Breastfeeding should, ideally, come natural to mothers – after all it’s nature’s method of feeding the newborn. However, in reality, many new mums have their own fears and dilemmas to deal with when it comes to breastfeeding.
There are a lot of factors to be considered, and many issues like nipple problems, wrong latch, etc. can make breastfeeding painful for the mom and frustrating for the baby.
While consulting a lactation expert can help solve many issues, here are a few tips to make the process easier.
Plan a gentle birth:
This would mean to give birth in the most natural way possible, with less interventions. ‘Try to plan a birth without much of disturbance. Too much noise, harsh lights, medical interventions – all of these have an impact on the baby, which isn’t very gratifying. The transition from womb to the world needs to be gentle,’ says expert . Anything that’s unpleasant disturbs the baby, which in turn affects the connection with the mother, thus affecting a smooth start to breastfeeding.
If you had a C-section, remember to give your baby enough skin to skin and garner a lot of patience to help your baby latch well to start nursing naturally.
Practice breast crawl
In the womb the baby receives all the required nutrition supply through the placenta. But once out in the world the mother’s breast is the only source of food the baby relies on. Hence separating mother and the baby right after birth is going to dehydrate the baby, hamper bonding and also make it difficult for the baby to get on with latching, which is reflexive right after birth.
‘The process from birth to breastfeeding should work like a relay match. Once the nutrition supply from the placenta ceases, the baby should be put on mother’s chest to do a breast crawl and ensure proper bonding and start breastfeeding,’ says expert. A separation of several hours between the mother and baby can make this difficult.
Give skin to skin:
This process is more talked about than implemented. Tell your hospital staff and doctor that you would like to have a skin to skin contact with your baby right after the birth. Make sure you mention about this in your birth plan. Skin to skin contact will help your baby feel secure and protected and give him adequate assurance and support to start suckling and get on with breastfeeding. A skin to skin contact also helps in better bonding with the baby.
Hold your baby right:
Even if you have done everything by the textbook, you would fail to achieve any success in breastfeeding if you can’t make your baby feel comfortable at the breast. Hold your baby right to help ensure better latching. Remember if you choose to feed on the left side, your baby’s head should lie on the crook of your left arm, while the entire hand supports your baby’s back. Put your right hand beneath your left hand for added support.
Position yourself right
Once you feel fine after the delivery and can sit upright, choose to sit in a reclining position, holding your baby right. ‘A reclining position would give more skin to skin contact to the baby, help to achieve a better latch and give a good start to breastfeeding.