How to start breastfeeding the right way

Many moms are scared and worried about how breastfeeding will start. No one ever said breastfeeding was easy and painless. Let’s see how to make this important aspect of motherhood easier.

Feeding our baby is part of our innate instinct

Instinct must be listened to carefully, without interference, without fear, with the right and long times, experimenting, making mistakes and letting go more and more every day until mother and child travel on the same balance.

Sucking is an innate reflex

In your uterus he sucks everything that comes into his mouth, from his little hands, to the umbilical cord up to licking the placenta. But once born, with a thousand interferences, his mother’s emotions that come to him like a hurricane, excessive stimuli, haste, it’s not easy to catch that nipple right away and suck it in the right way . So just like helping the baby to use his sucking instinct, you need to help the nipples perform their natural function.

A mother who approaches her baby to the breast, in the first days of life but often even before giving birth, is afraid of the pain she will feel and of these infamous fissures and often lead to the complete abandonment of breastfeeding.

One reassurance: the size of the breasts does not affect the ability to produce milk. Every mother, if she stimulates her breasts adequately and if supported by her family and a professional, produces the right amount of milk for her or her children!

The first days in the hospital

You will have roommates, your husband will not always be there with you, there will be many midwives or child nurses who may give you different indications that can get you confused and then the relatives, the lochiazioni, the lack of intimacy … once you return home everything will be fine definitely better.

Colostrum is produced immediately after secondment thanks to the production of some hormones, while the transition from colostrum to milk takes place between the third and fifth day and depends on your baby’s stimulation of the breast/pump/hand expressing. Meanwhile, colostrum will be the perfect food that will fully satisfy your baby in quantity and quality.

The first 24 hours

A newborn in his early 24s spends a lot of his time sleeping, keep him close to your skin and wearing a sling to cover both of you. Don’t force him towards the breast but let him show you the signs of hunger.

After the first 24 hours

After the first 24 hours you will see that he will change his attitude and will be much more interested in sucking, he will ask you for the breast very often and you indulge him without fear that there is nothing and that he will die of hunger.

The more the newborn sucks, the more the breasts are stimulated and the moment of the milky whipped approaches .

Do not take the child to the ward nursery but always keep him with you so that you can get to know each other and understand how to communicate.

The sooner you attach your baby to the breast, the sooner all those hormones that start breastfeeding will be triggered.

Remember and point out to professionals that despite being in the hospital they may be unprepared in this regard, that the milk froth occurs in a woman with her first child, around the 4-5th day while in the woman with already other children, who has breastfed, around on day 2-3.

So it is essential, except in the case of a newborn born underweight or with a significant weight loss, not to give anything other than colostrum and breast milk. And if you really have to insert formula or expressed breast milk, give it with the syringe or with a small glass or through the DAS and not using the classic bottle. This is because it is essential that the newborn knows how to suck the breast and not the facilitated one of a teat.

Attach it upon request

In the first days of life, attach the newborn to the breast whenever he shows an interest in sucking , offer both breasts so as to stimulate them both and promote the secretion of colostrum.

Don’t set schedules, don’t look at the clock, every child has their own rhythms and they don’t necessarily have to follow those set by society.

There are newborns who have a voracious and rapid suckling and fall asleep in a few minutes, while there are newborns who take a couple of sucks and rest and it all lasts even an hour.

Slowly learning both you will discover how to make breastfeeding on request both from her but also from you based on your production capacity, her needs, your rhythms, her digestive capacity and your bond.

Offer the breast on request , to comfort him, when he shows signs of hunger, when he is tired, when he wants to fart and poo, as he will practice sucking and will always make your breast soft. A breast that is taut and full of milk is more difficult to take than a breast that is regularly stimulated and always soft. A hard breast feels sore.

Avoid double weighing

Remember… there is no double weighing that counts. Absolutely avoid it because the amount of milk that a child sucks is different between one feeding and another and the breast does not mean for him only eating but also quenching his thirst, falling asleep, relaxing, being able to pass the body.

Breast care

To soften the breasts, make hot compresses and help yourself with massages from the base of the breast towards the nipples. If in the first few days, but also later, the nipples become inflamed with sucking, just apply the propolis essential oil between one feeding and the next and leave the breast in the air as much as possible so as not to create humidity and maceration of a already irritated skin.

If a sore develops on the nipple , commonly called a nipple fissure , continue to breastfeed your baby, have the attachment checked by your midwife to make sure it is correct, and to be taught a painless attachment position. Fissures heal in a couple of days. Apply your expressed milk on the cracked nipple.

The more you offer the breast, the more milk you produce. Are you able to produce enough milk for your baby or for two/three babies at the same time, just think of the wet nurses of the past 😉

Let the baby suckle whenever he wants, without introducing a pacifier which is only a substitute for your breast.

To know if he eats enough

Don’t offer him a bottle instead of the breast: if you doubt he’s not eating enough, just check his pee: if he wets at least 6/7 diapers in 24 hours , everything is fine. You can also check if he gets enough milk with these charts .

Weighing a newborn, who is doing well, is not absolutely necessary.

What difficulties can be encountered

Complications can arise when breastfeeding, most of the time they resolve on their own. But recognizing them helps to intervene faster. Engorgement, fissures, mastitis are the most common .

Courage, it is difficult breastfeedings that last the longest. Trust a midwife for any doubts and information and enjoy breastfeeding.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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