Feeding your baby
It is never too early to start thinking about how you will feed your baby. There are a number of benefits if you choose breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is good for both the mother and baby and its benefits last lifetime. Breastfeed is the food designed for the baby and it should be given to the baby for at least six months as it’s a complete diet and contains all important ingredients. You can start giving solid food to the baby along with breastfeed but not before six months.
“World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeed for two years or longer”
Breastfeeding protects the baby as well as the mother. It provides protection to baby from a number of infections like ear infections, asthma, eczema, chest infections and many more. It protects the mother from breast cancer, weaker bones and helps the woman to get into shape faster after giving birth. The longer the time of breastfeeding, the greater will be number of benefits that mother and baby gets. Breastfeeding not only provides protection but also builds a stronger physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
Breastfeeding takes time and practice to work. Once you will start holding your baby in arms, you will start feeling the connection. You should try to give more time to your baby as it will help you both to quickly know each other.
Breastfeeding immediately after birth
The milk in women is ready for her baby at the time she gives birth. The milk is concentrated and baby will take a small amount of it. This milk contains antibodies which boosts immunity of the baby and helps the baby fight against infections. Your baby feels calm when you hold your baby in arms. When baby feeds, it lets your body know how much milk it should produce. The amount of milk varies with needs of your baby. Let your baby decide how much milk is needed. Feed immediately whenever the baby is hungry as feeding at the right time makes your baby feel happy.
Tips for Breastfeeding
Some of the tips that you should remember while breastfeeding are:
• There can be many positions for breastfeeding. You need to find that one position which will make you feel comfortable. While feeding, the head and body of baby should be in a straight line.
• Make sure your baby is well attached to you. This helps your body to make right amount of milk.
• There is no need to offer formula milk in addition to breast milk. Feed more often rather than offering formula milk.
• Your baby will start showing some signs whenever the baby is hungry like opening and closing their mouths, making sucking noises, opening eyes, turning head to bring their mouth towards you.
• Do not give food before six months. It can reduce the production of milk and there are chances that baby will get ill.
• Wear loose and easy clothes when you are out so that it will be easy for you to breastfeed.
Common breastfeeding problems
The earlier you will ask for help and will tackle these problems, the more you will get the chance to enjoy these early days. Most of the time, the solution is easy like changing your baby’s feeding position or increasing feeding time. Some of the common pregnancy problems that can occur are following:
• Sometimes you will feel like baby is not satisfied with the feed. This is called as “unsettled feeding”. You should change position of baby as there is a chance that baby is not getting enough milk.
• Milk can build up in ducts due to various reasons. Common reasons are missing a feed and wearing too tight clothes. Treat this problem as soon as possible as it may lead to “mastitis” which is inflammation of the breast. It also causes a red patch. You should take rest and feed frequently to treat this problem. You can take a painkiller too to get relieve from this problem.
• Another infection called “thrush” can also occur. Some antifungal creams can be used to treat this. In this infection, you and your baby both will need treatment.
• Some babies are born with an extra piece of skin underside of their tongue and floor of their mouth. This is called “tongue tie”. This makes breastfeeding difficult for the baby. Talk to the doctor to treat this problem.
Make sure that you are having a varied and balanced diet while breastfeeding. It is important to look after yourself. Aim to eat healthy foods which should include the following:
• Five portions of a variety of foods and vegetables in a day.
• Starchy foods like pasta, rice and potatoes.
• Fiber rich foods as they help to avoid problem of constipation.
• Protein rich foods like eggs, fish and pulses.
• Two portions of fish each week, one should be oily fish.
• Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt which contain calcium.
• Drink plenty of fluids like water, milk and fresh juices.
Foods to avoid
The foods that you should try to avoid while breastfeeding are as follow:
• Eating fish is good for health but avoid eating more than two portions of oily fish in a week.
• Try avoiding foods and drinks that contain high amount of caffeine.
• Peanuts are one of most common causes of food allergy. Try not to eat peanuts if there is anyone in family who has allergy problems.