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Breastfeeding essentials explained

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 15, 2015
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Breastfeeding requires patience.
  • Breasts should feel comfortable.
  • Pain indicates that you are doing it wrong.
  • Learn right technique to prevent pain.

More

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both the mother and the baby. Breast milk contains the required nutrition for your baby’s healthy growth and development. It is easily digestible by your baby compared to commercial formulas and contains antibodies which helps build and boost the immune system of your baby. Breastfeeding is to be practiced and perfected as it cannot be learnt in a day and you would need to be patient.

Breastfeeding essentials

Benefits of breast feeding for the mother

  • Helps lose weight gained during pregnancy easily.
  • Lowers chances of developing osteoporosis later in life.
  • Lowers risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • Helps in better bonding with baby.
  • Provides ideal and balanced nutrition for the baby’s growth and development.
  • Builds strong immune system as it contains antibodies which fend off infections, allergies and diseases.
  • Better brain development and higher IQ is associated with breast-fed babies.

Breastfeeding is cheaper and easier than buying commercial formulas, sterilizing nipples and warming bottles.

Initiating breastfeeding


After the delivery of your baby, your breasts produce a thick yellowish substance called colostrum which will not only meet your baby’s nutritional needs but helps build immunity. Do not get anxious if you or your baby is unable to start the process of breastfeeding, it needs practice and patience from your side to learn it. Seek help from your nurse in the correct method of breastfeeding by positioning your baby right and latching your baby correctly. Breastfeeding should not be painful; your breasts should feel comfortable when your baby latches on. If you experience pain, you are probably not doing it right; you need to break the suction by gently prodding your little finger between your baby’s gums and trying again. Learning the correct technique will prevent pain or sore nipples.

Breastfeeding essentials

Frequency of feeding

You would need to frequently breastfeed your baby which would be like every two to three hours. Feed your baby on each breast for ten to fifteen minutes. The more you breastfeed, the more your breasts will be stimulated to produce more milk. Watch out for an early sign of a hungry baby as crying is a ‘late’ sign of hunger. It will be easier to soothe a cranky and fussy baby if they are breastfed on time. Signs of early hunger include stirring or movement, sucking or lip movements.

Find a comfortable position

You need to be in a comfortable position for your baby to feel comfortable. Look for good arm and back support, so that you do not tire easily and experience any body aches. To avoid backaches you need to cradle the baby closer to your breast and not the other way around. Provide support to the baby’s head while you feed him.

Breastfeeding process

After you have found a comfortable position for yourself, use your other hand to pass the breast near your baby’s mouth.

  • Your baby should naturally open his/her mouth wide enough to take a large portion of the areola (dark area around the nipple) into the mouth. You nipple should feel deep into the baby’s mouth followed by instinctive sucking and swallowing movement.
  • Your baby should latch on perfectly in order to prevent sore nipples, if you are experiencing any discomfort you need to break the suction by gently prodding your little finger between your baby’s gums and trying again.
  • Feed your baby thoroughly from the first offered breast for nursing, till the breast feels soft.
  • Try burping the baby after you are done with feeding. Try offering the other breast to the baby for nursing incase he/she is hungry, they will automatically latch on.

Image source: Getty Images

Read more articles on Newborn Care.

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