Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Breastmilk is one of the most wonderful gifts of a mother to a child. The benefits baby gets from it range from immunity to nutrition to security and bonding. But not only does breastfeeding benefit the child, it does the mother good too. It is a natural contraceptive if the child feeds on breastmilk alone. It brings back the mother as close to her pre-pregnant state - her figure, uterus, etc. It is cheap - free actually - Except that she has to eat properly.
These are known to many. What is probably not so popular is the proper way to breastfeed. I don't claim to be an expert on this subject but as a mother, I do know some tips. Here's how:
1. Wash your hands. Even before holding your breasts, see to it that you have washed your hands properly, being careful to reach the areas within the folds, your wrist to your elbows, the fingers washing them one at a time and the back of your hands. Do this each time you have to feed.
2. Wash your breasts. Use only distilled water for cleaning them. Pour some in baby's cup. Take a cotton ball, dip it in the water and start from the nipple outward in a circular manner. Do this three times changing the cotton ball each time. Never dip used cotton into the water. Wash your breasts before and after a feed. This is to ensure that your baby will not ingest any spoiled milk. A drop of bad milk can cause illness to your baby. I have had several reactions from my other blog about this. but think about this: Don't you cover leftover food? or do you eat from an unwashed plate? How much microbes can you get from a drop of spoiled milk? How many millions of them exist on your skin?
3. Sit upright. Although there are many positions that you may take, this one will be best for baby as there is lesser risk of him choking while feeding.
4. Hold your baby with either a cradle hold (where your arm supports the baby's head and body while you hold his buttocks with your hand) or a football hold (supporting baby's leg under your arm reachin out to the head to support it with your hand). I usually recommend the cradle hold being sure that his head is slightly higher than the rest of his body. You may put a pillow under your arm so you are comfortable.
5. Cup your breast with the other hand in a C position. Your thumb should be above the nipple and the other four under it.
6. Bring baby's cheek near the nipple. You'll be surprised at how he knows how to find it. If he doesn't look for it, he's either not hungry or, in the case of a newborn, does not know how the nipple feels yet. But don't you worry because he will be accustomed to it the next time around. Remember that baby's are instinctive and the basic is to know where to get food!
7. If this is your first time to breastfeed, you'll feel a slight discomfort. It'll go away, don't worry.
8. To free your breast from baby's mouth (in case you want to change to the other breast or when he has latched on to the nipple only), you may put the tip of your finger at the corner of baby's mouth.
9. Change to the other breast after a while, say 5 minutes. The next time you feed him, you should let him suck on the breast that baby last sucked on. Both breasts should be sucked on at each feed. This is so that there will be an equal production of milk.
10. Feeding intervals should be between 2 to 4 hours and when baby demands it.
11. Burp baby after each feed. You may also burp him midway and at the end of a feed. This will help rid baby of the air that he may have sucked which can cause him to throw up.
12. Let baby have a small amount of water right after so the milk is flushed. You may give him additional water later when he is not so full to prevent vomiting. My daughter used to regurgitate frequently before and I was told to feed her in small quantities, burp her often and delay giving water a bit.
13. Gently clean baby's mouth with a cotton and water wrapped in your pinky.
Remember that it is essential for you to have milk available for baby everytime he needs it. You'll need to have adequate rest and avoid being stressed as these will affect the way you produce your milk. You'll be amazed at how your breasts will feel full whenever baby is hungry. If you need to go to work or have to go somewhere, you may use a breast pump and put the milk in baby's bottle and keep it in the ref or in an ice chest. You have to warm it before giving it to baby.
Breastfeeding is a time to bond with baby. Enjoy it.