Motherhood doesn’t come with a rule book instead it comes with an avalanche of experiences that sometimes leave you gasping for breath and some alone time. Motherhood indeed is a once in a lifetime kind of experience and being a mother I would never exchange it with anything else. This once in a lifetime experience however has its own twists and turns for which you can never be fully prepared.
Recently I was watching an IGTV video of a famous fashion blogger who was talking about, how well prepared she was for birthing her child however how less prepared she was to breastfeed him. Breastfeeding is something that is expected to be natural phenomenon for a new mother. People around her expect her to breastfeed as easily as someone is enchanted by food. Being breastfed too is food for the new born, conversely it brings with it, its own set of challenges.
Every motherhood journey has its own set of crests and troughs. This saga of motherhood can become a fond tale to share if new mothers or mothers to be are advised about the basics of breastfeeding. In the many rounds you make to your doctor which are much more than the saath pheras you take for your weddings, you must also ask about all the know-hows of breastfeeding.
Here are some tips that I am sharing out of my own trials and tribulations of a six year long motherhood journey. I would also like to add that while breastfeeding is a beautiful experience, it shouldn’t be a norm to judge a new mother. Formula fed babies are healthy too and one such example is of the person who is writing this article.
Relax your nerves – This may sound like the most calming thing to do but may be equally challenging at the same time. Being a new mother is indeed stressful and it is bound to impact your breastmilk flow hence you need to relax your nerves for your supply to increase. By being calm and relaxed you will be able to help you baby latch well.
Latching Techniques – There are many books and advices available on how to get your baby to latch well to be able to breastfeed easily. You must definitely look them up and also talk to your medical expert about it. Understand how you can get your baby to latch and how to make the journey easy for yourself.
Get yourself examined – There are a few cases when babies are unable to latch due to the shape of the mother’s breasts. Get yourself examined and discuss how you can help your baby in a situation like these. There are very few rules connected to breastfeeding and latching as every baby is unique but it always helps to get your doubts clarifies.
Read the signs of hunger – In this case, you must observe the signs rather than reading them. Look for clues for when you baby is hungry. Turning of head, sticking out their tongue or trying to suck onto whatever is near them are a few signs that your baby is hungry. Offer to breastfeed your baby immediately, doing this will also help you bond better with your baby.
Strike a balance between when and how much to feed – Doctors usually suggest waking up your baby every two hours for feed. This is a little tricky and varies from child to child. New born usually tend to doze off while being breastfed and not always take the feed while they are asleep. I would suggest let your baby decide how long and how much they want to feed. Once you have understood the pattern, then you can tweak it as per your and your baby’s comfort
Get comfortable – From choosing between what to wear to what position to sit in while breastfeeding, you can become extremely tired. It is important that you make yourself comfortable first before helping your baby breastfeed. Two most comfortable positions for breastfeeding are – sitting in a reclined position with a good back rest and lying down with your baby next to you. You can support yourself with a breastfeeding pillow or use extra pillows for arm and back rest. Being attentive to your own comfort will help you breastfeed your baby better. Wear what you are comfortable in and also never hesitate to breastfeed in public because we don’t hesitate to satiate our hunger when we are outside.
Help your baby with latching – To start with this, you can begin with ticking the baby’s lips with your nipple. This will help them open their mouth wide and latch easily. Aim the nipple above you baby’s top lip instead of lower lip as this will help them suckle better. Make sure your baby is in a comfortable position while being breastfed. Their chin shouldn’t be tucked into their chest or stomach shouldn’t get pressed. Burp them well after every feed to avoid colic and gas.
Take care of your skin – This is something that you must discuss with your medical help before you deliver. Regular nursing can make your skin dry and leaking is normal too. Take care of your skin with nipple shields, nipple creams or a good moisturizing lotion. Keep your breasts clean and dry and avoid over washing. Taking care of your skin with a good product is good way to make your breastfeeding journey easy
Don’t worry about your supply, instead worry about your diet – Your milk supply depends on your baby’s needs. It works in proportion to the demand and supply rule. So eventually your baby will have enough milk. This may get impacted only in cases of a medical problem or your body not naturally producing enough milk. Take a nutritious diet, eat food that increases lactation and you will have enough milk supply to feed your baby. Whenever you have a doubt, seek help.
Look for wet diapers – Your most important tell-tale sign that your breastfeeding is going well is a wet diaper. ? If your baby is gaining enough weight and has wet diapers, which means that your breastfeeding is going well. While breastfeeding babies usually suck and swallow quickly which is extremely normal. The bowel movements may vary and it shouldn’t be a cause of concern unless you see something unusual.
Breastfeeding and motherhood can be extremely overwhelming and no one expects you to know-it-all. Every child and every mother is different and they are the one who understand each other perfectly. These tips have been put down by experience, you must always seek guidance from a medical practitioner and trust your instinct. Do not drown yourself in the advice and judgement of others, choose what is best for your baby and you.