Breast milk, with its countless benefits, is the best you can give your child.
Unfortunately, many women who are committed to breastfeeding have abandoned it due to painful difficulties (cracks, engorgement, « more milk »…)
Yet, unless there are exceptional health problems, all women are able to breastfeed. These abandonments are often the result of bad advice, often given during pregnancy.
It should be noted that not all health professionals are well trained in breastfeeding.
For these reasons, it is important to be well prepared from the beginning of pregnancy in order to give yourself all the chances to succeed in your breastfeeding project.
Here are our golden tips to be a happy breastfeeding-mom.
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Be in contact with your baby as soon as possible after birth.
Establish a birth plan.
In your birth plan you will ask that your baby be put against you as soon as possible so that he can benefit from all the advantages of skin-to-skin contact with his mother.
These benefits are immune, emotional, but also favourable to breastfeeding. The baby, very alert for the first two hours, will use his sense of smell a lot. If placed immediately against you, it will memorize your smell very early.
Then, he will be able to find your breast again, which has a smell similar to that of amniotic fluid.
To this end, some actions should be encouraged, others avoided. Medical personnel must be informed of this in order to adapt their hospital routine to the needs of breastfeeding.
Watch the baby, not the clock!
Instead of programming feeds according to the clock, watch for signs of hunger that your baby wants to drink, for example when snooping, licking his lips or putting his hands to his mouth.
Babies need to eat often in the first few weeks, eight or more times in 24 hours.
This frequency promotes active milk production and ensures that your baby recovers his birth weight by the second week of life. Night feedings are important to establish breastfeeding and maintain milk production.
The good thing: Breast milk is easy to digest. When your baby is in a good position and you are breastfeeding, there is no need to supplement breastfeeding with other foods or liquids, not even water.
The usual formula is: give the baby one breast until he stops suckling, then burp him or change his diaper and offer him the other breast. And at the next feeding, just start with the breast where he/she finished at the last drink.
Some babies prefer several « services » while others prefer a long meal. Don’t rush your baby, take your time.
Conclusion, it is up to you to adapt at your own pace, not the other way around. Don’t try to put him in a box! All children are different, with different needs.
There are the voracious and the little appetites, the ravenous and the hurried… Some people ask for drinks every two hours, others every three and a half hours. Eight times a day or twelve times and more! That’s the way it is.
Finally, be aware that an infant has the greatest need for milk at 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months, which corresponds to growth spurts. So it will seem insatiable to you at these times… You have been warned!
Milk and its variations: get to know your milk
At the very beginning, you secrete what is called colostrum: this thick yellow liquid is a real concentrate of antibodies and vitamins for your little one.
Colostrum is present from about the first to the 4th or 5th day. It then gives way to colostral milk, or transitional milk, a thicker yellowish liquid made of colostrum and breast milk: it arrives when the milk rises.
Then comes the mother’s milk, which is rather bluish in colour, whose composition changes according to the time of day (it is richer at night), the baby’s age and even during the feeding (richer in water and lactose at first because baby is thirsty, then fatter during the feeding).
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Work and breastfeeding
Your baby can enjoy all the benefits of your milk even if you plan to return to work or school soon. When breastfeeding is well established, you can extract your milk and leave it with the person who will take care of your baby to give him or her something to drink throughout the day.
Your breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator (three days) or frozen (about six months). Refrigerate or freeze your milk in clean bottles or bags with the date on them.
Remember to warm the milk by letting it stand vertically in hot tap water before using it.
It is not recommended to reheat milk on the stove or in the microwave as this can reduce its vitamin C content and reduce some of the anti-infective properties of breast milk. In addition, since the heat is not evenly distributed, your baby could burn himself.
Ask your employer to give you some flexibility to take breaks to breastfeed or express your milk, as well as access to a refrigerator to store your milk. In some cases, mothers have childcare facilities in or near their workplace, school or community, allowing them to breastfeed their babies during their breaks.
Prepare your breasts for breastfeeding
No breast preparation is necessary for successful breastfeeding. Breasts prepare themselves naturally during pregnancy. However, this will not guarantee that there will be no pain at the suction of the first feedings or cracks.
We advise you to use a greasy soap to avoid drying your nipple. Massage your areola and nipple regularly with a greasy cream or oil to moisturize and soften them.
Do NOT Weigh baby after each feeding
Not so long ago, we used to weigh babies before and after each feeding: a practice that is absolutely unnecessary for healthy full-term babies and has no other result than to unnecessarily worry the young mother.
Here again, the explanation lies in the composition of the milk: indeed, it may be that during a baby feeding, only a very small quantity of milk was absorbed, which will give a bad result on the scale whereas it was a milk very rich in fat and nutrients; conversely, baby may have taken a hundred grams after the feeding but only have a very light milk that he will have digested in 30 minutes… It is clear, therefore, that the information obtained from these two weighings is absolutely not significant.
Not to mention that it is not always convenient to weigh baby after a feeding, especially if he has fallen asleep… What a shame to wake him up!
How do you know if your baby has eaten enough? Just count how many layers it soils each day.
It is an easy and foolproof method: baby must urinate on average 6 to 8 times a day and pass stools regularly (between 2 and 4 stools per 24 hours, but this number may vary).
You can also weigh it once a week to establish a weight curve knowing that, during the first few months, according to the new World Health Organization tables, baby should gain between 180 and 200 grams per week.
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