-Why Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
Breast feeding your baby was the way that God designed your body. It’s natural, and the best for your infant. It helps to bond with your infant, assists with immunity for the baby, and provides optimal growth and neurological development. Other benefits of breast feeding are: protective against communicable diseases, leads to better teeth/jaw development, protects against bacteria, meningitis, provides protection against neonatal sepsis, and is the very best for a premature or low birth weight baby.
Infants that are nursed get sick less often which means they are in the doctor’s office and hospital less often, they have a lower risk of diseases which include: diarrhea, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract infections. They also have a reduced rate of infections of the upper respiratory tract, less ear infections, less pneumonia, neonatal sepsis, giardia, and less incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Everyone knows that breast is best, but do you know that no matter how hard man tries, they cannot make a formula that is anywhere equal to breast milk! Your milk is made for the baby that you carried, at the age of the child when the baby is born. By this I mean that if you deliver your baby too early, your milk will have things in it that is special to that premature baby. Just what the infant would need. No formula can do that.
Mothers who breast feed benefit by a special bond that is between you and your baby. It provides you with a way for your uterus to ‘go-back’ to its pre-pregnancy size, yes you will have cramps as this happens, but you will also have less bleeding. It also burns up calories, which means that you lose your pregnancy gained weight faster. Mothers who breast feed have less cancers-breast, ovarian, and cervical. It’s cheaper, less money into formula, it is convenient (no making bottles in the middle of the night), provides the mother with a hormone-induced contentment (you feel that warm fuzzy relaxed feeling), it contributes to natural family planning, fosters confidence and promotes self-esteem.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare To Breast Feed?
Nothing! When I was pregnant (so many years ago) we were told to prepare our nipples by rubbing them while taking a shower with a rough washcloth, or soft bristle hair brush or bath brush. Ouch!! All I did was destroy the top layer of skin on my nipples! I decided on my own there had to be a better way. So, I did nothing, and you know what? That was best! Do nothing!
Your body is designed to feed an infant. You should not use oils, soaps or lotions on your nipples. They can dry or clog the pores (Montgomery glands) that are there to secrete protective oils for your nipples to keep them soft and give an off a faint scent that helps your baby to find your nipples. Lotions can contain alcohol which is drying to the nipple.
It is ok to use lanolin (if no one has a wool allergy) and vit E is great also. Just open a capsule with a pin, and squeeze a little onto your nipple. Pure Aloe vera is also ok to use. (buy yourself a plant, it will be a great investment for many natural uses now that you will have children).
Correct Latch On
Sit back in a comfortable chair. Place the baby’s head in the crook/ elbow area of your arm, and turn the infant towards you. The baby’s stomach should be to you-tummy to tummy-then use your nipple to tickle the baby’s mouth, on the lower lip, when the infant opens his mouth wide, pull the baby to your breast.
As you tickle the baby’s mouth, it will start his rooting reflex. Some babies may lick the nipple a few times, and that is ok. Be patient, it takes time for a new baby to latch on sometimes. The baby should take in about a half dollar size of your nipple. Be sure that your baby’s top and bottom lips are tolled outward, and his tongue cups your nipple and areola. His nose will touch your breast.
If the baby is not latched on correct, you will have a lot of pain, remove the baby by placing one of your fingers into the baby’s mouth to break the suction, and pull the infant back off of your breast. As you lower the baby’s head, his jaw will bite down, this is a reflex. So, keep your finger in the infant’s mouth until he is well away from your nipple.
First 2 hours
You should nurse with in the first two hours after birth. It imprints on the baby, so they remember how to nurse later. After the two hours most infants go into what I call a ‘sleepy mode’ where they are very tired and want to sleep for about 4-6 hours. You need to rest with the baby, but you should wake up after 3 hours and nurse again. The more you nurse your baby, the better for both you and your baby.
Here is a visual of the size of your baby's tummy at birth and over the next several days to one month: