Read on for the answers to some frequently-asked-questions about breastfeeding.
With the sheer amount of breastfeeding information and literature available, it is only natural for new mothers to feel overwhelmed. Regardless of whether mothers face challenges or have a smooth-sailing journey as they experience lactation for the first time, some common questions are bound to surface surrounding breastfeeding. Here, we address several, which will hopefully clear any doubts and bolster your confidence as you nurse and nourish your baby.
Q: How soon should I begin breastfeeding?
A: It is advised that attempts should be made to get your baby to latch on within an hour of giving birth. Even if you have delivered via caesarean section, you should be receptive to nursing your newborn as soon as possible, even if it’s in the operation room as you’re being stitched up. While this might seem too soon, the timing is to take advantage of the baby’s wakeful state immediately after birth. After this initial window period, your newborn will spend much of the next 24 hours asleep, which might make feeding more challenging.
Offering baby the breast sooner rather than later also establishes faster bonding with skin-to-skin contact. Your baby will also benefit from consuming colostrum, which is the thick, yellowish pre-milk your body will produce for about three to four days before breast milk appears. Colostrum is rich in immunity-boosting nutrients to protect your baby against infections.
Q: How frequently should I nurse my baby?
A: Breastfeeding is encouraged to be done on-demand, but the more you nurse, the more milk you can expect to produce. This is especially crucial in the early weeks to ensure a steady stream of milk. On average, you should breastfeed your baby an average of every two hours around the clock for the first month to six weeks. A very young infant is also unable to consume excessive amounts at one go, hence the need to feed more frequently. A baby will usually stop nursing once it is full, but ensure that one breast is emptied before offering the other, so that your baby can reach the nutritious hind-milk, which is produced in larger quantities during the later stages of feeding.
While on-demand nursing can feel gruelling at times, rest assured that your baby will be able to take in more amounts as his stomach grows in capacity, which will increase the lapse of time between feedings. Just remind yourself of the golden rule to nurse your baby as frequently as you can in the early days and weeks to regulate your milk production supply until it reaches the right level.
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