“Bottles fill his stomach, but breastfeeding fills his soul.”
-Diane Wiessinger, IBCLC
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and continuing even after solid foods are introduced, until at least age 1 year or until both mom and baby agree to call it quits. It can also be extended till 2 years of age depending on need.
One of the major challenges is How to establish a successful breastfeeding for your baby, and have a healthy, happy, contented, playful and a well growing baby :
1. First and foremost thing you must be aware of is the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding to the baby and you as well, so that you are strongly motivated for it. Only when it is clear, does it happen successfully. Also breastfeeding by itself strengthens the bond of the baby with mother (physical and emotional), and this is essential for child's physical and mental growth.
2. Early days are difficult but continuous, efforts of mother work and soon within 2-3 weeks breastfeeding is established . Feeding should be given promptly , on baby ' s demand. There is no fixed time and frequency ,it goes according to the baby' s demand individually. But,on average 12-13 feeds should be given in the first month per day which may be tapered to 8-10 feeds subsequently.
3. Position of feeding is the most important thing. Always try to feed the baby in a sitting position, as much as possible , with the baby properly attached to your chest, and properly latched to the breast. This reduces the problems of reflux, regurgitation, feed refusal by baby, chest congestion, baby remaining dissatisfied and remaining irritable.
4. How to hold the baby, how to position yourself and the baby while feeding , all the techniques you should discuss in detail with your paediatrician before getting discharged from hospital.
5. There is nothing like overfeeding the baby, so never restrain yourself from feeding the baby frequently, maybe within 30 min to an hour or two, because otherwise the baby may remain underfed and will not gain weight. There are always chances of a baby getting starved, out of any reason. When you make it a habit of feeding the child when he starts crying , you are very late in feeding, and this makes the child very irritable , always dissatisfied, and affects the emotional health of the child too. Therefore, make it a habit of feeding the child as soon as the child breaks his sleep and opens his eyes and starts slow movements. That is the right time to feed.
6. Every baby has his own capacity and demand for feed. So, there is no generalisation regarding frequency and timing of feeding.You have to feed when baby demands , which can be as early as 30 min or as far as 3 hours. Breast Milk is easy to digest and thus a baby on only breast milk becomes hungry sooner , as compared to formula.
7. In early days it may take 30-40 minutes to completely satisfy the baby, but by 1 month of age, as baby grows, 15-20 minutes of vigorous sucking is sufficient for a healthy baby. Always empty the breast on one side first so that baby gets hind milk, which is important for his satiety and weight gain and then switch to next side.
8. After feeding, keeping the baby in the right position, on shoulders ( erect) is very important, so that baby has a burp. Even if burp is not heard, keep the baby in this position for 15-20 minutes always, after each feed.
9. Working mothers can also express their milk with a pump before leaving for the office, and that milk can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 hours, and longer in the refrigerator and can be given to the baby by the caretaker.
10. Above all, the most important thing is the motivation of the mother to feed the baby. Positive thoughts, feelings of love and affection for the baby have a strong impact on the flow of breast milk. She should be stress free and relaxed ,which is very important. And, obviously a good diet ,rich in proteins and lots of fluids and water is a must. Avoid caffeinated drinks during breastfeeding.
A newborn has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. -Dr. Grantly Dick-Read
Author : Dr Nivedita Kapoor
Pediatrician and Neonatologist - MBBS, MD, DCH, CCAI
Book your consultation with Dr. Nivedita Kapoor: https://www.eka.care/dr-nivedita-kapoor
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