For the first six months after your baby is born, all it’s going to do is feed, sleep, poop and cry when hungry. All these are natural responses, something that your baby is conditioned to do . While the baby knows exactly how to feed from the mommy, it takes some amount of practice for the mommy to perfect this skill. You may have a lot of anxious questions running through your mind. But, there’s no need to worry. We’ve got you a handy guide that’ll help you through the entire process.
The key is to feed your baby before it starts to cry. When the baby cries, it releases stress hormones which result in the baby feeling unhappy and insecure. It will take you double the time and effort to pacify and feed an upset baby, leaving you feeling more frustrated and tired. Instead, look for behavioural signs such as restlessness, sucking on its fists or smacking its lips. Another way to check if the baby is hungry is to stroke its cheek; if it turns towards your finger and tries to suck on it, it means it’s time to feed. You may need to feed the baby up to 12 times a day.
1. The right position is everything. Otherwise, your baby won’t feed well and you’ll experience a lot of discomfort.
2. Whenever you’re getting ready to feed the baby, make sure you’re seated in a quiet and comfortable spot. Rest your back and arms against a wall or a bed-post. Use pillows for added support and comfort.
3. Position your baby such that it doesn’t hurt your arms, back and neck. Hold the baby close to you, so that its belly is touching your belly, and it doesn’t have to turn its head to reach the breast.
4. Make sure your baby’s mouth covers the nipple completely, for a firm latching. Once the baby has latched onto you, tilt its head back slightly so its nose is clear for breathing.
5. To know if the baby has latched properly, your nipple should be touching the roof of its mouth, you should be feeling comfortable and the milk should be flowing freely. You should also feel a deep pulling sensation in your breast.
6. In case you experience discomfort, pain or notice that the milk isn’t flowing, unlatch the baby and try again.
Your baby is the only expert here. The feeding time varies anywhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Here’s how you can tell if the baby is full:
1. Once your baby is full, it will unlatch itself on its own.
2. It will also turn its head away from the breast, to communicate that it’s satisfied for now.
3. It is extremely common for satisfied babies to fall asleep mid-feeding, once they’ve had their fill.
4. Some babies also continue latching on to the nipple, even though they’re not sucking any milk. This still means that they’re full, and you can gently pull them away.
5. After 4 months, babies start to notice their surroundings and are easily distracted by it. If your baby starts paying more attention to what’s around it more than feeding, then it’s an indication that it has had more than enough milk.
It’s common to experience soreness in your breasts and nipples during and after nursing your baby. If that happens, use warm compresses on the affected area. You can also massage a small amount of breast milk around your nipples and let it air-dry. Feed the baby for shorter durations instead of a lengthy period, or switch between breasts to ease the soreness.
Soreness during feeding is a result of improper latching. If you’re consistently facing difficulty helping your baby latch onto you, that’s okay. You can use a pump to express the milk and feed the baby via a bottle. If the pain persists, get it checked by your doctor and ask them to prescribe a cream to ease the pain.
, although a natural instinct, isn’t something you master overnight. It takes some practice. So, don’t feel stressed or worried the way a lot of moms fresh out of pregnancy are likely to feel. Involve your partner, who will help and support you throughout this process. Give yourself time, stay calm and you’ll soon get the hang of it like you’ve been doing it forever! In case you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to talk to your gynaecologist.