How to Breastfeed – Answers to Urgent Questions and Tips

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    How to Breastfeed

    How to breastfeed? Surprisingly interesting question with a surprisingly simple question.

    First of all, every woman interested in this question should know, that in human life there are processes regulated by instincts. No one taught a child to suck – he can already do it.

    So, breastfeeding is an instinct provided by nature that requires participation of two people. Try to make sure that you both feel good – do what you want – lie or sit. Everything will succeed by its own, you just think less about your right and wrong actions.

    There are, however, things you need to know – not only instincts play the key role during breastfeeding. The human body is designed in such a way that it rarely allows himself to produce something extra. If there’s still some milk in the breast after feeding, then, according to the logic of Nature, there’s a lot of it. Body’s reaction is usually the following – milk is produced in smaller amounts. And women often have a habit not to let their children suck breast during 2-3 days after their birth.

    Therefore, you should start caring of your breast when still being in the hospital, if you have no opportunity to let your child care of it. Massage of mammary glands and expressing breast milk are the solutions to the problem.

    Size of the breast and its density don’t matter. Breast may be soft, but it would contain enough milk.

    Shape of the nipples doesn’t matter, although many people tend to convince of the opposite point of view. No matter how flat nipples may be, they will acquire the desired shape during sufficiently active and continuous feeding.

    The color of milk doesn’t matter – it should not correspond to the color of cow’s milk!

    Lots of things don’t matter – do not look for illnesses and flaws in yourself.

    Massage of breast and expressing milk

    These two procedures take little time as a rule – 3-4 weeks after childbirth and then everything becomes normal by itself.

    It should be emphasized once again: massage and expressing are absolutely necessary always after feeding or if, for some reasons, your baby doesn’t suck milk from your breast right after his birth. And it would be very good, if the medical staff in the hospital or a neighbor in the ward show you how to do it.

    In any case, you must perform a hygienic treatment of your hands and breast before massage, expressing and feeding. Please, forget about all kinds of alcohol and be sure – the usual “Baby Soap” is a fairly reliable antiseptic. And don’t economize soap and don’t leave it on your breast – no matter how childish it may be, its taste isn’t so pleasant. It goes without saying that first you wash your hands, and then work with your breast. It is not only necessary, but also dangerous to use soap (especially alcoholic solutions) to wash breast before each feeding – soap neutralizes the fat on the skin that covers the thin film of protective fat. Therefore, wash your breasts with soap one or two times a day, and in other cases it is just sufficient to wash them with warm water.

    Breast massage is simple. First of all, note that the breast tissue must be of the same density. If you found solidified areas, you need to massage them more intensively. It is better to perform massage with some castor oil. Support your breast below with one hand, and the four fingers (except the thumb) of the other hand massage the breast in a circular motion from the ribs to the nipple. The other hand shouldn’t be idle – it performs similar technique. If you have solodified areas, focus not on the increase in strength, but on prolongation of massage time.

    Breast massage while feeding has two goals. First, you activate the areas with stagnant breast milk, and second, you improve blood circulation in the skin of the breasts, thereby strengthening them. And the use of special oils has a tonic effect, they increase skin elasticity and prevents appearance of stretch marks on the skin.

    Always perform massage of the breast before expressing milk. It is very useful to massage breast for a short period of time before you start feeding. By the way, if you feel that you have milk and the child does not get enough of it (often case), stop feeding, massage your breast and keep on feeding.

    Baby’s dad is a highly effective device for massage, especially if you are able to teach him, and he knows how to adjust his force and wants to learn.

    Massage and expressing are necessary even when you have excessed milk. Prevention of milk stagnancy in mammary glands means avoidance of its inflammation (mastitis).

    As a rule 2 fingers are involved in expressing – thumb and forefinger. It isn’t desirable to squeeze the nipple directly and it is very important to direct force – from the breast tissue to the nipple.

    Sometimes you cannot use the expressed milk but you should always keep it till the next feeding. Therefore, express it into a perfectly clean container (jar, cup, bowl) that you can close tightly afterwards and put into the fridge. You can finish feeding the baby with the expressed milk during the next feedings. When the expressed milk is stored in the refrigerator at least for 10-12 hours you don’t need to boil it, just warm it to the body temperature.

    A woman can feel lots of inconveniences and discomfort because of cracks and abrasions on the nipples, the appearance of which depends on:

    1. feature of the nursing mother’s skin;
    2. hygiene;
    3. active child.

    Principles of crack prevention

    These principles are very simple:

    – cleanliness of the breasts;
    – short nails (you can scratch yourself during expressing or massage);
    – the nipples should be dry – wipe the remnants of milk after feeding with wet cotton (gauze) but very carefully. If the milk flows out between feedings, place a clean gauze into the bra and try to squeeze less the breast.
    – don’t use any synthetics that contacts with the nipples;
    – do not let your child grasp only the nipple without the areola and don’t pull it with force if you want to stop feeding. You can always find a moment when the child relaxes and gives the breast peacefuly.

    When the cracks appear, prevention principles remain the same, but the principles of treatment are added to them:

    – treat the nipples immediately while the cracks are small;
    – don’t let the child be so hungry that he attacks your breast. It’s quite reasonable that you feed him more often than usual and keep the baby near the breast for more than 10 minutes;
    – a damaged breast needs massage and excessing milk more than a healthy one;
    – try to more often keep your breast open in direct contact with the air (in summertime it’s good to go out onto the balcony or in the garden – but do this better when it gets dark).

    To treat the fractures and abrasions you can use an oil solution of vitamin A (scientific name of which is retinol), sea buckthorn oil, aerosols used to treat burns and without antibiotics (panthenol, for example), sodium usniate is very effective (0.3% and 0.5% solution in fir oil), ointments and gels that accelerate the healing process (solkoseril, aktovegin).

    It is better to choose a drug together with the doctor; everything depends on whether you continue to feed with the damaged breast or not (what taste has the thing you apply on the breast and whether it is possible to wash it away so that it doesn’t get it into baby’s mouth).

    If there are signs of suppuration immediately run to the doctor and no pills without his sanction!

    Basic rules of natural breastfeeding

    In order to understand and perform them in practice, it is not necessary to have a medical education and a vast experience, for example, in feeding five children. It is sufficient to have at least a little logical thinking.

    Healthy child knows himself when it’s time to eat.

    From the point of view of Nature, a breast-fed baby is inseparable from his mother in time and space. He is always with her. Therefore, it is quite unusual for an infant to be hungry. Consequently, if, according to your calculations, it is time to feed the baby at 15.00 and he started yelling at 14.30, then do not be nervous and don’t make the baby be nervous. Give him breast and calm down.

    Recommendations about break in mandatory night time feeding are one of the most radical ways of fighting the natural feeding.

    Within two to three nights, instead of sleeping, you will courageously listen to children’s cries feeling deep in your mind that you are a progressive, educated and disciplined person. After that, you will likely realize that sadism doesn’t suit a normal woman. And if you do not understand this, then you will lose milk soon. What to say about the fact that your sleepy husband may have troubles at work.

    A baby is hungry in the middle of the night. This is normal. It would be better for all of the members of family if the mother spends 30 minutes to feed the baby and then all members of the family continue to sleep peacefully.

    Never wake the child up just because, from your point of view, it’s time for him to eat.

    This rule has exceptions:

    – it is not time for him to eat but you need to feed him – you are running to college to pass exams, you need to go to the clinic, etc.);
    – it is recommended by the doctor to reduce the intervals between feedings for children who have low weight or gain weight badly;
    – cracks on the mother’s nipple (the baby should not be hungry).

    For a one month old child the optimal interval between feedings is approximately three hours. Further, this time increases, and the child increases it by himself – he longer sleeps. You do not have to memorize the table and hang the schedule of feedings on the wall. The healthy baby he will tell you. It is OK that on Saturday he ate 6 times, and on Sunday – 8. But don’t feed the baby with less than 2 hour intervals. If he is hungry, it means that you’ve made a mistake during the previous feeding (the baby didn’t eat enough). In order to decide how much time it is necessary to keep the baby near the breast, it is enough to answer a simple question: why is he near the breast?

    If to eat, 15-20 minutes will be quite enough for him. If just to suck then 3 hours may not be enough. Decide this for yourselves and everything will become clear.

    Finally, watch the baby: it is always visible whether the baby is swallowing or just sucking. If he isn’t swallowing, send him back to the bed.

    You need to try very hard to help the baby eat only from one breast during one feeding.

    It’s a recommendation, but not the law. There are lots of different options. One breast has more milk and the other one – less. One breast is healthy, and there are cracks on the nipple of the other one. One child is active, another one is not. If the child obviously ate not enough, then you have to give him the second breast. But after feeding carefully express the milk! For it to be as empty as the first one. Finish the next feeding with the expressed milk, then it is possible that one breast will be enough.

    If the child eats enough from both breasts and there’s no milk left in both ones, then it is reasonable to use all the available sources of food every time. As soon as the amount of milk is increased, sooner or later, one breast will be enough.

    Very, very often the child is crying when you try to take the breast away not because he is hungry, but because it is warmer and cozier for him near you. At least, if the milk is left in the breast, the baby stopped swallowing, and started yelling after you took he breast away – these are certainly “tricks”. Immediately decide who you are going to bring up – a normal person or a magician.

    The body and the child’s behavior are surprisingly expedient. The child will never do anyhing harmful to him (to cry for example). But if his existence will be more comfortable as a result of crying, he can preserve the habit to solve problems in such a way for a lifetime.

    Well, think yourself – can pain or hunger disappear just because you took the child in your arms?

    However, it is better to conduct experiments associated with crying in the daytime.

    What were or are the burning concerns for you during the period of breastfeeding? How did or do you cope with them? Tell us your stories!

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