Breastfeeding on First Day: Tips for New Mothers
And yes, baby is out! Finally after 9 months of wait. All of a sudden, out of that warmth and coziness of mother’s womb. Quivering and shivering, unaware of where she is! And you are too overwhelmed seeing your baby, too inundated with joy and happiness. And although you have just gone through one of most painful moments, you have to remember that baby needs her most vital tonic- the first milk (colostrum) very soon birth.
Many times mother and baby are not close to each other immediately after birth for few hours. So before delivery talk to your doctor and request for seeing baby for immediate breastfeed. So here are few very important terms and tips you must be aware of for first day.
1. Skin to Skin contact and first breastfeed:
It is important to hold your baby as soon as possible after birth. Skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother immediately following birth helps in bonding and to regulate baby’s body temperature. It also promotes the production of oxytocin in mothers. Oxytocin is a hormone that increases mother’s feelings for her baby and a positive mood which in turn boosts breast milk production. Please request your doctor to perform only necessary checks immediately after birth and before first breastfeed. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible. Even in case of cesarean delivery you can have skin to skin contact with your baby and breastfeed her with help from nurse (in case of planned cesarean, discuss with your doctor before delivery). Skin to skin contact should be made for next 3 weeks (at least 2 hrs a day). With skin to skin contact baby’s heart and breathing rates are more stable, baby is calmer and she will sleep more than kept alone.
2. What is the breast crawl?:
If placed on mother’s stomach, baby can actually crawl. Baby looks for the breast and breastfeed on her own. This is called as breast crawl. This baby led feeding is helpful in good latch on and it helps in successful breastfeeding. Undress baby to diaper and make a good skin to skin contact and cover the rest of her body part with blanket.
3. What is Colostrum?:
During pregnancy you are creating first milk for your baby which is colostrum. It is most powerful and natural medicine of your baby for a healthy life. It looks different than usual breastmilk, it is thick and opaque (sometimes yellowish and it may leak from breasts during last few months of pregnancy. A new born baby has a very small stomach; she needs small amount of colostrum. So do not expect colostrum production as you produce breast milk after a week or so. It is hardly few teaspoons. ). Colostrum is a concentrated, less in quantity and high in nutrients. It contains antioxidants, immune cells, growth factors, immunoglobulins. It gives your new born immunity against harmful bacteria and viruses. Colostrum is very easy to digest and it encourages baby’s first bowel movement.
4. Breast feeding frequency :
Your new born has a tiny stomach and as breastmilk is digested easily hence your baby will be hungry very often. So feed her whenever there is a sign. Your baby may demand feeding even just after finishing one feeding. It is common and actually it will help you to make more milk. Frequent feeding will help baby to gain weight.
5. Latch on:
You will have to train yourself and your little one for a good latch. Learn here.
6. Common problems of first day feeding:
You may face breast engorgement especially if it is not first delivery. Click here for more information.
7. Who is Lactation consultant and why you need one?:
Lactation consultants are trained breastfeeding specialists who teach mother’s breastfeeding techniques, comfortable positions, latch-on and help solving breastfeeding problems. It is recommended that you receive professional instruction from lactation consultants preferably in hospital before discharge.
8. NOTES: If for some reason you cannot breast feed the new born e.g. no latch on, baby is very sleepy etc. then express the milk in spoon and feed it to baby. It is very important that your baby gets colostrum as early as possible. Even if you are expressing milk, do not stop trying for direct breastfeeding.
9. If possible, keep baby close to you on same bed. Frequent feeding becomes easier and baby feels secure.
Wish you a very happy and successful breastfeeding. Share your experience with us and help expecting mothers.