Breastfeeding comes with plenty of benefits for both the mother and her newborn child. Breast milk contains antibodies and nutrients that aid in protecting the baby against infections, stomach problems, viruses, and even obesity. Mothers too can benefit from breastfeeding, as the process has been clinically proven to lower risks of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and hypertension. According to breastfeeding and lactation specialists, you should breastfeed your newborn as soon as you can after delivery. However, breastfeeding after birth is easy said than done for most mothers. So, how do you ensure that your breastfeeding gets off to a good start? This post highlights tips for breastfeeding after birth.
Breastfeed within the First Hour of Birth
Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby immediately after delivery. Within the first hour of giving birth, a healthy baby should be alert to latch a breast. The baby is also likely to spontaneously seek the breast within the first hour of birth, especially when in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. Breastfeeding immediately after birth, particularly within the one-hour window, enhances the immediate mother-to-child bond. The baby is also able to enjoy the immunological benefits of colostrum.
Maintain a Skin-to-Skin Contact When Breastfeeding
Skin-to-skin contact between a mother and child has been scientifically proven to offer wide-ranging benefits when done correctly. Such benefits include improved brain development, strengthened bonding, and enhanced sleep. In the case of breastfeeding after birth, skin-to-skin contact goes a long way in facilitating more successful breastfeeding. This is because such close contacts make it easy for babies to cue for breastfeeding regularly, enhancing what is known as responsive feeding. This is a practice where you breastfeed every time the baby demands until they get satisfied. Again, it is easier for your baby to get a good latch when in close contact with your skin.
Use a Breast Pump When Necessary
Breast pumps are a great way to keep your baby well-fed, especially when you cannot breastfeed them directly. With a breast pump, you can collect some breast milk and have someone feed your child when you are away. Also, a breast pump may come in handy when you have problems with your breast milk supply. Mothers who deliver babies with special needs or prematurely may experience difficulties breastfeeding immediately after birth. In such cases, using a breast pump is necessary.
Keep Your Baby Awake While Feeding
Naturally, breastfeeding is a sleep-inducing process, and mothers consider it the most effective way to bring their babies to sleep. However, there are instances when you should keep your newborn awake, including during breastfeeding. Feeding your baby when fully awake helps in keeping them away from feeding-sleep associations. This is where a baby depends on breastfeeding to fall asleep. Breastfeeding your child while awake is also a great way to ensure that they get full breastfeeds. The best way to keep your baby awake while breastfeeding is to work with a sleeping and breastfeeding schedule. You can also massage the baby’s back and feet to keep them going.
Get Your Baby a Good Breastfeeding Latch
Latching is the way your baby takes on the breast nipple into their mouth for suckling. Understanding how to achieve a good breastfeeding latch helps enhance a successful feeding experience for both the mother and child. Good latching makes it easy for the newborn to get colostrum faster and effectively. If it does not hurt or feels comfortable when breastfeeding, there are all chances you have achieved a good latched. However, if it hurts or gives a pinch, you might want to get some help immediately.
Ask for Help
Breastfeeding is not always easy, especially if you are a first-time mother. If things are not going as planned, consider getting some help from a lactation specialist. Some breastfeeding challenges are best handled and easy to resolve when addressed early.
Breastfeeding after birth is always a learning experience, especially for new mothers. Some babies manage to take a good breastfeeding latch immediately after birth. However, some newborns may get a latch and not suck at all. All these experiences are normal for a first feeding. To ensure that you get the best breastfeeding experience after birth, consider maintaining skin-to-skin contact with the baby, keep the child awake when feeding, and use a pump when necessary. Fortunately, most hospitals have lactation specialists who are readily available to offer the support you need during your first feeding.