So we do have a lot of myths about breastfeeding especially the first time mothers. Let us help you with some of them.
I Cannot Lactate?
No, of course, not. Breastfeeding is a natural transition after childbirth that almost 99% people achieve lactation. For some, it may be a little late ( around 3 days ) and for others, they lactate immediately. Only 1% of the women don’t lactate because of medical or physical conditions. The trick is to keep the baby latching on to you whenever they are hungry as it stimulates the milk production.
My Milk is not Enough?
No, it doesn’t happen. You either lactate or not. Once you do, there is nothing like an insufficiency of milk. It happens only if you are not demand to feed (as and when the baby needs it but not on an hourly basis).
Initially for the first few days, babies tend to drink every half an hr or every hr not because the milk is not sufficient but because the cheek muscles are a little weak..it takes about 3 to 7 days to get used to the sucking reflexes and then they will have a regular 3 hr feed.
Babies tend to have growth spurts in between around 6, 10, 14, 22, 28 weeks, 6 months and so on. That’s when the routine is disturbed and they drink more often as the body needs more nutrition.
Some babies sleep more during the growth spurts that they don’t even have their regular feeds and have a long interval at the feeds. It’s normal and you can give the feed whenever the babies demand it and not when we feel is necessary. They give you signs like sucking their fingers or trying to reach your fingers if you put them at their angle of mouth or so. You need not wake up the child to give a feed. It’s good if you give it when the child is demanding it.
My Baby Is Not Putting on Any Weight on My Feed, Should I Add Formula Once in a While?
Not necessarily, as long as the child is healthy and active you need not worry about the weight. Breast milk is composed of foremilk(thinner) and hindmilk (which is thicker).
The foremilk constitutes 70-80% of the milk and it is composed mostly of water. It is easier for the baby to feed.
The hindmilk constitutes 30% of the milk and it is thicker and difficult for the baby to suck initially for the first few days. It requires a sustainable effort from the child. So when you keep changing sides easily, the baby might be getting more of foremilk which quenches only the thirst and not the appetite so they’ll be drinking more often.
The hind milk, on the other hand, is rich in fat and valuable nutrients so when the kid drinks more of the hind milk, they tend to have a long gap between the feeds. It helps if you give them to feed on the same side for once and then for the second time before you change the side make the baby feed on the same side for the first few minutes.
My Baby Feeds Only for a Few Minutes, Where Others Feed for a Longer Time
The average time for which a baby feeds on a side is 20–30 minutes. But it changes for every baby. Some feed only for 5 min and the interval between the feeds is also longer. Some feed for 1 hr and have it regularly every 3 hrs. You need not wake the baby up, to feed them. U can feed only when they are awake. Sleep induces production of growth hormone which is good for the growth. So a disturbed sleep might, in turn, affect the growth. So as long as the baby is healthy and active we need not worry about the timings. Within the first 3 to 4 months all the kids have a pretty normal schedule.
How Long Should I Feed My Baby?
Usually, some countries recommend exclusive (not even water)breastfeeding for 6 months. Some advice on supplementary feed after the 4th month. But if the child is growing well on breastfeeding it’s recommended that you continue for six months. The reason behind it being that the intestine is not that matured before six months that anything you give before might affect the growth of the good bacteria in the intestine leaving the child at risk of diarrhoea and other infections.
My Child Has Breastmilk Jaundice, Does That Mean My Milk Is Harmful?
Not at all. Most of them develop jaundice initially for the few days. The treatment is to expose them to light and continue the feed. It will resolve on it own unless it’s too severe where you need to put the baby in an artificial light which is available at any baby hospital.
Are There Any Diet Restrictions When I Feed the Baby?
No, in fact, you need to eat more to make up for the feed as well. There are no foods in particular which improves your milk productivity. Anything you eat is converted to milk. Best advice is to have a healthy balanced diet so that you don’t end being calcium deficient or anything. Excessive consumption of anything is harmful so eat small amounts at 4 hr intervals.
Avoid alcohol and smoking. If u still want to have a drink, restrict yourself to a few drinks and have them after you feed the baby and discard the first milk before the next feed. Give a normal feed 6 hrs after your last drink. Or else pump the milk before you drink and store it for these occasions in case you cannot feed. In case you are on any other medications, please contact your doctor for further details about breastfeeding because it all depends on the treatment you are on.
My Baby Is Drinking Milk Every 3hrs Even When He/ She Is on Solids..am I Spoiling the Kid by Feeding Often?
No, some kids do feed every 3rd hourly even when they are around 1 year also. It changes with every kid. You are not spoiling them and no need to wear them because they will eventually sleep longer. A baby knows when to feed and when they are full. It’s not healthy to make them cry because we want them to sleep longer as we are worried it will be difficult to wean. It’s hard on you but it will ease with time.
When I Pump I Get Only 1 Ounce of Milk? I Heard That Kids Drink Minimum of 2 Ounces in the First Few Days !!
The regular 2 OUNCES is the calculation for a formula feed. Breast-milk is different. If it’s only an ounce it means that the kid is drinking only small amount. You produce the amount your kid drinks. But if you keep pumping every day it will increase your milk production in a few days as it gives the same kind of stimulation like sucking.
Can I Feed Immediately After Pumping from Both the Sides?
Yes, u can.There is no limit for the breast milk. The sucking refreshes the milk production immediately. It only stops when the gap between the feeds is longer and for a longer period that is about 15 to 20 days at a stretch.
Is There Something Like a Fast and a Slow Milk Flow?
Yes, there is. Most of them have a regular flow of milk.
For some, the milk flow is rather fast and it might suffocate the child. You can reduce the speed by pressing the nipple from below and pushing it a little up so that the baby doesn’t feel any pressure.
For some with a slower flow, the child may get irritable because the milk comes out in drops and child gets tired easily as it is difficult to drink for a long time. You can increase the speed by using a breast pump and repeatedly pumping the milk out when the baby is not feeding or by trying to pump out on one side so that the other side becomes heavier and full of the next feed.
So that’s it, dear moms, I know that breastfeeding is the most difficult thing to do but it’s the best gift you can give your child, and none except you can give it. It’s tougher in the first few months as the growth spurts are more and the intervals are less. But I assure you its gets better with time.
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Happy Breastfeeding Week!