Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Breast feeding is an art. Both mom and baby need time to learn. So the three most important things for a breast feeding mom are... Patience... Patience... And patience... Slowly all the discomfort will go away and it will be the most rewarding feeling. But what I hear daily from new moms is different. It's a nightmare for many.
The lack of sleep, sore hurting nipples, long feeding time, doubting adequate supply everything confuses a new mom. Believe me it is worth taking all these pains. For baby exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months reduces chances of diarrhea, stomach infections, ear infections, improves immunity, higher IQ, decreased sudden infant death syndrome, decreased incidence of diabetes and allergies in adulthood.
For mother it reduces incidence of breast, ovarian Cancers, helps to reduce weight, establish bonding with baby, decreases depression, provides some contraceptive benefit. Above all it is free, can be given anywhere. For first 6 months give only mother's milk to baby. No need of water, vitamin D supplement can be given. Demand feeding should be practiced initially - as much as the baby wants and as long as she wants. This will increase the supply. Slowly she will settle to a routine. Give one full breast first. Foremilk has water to satisfy his thirst and hindmilk calories for growth. Offer other breast or give in next session. Rooming in should be practiced. In hospital and home baby should sleep next to mother most of the time instead of a cradle. This increases bonding, milk supply and reduces incidence of sudden infant death syndrome. No prelacteal feeds allowed like galthuti, honey etc. These increase chance of infection and delay breast feeding. Get your nipples checked by your health care provider in last months of pregnancy. Any flat or inverted nipples can be addressed at that time. Attend a breast feeding class in pregnancy. That is the only thing you both will be doing for most of the time in coming months! Proper position and latching is important for a blissful and trouble free breastfeeding. Relax, sit comfortably, use lots of pillows to support. Feeding pillows do help. You can feed in sitting or sleeping positions. Make sure to support baby's head and body properly as neck muscles are not developed. Burp after every feed. Apply hind milk on both nipples and areola at end of feeding session to help them moisturized and prevent cracks, pain. Clean your breasts with warm water frequently.
Maintain hygiene and wash your hands regularly. Pus or abscess in breast is because of infection and not due to engorgement of breasts. Do not massage your breasts vigorously. Use nipple care ointments liberally for cracked nipples. Just wash them with water before feeding to avoid slippage of nipples from baby's mouth. If your baby is gaining proper weight, passing urine 6-8 times a day your milk supply is adequate. Crying in babies have multiple reasons. Citing it to hunger and giving formula feeds often will only decrease your supply and cause engorged breast. Take doctor's opinion when in doubt. Meet your doctor in case of redness of breasts, fever and lumps in breast. Proper antibiotics and guidance at this stage can prevent development of pus in breast. Cracked or bleeding nipples take time to heal. Do not get discouraged. Talk to your doctor about it. Make your baby a priority. All other chores can wait. Ask for specific help. This way u can stay stressfree. If you are pregnant or a new mom, attend our breastfeeding class in mumbai coming soon!! Mail us for registration. Disclaimer - These are the views of a qualified doctor and author. These are general suggestions and do not replace actual check up by a doctor. Any resemblance to anybody is coincidental. Author information - Dr Harita N Kothia, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Mumbai.