Breastfeeding is great to kick-start your babies’ growth and development, providing them with essential nutrients and boosting their immunity to fight against pathogens. Skin contact during breastfeeding also helps form an intimate and wonderful bond between mother and child. However, quite a number of mothers are worried about not having sufficient milk to feed their babies. Do not fret, as these simple tips below will help make your journey of breastfeeding a smoother sail.
1. Breastfeed as early as possible
After delivery, it is best to start breastfeeding as soon as possible. Let your new-born latch and stimulate the breasts, as this will send a signal to the body for breastmilk secretion. Your breasts may not produce much milk right away, it is fine, as it can take around 7-10 days to establish a steady milk production. It is also equally important to breastfeed in a comfortable and supported position and ensure that your baby is latching on properly. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult the nursing staff for guidance.
2. Feed frequently
Rather than nursing according to a rigid schedule, you should nurse your new-born whenever he expresses signs of hunger. The more you nurse, the more milk you will produce, which is beneficial on establishing a good milk supply. For the first few weeks, you may need to nurse at least 10-12 times a day. By feeding your baby frequently, your milk supply will grow to meet his demand. Eventually, your baby will settle down to a more predictable feeding pattern.
3. Breastfeeding diet
There is no specific diet needed for breastfeeding. You will need to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet, for you and your baby’s needs. You also need strength and stamina when breastfeeding, so add in a small snack or two for an extra 500 calories to cater for the additional energy needs. Your breastmilk is comprised of protein, water and fat, hence your diet should include an adequate amount of these nutrients as well. Consume sufficient fluids from soups and water, and make sure your meals are incorporated into high-quality proteins, such as fish, eggs, beans, legumes, lean meat and dairy.
Mothers tend to consume excess fatty foods, especially during confinement, which not only affect the mothers’ health but also prevents babies from feeding, as the milk becomes too viscous with excess fats. Therefore, you need to watch your fat intake and select foods wisely, for example, choose lean meat over fatty ones, and remove the skin. Replace your saturated fats with foods high in omega-3, such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, flaxseeds, nuts and salmon.
4. Emotional well-being
Breastfeeding can be difficult and stressful at times, especially during the first few weeks when your hormones are all over the place, you might be struggling to deal with your new responsibilities, and might not be getting enough sleep as well. There bound to be ups and downs when breastfeeding, but you don’t need to beat yourself up, be assured that everything will work out eventually, and maintain a positive mindset. This not only helps keep the milk flowing, you are also more likely to breastfeed for a longer period.
In addition, you will more likely feel confident about breastfeeding if you feel the support from family and friends. A good way to engage them is to talk to them in advance about your desire to breastfeed and how they can help you, like helping with the housework.