Breastfeeding is not easy. So, if you are expecting your first child, or have already given birth to your young one, here are a few essential things you need to know to help you ease your way in this weird new world of nursing your child.
#1 Know Your Breastfeeding Goal Before You Begin
Whether it is 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or 2, you need to know the exact amount of time you are going to breastfeed your baby before you start weaning him/her off to regular food. This will not only help you be consistent during this gruelling phase, but will also help you evade the lure of continuing to breastfeed your child even after he/she turns 2.
Just remember: According to the WHO guidelines, it is crucial to breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months of age.
#2 Be Consistent For At Least 6 Weeks
Breastfeeding is a physically draining task (no pun intended). So, to prevent fatigue that can cause you to overlook your child's well-being, stick to the goal of consistently breastfeeding for at least 6 weeks.
That much time is enough to teach you how to nurse comfortably and manage your schedule effectively.
#3 Know The Problems Frequently Encountered By New Nursing Mothers
We wrote an extensive article on 5 of the commonest problems you need to know about before you start breastfeeding.
The general idea is to stay healthy, learn the proper latching techniques, and know how to deal with common issues like sore nipples, too much milk production and painful latching.
#4 Don't Stimulate Your Child Too Much
Intellectual stimulation is very tiring for newborns. That's why babies tend to sleep so much. So, keep your breastfeeding skin-to-skin for the initial months to prevent overstimulating your child, as this will make it harder to feed your baby.
#5 Keep Your Face Close
Babies can only see till a distance of 8-10 inches initially. So keep your face close to your baby to help him/her see you and improve your bond.
#6 Babies Don't Stop Suckling When They Are Full
Babies are born with a strong suckling reflex. That means they will root towards anything that is close to their mouth and try to suckle it, whether it is a nipple, a toy, a finger, or even a milk bottle. But what they cannot control is the duration of this reflex.
That means they will continue to suckle at your breast even after they are full. So feed your child only for 15-30 minutes every session to prevent over-feeding.
#7 Nursing Will Get Tougher When Your Child Gets His/Her First Tooth
While most babies start to teeth at 6 months of age, a rare few are born with erupted front teeth in their lower gums, and some others start to teeth at 1 month of age.
Regardless of when your baby's teeth start to erupt, when they finally do, there will be added problems like biting rashes, ineffective suckling and increased pain. Knowing this fact and consulting with your dentist and paediatrician during this period can help immensely.
#8 Crying Is Not The Only Sign To Show Your Baby Is Hungry
Babies start to exhibit hunger in more ways than crying. These include rooting for your breast, putting their hand to their mouth, smacking their lips, and making sounds to gain your attention.
Remember: Babies cry only as a last resort. So don't wait that long, as crying makes it incredibly difficult to feed your child.
Just keep an eye out for these hunger cues and both yours and your baby's happiness will stay intact.
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