The benefits of breastfeeding are now well documented. Your breast milk delivers many of the essential vitamins and nutrients - and protects against diseases and infections. Not only that, the wholly natural act of breastfeeding helps to nurture the bond between you and your newborn.
In order to make your breastfeeding process as effective and rewarding as it possibly can be, we have provided some useful tips to help guide you.
1. When can I start breastfeeding your child?
Breastfeeding can begin as soon as your baby shows interest which is usually within the first few minutes but some may take up to an hour, so long as mum and baby are in good health.
If a mother or baby is unwell at delivery or there is a medical indication that prevents feeding immediately, there are processes to initiate lactation which will be specific for different situations.
2. How much should I be feeding my baby?
Babies all need different amounts and have a very slick way of regulating how much they drink. It is important to understand that the quality of breastmilk is guaranteed to be specially designed for the individual baby.
You need to observe your baby for evidence that she is getting enough milk - they usually need around 6-8 feeds per 24 hours, have 6 wet nappies and uses the loo regularly It's also important to have weight gain to ensure the baby is thriving.
3. What should I do if I'm struggling to breastfeed?
Breastfeeding is an art that is learned and there are many factors that can have an impact on a positive breastfeeding experience. One of the most common reasons that breastfeeding can be hindered is when the supply and demand system is interrupted. This can be due to many different factors including giving baby supplementary formula, putting a baby on a feeding schedule too soon.
If you intend to breastfeed, try to gain an understanding of how it works while you are pregnant and know that it will take a few weeks until both mum and baby are comfortable. Manage your expectations, plan ahead and engage support during the early days with your newborn. If you think this is not helping, seek advice from a lactation consultant as soon as you can.
4. What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother?
Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits both physical and psychological for mothers. Some of the more common benefits to mother are protection against breast and ovarian cancer, and hip fractures in later life.
There are two main hormones that make the mum feel great during her breastfeeding time: Prolactin, which produces a peaceful, nurturing sensation that allows you to relax and focus on your child and oxytocin, which promotes a strong sense of love and attachment between the two of you.
5. What are the benefits of breastfeeding for my baby?
A baby will thrive on milk that is specifically designed for him. They will have a lower risk of developing or being admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, type 1 & 2 diabetes and allergies such as asthma and lactose intolerance.
There is a lot to think about when you are pregnant and sometimes it can be overwhelming. When you are wondering how you will feed your baby, try to learn about how feeding works and how long it will take to learn.
Breastfeeding classes are available at a private maternity hospital such as The Portland Hospital to help you prepare for what lies ahead. Remember, the happier you are whilst breastfeeding, the happier your baby will be.
This post is brought to you by The Portland Hospital - the only private hospital in the UK dedicated exclusively to the care of women and children. For more information, please visit - www.theportlandhospital.com
Tagged in Parenting