Being a new parent is exciting and full of challenges. New mothers usually seek information from elders or other experienced persons or health physicians to help them in their parenting role.
It is very well-known that breast milk contains the correct balance of nutrients and bioactive compounds for the infant. Therefore, mothers want their little one to get maximum health benefits from breast milk.
Studies have reported that 60% of the mothers do not meet their own breastfeeding goals. This may result in disappointment and their infants may suffer adverse health consequences.
Hence, new mothers must learn about the factors that may impact breastfeeding duration and acquire new resources and skills to improve breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers
Here are some tips, which may help the new mothers in breastfeeding:
A proper breastfeeding technique is important to establish breastfeeding and to ensure milk transfer as well as prevent problems related to breastfeeding.
A correct position during breastfeeding is important because the infant is held in relation to the mother’s body. On the other hand, attachment of the infant to the mother’s breast refers to whether the infant has enough breast tissue in the mouth.
Although breastfeeding is a natural act, it requires a learned skill. Once the new mother learns these skills, the problems related to breastfeeding can be prevented.
An interesting study found that diarrhea and acute respiratory infection in infants were linked to the ineffective breastfeeding technique among nursing mothers.
Ineffective breastfeeding technique results in an insufficient intake of breast milk and this causes poor weight gain in babies.
Besides this, an improper technique also affects the mother’s health. Cracked nipple and nipple damage are common among mothers with poor positioning and attachment.
Hence, the first step toward successful breastfeeding is to learn the correct breastfeeding skills.
Mothers need to fix a breastfeeding pattern. Erratic patterns can affect the infant’s health, growth and development. Therefore, mothers should set a timetable for breastfeeding and follow it strictly on a daily basis.
Below mentioned are two different breastfeeding patterns or approaches:
The first approach is called baby-led, which means feeding a baby when he demands. The baby controls the supply of milk as per his or her requirement. This approach encourages close contact between the mother and the baby with no time restrictions placed upon them.
The other approach is led by the clock, that is known as timed, scheduled or restricted breastfeeding. In this approach, the mother can decide the feeding pattern and feed the baby as per her convenience. She can then take care of her other responsibilities and chores as per the timetable.
Hence, after the delivery, new mothers should decide their pattern of breastfeeding as soon as they can.
Studies have reported that providing prenatal education to mothers and fathers results in better child growth and development. This promotes exclusive breastfeeding and protects the infants against infections.
Poor parental knowledge about breastfeeding and breast milk is the major cause for poor health outcomes among children. Parents who were taught about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding had a positive attitude towards it, reports a study.
Their infants were exclusively breastfed and they were at a lower risk of infections. Hence, effective breastfeeding depends on prior experience and demonstration of feeding methodology by health care providers and the elderly.
Learn The Correct Latch-On Position
The positioning of the baby’s body is important for successful breastfeeding and good attachment. If good attachment and positioning are achieved at the first and early feeds, most difficulties linked to breastfeeding can be avoided.
Scientific studies have reported that an effective sucking technique is important to establish breastfeeding and to ensure milk transfer.
If the baby’s positioning and attachment to the breast during breastfeeding is improper, different sorts of nipple trauma may occur.
Besides this, abnormal attachment and positioning may lead to dispersion of milk in various directions inside the oral cavity and laying down position of the baby may increase the incidence of respiratory infections.
Therefore, a correct mother-infant pair latch on the position has a positive impact on the health status of the child.
Say No To ‘Pacifiers’
Studies have found that pacifiers do not facilitate effective breast sucking. This may contribute to incorrect latch. Such an improper position of the baby may result in diarrhea and respiratory infections. Besides this, the milk transfer is disturbed and the baby may not receive adequate nutrition.
Observational studies also suggest that early exposure to pacifiers may lead to early cessation of exclusive breastfeeding by 3 to 6 months. Furthermore, the overall breastfeeding may come to an end within 12 months.
Hence, using a pacifier may reduce the overall duration of breastfeeding. This may then increase the short-term and long-term risks of infections and diseases in the infant as well as the mother.
Therefore, it is suggested that ‘breast is the best’ and initial use of pacifier must be avoided.
Maintain Proper Hygiene
Breast milk is the sole source of nutrition for your little one for the first 6 months of life. The infant is completely dependent upon breast milk. It is important for the mother to maintain good hygiene practices to avoid any unnecessary infections.
Make sure that a hygiene routine is followed so that the baby is protected from all possible diseases:
- Keep the room or the surroundings where the baby is breastfed clean and free of mosquitoes and pests.
- Mothers should wear loose and comfortable clothes while breastfeeding.
- Keep your nipples clean and use a mild baby soap to clean your nipples before every feed.
- Do not use perfumes or body wash with a strong smell. This can be damaging for your little one.
- Mothers should wash their hands before and after every feed.
- Keep spare nursing bras and wash them separately and not with the other clothes.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Galactogogues are natural foods or herbs that stimulate the production of breast milk. Low breast milk supply can be frustrating for new mothers. Therefore, they must include food ingredients that boost breast milk supply. Lactogenic foods include:
- Cumin seeds.
- Pearl millet.
- Whole grains.
Drink Extra Fluids
Lactating mothers are advised to increase their fluid intake and to stay hydrated. Drink more of plain water, fresh soups, milk and buttermilk. Caffeine intake should be reduced. It is better to stay away from alcoholic beverages. If plenty of fluids are not consumed, the mother can get dehydrated, which can have some negative effects on the health.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Breastfeeding mothers must add an extra 300-500 calories to their diet. They should increase their intake of whole foods and limit their consumption of packaged foods. Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, orange-yellow fruits and vegetables and healthy fats should form a major chunk of their daily diet.
Get Adequate Protein
The recommended increment in protein intake during lactation is around 15 grams/ day. An adequate intake of protein is required to boost breast milk production and to improve the growth and development of the baby.
Protein also helps the mothers to lose weight and burn fat. A low protein intake during lactation may make the mothers feel weak, tired and dull most of the time.
Hence, adequate protein intake is important for the health of the mother and the baby. Foods rich in protein include:
- Milk and milk products.
- Soy and soy products.
- Dals and pulses.
- Chicken and eggs.
Breast milk is nutritious and a perfect food for your little one. New mothers must learn the skills and techniques of breastfeeding. They should not refrain from asking help from the health care providers or elderly. In case of confusion, mothers should immediately consult their physicians.
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