Basics of breast feeding
Timing of first feed
When the baby is born, it is recommended that she be breastfed at the first available opportunity. That time is up to you and your doctor and is usually as soon as you and the baby are declared fit after your delivery. When your baby breastfeeds, she is ingesting colostrum (a clearish fluid laden with proteins and immunities). This fluid aids in preparing the digestive track for the motherís milk and eventually solid foods.
The latch is extremely important. Just a few minutes of nipple nursing will bring days of irritation. So if it doesnít feel like youíre getting it right, disengage and try again. Donít be disheartened if you and your baby take a while to get used to the feeding. Both of you are learning new skills.
When suckling and swallowing slows or stops, burp the baby and offer the opposite breast. Baby may not take both breasts at each feeding. Baby needs a minimum of 10 minutes of work per feeding. Take the baby off the breast by inserting your finger between baby's gums and pulling downward to break the suction. Another cause for irritated nipples is improperly disengaging. Instead of pulling the nipple from the babyís mouth, first insert a finger between her lip and your breast to release the suction.
If you should find yourself with sore or cracked nipples, try to take a few days without breast pads and just let your milk leak. Breast milk has some incredible healing properties and actually acts as a conditioner for the areola and nipple. In fact, itís a good idea to plan on not wearing a bra for the first few days after your milk has come in.
What to watch for?
Good output of both stool and urine shows good milk intake. Count number of wet diapers and stools daily. By 5 days of age the entirely breastfed baby should have a minimum of 6 to 8 wet diapers and several yellow stools in a 24 hour period. Stools will become less frequent around 6 weeks of age but baby should continue to pass urine about 6 times a day.
Long-term breastfeeding can be achieved only as long as you and your infant remain comfortable. Changing feeding positions is a good way to enable this.
Other important points to remember
breastfeeding does take practice. You canít expect to be a pro the first go
around, but with a little persistence, you will be offering your infant the
first step to healthy life and the benefits will be felt by her for the rest of