Friday, May 27, 2005

Breastfeeding Newborns

Breastfeeding a newborn baby can be tricky. Many new mothers are hesitant to nurse their infants because they are not knowledgeable about the best way to breastfeed. Understandably, you will not know all the positions or tricks the first time around. Doctors will recommend that new mothers attempt breastfeeding. Often, women try breastfeeding in the hospital, and immediately give up when they discover that is it difficult to maneuver the baby. Breastfeeding takes time and patience. The first few times may feel awkward. Nonetheless within a few days or weeks, the mother and baby will get into the routine.

Some women opt not to breastfeed. It is their body and their baby, thus they have the right to make this decision. There are mothers who try and make non-breastfeeding mothers feel bad. True, mothers were created to provide milk for their babies. Medical doctors and researchers will even imply that breastfed babies are healthier. Of course, many mothers know that this is not necessarily true. Millions of children are not breastfed and live a healthy life. In fact, in my circle of friends, ironically the mothers who were pro breastfeeding had more health issues with their children than the mothers who chose infant formula.

Mothers that do choose to breastfeed may need a few pointers to help them along the way. It helps to have a trusted friend or relative that can show or suggest positions. However, those who do not have anyone to guide them have turned to the right place.
Prior to nursing your baby it may be ideal to wash your hands. Once this is done, carry your baby to a couch or chair. The key to breastfeeding is finding the right position. This position should be comfortable for both you and your baby, more so for the infant. There are several positions to choose. These positions include the cradle hold, placing the baby on your side, or laying the baby at your side. Experiment with all three positions to determine which one is best.

Some mothers experience difficulty getting the baby to accept the breast. To begin breastfeeding, hold the baby close to your chest. Gently rub against his or her mouth. When the baby opens his mouth, pull him or her closer to you. Infants will normally attach themselves to the nipple and begin feeding. Mothers may experience some pain. Fortunately, the pain only last a few seconds to a minute. If the pain last longer, re-position the baby. They are likely only sucking on the tip.

In some situations, mothers may experience severe soreness. They tend to release the infant before he or she is finished feeding. Those who experience persistent soreness may consider switching the baby to the other breast as soon as they feel a little tenderness. Continuing to breastfeed when sore could prolong soreness and make it difficult to breastfeed later in the day. Mothers could also consider pumping their milk and bottle feeding to allow sore breast to heal.

Releasing the baby from the breast is the easiest part of breastfeeding. If the infant does not have a tight suction, simple pull them away from your chest area. Infants with a tight suction may require the mother sticking her finger in their mouth to loosen the suction. Immediately burp the baby once they finish nursing. New mothers often forget this important step. Burping serves two purposes. One, it helps the milk to digest. Two, it helps to alleviate gas. An infant with gas pains is not a pretty picture. The way to determine whether your baby is experiencing gas pains is by touching their stomach. Gas makes the stomach feel hard. The infant may also be screaming and kicking one leg. Infant gas relief medical drops are a must for every nursery bag. Within seconds, these drops stop gas pains.

Once the baby is burped, they likely want more milk. Mothers can latch the infant onto their other breast. The infant may not want anymore milk and refuse the breast. A mother will generally breast feed around 10 to 12 times in one day. Do not wait until the baby starts crying to feed. Indicators that they are hungry include smacking of the lips, restlessness, or whining.

Mothers who decide to breastfeed need to understand that everything they eat is passed to their milk. Thus, spicy foods or foods high in salt should be limited. Certain foods can make babies experience gas pains. Breastfeeding mothers should also maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty or water. Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Many mothers have tried nursing their infants, and in the end decided that bottle feeding was a better choice. These mothers have no reason to feel ashamed, nor should they be judged by other mothers who consider breastfeeding the better alternative.

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