By Ojasvee Last Updated:
For a very long time, people have been debating on the topic that whether breastfeeding is good for the mommy and baby, or not. While a majority of people are of the view that it has both emotional and physical benefits, few share a different option.
Recommended Read: 8 Breast Care Tips That All Breastfeeding Mothers Should Follow
After a thorough research, we have come to the conclusion that it is beneficial for both the mother and the newborn. A lactating mother needs to be a little cautious to reap the full benefits of breastfeeding. So, here is your very own handbook to breastfeeding if you want to go au naturel.
Breast milk is the best for a baby. It is full of many essential minerals and natural antibiotics which make the baby stronger. Sometimes, the baby does not readily drink milk from her mother’s breasts. This can make the new mommy give up on that. But don't leave it there and try harder because your milk is the best for your little one. While breastfeeding is a personal choice, many pediatrics and OBGYNs recommend that a mother should breastfeed a child for at least a year. If you still cannot decide whether or not you want to breastfeed your child, here are a few benefits that you should know about:
Your breast milk has the perfect composition that your baby requires to grow. It is a perfect blend of vitamins, minerals and fats. Moreover, your breast milk can be customised! Yes, you read that right! Your breast milk changes itself according to the requirements of your baby. It is easy for the baby to digest your milk.
During the first 4 days of your baby’s life, your breasts are going to produce thick yellow milk. This milk is rich in colostrum which has all the important nutrients that your baby needs. This milk gets easily digested by the gut and the brain. It will fasten the development of your little one.
Mother’s milk is rich in enzymes and natural antibiotics. If your child drinks your milk, he/she has lesser chances of catching diseases like pneumonia, colds and viruses. The breast-fed babies develop strong digestion capabilities too, which prevent troublesome bugs from causing diarrhoea. Not just as infants, but these kids are unlikely to develop chronic diseases like Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac disease when they grow up.
One of the main reasons why doctors support breastfeeding is that it reduces the chances of SID (Sudden Infant Death). SID can affect any infant. Breast milk reduces the chances of SID. This is why doctors advise mothers to breastfeed their newborns within thirty minutes of their birth.
Babies have to suck harder to drink milk from her mother’s breasts. This makes their jaws stronger. These kids have great jaw alignment and don’t really need an orthodontist as teenagers. Babies who aren’t given formula milk have stronger teeth too.
Breast milk makes your baby stronger. It increases your little munchkin’s tolerance level as well. Your child is less likely to become lactose intolerant if you are the one who nurses him/her. These kids also accept solid foods easily as compared to those who drink formula milk.
It cannot be denied that breastfeeding builds an emotional bridge between the mother and the child which stays put even when the child grows up. You can observe your baby more closely when you breastfeed. You will get to know about his behaviour and the gestures your baby makes. Your bond is the strongest when you nurse your own baby.
Benefits of breastfeeding are not just limited to the child. It keeps the mother healthy too. There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the mother as well. Take a look at the few of them:
90% of the new moms go through amenorrhea, that is, lack of menstrual periods for the first 4-6 weeks after delivery. This happens because your hormones take time to settle down after the baby is born. The level of iron in your body tends to drop down during this period. Breastfeeding prevents that to happen. It will pump your body with iron.
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed for 6-24 months during their reproductive age have lower chances of developing ovarian, breast and uterine cancer. This happens because breastfeeding can lower the level of estrogen in your body. The higher the level of estrogen the more are the chances of these types of cancers.
Women who breastfeed, generally lead a healthier lifestyle than the rest of the mothers. Breastfeeding reduces your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and blood pressure. You might have gained weight during pregnancy but you can shed that faster if you breastfeed your child.
You can strengthen your bones as well while making your baby stronger with your milk. Your bones absorb more calcium when you are breastfeeding. Your spine and hip bones will become denser which will reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis after menopause.
Bringing a baby into the world is not an easy task. Your entire body demands rest to recover completely but we know that new moms seldom rest. Your body heals itself when you breastfeed. Your body produces oxytocin that helps the uterus to contract, reducing post-delivery blood loss. Postpartum in breastfeeding mother lasts for 6 weeks as opposed to the 10 weeks in other.
Your baby will be completely dependent on you for food for the first few months of his/her birth. There are a few important things that every lactating mother should keep in mind to make the experience smoother and easier. Here is what you should do when you are lactating:
If you want the nursing experience to be free-flowing, then breastfeed your child within 30-60 minutes of his birth. This will help to boost your baby’s immunity and help you two to connect. Your baby is likely to accept your milk more easily later on as well if it is the first thing he drinks after birth.
Breasts get bigger during and after pregnancy. Tenderness and cracks on the nipples are normal. Use a lanoline based moisturiser to treat soar breasts. There are a lot of ointments available in the market that is safe for the baby. You can consult your doctor as well. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, rub some of your breast milk on your nipples and let it dry.
Clogged ducts are not uncommon in nursing mothers. It can happen due to many reasons. These clogged ducts can cause severe pain and more trouble in the future if not treated right. The first thing that you can do is to feed your baby on the side with clogged ducts. It will help the milk to move. Hot showers are also very effective in this situation. You can also use a breast pump to treat this condition.
There are a few things that you have to keep in mind when you choose to breastfeed your child. You have to ensure that you produce enough milk to meet the requirements of your baby. There are certain foods to avoid during breastfeeding as they can reduce the production of milk and their properties can pass down to your infant through your milk. On the other hand, there are some food items that can increase breast milk. Here is what you should and should not eat to increase breast milk.
Garlic is one of the best food items that you can use to increase your breast milk. It gets the milk flowing and helps babies who are suffering from colic.
Carrots are loaded with Vitamin A which not only helps with lactation but also provide extra vitamins to the baby. They are also rich in breastfeeding vitamins.
Many women suffer from iron deficiency after delivery which is not good for the health of the new mother and her baby. Add spinach in your diet to increase breast milk and to increase the level of iron in our body. Just make sure that you boil it well before consumption.
Both fennel bulb and seeds increase breast milk as their properties are similar to that of estrogen. Fennel will also add some flavour to your milk which your baby will enjoy.
Every new mom should eat nuts. Nuts can provide you with all the essential nutrients that your body loses during childbirth. In addition to that, nuts give your body a boost of serotonin which increases the production of breast milk.
Breakfast cereals are buffed with artificial flavours and vitamins. They contain Vitamin B6 which can reduce the production of your breast milk.
Both parsley and peppermint are diuretics in nature. They might increase the flavour of your food but they can cause dehydration. This will not only reduce the supply of breast milk, but can also cause clogged ducts.
Not just coffee but some teas are loaded with caffeine as well. It reduces the production of breast milk by a significant level. You can switch to herbal teas.
Many moms put cabbage leaves on their breasts to deal with breast engorgement. It has a high amount of anti-oxidants which is helpful only when you want to stop nursing. The sulphur present in cabbage leads to a decrease in breast milk.
Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits but it cannot be denied that the whole process can become a little inconvenient for the moms. Mommies need rest too. So, to make breastfeeding easier for you, here are some breastfeeding tips.
You will be available every second for your baby for the first month, but then you will have to return to the real world. The intelligent thing would be to use a breast pump and store your milk. You can keep your milk in a sterilised bottle at low temperature. This will make things easier for you.
We know that you are a strong and independent woman but feeding a baby is no joke. Do not hesitate to ask for help. You will learn with time.
If you want your baby to drink milk faster, give support to his feet. When the feet of the baby touch something, they nurse better and faster.
#1. What are the problems that might arise during breastfeeding?
#2. What are some of the ideal breastfeeding positions?
#3.What are some of the breastfeeding tips that a lactating mommy should know?
Your breast milk is the best thing that you can give to your child. It has everything that the little one needs to grow up into a healthy child. Breastfeeding is a natural thing and helps to build a strong bond between the mother and the child. You might feel a little nervous in the beginning but this is one experience that you will never forget. Happy nurturing!