7 Important Lessons I Learnt About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be overwhelming, when I got pregnant I had to find out as much as I could get about breastfeeding before my baby is delivered, being a new mother is tough enough without having to struggle with breastfeeding issue and now that my son is 6 months I can’t say I’m an expert in breastfeeding but through the mistakes I’ve made and learnt from I often offer advice to new moms who are having issues with breastfeeding.

Here’s a list of things you need to know for a successful exclusive breastfeeding;

1. Do your research

Read up about breastfeeding during pregnancy, attend breastfeeding class in your hospital, get as much information as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born.

2. Nurse as soon as you can after delivery

If there’s no complication that has to be addressed first before you can breastfeed your baby, then start breastfeeding immediately your baby is born. That will help you bond adequately with your baby although if complication stops you, you have more time to bond.

3. Experiment with positions until you find the one that works

Try different breastfeeding positions and see which of them works best for you, if you had C-section the football hold is best for you or the cradle hold. And when you are resting, the laid back or side-lying positions is most comfortable.

4. Skin-to-skin is important during the six weeks

Skin to skin contact should be established immediately after birth, there are so many benefits to it, including temperature regulation and it will help your baby keep warm.

5. Bring a good nursing pillow with you to the hospital

When packing for the hospital, take along a good nursing pillow, you never know how long you’ll be in the hospital, so you can nurse as comfortably as possible.

6. Learn baby’s hunger cues instead of watching the clock

You don’t have to time your baby’s feed if you watch out for the signs that he’s hungry, instead of looking at the time and saying “again” when my baby shows signs of hunger I put him to my breast and let him nurse. Signs of hunger include; rooting, putting hands in mouth, restlessness.

7. Know if baby is getting enough

Being worried that their baby is not gaining weight is what makes most mothers supplement with formula. To find out if your baby is getting enough feed, count your baby’s wet diapers and check their weight gain.   

8.  Ask your husband for support

We all need support, if there’s no one else to call besides your husband then solicit his help, he can change baby’s diaper while you breastfeed, bring you water and snacks and do whatever will make breastfeeding easy for you.

9. Don’t worry about your milk supply 

You might have supply problem, but instead of spending so much on buying remedies, talk to your doctor so he can refer you to a lactating nurse who would help you find the cause, and if it’s no medical problem, then, simply nursing more frequently and doing skin to skin with your child more often will help. The more frequently your baby sucks, the more breast milk your body produces.

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How to Ensure Your Baby Is Gaining A Healthy Weight After Birth

After the birth of a baby the parent’s concern then shifts to making sure the baby is gaining weight and growing both physically and intellectually like the baby is supposed to. Growth is a good indicator of general health, and babies who are growing well are generally healthy, while poor growth can be a sign of a problem.

Doctors will keep track of weight, length, and head size. According to Kidshealth, a new born baby born at 37 and 40 weeks usually weighs 2.5kg-4kg.The length of the pregnancy is important. Babies born around their due date or later tend to be larger than those born earlier. Other factors that can affect a baby’s weight include:

  • Premature babies generally are smaller and lighter than other newborns. A preemie’s weight will be largely determined by how early he or she was born.
  • Genetics
  • Multiple births,
  • First babies are sometimes smaller than brothers or sisters born later.
  • Girls tend to be smaller, boys larger, but the differences are slight at birth.
  • Mother’s health during pregnancy
  • Nutrition during pregnancy
  • Medical problems and certain infections acquired during the pregnancy, can affect a child’s birth weight and later growth.

Valerie Marchand, is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist and chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee. She was part of a group that recommended the use of new growth charts developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Growth charts examine length and weight in boys and girls, from birth to thirty-six months.  In the first few days after birth, babies normally lose weight, then get back to their birth weight by about 10 days. Marchand suggests that parents should be aware that a baby’s birth weight depends more on the mother’s diet and health during pregnancy. While slow-gaining babies tend to get the most attention, there are new concerns about babies who gain quickly. “You need to look at height as well as weight,” says Marchand.

Paediatrician and breastfeeding expert Jack Newman said, “the first step is often to improve the way the baby latches on to the breast”. “When the baby is not drinking much, using compression can help,” he adds. To determine how your baby’s measurements compare with those of other babies born after the same length of pregnancy, your paediatrician will refer to a growth chart. Always refer to your baby’s pediatrician and listen to them concerning how to maintain a healthy weight for your baby.

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