing her head/hair in gentle circular motions or pat her back. These actions will disturb her sleep and she will continue to feed.
- Do not feed the baby for more than 20 minutes at a time. New born babies enjoy keeping mother’s nipple in their mouth and playing with it. Theirs this activity will leave the mother very tired as she will have to sit for hours to feed the baby. Eventually causing more stress to her as she is already coping with post birth pains.
- Help the baby drink the milk faster. As you feel the baby is feeling sleepy just pull out the nipple a bit from her mouth. This will make her feel that the milk is going to be taken away from her so she will try to grab it as soon as can. This will activate her and she will hog on to the milk quickly satisfying her hunger.
- Try not to feed your new born babies in reclining/ sleeping position when you are sleepy. If the tired mother deep sleeps then there are chances of baby getting suffocated beneath her breasts. The babies younger than 3 months are too weak they will not be able to move away from this suffocating positions leading to infant death.
- Whichever position of feeding is comfortable to the mother is fine. Just make sure that baby’s mouth should be below the nipple. The flow of the milk from the nipple should be downwards and the baby should raise the mouth upwards to drink the milk. This will help the baby to get a better grip of the nipple and more milk will fall into her mouth.
- If the baby is colicky then try and keep atleast 2 hour gap between the feeds. This would reduce the gas creation in baby’s body. If the baby cries for milk before 2 hour gap then try to divert her attention by playing with her or taking her outside the room.
- Always help the baby burp after feed (as shown in the picture below), this reduces the chances of the baby puking the milk out.
- Mother’s nutrition is the most important facet in her milk production. Try to feed the baby while you are eating or after you have finished eating, this will fill baby’s stomach faster. If the mother is feeling hungry or thirsty while feeding the baby then the baby’s hunger will not be satisfied.
- A positive frame of a mind will help the production of milk. Always keep positive thoughts in your mind while feeding your baby; this will create positive influences on the baby too. If you are having trouble feeding your baby, don’t think about it, while feeding.
Remember – If you decide in your mind that your milk will fully satisfy your baby’s hunger it will surely do. So always be positive
- Jeera or cumin seeds help in generation of milk. So try and eat as much Jeera in your diet as possible in the form of filling in the parathas or by putting it in your gravies.
- Try to feed the baby from both the breasts each time you feed her. This will maintain the milk production levels in both the breasts and the baby will receive more milk.
- If you wish to check whether your baby is getting milk or not you can do so by pressing your breasts behind the nipple and aerola (as shown in the picture). If while pressing a streak of milk pops out, then you can rest assured that you have good milk flow in your breasts.