New mothers are often flooded with tons of advice when it comes to breastfeeding. This is especially true if you have become a mother for the first time.
The inflow of information from everywhere only makes you confused. Moreover, it gets all the more uncomfortable and embarrassing as people watch you breastfeed your baby and judge you for not doing it in the “best” way.
It is important for you to know that there is no best way to breastfeed your baby. The way you latch your baby while breastfeeding may not work well for another mother and vice versa. In addition, you baby may have a different feeding pattern than any other baby as some babies feed more frequently than others.
While these are independent factors that vary from one mother to the other (and also from one baby to another), there are specific dos and don’ts related to breastfeeding that applies to all mothers. Here is a specially-curated list of things that new mothers should remember before breastfeeding their infants.
• Breastfeed the baby every two hours for the initial few weeks. Gradually reduce the frequency depending on your baby’s feeding pattern. Slowly one switches to on-demand feeding.
• Try to breastfeed the baby after you have a warm bath. This significantly improves the flow of breast milk.
• Before you breastfeed, make sure that your baby wears a clean and dry diaper.
• Establish a routine by feeding your baby at specific times every day.
• Keep yourself hydrated and preferable drink a glass of water or juice before you start to breastfeed.
• Consume a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals to improve the quality of breast milk and make sure that your baby receives all the nutrients.
• Keep all breastfeeding accessories such as breast shields and breast pump sterilized.
• Always keep the areas around the nipple clean. Wash your hands and wipe the areas around the areola with the clean, damp cloth before latching on your baby.
• Avoid eating anything spicy or with a strong flavor before you breastfeed as it may affect the taste of the breast milk. Babies can taste flavors and being very sensitive any unusual flavor or taste may alter their feeding habit.
• Do not take any medications or painkiller before you breastfeed.
• Never put just the nipple into the mouth of your baby as it will make the breastfeeding experience painful. Instead, put the areola so that the baby is able to latch properly.
• Never make the baby cry for a feed. Instead, try to identify the signs that indicate that your baby is hungry. Babies may lick lips, put their hand over their mouth, or push their tongue out when they feel hungry.
• Do not smoke during your lactation period.
• Abstain from caffeine and alcohol completely.
• Do not apply any ointment or cream around or over the areola and nipples. Even if you need to (as may be the case in cracked nipples) do clean the area thoroughly before latching your baby.
• Do not use feeding bottles, milk powder, infant formula, or another type of baby foods for at least first 6 months. Breastfeeding should be exclusive for first six months.
General Tip: To make breastfeeding experience easier for yourself and your baby, it is important to make sure that you start breastfeeding as soon as you deliver the baby. Remember, the more you will try to breastfeed the baby, the easier it’ll become for both of you. This will also help improve the production of breast milk.