Three Basic Things To Know About Start-Up Breastfeeding Success
So many pregnant women worry about whether they’ll be able to nurse their babies, and even more new mothers are so anxious that this affects the success of what is truly an instinctive and natural mothering activity – IF you just allow it to be.
Did you know that it’s okay to nurse Baby immediately after birth? Even with a C-section, you can let Baby suckle right there in the theatre (unless she needs medical attention, of course). If you had pain drugs during labour it can be trickier though, as Baby’s instincts will be dulled; that’s why it is best to have a natural birth. But don’t lose hope – with a little perseverance, you will be able to nurse your baby! Here are the three most important things to get you started:
1. No schedule required
If Baby is hungry, let him eat! Don’t schedule his feeds, or wake him up for the last feed before bed. The best approach is to rely on supply on demand, and this works best if breastfeeding isn’t ‘supplemented’ with formula feeds. Babies don’t need anything else for the first six months, breast milk acts as both food and water – even in very hot weather. At the beginning of a feed, the milk is watery and quenches thirst; after the let-down reflex, the milk is creamier, satisfying Baby’s appetite. That’s why it’s important to let Baby feed until he’s done, otherwise, he misses out!
2. Frequent feeding
Newborns nurse every one to five hours at first, and then every one to two hours after about Day Three, because their tummies are so small. Their feeds will get shorter from about four months. Frequent feeds are good – each one protects Baby’s vital functions at the start of life, and gives unparalleled immunity support, vital nutrients, and love and reassurance.
3. Bring on the courses!
Babies often have three or four small feeds, with a nap or soiled nappy in between – plus a few ‘after dinner mint’ sips before they’re done. This doesn’t mean your milk is too little, or that Baby is still hungry, she’s simply savouring nursing, and resting between courses!
One more thing
Remember: babies are individuals. Some are slow eaters, some guzzle everything down, and some snack throughout the day. Take these moments to relax and cherish Baby; try lying down while nursing, so that you can both have a bit of sleep. The more you nurse, the easier it becomes, because it releases the hormone, oxytocin, which calms you and Baby.
No matter what type of birth you had, you can get breastfeeding right – even if you get off to a shaky start. The important thing is to really want to!