According to research, breast feeding has many advantages for babies and mothers. Breast milk contains unique substances that are not found in other types of milk. Also, breast milk usually has fewer complications associated with versus cow’s milk. Studies show that it is ideal to breastfeed at least for the first six months and even up to two years.
Why is breast milk beneficial?
Only breast milk contains colostrum, which is essential for the baby as it contains natural antibodies and immune globulins responsible for keeping the baby disease free for the first months of life. Not even commercially made milk can simulate colostrum.
Babies’ feces aren’t as smelly when they drink breast milk versus cow’s milk or commercially make milk. Babies that breast feed also don’t have difficulty defecating. Breast feeding is also found to be helpful as a family planning method, although is not always effective. Also, breast milk is FREE!
Many women understand and are aware of the importance of breast feeding, however, many women report problems associated with lactation. According to lactation consultants these problems are most often associated with improper breast feeding techniques. Both, the baby and the mother will benefit from proper observation of breast feeding techniques.
First, you need to prepare your body for milk production. There is a variety of nipple exercises to perform in order to prepare to deliver the breast milk to your baby. An easy exercise involves to routinely pinch the nipple.
Second, it is extremely important to keep the nipple clean before the baby latches on. Although, you should avoid using soap directly on your nipple. If soap can’t be avoided, your nipple should be wiped using a soft cloth soaked in clean water to make sure it is clean before your baby latches.
Third, you need to allow your baby to properly latch on. One way to know that the baby is properly latched is when your baby’s mouth covers the entire areola and not just the nipples. It is essential that your baby is properly latched to simulate the “let-down reflex” of your breasts wherein the milk goes down the ducts and out the nipples. To aid your baby to latch, make use of his/her rooting reflex. Stimulate your baby’s cheek, near their mouth by using your nipple and their head will automatically turn towards the simulation. Their mouth will open and be ready for receiving the nipple. It is fairly common for babies to stop sucking while still latched on to the breast, it is in one hand due to the fact that after sucking enough milk into their mouth they actually have to swallow (hence stopping to suck) and on the other hand it Is due to tiredness. One simple way to stimulate them to keep on feeding is by caressing/ stimulating their cheek and the back of their jaw close by the ear. Once you’re done, you can aid your baby to stop latching by inserting your pinky finger (clean) into the side of their mouth and propping it slightly open. With this, the baby will stop sucking and you will be able to remove your nipple.
To prevent sore nipples and engorgement, monitor the amount of time your baby sucks each nipple. It is advisable to spend 10 to 15 minutes on each breast to make sure that the breasts are completely emptied of milk. This prevents engorgement. The next time your baby feeds, let the baby use the last breast he or she used.
Breastfeeding is the natural way to go to feed your baby but it does not always come naturally. Many questions may arise when baby arrives and you proceed to breastfeeding. In this case, asking for recommendations and assistance from a lactation specialist is highly recommended.