We know that there is no better food for the baby than breast milk. Among its benefits we can mention that it is free, it is always prepared and at the ideal temperature, it provides immunity against diseases and reduces the risk of allergies, in addition to promoting the attachment bond between mother and baby.
Due to its numerous advantages, it is important to extend breastfeeding for as long as possible, at least exclusively during the first six months. There are some tips that we can keep in mind to achieve a happy and successful breastfeeding .
1. The first hour of life is essential
The establishment of breastfeeding should occur as soon as possible, if possible the child should be put to the breast immediately after birth . The baby’s instinct is so strong at that time that it is able to crawl towards the mother’s breast guided by the smell and suck on its own, a phenomenon known as Breast Crawl.
Early breastfeeding, started in the first hour of life (in some cases we speak of the first two hours), is key to successful breastfeeding. In the hours after childbirth, a very strong imprint is produced between the mother and the baby, a sensitive period that favors the affective bond and the establishment of breastfeeding.
For this reason, it is very important not to separate the mother and the baby after childbirth , to facilitate early contact between the two, a biological need that should not be prevented, even after a caesarean section, except in cases of serious pathology, which are the less.
2. Breastfeed on demand
The baby should not have schedules to feed. Even if you recently nursed, you may be left hungry or need comforting at the breast. The baby’s stomach is not like a glass that fills up and must wait three hours for it to empty and offer it again.
The capacity for self-regulation that the suckling baby has is incredible. Logically, we cannot know the amount of milk that the baby takes from the breast, in addition, the consistency of the milk of each feed, and even that of each breast and each mammary lobe, is different.
When he needs it, he asks, so the key to good nutrition is to offer him the breast on demand, that is, whenever he asks for it. And if he doesn’t ask for it, (there are very sleepy newborns) it must be offered frequently, leaving the baby close to the breast. Also during the night, that is why co-sleeping is a recommended practice because the baby can breastfeed when he needs it, even if he is sleeping.
On the other hand, there is a golden law in breastfeeding: the sucking reflex. When the baby sucks the nipple, a stimulus is produced that sends the order to the brain to produce prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production. It’s like a bomb. Therefore, offering the breast on demand improves milk production .
It is also important to respect the rhythm of the baby’s feeding, forget about the clock. The consistency of the milk is not the same at the beginning as at the end of the feeding, therefore it must be the person who decides when to stop drinking. He will when he is satiated.
3. Avoid using a pacifier at first
It is recommended not to use pacifiers or teats for the first few weeks , at least until breastfeeding has been established.
The suction of the teat is different from the suction of the nipple and can confuse the baby.
4. Good posture and grip
A good posture facilitates a correct attachment of the baby to the breast , a fundamental aspect for him to receive the amount of milk he needs and to avoid problems in the mother such as the appearance of cracks.
For a good latch on during suckling, the baby’s mouth should cover much of the breast areola and the nipple should be completely inside the baby’s mouth, on the soft palate, at the back of the mouth.
There are several positions to breastfeed, among which you should find the most comfortable for both of you, the most common being the classic one, holding the baby with your forearm (if you prefer, you can use a nursing pillow). Little by little, with practice you will discover new breastfeeding positions.
Many mothers wonder why my child does not latch well at the breast and posture is the cause most of the time, fortunately something that can be corrected.
5. A favorable environment
Breastfeeding is a very intimate act of union between mother and baby. It is important that both of you are comfortable, relaxed and in tune, away from disturbing noises and distractions.
If necessary, move away with the baby to a quieter place with less light.
6. How long to breastfeed
That’s up to you and your baby. There is no set time. The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then supplementing it with solid food for up to two years or more.
Breast milk has a protective effect against gastrointestinal infections, as well as against other types of infections and diseases such as colds, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, otitis, meningitis, urine infections, allergies, asthma, childhood obesity, necrotizing enterocolitis and even death syndrome. Sudden infant syndrome (SIDS).
After the first few months, milk production is self-regulating. Your breasts will no longer feel overflowing, nor will they leak like they did at the beginning, but that does not mean that you no longer have milk.
There are children who are breastfed throughout their childhood, even until they are five, six or more. Prolonged breastfeeding has no contraindications, beyond the social difficulties it poses, which can be dealt with if the mother and child so wish.
7. Lots of patience
You’re not an expert yet, especially if it’s your first baby, but you’ll both learn.
Patience is, I believe, one of the fundamental pillars of successful breastfeeding. Don’t give up in the face of failure. Any inconvenience can be overcome with a positive attitude and love.
8. Ask for help if you need it
When problems with breastfeeding occur, it can be exasperating for the mother and the baby. Problems that may occur such as flat or inverted nipples, nipple cracks, pain when breastfeeding, breast engorgement or engorgement, mastitis, are possible to overcome with the right information and help.
Find breastfeeding support groups near you.