Breastfeeding will give your baby the best possible start in life. It is the only essential meal needed in the first few months of a baby’s life, though there are formula substitutes available and besides, it is yummy.
Breast milk is the milk produced by a human mother to feed her baby. It provides the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods. It also contains antibodies that enhance your baby develop immune system against diseases like childhood leukemia, child hood onset diabetes, asthma and eczema, dental problems, risk of obesity later in life, and risk of developing psychological disorders amongst other health problems.
Breast milk is nature’s gift that is yours and yours alone, to give to your baby.
EASY TIPS FOR BREASTFEEDING
- Reduce the use of soap on your nipples beginning from the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Keep your breasts clean by using only water. Avoid the use of soap as this can lead to excessive drying of the nipples and nipplesmay crack.
- When you are breast feeding your baby, ensure that your baby’s head aligns with his body so that your baby will swallow comfortably and support your baby’s back, shoulders and neck, while holding him closely.
- Do not worry if you have small breasts, as this has no effect on your ability to breastfeed. What matters is how much milk producing tissues or glandular tissues they contain.
- Eat healthy and balanced diet while breastfeeding, and ensure you get plenty of iron, protein and calcium.
- Try to feed frequently, as this will help you to maintain your milk supply.
- Drink a lot of water and tea.
- Get a good chair or breastfeeding pillow and create a feeding area, with some magazines or books to relax you while you feed.
- At each feed, offer both breasts, but empty one breast first before moving on to the other. Your breast will feel quite soft when it is empty. Emptying one breast first, ensures that your baby gets the nourishing milk that is delivered later in the feed.
- If your breasts are full and your baby doesn’t seem hungry, express some milk and store in the fridge. This regular emptying will ensure good milk supply and your baby can still have your milk in your absence. If your baby is a light feeder, encourage him to feed by stroking his cheek, or by placing him on your bare chest so that he can get a whiff of the breast milk, as this may rouse his interest.
- If your nipples are sore, dry and cracked, the positioning and latching of the baby may need correcting. If it doesn’t feel right, and it’s painful,then the latching is not correct. Ask for help from a nurse or a midwife.
- Sit up in bed or in a comfortable armchair with your back and shoulders well supported. Position one or more pillows at your side to bring your baby up to the breast level. If you’re sitting in a chair, wedge the pillows between you and the arm of the chair.
- If you have to return to paid employment, study or other commitments. You can keep expressed milk in a sealed container in the back of the fridge (not the door). It could be stored for up to 3-5 days without loosing its nutrients.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
- In the first year of his life your baby will triple his weight, increase his length by 50%, double the size of his brain and create every nerve cell he will ever have?
- Babies have a strongly developed sense of smell? By the time he is one week old, a baby can identify his mother by her smell.
- The heart of a newborn baby beats between 130 and 160 times a minute (about twice that of a normal adult)?
- Contrary to the old wives’ tale, babies are not color blind? They prefer strong primary colors – particularly red and blue.
- Newborn babies are genetically programmed to respond to human voices – especially female voices? Babies learn to distinguish between different sounds very quickly.
- Newborn babies may cry a lot but they don’t produce any tears? There is moisture to lubricate and clean the eyes but proper tears don’t start to appear until the baby is between three and twelve weeks old.